25 Best Things to Do in Vancouver, WA

Vancouver, WA
Bob Pool / shutterstock.com

Bob Pool / shutterstock.com

Vancouver, a magical city on the banks of River Columbia, is a part of Washington in the US.

It is the state's fourth-largest city, with a population of approximately 161,791.

So, the city sure is beaming with energy all around the year.

It is a metropolitan city with some of the most modern lifestyles and infrastructure.

Hence, with a combination of the mighty Columbia River on the one hand and 21st-century architectural ambiance on the other, Vancouver has a varied range to offer to tourists.

As the city is over 200 years old, it's only natural for it to offer some fine museums, heritage houses, and landmarks.

The waterfront of Vancouver and the Vancouver Fort were the forming areas of this city; thus, they are major tourist attractions today.

Moreover, the city has many lively farmers' markets and many scenic parks for visitors to explore.

The waterfront and several bridges also provide breathtaking views of the city.

You can shop at the fashionable malls, have a classic day watching dramas at the theaters, or simply unwind and go fishing.

This destination has a lot for tourists to enjoy.

These are the best things to do in Vancouver, Washington:

Enjoy a Heartwarming Trip to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Daytime view of Fort Vancouver Historic Site
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

This historic site dates back to the colonization times when the Hudson Bay Company tried and established their network connections here through the Vancouver Fort as their Columbia Department.

The factual story of six ships, 600 employees, and two dozen posts being shifted to this land is very carefully protected, preserved, and showcased at the Fort Vancouver Historic Site.

The fort gradually became an area of activity and influence with life settlements happening there.

Canons on Fort Vancouver National Historic Site grounds
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

The village date bears witness to that until today, and you can walk along the beautiful trails of the Columbia River while looking at this village.

Tourists can also enjoy firsthand educational activities, engage in living history events, and enjoy costume programs and an archaeological collection that is probably one of the most precious in the world.

There are endless meadows of plantations of fresh fruits, flowers, and veggies open to visitors.

Archway of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site's garden
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

Stroll around the Fun Vancouver Farmers Market

Fruits at Vancouver farmer's market
Emily Marie Wilson / Shutterstock.com

The best way to mingle in a city is to stroll around the marketplaces it houses.

Now, once you find yourself in the Vancouver Farmers Market, prepare to get bedazzled by the freshness of the products and the hustling beauty of this place.

The market is located at 6th Esther Street.

A person buying flowers at Vancouver Farmers Market
Emily Marie Wilson / Shutterstock.com

Bless your senses with the farm-fresh array of vegetables and fruits available here, from apples, peaches, apricots, and berries to cauliflowers, capsicums, and broccoli.

There is an adjacent park here, so it's a doubly enjoyable area.

All the food lovers might also find their paradise here with the farm-fresh collections of desserts, cheese, and food trucks that offer mouth-watering dishes.

Also, do not forget to check out the flower market and get blown away by the beautiful and fresh flowers being sold there.

Tents along Vancouver Farmers Market
brian legate / Shutterstock.com

Spend Some Energetic Time at Esther Short Park

The clock tower at Esther short Park
Harold Stiver / Shutterstock.com

This park is like the central square of the city.

Esther Short Park is located at the heart of Vancouver's downtown area and is the coolest destination for people of all ages to hang out day and night.

It's actually the oldest public square in Washington.

This place has a lot of activities in store for guests and boasts aesthetically pleasing interiors and soothing scenic exteriors.

A gazebo at Esther Short Park
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a playground area for children and athletes, little rides like slides and others, and beautiful benches for people to sit, observe, and soak in the beauty of Vancouver.

In addition, there are walking, running, and jogging trails for fitness lovers.

Esther Short Park also comprises a beautiful clock tower, a gazebo that offers a perfect view of the area, a spa, a rose garden, and a picnic area to enjoy with your family.

Clearly, there's not a shortage of things to do and enjoy in Esther Short Park.

The grounds of Esther Short Park
Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Walk along the Mighty Waterfront Renaissance Trail

Waterfront Renaissance Trail
Andriana Syvanych / Shutterstock.com

The Waterfront Renaissance Trail is the quintessential spot to calm your soul.

