Vancouver, Washington, is located on the north bank of the Columbia River. The community began as a fur trading post and blossomed with the lumber trade. Today, the city is consistently ranked among the top 100 cities to live in and one of the most affordable places in the United States. From the edge of the city, you can take in the view of the Cascade Mountains, the Coastal Range, Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Jefferson and Mount Adams. Once you have unpacked all of your boxes and met your new neighbors, you may be ready to start exploring some of what Vancouver has to offer. You can get started in your new community by visiting the following places.
Vancouver Farmers Market
The Vancouver Farmers Market is located downtown, making it convenient place to pick up all of your fresh produce. Take in the beautiful, locally grown and sustainably produced foods and products, which range from berries, apples and melons to greens, root vegetables and flowers. You can also purchase locally harvested honey, eggs, meats and cheeses. The vendors change from time to time, and their offerings change by the season. The Harvest Market features baked goods, such as apple and pumpkin pies. The Holiday Market features gifts and handmade items that you may enjoy or decide to give to someone special on your gift list. You can also enjoy live entertainment at the Vancouver Farmers Market, such as musical performances, demonstrations and educational exhibits related to farming, folk life and healthy living. (Photo Credit: http://www.vancouverfarmersmarket.com/)
Farrar’s Bistro serves comfort food with flair. Items on the menu are made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. The restaurant is known for freshly grilled panini sandwiches, wraps and traditional sandwiches on buns. Almost everything is made in-house, from the rubs used on the smoked meats to the dips, sauces and dressings. The menu at Farrar’s Bistro also includes wild, locally caught salmon, homemade macaroni and cheese, smoked barbecue meatloaf and chicken pot pie. You can take your pick from several side dishes, including mashed potatoes, coleslaw and salads. Choose from a selection of mixed drinks, cocktails, non-alcoholic beers, craft brews, soft drinks and bottled water. The atmosphere at Farrar's Bistro is casual, and the restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.
Water Resources Education Center
The Water Resources Education Center teaches people of all ages how to become great stewards of water. The center has a variety of hands-on and educational exhibits and demonstrations about the water cycle, water treatment and water pollution. The events are family-oriented and may take place indoors or outdoors. The Water Resources Education Center also provides you with the opportunity to participate in annual critter counts of amphibians and reptiles around the buildings and along the waterways. During the summertime, center presents a series called “Science in the Park.” Each session in this series focuses on a different topic related to conservation and the environment. On the second Saturday of each month, people of all ages can take advantage of free programs for several hours. The annual Sturgeon Festival, which takes place on the third Saturday of September, is one of the biggest events in Vancouver. This event celebrates the wildlife in and around the Columbia River and the river itself.
La Bottega is a casual deli, cafe and wine shop. The deli offers Italian specialties, such as smoked oyster chowder, baby spinach and red beet salad and smoked mushroom ravioli. You can choose a half-size or full-size portion, depending on how hungry you are and whether you want to share or not. The restaurant also has an extensive dessert menu featuring delicacies such as tiramisu, homemade gelato and sorbetto. If you dine in, you can select from the list of more than 50 red and white wines. If you prefer to enjoy your meal at home, you can peruse the extensive wine inventory and take a bottle home. You can also stock up on corkscrews, wine glasses and other accessories.
Clark County Historical Museum
The Clark County Historical Museum offers a glimpse at the culture, art and history of the original and more recent residents of Clark County. Some of the exhibits have included Native American baskets and woven fabrics, bead work and quilting. There is a train exhibit where you can learn about the importance of rail transportation on the development of Vancouver. The Clark County Historical Museum also has a kids’ room with arts and crafts supplies, blocks and educational toys. Guided walking tours are available, or you can do a self-guided tour. (Photo Credit: http://www.cchmuseum.org/)
Thai Orchid – Vancouver
The Thai Orchid offers more than 50 Thai and Japanese dishes. The restaurant emphasizes fresh, flavorful and healthy food. Each dish is presented in a visually stunning manner. Every table is graced with a fresh orchid. Some of the Thai dishes include chicken satay, golden squid and tom yum soup. If you have dietary restrictions, you can order the vegan and gluten-free menu items. The Thai Orchid also offers a selection of sushi, including great options for people who are new to this type of cuisine. The lunch menu features 15 of the most popular Thai and Japanese entrees. You can host a special event in the restaurant’s party room that accommodates up to 40 guests.
English Estate Winery
Located on the east side of Vancouver, the English Estate Winery is the first of its kind in the area. You can go on a guided tour of the vineyard to learn about how the grapes are grown and harvested. The winery is open daily for dinner and happy hour. Take advantage of the regular tastings and special events, where you can try new varietals and enjoy them with unique pairings of fruits, cheeses and sweets. The English Estate Winery also provides opportunities to enjoy live music and dancing. Bands perform at the winery every Friday night, making it a great place to bring your partner or enjoy an evening out with your friends.
Blind Onion Pizza
Blind Onion Pizza offers made-to-order whole pizza pies and pizza by the slice. Mix and match toppings, such as pepperoni, anchovies, Italian sausage, prosciutto, ground beef and barbecued chicken. You can also choose vegetarian toppings like fresh pineapple, onions, sweet peppers, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms. Order it all on a thin or hand-tossed crust with pesto or pizza sauce, and top your pie with extra cheese. Blind Onion Pizza's menu also includes special combination pizzas, such as seafood delight with smoked oysters. You can get salads and sandwiches to go with your pizza and wash it all down with a soft drink or beer. If you are having a special event, you can take advantage of Blind Onion Pizza’s catering services.
Source Climbing Center
At Source Climbing Center, you can scale up a climbing wall in the comfort of a climate-controlled environment. The center has harnesses, ropes and climbing shoes, so you can try out different types before purchasing your own equipment. The staff does the belaying for you so that you can focus on your climbing techniques. If you are new to rock climbing, the coaches will instruct you and provide you with tips on which holds to use as you ascend the wall. The staff offers one-on-one instruction as well as group classes. Source Climbing Center also hosts group excursions to outdoor climbing areas, so you can try your new skills in the outdoor landscape. (Photo Credit: http://sourceclimbing.com/)
Hudson’s Bar & Grill
Hudson’s Bar & Grill is a fine dining restaurant with a rustic and serene setting. The dining area features several large basalt fireplaces to create a relaxing atmosphere for your evening meal. The lunch and dinner menus feature porcini crusted scallops, seafood stew and New York strip steak. Breakfast and brunch options include made-to-order omelets, quiche and traditional staples, such as French toast with pure maple syrup. Be sure to save room to indulge in dessert at the end of your meal. Select from chocolate brownies with cinnamon ice cream, Aspen coffee and Hudson's bread pudding. Take advantage of the daily happy hour from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The menu at Hudson’s Bar & Grill also includes a selection of red and white wines, champagne, liquor and bottled beer.
Relocating to a new home may seem like an intimidating experience, but having a list of places to go once you get there will give you something to look forward to. These places can be explored on your own or with your friends, family or new neighbors. You can familiarize yourself with the culture, food and people of Vancouver. You will be able to learn a lot about the city or its history when visiting any of these great places.