Moving to Vancouver
Ready to relocate to the beloved gem of the Pacific Northwest? Perfect! Allow us to introduce you to Vancouver, Washington. This vibrant city, nestled along the Columbia River and against the backdrop of striking Mount St. Helens, is renowned for its robust recreational activities, unrivaled natural beauty, friendly neighborhoods, and dynamic art scene. As your comprehensive guide to navigating a move to this captivating locale, we're here to shine a light on everything Vancouver has to offer. So buckle up, future Vancouverites. Your exciting journey in this exceptional city starts right here!
What to Know Before Moving to Vancouver
1. Welcome to a Smaller, More Affordable Sibling of Portland
Located just across the river from the hip, bustling city of Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, Washington shares much of its larger neighbor's charm, but at a lower cost. Here, you can enjoy all the amenities of a big city - great restaurants, brewpubs, and a vibrant arts scene - without the high rent expenses. Plus, you have the advantage of more space and a less hectic pace of life.
2. You're in a Tax Paradise
No, seriously, we're not kidding! In Vancouver, you don't pay Oregon's state income tax, and you can easily drive over to Portland to evade Washington's sales tax. A little 'Tax Hack' every resident loves and exploits. Make sure you follow the rules and restrictions, but, hey, who doesn't love a good tax paradise?
3. The Scenery is Outrageously Beautiful
You probably already know this (and it's possibly the reason you're considering the move), but it bears repeating: nature in this part of the country is stunningly beautiful. Between the Columbia River, Mount St. Helens, the Gorge, and the nearby Pacific Ocean, you're surrounded by breathtaking vistas. Outdoor enthusiasts will feel right at home: hiking, boating, skiing, fishing, it's all here waiting for you.
4. Rain is a Frequent Visitor, But it's Not as Bad as You Think
Yes, Pacific NorthWest (PNW) is infamous for its grey skies and drizzle, but Vancouver offers a pleasant surprise. The rain here is light but persistent, more of a mist than a downpour. And guess what? This contributes to the region's lush greenery, and there's something absolutely magical about a walk in the light rain through the fir trees!
5. School Named, Wait for it...Fruit Valley Elementary!
A unique fact about Vancouver is home to a school with a name that can only make you giggle, Fruit Valley Elementary school. Now, isn't that absolutely delightful? Getting your education was never fruitier!
6. Halloween is a Big Deal Here
Maybe you didn't know this, but Vancouverians love their Halloween. The city turns into a ghostly paradise filled with decorated houses, extravagant costumes, and a community Trick or Treat event called "Booville" that attracts families from around the region. If you love candy, jack-o-lanterns, and all things spooky, you're going to love your new October lifestyle.
All in all, relocating to Vancouver, Washington, means strolling along the waterfront, enjoying tax paradise, attending schools with fun names, and celebrating Halloween like nobody's business! Not quite usual, is it? Welcome to Vancouver, a city with a quirky, enchanting, and captivating personality that's just waiting for you to discover.
Pros and Cons of Living in Vancouver
Pros of Living in Vancouver
Vancouver, WA offers abundant opportunities for outdoor activities. Its proximity to the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, along with various parks and trails, ensures that residents can enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing year-round.
Close to Major Cities
Despite its relatively small size, Vancouver is strategically located near Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA, providing residents easy access to a wide array of amenities and attractions these major cities offer, without having to deal with the hustle and bustle of city life.
Lower Cost of Living
Vancouver offers a cost of living that is lower than in many similar-sized metropolitan areas and considerably less than nearby Portland or Seattle. This applies to aspects including housing, groceries, and utilities, which gives residents more financial flexibility.
Vancouver is known for its mild, temperate climate. The summers are warm and dry, while the winters are relatively cool and wet. This means fewer extremes in temperature and more opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Excellent Educational Institutions
Vancouver is home to an array of excellent academic institutions, ranging from public schools to private universities. With numerous quality schools to choose from, families have opportunities for high-quality education for their children.
