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Living in Vancouver Washington - EVERYTHING You Need to Know

View of Mt Hood and Columbia River from Wintler Park in Vancouver Washington

What is Living in Vancouver, Washington Like?

Located in the southwestern region of Washington, Vancouver is the fourth-largest city in the state, with an estimated population of roughly 195,000 people as of 2023. There are many reasons why you might be wondering what living in Vancouver, WA is like, especially when we consider just how conveniently located this city is.


Vancouver is located on the north bank of the Columbia River directly across from Portland, Oregon. Together, these cities form the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. Vancouver offers its residents beautiful surroundings, excellent schools, and abundant outdoor recreation, making it a very desirable city to live in — particularly when we consider its proximity to the Portland Metro Area.


The city itself has several parks and other outdoor activities if you’re not ready to brave the hustle and bustle of Portland. Plus, Vancouver is home to several colleges and universities as well as diverse job industries depending on your preferred field. However, there are pros and cons to every city, which is why you’re here today. 


How can you be certain if living in Vancouver, WA is the right choice for you? Read on to find out about Vancouver’s neighborhoods, some tips and info about living in Vancouver, and get answers to FAQs about living in this particular city to see if it’s your ideal fit!

The Moving to Vancouver Washington Team

Before we dive into everything you need to know about Vancouver, Washington, have you begun your home-buying research? If you’re a new buyer or simply seeking more information about real estate in Vancouver, let our team of trusted professionals help you reach your goals. 


Looking for help getting pre-approved for a mortgage? Todd Davidson is an experienced mortgage broker and is here to help, regardless of your moving timeline. CLICK HERE to email Todd and set up a call to get the process started — or just call him at 971-275-2465.


To connect with a local expert and real estate professional in Vancouver, Washington, CLICK HERE. To start receiving emails with homes that match your criteria anywhere in Washington, CLICK HERE and sign up for Listing Alert. That way, you remain informed and aware of any potential listings in Vancouver and beyond. You never know when your dream home might come on the market!​


With all of this in mind, let’s begin by discussing the nitty-gritty of living in Vancouver, Washington.

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Todd Davidson

Mortgage Broker

What is the Cost of Living in Vancouver Washington?

To live in Vancouver, Washington and rent your home, you would need to make $44,000 a year based upon an average of all living costs and expenses. To live in Vancouver, Washington and buy a home, you would need to make $70,000 with a 20% down payment.


Remember that these numbers are estimates based upon many averages. Your own situation might be different, which is why reaching out to a mortgage expert is always a good idea. Not every home mortgage loan requires putting 20% down, especially if you’re a first-time buyer!

Cost of Living

Living in Vancouver Washington Tips/Info/Blog Posts

Helpful Tips for Moving to Oregon and Buying a Home







Top Neighborhoods in Vancouver Washington

One of the bigger challenges you face when moving to or within a city is picking the right neighborhood. With a number of fantastic options to choose from in Vancouver, Washington, here are five of the more popular neighborhoods to consider:


With homes built in the past decade, the Bennington neighborhood is a slightly newer development in Vancouver, Washington. There’s a decent variety of single-family homes and townhouses, with larger, newer, and more upscale homes than you'd find in other areas of the city. It’s also close to several recreational spaces and commuting conveniences, including Bennington Lake and transportation routes like Highway 14 and I-205.


With quiet streets, good schools, and easy access to parks and green spaces, the Felida neighborhood is very popular and a great spot for families. It’s also home to Fishers Creek Park, a popular spot for walking, jogging, and biking, offering views of the creek and surrounding wetlands. The Felida Village Shopping Center offers various services and amenities, including grocery stores, coffee shops, pharmacies, restaurants, and banks.

Felida Neighborhood in Vancouver Washington

Cascade Park

Cascade Park is a desirable and established neighborhood in eastern Vancouver, Washington known for its well-maintained homes, quiet streets, and family-friendly atmosphere. Besides its proximity to the Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Park is also near several shopping centers and restaurants, offering residents easy access to various amenities and services. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a quiet suburban lifestyle with easy access to city amenities.