It is one of the most unique areas in Vancouver, and despite being so popular, it never feels too crowded, so your peace is ensured.

You'll see the blue waters of Vancouver supported by a cemented shore for as long as the eyes go.

This is followed by gardened areas and a cemented path that lets you take a relaxing stroll by the water.

At the end of this route, there is a vast bridge you can walk on.

Head to the Fascinating Pearson Air Museum

Display at Pearson Air Museum
Van Rossen / Shutterstock.com

The Pearson Air Museum is located on 5th Street, and any aviation enthusiast or history lover would be thoroughly thrilled to visit it.

Fighter planes from older times are kept here on display, and some of the experimental scientific models are showcased here as well.

The museum offers audio tours and guided tours that you can avail of, depending on your preferences.

Exterior of Pearson Air Museum
Van Rossen / Shutterstock.com

There are beautiful photographs and information given behind each model.

There are models from the World Wars with their history written beside them, and these will surely give you a bone-chilling experience.

The Pearson Air Museum's location, aviation history, and exhibits will certainly win your heart.

An aircraft inside the Pearson Air Museum
Van Rossen / Shutterstock.com

Witness Soothing Ambiance and Architecture at Officers Row

Fort Vancouver at Officer’s Row
Emily Marie Wilson / Shutterstock.com

This is situated in the area of the 21 Victorian homes that were built for the military officers belonging to the Vancouver Barracks, including famous people like Ulysses S. Grant, General O.O. Howard House, and others.

These areas make up Officers Row.

The two most important houses are open for visitors.

A gazebo at Officers Row
Emily Marie Wilson / Shutterstock.com

The houses hold immense significance in American and Washington history.

The ambiance is exceptionally soothing, with the houses being in the canopy of lush woods.

There are well-maintained gardens all around the residences.

Take the opportunity to walk the provided pathways and join guided tours around the houses, which hold memorabilia of immense significance.

Take a Trip to the Vancouver Waterfront

Daytime view of the Vancouver Waterfront
JoanieB / Shutterstock.com

The Vancouver Waterfront is hands down one of the coziest places for tourists to populate.

This area is located on 695 Waterfront Way and gives magnificent views of the mighty Columbia River.

There are huge pavements beside it, which allows people to stroll around.

People at the Vancouver Waterfront
Reinhardt and Co / Shutterstock.com

The sunset views here will surely win your heart.

There are little gardens and an array of shops, cafes, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms by the river, giving you a top-notch ambiance for a picture-perfect holiday.

So, you can take your family or loved ones here and walk by the river.

A person riding a bike along Vancouver Waterfront
Peter Kim / Shutterstock.com

Learn about the City at the Vancouver Land Bridge

Daytime view of the Vancouver Land Bridge
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At Highway 14 lies the vast Vancouver Land Bridge, which connects places like the Columbia River and Fort Vancouver.

The entrance is by the Old Apple Tree Park, and once you reach the bridge, you will be amazed by the fabulous architectural vision that it represents with its overlapping meandering infrastructure.

Prairie overlook at Vancouver Land Bridge
Van Rossen / Shutterstock.com

There are loads of things to do, like going to see the oldest apple tree, sitting by the beautiful resting area, and learning historical information about the origin and development of the bridge and surrounding monuments.

You can easily walk around the bridge in the afternoon, when you can spot fabulous views all around.

The trail of Vancouver Land Bridge
Van Rossen / Shutterstock.com

Tour the George C. Marshall House

Exterior of George C. Marshall House
Van Rossen / Shutterstock.com

The rich heritage of Vancouver has resulted in it having some of the most significant houses in Washington.

The George C. Marshall House is one such mansion.

Queen Anne Victoria had shortly stayed here after the troubles of World War II, for which the Europeans had somewhat settled up this house to recover from the war aftereffects.

Marker of the George C. Marshall House
jejim / Shutterstock.com

The impressive home is located amid lush greenery on the famous Office Row.

Named after the occupant George Marshall, this house was built in 1886.

This significant spot deserves to be seen.

Find Yourself Lost Amidst Nature at the Vancouver Lake Regional Park

It is better to make an all-day plan for this stunning location.

There is actually something for everyone at Lake Park.

The park has a beach area that makes it an even more attractive place to visit.

