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Best things to do in Vancouver

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Where in the world: USA  /  Washington State  /  Vancouver

Top 15 things to do in Vancouver

1. Fort Vancouver | National Historic Site

Once the home of an important British fur-trading outpost during the 19th century, Fort Vancouver | National Historic Site today features faithful replicas of the original buildings that once spurred trade in the area. The site spreads into both Washington and Oregon, encompassing the fort itself and the former residence of Hudson Bay Co. superintendent John McLoughlin. Explore the grounds to discover the role the park played in the region's development during the colonial era and learn about the interactions between Europeans, Americans, and Native Americans. You'll find that you can access many period-outfitted rooms and facilities both within and outside the wooden walls of the outpost. Stop by the fort's museum to see displays of artifacts and objects of those that lived here, including the U.S. Army soldiers who later called the complex home.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Fort Vancouver | National Historic Site

2. Water Resources Education Center

Overlooking the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington, the Water Resources Education Center offers exhibits, events and educational programs designed to teach us all how to be excellent stewards of water resources and how to use water wisely. The Water Center is also caretaker of one of the metropolitan area's few remaining natural Columbia River riparian areas, nearly 50 protected acres of adjacent wetlands providing feeding, nesting and resting habitat for more than 120 species of fish and wildlife. The Water Center is operated by the City of Vancouver's Department of Public Works and is located within the Vancouver National Historic Reserve.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Water Resources Education Center

3. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Room Escape Games
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4. Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil

The tallest waterfall in Oregon, and the second-tallest year-round waterfall in America, Multnomah Falls is a natural wonder imbued with Native American legend. Supposedly, the waterfall was created to woo a young princess who wanted a private place to bathe. Find the bottom of this 186 m (611 ft) icy fall after crossing the Benson Footbridge, and then continue up the trail for different views of the spectacle. After your hike, head to Multnomah Falls Lodge, a relaxing restaurant, gift shop, and information center built in 1925 from every type of rock found in Columbia Gorge.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Multnomah Falls
Tours including Multnomah Falls:

5. Wine Dirt

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Clark County Historical Museum

The Clark County Historical Museum, Vancouver, Washington, is located in a 1909 Carnegie library and is operated by the Clark County Historical Society, established in 1917. It opened at the old Carnegie Library building on May 24, 1964. The first museum director was Joe Pagel.
The museum features rotating exhibits of local interest including a semi-permanent Native American craft exhibit. The Society is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and interpretation of the cultural history of Clark County and the Pacific Northwest, and to sponsoring educational programs and exhibits for the enrichment of all members of the public.

The Clark County Historical Museum is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization. The Clark County Historical Society operates the Museum in partnership with Clark County and the City of Vancouver. Additional funding helps sustain the operation of the museum and comes in many forms including: Clark County Historical Society membership dues, private and foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, in-kind gifts, and donations.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Clark County Historical Museum

7. Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach

Rising 72 m (235 ft) above the Pacific shoreline, Haystack Rock serves as one of the Oregon Coast's most iconic monuments. You can reach the formation, known as a sea stack, at low tide from the beach. It plays home to an array of tide pool-dwelling creatures like crabs, starfish, and anemones. Visit the monolithic rock and the surrounding seaside area and partake of beachfront activities, such as picnicking, kite-flying, and enjoying nature. Bird-watchers should keep an eye out for the great number of species that periodically nest on and near the sea stack. Be sure to check local tide tables to ensure your safety and access to the rock.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Haystack Rock
Tours including Haystack Rock:

8. Vancouver Land Bridge

The Vancouver Land Bridge connects Vancouver Waterfront Park to the Vancouver, Washington portion of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site using a path similar to an ancient Native American trail. The bridge, which spans Highway 14, has been described as "the most visible part of the larger" Confluence Project.
Designed and built as a collaborative effort between Pacific Northwest Native American tribes and architects Johnpaul Jones and Maya Lin, the bridge is 1/3rd of a mile long and the location specifically chosen by Native American tribes in the Columbia River watershed to mark a cultural and spiritual symbolic area.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Vancouver Land Bridge

9. Esther Short Park

Esther Short Park is a public park and town square located in downtown Vancouver, Washington. Established in 1853, it is the oldest public park in the state of Washington. and one of the oldest public parks in the West.
It is located in the city's downtown between West Columbia and 8th Street. It was bequeathed to the city in 1862, and includes a children's playground, a rose garden, a large fountain system made of columnar basalt, the Salmon Run Bell Tower, and the historic Slocum House. The park also houses a weekend farmer's market. In the summer of 2007, the park hosted over 30 outdoor summer concerts, many free.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Esther Short Park

10. Officers' Row

Officers Row, a part of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve Historic District, is a congregation of 21 of the former homes of U.S. military officers stationed at the Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington. The oldest of the homes, named the Grant House (after Ulysses S. Grant, who was stationed at the barracks as a Captain at that time but never lived in the house), dates from 1846, and the last edifice was constructed in 1906. In the 1970s a grassroots campaign to refurbish the dilapidated properties began to appear, and the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In 1980, the U.S. Army declared it a surplus, and it was henceforth deeded to the city for one dollar. A $10.9 million rehabilitation effort proceeded in 1987. Today these homes have been fully restored, and now house several commercial and 34 residential rental spaces.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Officers' Row

11. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon

A popular destination for hiking, snowboarding, skiing, biking, and fishing, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area transitions from temperate rainforest to dry grasslands in just under 130 km (80 mi). Up to 1,200 m (4,000 ft) deep, the gorge stretches along the boundary between Washington and Oregon and contains a high concentration of waterfalls, with nearly 100 on the Oregon side alone. An important water transportation corridor for millennia, this river canyon offers you a chance to discover a sprawling world of pristine forests, streams, lakes, wetlands, and prehistoric sites. Take advantage of scenic drives, picnic areas, hiking trails, and panoramic lookouts. You can set up a tent or trailer at one of the area's designated campgrounds.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

12. Waterfront Renaissance Trail

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Waterfront Renaissance Trail

13. Vancouver Farmers Market - Downtown Market

Downtown Market:

The downtown market is Southwest Washington's #1 visitor attraction and home to over 250 vendors and the second largest in the State of Washington.

You'll discover fresh and local produce, flowers, plants, baked goods, delicious food, pet treats, and accessories for yourself, home, or garden.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Vancouver Farmers Market - Downtown Market

14. Vancouver Waterfront

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Vancouver Waterfront

15. Fort Clatsop National Memorial, Astoria

Step back in time to the age of exploration at Fort Clatsop National Memorial, a replica of the encampment used by Lewis and Clark during their expedition to North America's Pacific Coast. Visit the site of the explorers' log facility through the winter months of 1805 and 1806, and learn about their role in the development of the region through historical recreations and displays documenting their trek. Swing by the visitor center to see exhibits featuring period clothes, tools, dioramas, and interpretive videos related to the journey and the expedition's time in the area. You can also wander the grounds and the nearby nature trails to get out and about in the dense surrounding forest.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about Fort Clatsop National Memorial