Top 11 Reasons to Visit Vancouver, WA

February 2, 2017

Philanthropy Northwest's 2017 Annual Conference will be held along the banks of Cascadia's longest river, the ancestral home of Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Northwest's oldest apple tree: Vancouver, Washington!

Last year was my first Philanthropy Northwest conference, experiencing firsthand why so many participants come back every year. Our annual conference is an incredible opportunity to meet with philanthropy leaders, trustees, staff and community partners from across our six-state region while getting to know a specific place that grounds our work.

Vancouver Mural by Travis Landon

There's so much to learn and share during the plenaries and breakout sessions, but there's always time to take a stroll — Vancouver has 40 miles of urban trails! — and take in the sights, too. During our program team's recent site visit, we loved meeting with our partners from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust and Community Foundation for Southwest Washington and making new connections while enjoying the vibrant streets, beautiful landscape and small-town charm.

Whether you're visiting early, later or want to take a break in between, Vancouver has plenty to see and do! In addition to enjoying Philanthropy Northwest's 2017 conference, our new friends at Visit Vancouver USA offer these recommendations:

  1. New Brews: Vancouver USA is earning its nickname "Brewcouver" with over 30 breweries and tasting rooms in the area, and more on the way. Hopworks Urban Brewery jumped across the river just before the end of 2016, and 2017 will see the addition of Beerded Brothers BrewingBrothers Cascadia Brewing, and Mt. Tabor Brewing's new Felida brewpub — and those are just the ones we know about!
  2. Waterfront Wonder: Vancouver's historic waterfront will be transformed to host restaurants, hotels, shops, and a 7.3-acre park anchored by the new Grant Street Pier. The Waterfront Vancouver USA will bring $1.5 billion in development to the Columbia River's shores, and just upstream, the Terminal One project includes plans for a public marketplace with shopping and dining options.
  3. Dine Like a Local: New eateries from renowned restaurateurs debuted in Vancouver USA in 2016 — from Neapolitan-style pizza to smoky barbecue and succulent sushi. Of course, you can find classic Pacific Northwest flavors at local favorites. Visit in October for the second annual Dine the Couve month, with menu deals and drink specials to explore.
  4. Stroll Back in Time: As dusk settles in at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, visitors can follow a lantern's glow down a pathway of history during a Campfires and Candlelight event. Experience the 1840s-era frontier fur trading post and powerful military encampment through demonstrations by reenactors.
  5. Fun, Free Faves: Sometimes the best things in life are free. Like experiencing the mighty Columbia River along the Waterfront Renaissance Trail or driving the North Clark County Scenic Drive.
  6. Seasonal Events: From annual favorites, like Three Days of Aloha and the Recycled Arts Festival, to recently established gatherings, like the Fresh Hop Fest and the new-and-improved Vancouver USA Marathon Festival Weekend, Esther Short Park stays busy year-round with live music, delicious food, and vibrant colors. October offerings include Dine the Couve (October 1-31), Annual BirdFest and Bluegrass Celebration (October 6-8) and Old Apple Tree Festival (October 7).
  7. Get Outdoors: Vancouver USA offers an array of recreational activities from kayaking on Lacamas Lake to fishing on the shores of the Columbia River. Miles of hiking trails wind through lakeside paradises and dense forest groves in the surrounding areas.
  8. Shop Antiques & Boutiques: With more than 10 antique shops in Vancouver USA and a growing number of locally-owned boutiques, there is no shortage of fun finds or stylish hunts. The unique shopping experience will take you through downtown and uptown village.
  9. Vancouver Farmers Market: Score a bounty of fresh food and entertainment at the largest outdoor market in Southwest Washington. More than 250 vendors showcase artisan crafts, hand-stitched fashion items, and organic produce at the Vancouver Farmers Market - ranked eighth in the country by The Daily Meal.
  10. Experience Main Street: Home to local breweries, coffee shops, a historical theatre, artistic murals, and so much more, Main Street was voted one of the best in the West by Sunset Magazine. Explore the Arts District during the First Friday of each month by watching a glassblowing demonstration or mingling with regional artists.

I'm excited for our conference to be in Vancouver, Washington and look forward to see you all there! Early-bird registration for Philanthropy Northwest members opens in March. For more information about sponsorship opportunities and session recommendations, reach out to Lyn Hunter.

Anne Yoon is Philanthropy Northwest's program associate. She can be reached at ayoon@philanthropynw.org.