Bella Vista

Bella Vista is a newer residential development offering a mix of single-family homes and townhouses, with a variety of architectural styles and floor plans to choose from. It’s near several parks and green spaces including the popular Bella Vista Park, which offers hiking, biking, and other outdoor opportunities. The Bella Vista neighborhood puts you near great shopping with Vancouver Mall and other retailers close by.

Old Evergreen Highway

Named after the nearby Old Evergreen Highway, a scenic drive along the Columbia River, this neighborhood offers stunning views of the river and surrounding landscape.​ The homes in the Old Evergreen Highway neighborhood are primarily single-family homes built in the early 1900s and have since been renovated or restored. It’s a popular destination for those seeking a quiet and peaceful residential area with easy access to outdoor recreation and city amenities.

If moving to Vancouver, Washington, and you'd like to buy a home in one of these fabulous neighborhoods, CLICK HERE to sign up for LISTING ALERT to be the first to know when a home matching your criteria gets listed for sale in Vancouver, Washington.

Vancouver Washington - Waterfront Homes

Public Schools in Vancouver Washington

If you live in Vancouver, Washington, your kids will attend public school in either the Vancouver or Evergreen School District. Generally speaking, the eastern and northeastern parts of Vancouver are within the boundaries of the Evergreen School District; the rest of the city falls within the Vancouver School District boundary. 

Both school districts are ranked highly. gave Vancouver School District as well as Evergreen a B ranking, with most criteria getting a B or B+. Both districts had an 85-87% graduation rate, above the state average during the latest school year. There are roughly 50 elementary schools, 30 junior high schools, and 20 high schools in Vancouver when these two districts are combined.

Top Destinations & Attractions in Vancouver Washington

Are you wondering what there is to do and see in Vancouver, Washington? Below is a year-round list of some of the more popular destinations, attractions, and events you'll want to put on your to-do list if you live in Vancouver, Washington:

Esther Short Park: Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this park hosts various events throughout the year, including a weekly farmers market, concerts, and festivals.

Esther Short Park in Vancouver Washington
Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver Washington

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site: This site is home to a reconstructed fort from the 1800s and the Pearson Air Museum, offering a glimpse into the area's history.

Waterfront Renaissance Trail: This trail along the Columbia River offers scenic views and opportunities for walking, biking, and running.

Clark County Historical Museum: This museum showcases the history of Clark County and Vancouver.

Vancouver Farmers Market: Held every weekend from March to October, this popular farmers market features fresh produce, artisanal goods, and food vendors.

Kiggins Theatre: A historic downtown Vancouver movie theater that hosts live music and events.

Independence Day at Fort Vancouver: This annual celebration on July 4th features live music, food vendors, and a fireworks display over the Columbia River. 

Vancouver Brewfest: A two-day festival in August featuring local and regional craft beers, live music, and food vendors.

Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival: A three-day festival in August featuring local and regional wines, jazz music, and food vendors.

Couve Clover Run: A March St. Patrick's Day-themed race featuring a 3-mile or 7-mile run/walk through downtown Vancouver.

Pros and Cons of Living in Vancouver Washington

It’s important to be realistic about all of the pros and cons of where you plan on moving to. When it comes to Vancouver, here are some potential positives and negatives to consider that may impact your decision.

Living in Vancouver Washington Pros

  1. Proximity to Portland, Oregon: Vancouver is located just across the Columbia River from Portland, providing easy access to this city's many amenities and attractions. Plus, Oregon doesn’t charge sales tax, making shopping more affordable if you’re willing to cross the Oregon border!

  2. Lower cost of living: Vancouver's cost of living is generally lower than many other cities in the Pacific Northwest –especially compared to Portland– making it an affordable place to live.

