Vancouver, Washington’s proud past makes for an engaging and fun trip for visitors in the present.
Often confused with the Canadian city of the same name, Vancouver has branded itself with the tagline “Discover the Original,” denoting its significance as the birthplace of the Pacific Northwest with deep historic roots.
“The history of the city sets us apart,” said Jacob Schmidt, communications specialist at Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office. “Today the history blends with our proximity to Portland, a growing brewery scene and a historic downtown.”
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is one example, sporting hands-on activities like a working blacksmith shop. Pearson Air Museum and Jack Murdock Aviation Center is also on site, along with 22 historic Victorian homes on Officers Row. Nearby is the Vancouver Land Bridge, which connects the historic fort to the Columbia River waterfront and was designed by Maya Lin, architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
The area is active, with hiking, biking, boating and kayaking in Vancouver Lake Regional Park. Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park is a favorite local spot with volleyball courts and barbecue pit, and Esther Short Park, in downtown Vancouver, across from the convention center, is the state’s oldest public square. For the adventurous, there’s windsurfing at Columbia River Gorge or climbing and hiking at Mount St. Helens. Golfers can play numerous area courses.
A favorite off-site venue is the historic Artillery Barracks at Fort Vancouver. It originally housed soldiers and now accommodates 140 people for meetings and events.
“It’s really beautiful,” Schmidt said, “with restored tin ceilings, oak floors and a huge porch out front that welcomes guests as they enter and that can be used as part of the event.”
Spotlight on Vancouver, Washington
Primary meeting facilities: Hilton Vancouver Washington and Vancouver Convention Center
Other meeting properties: Red Lion Hotel at the Quay, Heathman Lodge
Largest meeting space: Clark County Event Center
Total hotel rooms: 2,600 rooms