Cons of Living in Vancouver
Amount of Rainfall
Vancouver is noted for its substantial amount of rainfall. Although the temperate climate can be lovely, the wet winters might not suit everyone, particularly those who prefer a more arid climate.
Traffic and Commute Times
Despite being smaller, commute times in Vancouver can be longer, especially for those who work in Portland or Seattle. The traffic congestion around rush hour can result in extended drive times, increasing the time people spend on the road.
While Vancouver does offer various job opportunities, it doesn't have as vast array of industries as bigger cities such as Seattle or Portland. This could limit job opportunities depending on your field of expertise.
For those who enjoy a bustling nightlife, Vancouver may feel a bit tame. While the city has several bars and restaurants, it can't compete with the vibrant, diverse nightlife on offer in nearby Portland or Seattle.
Like any city, Vancouver does have crime. Compared to the national average, Vancouver has a higher property crime rate, including thefts and burglaries. This is something to take into consideration when choosing your neighborhood.
Is Vancouver a Good Place to Live?
Vancouver, WA is a great place to live because of its stunning natural beauty, thriving arts scene, and bustling small city charm. With its proximity to the coast, mountains, and major metropolitan city of Portland, it offers endless options for outdoor recreation, entertainment, and cultural experiences. Plus, the city boasts a friendly community, great schools, and affordable cost of living!
What Is Vancouver Famous For?
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Often referred to simply as Fort Vancouver, this place is a rich hub of history. The 19th-century fur trading post offers an insight into the exploration and settlement history of the Pacific Northwest area, attracting history buffs and explorers alike.
Waterfront Renaissance Trail
A 5-mile long scenic stretch, Waterfront Renaissance Trail is a popular place both for locals and visitors. This trail offers stunning views of the Columbia River, Mount Hood, historical sites, art installations and local shops and restaurants along the water's edge.
Pearson Field and Pearson Air Museum
For aviation enthusiasts, Pearson Field, one of the world's oldest continuously running airfields, is a must-visit. Pearson Air Museum that sits next to the airfield, houses a collection of vintage aircraft and offers a glimpse into the history of aviation.
Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival
Vancouver is famous for its annual Wine & Jazz Festival which is considered as the largest jazz festival in the southwest Washington area. Featuring a fascinating mix of music, food, art, and wine, the festival attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees each year.
Overview of Tax Rates
For 2023, the average property tax rate in Vancouver, WA is approximately 1.08%, which is similar to the national average property tax rate. However, compared to other areas in Washington state, Vancouver has a significantly lower property tax rate.
The sales tax in Vancouver, WA is 8.4% as of 2023. This is lower than the Washington state average of 9.23% but higher than the national average of 7.12%.
As of 2023, Washington state, including Vancouver, does not impose any state income tax on its residents. This makes it significantly different from the majority of states in the US, which do impose an income tax.
Vancouver, WA showcases a thriving housing market. The median home value stands at approximately $374,300, posting a robust 9.6% annual growth. This value outranks the median US home value of $266,104. The city's rental market is also strong. The typical rent price hovers at about $1,850 per month, which is more expensive than the national median of $1,650. However, Vancouver still proves to be more affordable than the surrounding metro area. Both renters and buyers should focus on these dynamics before making their decisions.
Cost of Living
Vancouver, WA, offers a slightly higher cost of living compared to average U.S. cities. Housing tends to be the most significant factor contributing to these costs. Nonetheless, the city provides a balanced lifestyle with its diverse amenities, making it relatively more affordable compared to locales like Seattle or Portland. Thus, while Vancouver may present higher-than-average costs, it provides value in terms of quality of life. It's crucial to weigh these factors when assessing the cost of living in any city.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Vancouver, Washington, situated in the Pacific Northwest, enjoys a moderate marine climate, characterized by wet, cool winters and dry, warm summers. Temperatures range from an average low of 34degF in the winter to highs near 80degF in summer, with annual precipitation typically reaching up to 42 inches. This region is known for its mild and often cloudy weather, ensuring bright green landscapes most of the year. However, Vancouver, like much of the West Coast, is no stranger to natural disasters. The area is situated within the seismically active "Ring of Fire," making it prone to earthquakes. Flooding and landslides may occur due to heavy rains, and forest fires are a risk in the hotter, drier months. Despite these risks, the overall temperate climate and stunning natural beauty contribute to the charm of living in Vancouver, WA.