  3. Outdoor recreation: Vancouver has abundant natural beauty, with easy access to hiking, biking, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities.

  4. Robust economy: Vancouver's economy is strong and diverse, with a mix of job opportunities and industries both in the city and in nearby Portland.

  5. Good schools: Vancouver has several highly rated public and private schools, providing families with excellent educational options.

  6. Cultural attractions: Vancouver has a thriving arts and culture scene, with museums, galleries, and performing arts venues.

  7. Community events: Vancouver hosts various community events throughout the year, including festivals, concerts, and fairs, providing opportunities to connect with neighbors and friends.

Living in Vancouver Washington Cons

  1. Traffic congestion: Vancouver is a rapidly growing region, and traffic congestion can be a problem during peak commuting hours. This is especially true if you plan on working in nearby Portland, OR — some weekday commutes take over an hour just to get across the Washington border!

  2. Limited public transportation: While a bus system serves Vancouver and the Portland Metro area, public transportation options are limited compared to larger cities.

  3. High housing costs: While Vancouver's cost of living is generally lower than Portland, housing costs have been rising rapidly in recent years, making it more difficult for some residents to find affordable housing.

  4. Rainy weather: Vancouver has a mild climate but it can be rainy for much of the year, which may be challenging for some residents who prefer more sunshine.

  5. Limited nightlife: Vancouver's nightlife scene is limited compared to larger cities, which may be a drawback for some residents who enjoy going out in the evenings. While Portland may be close by and action-packed, returning home safely to Vancouver may be more difficult than you expect based on available public transportation options.

FAQs About Living in Vancouver Washington

Still curious about Vancouver and what it’s like to live there? Here are some questions often asked about this convenient city.

What is Vancouver known for?

Vancouver is known for being the oldest city in Washington State. It was founded in 1825 as a fur trading post and played a significant role in the development of the Pacific Northwest. Many of its historic buildings and landmarks are still standing today and the city continues to honor its past through its museums, heritage sites, and events.

What cities are nearby Vancouver, Washington?

The cities of Camas, Washougal, Battle Ground, and Ridgefield are all close on the Washington side of the border. Head south into Oregon and Portland is about 10 miles away. Driving time can vary to Portland but it usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

What is the weather like in Vancouver?

The weather in Vancouver, Washington is generally mild, with four seasons. Summers are warm and dry, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the low 90s. Winters are mild and rainy, with average temperatures in the mid-40s. The region is known for its greenery and abundant rainfall, with an average annual precipitation of around 43 inches.


Does Vancouver Washington have good public schools?

Absolutely. The Vancouver School District, where roughly 67% of Vancouver students attend school, is rated highly and got an 85% graduation rate during the past school year, above the Washington State average. The Evergreen School District, which serves the other 33%, is also highly rated and got an 87% graduation rate. 

Who are some large employers in Vancouver Washington?

Some of the largest employers in Vancouver, WA include the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center with over 4,000 employees, the Evergreen School District with over 1,500 employees, the Vancouver School District with over 1,300 employees, the City of Vancouver with over 1,100 employees, and the Clark County government with more than 1,000 employees.

Is Vancouver Washington safe?

According to WalletHub Vancouver, Washington, is the 58th safest city in America in 2023. Statistically, Vancouver, Washington, has a lower crime rate than the national average, making it a relatively safe place to live. However, like any city, it is not entirely free from crime, and it is important to take precautions to stay safe.

I want to relocate to Vancouver.  How do I make it happen?

You've come to the right spot if you're looking to move to Vancouver, Washington.  There’s a lot of information on this website to help including some helpful links below. If you want to ask questions, try our Facebook Group > Moving to Washington  where we have broad group of locals to answer any question you might have. If you’re looking to buy a home in the Vancouver area, getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be your first step. For Mortgage Info, reach out to me. I would love to tell you more about what living in Vancouver, Washington, is like as well as help with your mortgage if you decide to purchase a home.  

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