You can go swimming, fish, play water games, or simply sit by the lake and enjoy the picturesque views.

If you fear getting too much of a tan, there are shaded areas here, too.

Should you get tired after a day full of fun activities, you can head indoors and freshen yourself up at the large, well-equipped restrooms available here.

Experience the Magic of the Vancouver Community Library

Exterior of Vancouver Community Library
Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located at 901C Street, this library was very recently renovated and always has a dazzling work of art present, always shining with curious readers.

Keep this on your list, take an evening off, visit this place, and get surprised by their collections of books, classics, comics, DVDs, computed information, and magazines.

People reading in Vancouver Community Library
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The entire Vancouver Community Library is also completely thematic and has tent-like structures, which will give you a feel of reading inside your own little world.

Events and programs are often held here, including Dr. Who-themed exhibitions on Halloween.

Wall art of Vancouver Community Library
Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Destress by Taking One of Marbella's Many Exciting Tours

The fun of a holiday can get spoiled when you spend too much time planning things and get stressed out while mapping out your itinerary.

The best way to avoid this and enjoy a hassle-free visit is to opt for a ready-made tour!

Vancouver has a truckload of these, whether you're after interest-based tours like wine tasting and museum-hopping or general tours to familiarize yourself with city points like the city's waterfront areas or the heritage houses in Office Row.

You can take your pick from tours that include Wine Dirt, Spirit Tales of Vancouver Barrack, Couve Cycle, and Vine Travelers, among many others.

Get the Drama Rolling at Magenta Theater

Located at the heart of Vancouver, Magenta Theater is an inviting spot for all art, culture, or entertainment lovers.

This community theater is also open for auditions and volunteering, so guests aren't limited to just being part of the audience—visitors can also have a fabulously engaging time working directly with or for them.

There is a range of programs they offer, ranging from comedies to Greek classics, stage readings to classic English dramas, and musicals to live shows.

You can book your tickets online or offline.

Shop to Your Heart's Content at Vancouver Mall

Exterior of Vancouver Mall
Another Believer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Shopping is already a therapeutic act, and when you shop at the biggest mall in South West Washington with a whopping area of a million square feet, you are surely in for a treat!

Vancouver Mall offers everything that can possibly fit inside a mall.

AMC movie theater in Vancouver Mall
Steven Baltakatei Sandoval, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are more than 142 shops, including the biggest apparel and decor brands, eateries ranging from cafes to restaurants and bars, body care shops, groceries, stationery stores, and more.

It also houses AMC Vancouver Mall 23, which comprises 23 screens.

Take your family, roam around, and shop and eat to your heart's content.

Parking lot of Vancouver Mall
Another Believer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Relax and Find Peace in Nature's Solace at Salmon Creek Regional Park

The waters of Salmon Creek
thecolorpixels.com / Shutterstock.com

There sure is beauty in the humdrum of Vancouver's modern city life, but after a lot of sightseeing, you might feel the need to escape to a lovely place of solace.

Should you need such a break, Salmon Creek Regional Park is just the place for you.

The park has a vast wooden bridge that leads to a sparkling, clean lake surrounded by lush green woods on all sides.

There's a paved area filled with benches where you can sit, relax, and soak in the scenic views.

Your little ones can play water games at the playground and rides area.

Take a Walk through  History at the Clark County Historical Museum

Exterior of Clark County Historical Museum
Underawesternsky / Shutterstock.com

The Clark County Historical Museum was established in 1917 with the mission of assisting in the preservation of historical sites.

Now, they feature various exhibits and displays to commemorate the different stories that took place in their local area.

Entrance doors of Clark County Historical Museum
Underawesternsky / Shutterstock.com

They have artifacts, images, archival materials, and oral histories, and you can view some of them while you're in the museum.

Their general collections include items from the mid-1200s up to the present day.

A few examples of the artifacts here are Native American basketry and beadwork, artwork and textiles, industrial tools, and so much more.

Follow the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail into the Unknown

Scenic view of Burnt Bridge Creek Trail
Williampfeifer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Burnt Bridge Creek Trail is a hard-surfaced trail that's perfect for people looking to get a little exercise while hanging out in the beautiful outdoors.

The trail itself begins at the mouth of the Burnt Bridge Creek.