Economy & Job Market
* Accommodation and Food Services
Beautiful Vancouver, Washington has a surprisingly diverse and multi-faceted economy. Nestled charmingly along the north bank of the Columbia River, this city was historically driven by industries such as forestry, fishing, and agriculture, these days the economy paints a much broader picture. The largest industries now include healthcare and social assistance, manufacturing, retail, education, and more recently, accommodations and food services. The city is chock-full of unique career and growth opportunities. Whether you're an aspiring chef looking to make a splash in the food scene, or a healthcare professional seeking purposeful employment, Vancouver's got it all. Plus, it's got that laid-back Pacific Northwest vibe that'll have you questioning why you didn't move earlier!
If you have dreams of moving to Vancouver, WA and are planning on scoring that dream job post-move, here are some handy tidbits for you to squirrel away. First things first, you'll be delighted to know that Vancouver has an unemployment rate lower than the state average. How's that for a warm welcome! The healthcare sector presents ample opportunities for employment. If not, retail and manufacturing sectors are also areas worth a peep. You'll find a hub of manufacturers ranging from high-tech and electronic firms to metal and machinery companies. Educational institutions like Washington State University's Vancouver campus also provide plentiful job opportunities. So, get your CV spruced up and hit the ground running! Vancouver, WA rolls out the red carpet and awaits you.
Traffic and Transportation
Let's be wheel about it, getting around in Vancouver, WA is a breeze! The average commute time? Just 24.5 minutes, surprisingly low considering it's faster than the US average. Highways, bike lanes, sidewalks - you choose your ticket to ride! The C-Tran provides public transportation options, with buses and paratransit services connecting numerous destinations within the city. The C-Tran's 'Vine' is a unique BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system running a straight shot through the heart of the city. Don't feel like road tripping? Glide in and take a jet set! The Portland International Airport is just a hop, skip, and a jump away across the Columbia River. Splash down into the river for a fun twist on travel with a seaplane, wouldn't that be prop-er exciting? Just another day in the playful yet professional Pacific Northwest hub of transportation called Vancouver!
Best Neighborhoods in Vancouver
Felida is simply a breath of fresh air. Nestled in the northwest corners of Vancouver, Felida enjoys a reputation as one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city. Its charming, small-town vibe seamlessly blends with the modern conveniences of suburban living. The streets are adorned with beautiful houses neatly tucked away into the picturesque landscape, but hold up, there's more! Felida is dotted with gem-like parks waiting to be explored. From running trails in Felida Park to leisurely picnics at Skinner's Butte Park, Felida's outdoor amenities are hard to resist.
Put your explorer hats on and let's walk through the bustling heart of the city, Downtown Vancouver. If you're passionate about all things culture and history, this neighborhood is your best bet. Old-world architecture and vibrant murals echo stories from yesteryears while trendy boutiques, hip coffee shops, and a thriving farmers market keep up with the modern beat. For the night owl, Downtown offers a selection of bars and pubs that promise lively evenings and unforgettable memories. A cultural melting pot with a vibe that's energetic and inspiring, Downtown keeps you on your toes.
3. Fishers Landing East
Welcome to a slice of suburban paradise right in the heart of Vancouver. Yes, we're talking about Fisher's Landing East! Heavily residential with an enchanting line-up of craftsman-style houses, this neighborhood promises a laidback and serene living experience. Fisher's Landing East is also well known for its acclaimed schools and well-maintained parks, making it a perfect pick for families. Furthermore, the Columbia Tech Center, packed with shops, eateries, and a cinema make convenience just a hop, skip, and jump away!
4. Esther Short
Esther Short is a pocket-sized delight in the very epicenter of Vancouver. As the oldest public square in Washington State, this neighborhood teems with national history and local charm. The blend of chic apartments with storied establishments bestows an urban feel with a vintage edge. But that's not all. Esther Short hosts the city's most happening events at the intimate Esther Short Park, right from Vancouver Farmers Market in the summertime to Vancouver Brewfest. Here, there's never a dull moment.
