Let’s get this out of the way: If you are looking for an article all about the Vancouver in British Columbia, this post is not for you. However, if you’re wondering what it’s like to live in Vancouver, WA, and thinking about moving here, you’re in the right place!
So, why do people love living in Vancouver, WA? As the fourth largest city in Washington State and part of the Greater Portland Area, Vancouver offers a plethora of career opportunities across several industries. The city is known for its natural beauty, young vibe, and close-knit, vibrant community. Vancouver is also the winner of a veritable laundry list of awards and recognitions, including:
- NUSA 2019 Best Neighborhood Winner
- People Magazine’s 5 Affordable Cities in the West
- Tree City USA Award for eco-friendliness
- Vancouver Public Schools recognized by the White House as a leader in computer education.
- Subset Magazine’s Best Value Towns in the West
Wondering where exactly this Vancouver is? Click on the links for directions if you need to travel from Vancouver WA to Seattle which is 165 miles, or from Vancouver WA to Portland which is only 10 miles away! Want to know if life in Vancouver calling your name? Keep reading to find out.
Before moving to Vancouver, it’s important to know a little bit about your new neighbors. The population of Vancouver tops out at about 171,000 people, with a population density of 3,600 people per square mile. While 31% of locals have lived in Washington State their whole lives, 54% of the population moved here later in life, and 13% were born outside of the US.
Like nearby Portland, Vancouver has a reputation as a hipster town and destination. This is reflected in the cities young median age of just 36, and a large number of locals in the 24-35 age bracket. However, a large portion of Vancouver’s residents are also older, married couples, many of whom have school-aged children, making this an extremely diverse city by age.
How Much Does it Cost to Live in Vancouver, WA?
Vancouver is well known for its affordability, especially in comparison to nearby, more expensive Portland. About half the population in Vancouver owns their homes, while the other half chooses to rent instead. No matter what your home style choice is, you can find great deals here, with a median home price of $238,300 and a median rent of $986 per month. Property taxes are slightly higher than the national average, with most residents paying $2,000-$3,000 per year in tax. In comparison, the median home value in Portland is $319,400, a difference of more than $80,000!
Groceries and goods and services both cost more in Vancouver than the national average, but are on par with local costs in Portland. One expense that is cheaper here than in the rest of the country is utility costs; families in Vancouver spend about 22% less on utilities than the national average.
Vancouver’s Best Neighborhoods
Considering Vancouver’s large size, it should come as no surprise that this city has dozens of unique neighborhoods to choose from. If you haven’t lived here before, the choices may be overwhelming, but don’t worry! We’ve put together a list of our five favorite areas to get you started:
- Felida: Located on the northern tip of Vancouver Lake, this desirable neighborhood in Vancouver is known as one of the best destinations for families in the city, with low crime rates, great schools, and large houses. The median price for homes in Felida is $538,102.
- Fisher: This small community is located along the banks of the Columbia River. The are plenty of single-family, owner-occupied homes for sale, mostly built after 1970. The area has a suburban feel, and the median home value here is $480,996.
- Homan: Homan offers a mix of large homes and high-rise, luxury apartments. With a median home price of $437,903 and an average rent of $1,708, the area is more expensive than some other local spots but provides a beautiful, convenient location and plenty of amenities that locals say make the price worth it.
- Mount Vista: Another suburban neighborhood in Vancouver, Mount Vista is mainly composed of medium-to-large single-family homes, with a median sales price of $429,518. This peaceful neighborhood has low crime rates and tranquil streets, perfect for families, empty nesters, and retirees alike.
- McLoughlin: Like Fisher, McLoughlin is a coastal neighborhood along the Columbia River. The neighborhood has a mix of houses and apartment complexes, and is home to some of the older buildings in the area, with some homes dating back to the 1940s. Home prices in McLoughlin have a median of $428,203, while the average rent here is $1,590 per month.
The Weather in Vancouver
If there’s one thing you can’t avoid in Vancouver, it’s rain. Here in the Northwest, we get rain about 164 days of the year and are overcast much of the time. Before moving here, make sure you have a solid umbrella, and maybe some rain boots, too. However, with an average temperature that rarely falls below freezing, you won’t have to worry about shoveling heaps of snow in the winter. Plus, when the sun finally comes out, you’ll get to enjoy some of the most scenic natural beauty in the US!