It's a long, meandering path that passes through several forests and grass bottomlands.

It's easy to lose track of time there as you just sit back and appreciate the lovely area around you, filled with blooming plant life all around you.

The Burnt Bridge Creek Trail offers a charming break from city life.

Play around at Frenchman's Bar Regional Park

Frenchman's Bar Regional Parl is a 120-acre park located on the banks of the Columbia River.

The view and atmosphere alone are enough to make tourists fall in love.

There are a bunch of recreational amenities you can enjoy here, including a playground for your kids.

You'll also find a lot of picnic tables, making this the perfect stopover destination if you want to take a break from all the wandering and have a simple meal with your companions.

Taste Fine Wines at the Airfield Estates Winery Vancouver Tasting Room

At Airfield Estates, you'll get the chance to taste quality wines and try out unique spirits.

The winery's history dates all the way back to 1907, when its founder Lloyd Miller headed to the northwest and engaged in the buying and selling of farmlands.

By 1920, Miller had bought the land the winery now stands on, and in 1967, it started growing grapes and slowly turned into the place one can see today.

The place sells a variety of wines; whether you prefer reds or whites, their shop has something suitable for your tastes.

Go Climbing and Bouldering at Source Climbing Center

For another fun and challenging adventure in Vancouver, head to Source Climbing Center on Main Street.

It's an indoor recreation center, where you can still enjoy your hobby or sport without the need to go out, especially when the weather is a little rough.

You'll love how Source Climbing Center changes its routes each time and uses all features so they don't get musty.

Try the top rope, lead, and boulder with a separate kids' area.

For first-time climbers, you can also enroll in classes and workshops, or become a member to get discounts and free classes.

Watch a Movie at the Historic Kiggins Theatre

Exterior of the Historic Kiggins Theatre
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nestled in a 1936 Art Deco-style building, the historic Kiggins Theatre features old and new films in a modern single-screen projection and sound equipment.

If you're a movie-goer and a history buff, you'll like the old-school style of the theater.

Although it has seen several renovations since its opening in 1936, the building itself has been preserved and you can still see how it stood the test of time.

You can grab your snack like its tasty popcorn and a great selection of beverages such as wine, cider, beer, soda, and more.

The historic Kiggins Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

Ticket booth of the Historic Kiggins Theatre
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Escape to an Adventure at ParadigmQ

Fun, challenging, and exciting escape rooms are waiting for you to explore at ParadigmQ!

You only have 60 minutes to solve the unique mystery puzzles at the themed escape rooms with your family, friends, and co-workers.

It features seven themed and interactive rooms, where you have to solve murders, crimes, and puzzles.

Around 3 to 8 people can make a nice group to solve these tricky puzzles.

You'll have a guide throughout the game, so you don't get lost!

ParadigmQ is located in Mountain View Village on Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard.

Get Your Coffee Fix at Relevant Coffee

Hot coffee and warm smiles are a great pair to complete your day, and Relevant Coffee doesn't disappoint.

Kickstart your day with its delicious coffee made from quality and sustainable sources with an option for plant milk and vegan-friendly and gluten-free baked goods.

Delicious seasonal espresso, brewed coffees, specialty drinks, and sweet treats; what else makes your day?

Relevant Coffee roasts its beans on-site, so it would be fun to see the roasters doing the work while you're enjoying a cup of your favorite coffee.

You can find it on Main Street.

Take the Kids to the Dizzy Castle

Your little ones can also have their time of life at the Dizzy Castle on Northeast 66th Street.

It's an indoor playground featuring a 3-level castle and pirate ship play structures, where they can be creative and imaginative.

They can enjoy the triple wave slides, snake pit, and many other interactive play equipment.

There's also a snack bar, where you can grab a quick bite and sip a delicious drink.

Kiddie meals are also available for the little ones as soon as they get starved after the fun and exciting playtime.

The Dizzy Castle also hosts birthday parties.

Final Thoughts

The magic of Vancouver hasn't faded over the centuries, and it undoubtedly never will.

As you see the historical sights and beautiful views, take the time to appreciate the culture and beauty that make the city what it is today.

There are so many sights to see and things to do that you'd better get a head start on your itinerary if you're planning to head there!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.