20 Pros and Cons of Living in Vancouver, WA

Updated On December 5, 2023

Vancouver, WA, lies nestled in the southwestern part of Washington state, along the northern bank of the Columbia River.

Here, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, you’ll discover a region with a rich history, beautiful parks, a strong sense of community, and an appreciation of the finer things in life, such as craft ales and coffee culture.

People appreciate its family-friendly atmosphere, thriving arts scene, and access to the outdoors.

Explore this mist-and-drizzle-dappled land.

Vancouver offers a high quality of life that has something for everyone.

Vancouver, WA
Vancouver, WA

Pros of Living in Vancouver, WA

1. Natural Scenic Beauty

Vancouver is situated in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by picturesque landscapes, including the Columbia River and nearby mountains, providing stunning views and outdoor recreational opportunities.

2. Temperate Weather

The climate’s relatively mild, with cool, wet winters and warm, dry, gorgeous summers.

This makes it comfortable for outdoor activities all year round.

3. Outdoor Recreation

The city is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, providing hiking, biking, and water sports opportunities.

The nearby Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Mount St. Helens provide ample exploration opportunities.

4. Economics

Vancouver benefits from its proximity to Portland, and it has a growing economy with diverse job opportunities, especially in the technology, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors.

Live close to where you work; it makes cents!

5. Affordable Housing

Compared to some neighboring cities, Vancouver tends to have more affordable housing options, making it an attractive place for those looking to own a home.

6. Education

The city has a rep for producing solid schools and educational institutions, including Washington State University’s Vancouver campus.

7. Cultural Diversity

Vancouver is known for its diverse population, contributing to a rich cultural tapestry and a rich range of ethnic cuisines, festivals, events, and organizations.

And it means that the eateries featuring food from around the world are off stupendous.

8. Community Engagement

Vancouver, WA, hosts numerous community festivals and events throughout the year, supporting a community and providing opportunities for social interaction and downright fun.

9. Proximity to Portland

Located just across the river from Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, WA, locals have a chance to enjoy the amenities and cultural attractions of a larger city.

10. Healthcare Facilities

The city has well-established healthcare facilities and hospitals, so residents have access to quality medical care.

11. Family-Friendly Environment

Vancouver has a very family-friendly vibe, with many parks, recreational activities, and family-oriented events.

12. Low Crime Rates

While crime can and does happen, the city generally has lower crime rates than some larger cities, contributing to a safer living environment.

Cons of Living in Vancouver, WA

While Vancouver, WA, has its advantages, like any place, it also has challenges.

Here are eight cons to consider:

1. Traffic Congestion

Vancouver can experience traffic congestion, especially during rush hours and when commuting to nearby cities like Portland.

2. Limited Public Transit

Public transport options are limited.

While there is a bus system, it may not be as extensive or convenient as in metropolitan areas.

3. Rainy Winters

The Pacific Northwest is known for its rainy winters.

The gray and wet weather might not appeal to those who like it hot.

4. Limited Nightlife

If you’re seeking a vibrant nightlife scene, there may be better places than Vancouver.

While there are local establishments, the nightlife is generally quieter than in larger urban centers.

Yes, Seattle, Portland, and that other Vancouver in Canada, we see you; you can put your hands down now.

5. Economic Dependency on Portland

Vancouver has economic opportunities but is economically dependent on neighboring Portland.

This dependency could be a concern during economic downturns.

6. Education Budget

Like many places, funding for education can be a challenge, impacting the quality of public education.

It’s essential to research specific schools and districts if education is a priority.

7. Natural Disasters

Vancouver is located in an area that’s prone to seismic activity thanks to its closeness to the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Earthquakes and the potential for volcanic activity can concern some residents.

As they say, shift happens.

8. Lack of Major Sports Teams

If you’re a sports fan, this one has got to hurt.

You may (will) miss having major professional sports teams within the city.

However, while Vancouver doesn’t have a major league team, Portland is nearby, and Portland shares it.

Vancouver, WA
Vancouver, WA

Pros and Cons of Living in Vancouver, WA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Vancouver, WACons of Living in Vancouver, WA
1. Natural Scenic Beauty1. Traffic Congestion
2. Temperate Weather2. Limited Public Transit
3. Outdoor Recreation3. Rainy Winters
4. Economics4. Limited Nightlife
5. Affordable Housing5. Economic Dependency on Portland
6. Education6. Education Budget
7. Cultural Diversity7. Natural Disasters
8. Community Engagement8. Lack of Major Sports Teams
9. Proximity to Portland
10. Healthcare Facilities
11. Family-Friendly Environment
12. Low Crime Rates

Frequently Asked Questions

We recently moved to the Vancouver, WA area and are thinking of having our family visit. When is the best time to suggest a trip?