5. Cascade Highlands
Last but not least on our list is Cascade Highlands, an East Vancouver neighborhood that encapsulates suburban living at its best. Known for its tranquil ambience and beautiful houses, Cascade Highlands wonderfully suits those looking for a peaceful retreat. The stellar lineup of parks, trails, and recreational centers gives you countless opportunities to soak up the greenery and fresh air. Plus, the numerous stores and restaurants nearby carry the promise of never having to venture far from home for necessities or a tasty bite.
There you have it - the quintessential guide to the best neighborhoods of Vancouver, replete with their unique personalities and charming vibes. Each neighborhood carries its own appeal, from leisurely suburban areas to vibrant city centers. Taste the vibrant flavors of Vancouver and pick the neighborhood that's your cup of tea!
Things to Do
Welcome to Vancouver, Washington, a city teeming with natural beauty, lively entertainment, and rich in history. Nestled between Mount St. Helens, the Pacific Ocean, and the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge, there's a gamut of activities catering to an array of interests. Here are seven must-do activities to make your transition to living in Vancouver an exciting one.
1. Explore the Waterfront
Brimming with dining, shopping, and recreational options, the new Vancouver Waterfront is the city's gleaming crown jewel. Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic 5-mile Columbia River Renaissance Trail or dine at one of the waterfront restaurants while soaking in panoramic views of the Columbia River and the historical Interstate Bridge.
2. Uncover History at Pearson Field and Air Museum
Experience aviation history in action at the Pearson Field and Air Museum, one of the oldest operating airfields in the United States. The museum is packed with historic flights, aircraft, and kid-friendly interactive exhibits.
3. Stroll through the Farmer's Market
The Vancouver Farmer's Market is a bustling hub of local artisan vendors and farm-fresh products. Here, you can support local farmers, grab a bite of something delicious, and pick up unique handmade gifts. It's the perfect place to spend a relaxing weekend morning.
4. Experience the Farmer's Reserve
A little-known gem inside the city is the Vancouver Lake Regional Park. Known locally as the 'Farmer's Reserve', it offers trails, birdwatching, and water sports. If you're lucky, you'll encounter one of the many local wildlife species that inhabit the area.
5. Be Enchanted by the Waterfront Renaissance Trail Art
Take a stroll, run, or cycle along the five-mile-long Waterfront Renaissance Trail to encounter an array of unique and astonishing pieces of public art. From a giant metal salmon to a playful otter sculpture, these diverse art installations add a magical touch to the trail.
6. Picnic at Vancouver Lake
This 190-acre park is a perfect destination for water sports enthusiasts or those seeking a peaceful picnic spot. Vancouver Lake is often overlooked by tourists, making it the perfect local secret. You can swim, windsurf, or simply enjoy a serene sunset over the lake here.
7. Shop or Dine in Uptown Village
Uptown Village is a boutique shopping destination with a small-town vibe. Take your time browsing through a selection of locally-owned stores offering home goods, antiques, clothing and more. Then refuel with a meal at one of the many locally-owned eateries, offering everything from gourmet burgers to vegan desserts.
From its rich history and unique points of interest to its thrilling natural beauty, Vancouver, Washington truly has something for everyone. Whether you're an outdoor adventurer, history buff, or art enthusiast, you can make each day unique and invigorating. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest, where the living (and exploring) is easy!
Find Movers for Your Vancouver Relocation
Having journeyed through the ins and outs of relocating to scenic Vancouver, WA, your next step just got simpler with Great Guys Moving! They make it easy by doing the hard work for you: sourcing the most reputable, affordable moving companies within the industry. By just providing some basic details about your move, you get connected to these licensed and insured movers, obtaining quotes hastily and effortlessly. Don't underestimate the beauty of a smooth moving experience. So why wait? Start your Vancouver adventure on the right foot! Request your free moving quote through Great Guys Moving now.
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