Things to do in Vancouver
Looking for fun ways to spend your days off in Vancouver? This city always has something fun to do! For shopping enthusiasts, Vancouver WA provides for some very convenient outlets, including includes the Walmart Supercenter, Fred Meyer, Macy’s and Kohls. For even more ways to enjoy the city, check out these top attractions:
Fort Vancouver, a National Historic Site
View this post on Instagram
This is the fort for which the whole city is named. The fort started as a fur trading post, later becoming a military and air force base in WWII, and also played a large role in the city’s culture early on. In addition to guided tours, you can also take a step back into history with live demonstrations of blacksmithing, carpentry, and Victorian handcrafts. Need help getting there? Here are some helpful directions.
Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park
View this post on Instagram
When the sun shines, you’ll want to get right out by the water at Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park. This landmark spans 125 acres along the Columbia River and includes an array of grills and picnic tables for your next family outing, as well as a family-friendly beach. There’s also almost 3 miles of easy walking trails, perfect for everything from a stroll to a true running workout!
Esther Short Park and Playground
View this post on Instagram
Another great place to go in Vancouver with kids is Esther Short Park and Playground. Despite covering just 5 acres, this park has plenty to offer, with a stunning gazebo, a beautiful water fountain, covered picnic areas and a fantastic playground that your children will love.
Looking for a job in a new city can be difficult, but luckily Vancouver has tons of options for aspiring professionals! The largest industries in the city are healthcare, retail, and manufacturing; there are also plenty of jobs in finance and professional services here. With more than 80,000 jobs, the local economy is growing, adding over 1,000 jobs in the last year alone.
Professionals living in Vancouver have a median household income of $55,593, which great nearly 7% from 2016-2017, and continues to rise each year. Workers here also benefit from Vancouver’s close proximity to Portland, where the economy supports another 365,000 jobs! Since the average commute time for people living in Vancouver is 23 minutes, we can assume that at least a few folks are taking advantage of Portland and Vancouver’s closeness.
Education in Vancouver
Looking for the best schools for your children? With 197 schools across public and private institutions, Vancouver has plenty to choose from. Among the 32 high schools serving the city are several top-rated schools, including Mountain View High Schoo and Skyview High School. Schools like the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Vancouver iTech Preparatory School offer specialized programs for ambitious students who want to pursue specific career tyes, while still getting a well-rounded education. Additionally, Vancouver is also home to the Washington School for the Deaf, the only school of it’s kind in the state.
Vancouver Restaurants We Love
Vancouver is home to dozens of top eateries, but when you’re new to a city, the number of choices can be overwhelming. To help you get started on your culinary journey, here are two of our favorite local hot spots in Vancouver.
Beaches Restaurant & Bar
View this post on Instagram
Dinner with a view? At Beaches, you can enjoy beautiful food along the water. Menu favorites include the citrus calamari, the “Shameless Burger” and the fish & chips.
- Hours: 11AM-10PM Daily
- Website: beachesrestaurantandbar.com
- Phone: (360) 699-1592
- Address: 1919 SE Columbia River Dr, Vancouver, WA 98661
Thai Orchid Restaurant
For classic Thai cuisine, you’ll want to stop by the Thai Orchid Restaurant in Vancouver. In addition to a delicious menu, they also serve inventive cocktails like The Cobra and the Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita.
- Hours: 11:30AM-10PM Monday-Thursday, 11:30AM-10:30PM Friday, 12PM-10:30PM Saturday, 12PM-10PM Sunday
- Website: thaiorchidvancouver.com
- Phone: (360) 695-7786
- Address: 213 W 11th St, Vancouver, WA 98660
Tips on Moving to Vancouver
So, is moving to Vancouver the right choice for you? We certainly hope so! Before you decide, remember these top points:
Vancouver offers similar amenities to Portland at a lower cost of living.
It’s rainy here, so remember an umbrella!
There’s always something fun to do in Vancouver.
Want to learn even more about what Vancouver is like from a local perspective? Call 503-746-8795 to speak with one of our friendly staff members who can answer all your questions.