It depends on your preferences for weather and activities.

Vancouver has a temperate climate with distinct seasons.

Here’s a brief overview of whether the weather:

  • Summer (June to August): This is the most popular time to visit as the weather is generally warm and dry. Temps range from the mid-60s to the mid-70s. Summer is ideal for outdoor activities, exploring parks, and enjoying festivals.
  • Fall (September to November): Fall brings cooler temperatures, with averages ranging from the mid-50s to mid-60s. The fall foliage can be beautiful, making it a pleasant time to visit if you enjoy autumn colors—rainfall increases in the later months.
  • Winter (December to February): Winters are cool and can be wet. Ah, heck, they will be wet. Average temperatures range from the mid-30s to the mid-40s. Snow is infrequent but possible.
  • Spring (March to May): Spring sees a gradual warming up, with temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to mid-60s. Spring is a lovely time for blooming flowers and budding trees. Rainfall is still coming down, but generally less than in the winter months.

Keep in mind that the weather can vary, and unexpected changes can occur. And probably will.

Is Vancouver, WA, featured in any media?

Vancouver, WA, may not be as prominently featured in popular culture as its neighboring city, Vancouver, British Columbia, which is more widely recognized.

Even Portland, Oregon, gets more press.

It’s like being the shy younger sister of the Homecoming Queen.

We get it.

However, there are instances where Vancouver, WA, is mentioned or featured as the star you are, part of the broader Pacific Northwest cultural and geographical landscape.

Shining brightly, in that quirky NW charming type of way.

References are celebrated in fiction, film, and music.

A few examples:

  • The “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer: The town of Forks, Washington is fictional, yet author Stephenie Meyer mentions other Washington towns, including Vancouver.
  • “Paranoid Park” (2007): Set in and around Portland, Oregon, this film by the genius director Gus Van Sant has scenes shot in Vancouver, Washington.
  • “Grimm” (2011–2017): This fantasy crime drama series is set/filmed in Portland, Oregon, and its environs, including Vancouver, WA.

Is Vancouver, WA, a good spot for families?

Vancouver, WA, is great for family.

Here are some family-friendly spots.

  • Esther Short Park: This downtown park is excellent for family outings. It features a playground, a water feature in the summer, open spaces for picnics or games, and hosts events and festivals.
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site: The reconstructed fort offers informative exhibits, costumed interpreters, and special events.
  • Pearson Field and Pearson Field Education Center: Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy Pearson Field, one of the oldest continually operating airfields in the U.S.
  • Columbia Springs: A nature sanctuary with walking trails. Families can explore the wetlands, visit the fish hatchery, and attend educational programs.
  • Waterfront Renaissance Trail: offering scenic views, parks, and opportunities for outdoor recreation, take a stroll or bike ride along the Waterfront Renaissance Trail, which runs along the Columbia River.
  • Clark County Historical Museum: The museum often features exhibits and events that are fun and fine for families.
  • Vancouver Community Library: A fantastic and family-friendly library with a dedicated children’s area.
  • Firstenburg Community Center: Rec for everyone, including swimming pools, fitness classes, and a climbing wall.
  • Clark County Fairgrounds: Depending on the time of year, the Clark County Fairgrounds host events, including the annual Clark County Fair.

Check the schedule for family-friendly activities, performances, and exhibits.

Does the City of Vancouver, WA, hold any annual events or festivals?

Great question!

While time and tide change, these are some samples and examples of events the cities put on in the past.

Check the local arts calendar for updates.

  • Couve Clover Run: This annual event is held around St. Patrick’s Day. Participants often dress in green, and the run involves different race lengths.
  • Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival: Usually held in the summer, this festival features live jazz performances, wine tastings, and arts and crafts in Esther Short Park.
  • Independence Day at Fort Vancouver: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site hosts a large celebration with fireworks, music, and other festivities.
  • Clark County Fair: While not specific to Vancouver, the Clark County Fair is a significant annual event held in the nearby city of Ridgefield. It includes carnival rides, live entertainment, exhibits, and more.
  • Recycled Arts Festival: This festival focuses on sustainable and recycled art. It typically occurs in Esther Short Park and features artists who create unique pieces from recycled materials.

Does Vancouver WA offer options for foodies?

Like many cities in the Pacific Northwest, the food culture in the region often emphasizes fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Restaurants in Vancouver may offer a mix of Pacific Northwest cuisine, seafood, farm-to-table dining, and diverse international options.

Hit the local food scene and uncover unique specialties.

Check out local restaurants, cafés, and farmers’ markets.

Local favorites can include dishes that highlight the region’s flavors, such as seafood, berries, and other fresh produce.

And did we mention the berries?

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