10 Things to Know Before You Move to Vancouver, Washington

Nestled across the mighty Columbia River from Portland, Oregon lies Washington’s fourth-largest city in terms of both area and population. Technically considered the largest suburb of Portland, Vancouver is a sprawling city originally established in 1825 as a fur-trading outpost. Nowadays, many people choose to live in Portland and work in Vancouver (Oregon has no sales tax while Washington has no personal income tax). Yet a steady population growth rate of younger residents, cheaper home prices (compared to Portland and the rest of Washington), and much lower cost of living rates continue to make Vancouver an attractive area to settle down in.

If the great winds of 2020 have carried you to Vancouver, you’re going to need to know a few things before settling in. For example, did you know Vancouver is home to the oldest town square in the Western United States? And even though neighboring Portland has a reputation for being the hipster capital of the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver was actually named as the hippest city in America. Here are a few more things you need to know.

10 Fast Facts About Vancouver, WA (as of November 2020)

  • Population: 171,393 (3,503 people per square mile) with a population growth rate of 7% since 2010
  • Median resident age: 36.6 (37.4 is the national average)
  • Median home price: $317,200 (compared to the $231,200 national average)
  • Median household income: $50,379
  • Cost of living: 114.3 overall, based on a U.S. average of 100 according to this index; 118.7 is Washington’s statewide average
  • Climate: 42 inches of rain, 3 inches of snow, and 143 sunny days per year on average; average summer high is 79 degrees, average winter low is 34 degrees
  • Unemployment rate: 5.6% (3.7% U.S. average); job growth over the next 10 years is projected at 38.8%, higher than the U.S. average of 33.5%
  • Crime rate ranked on a scale of 1 to 100: Violent crime is 21.6 (22.7 national), while property crime is 46.6 (35.4 national)
  • Schools: 101 total (86 public/15 private); average of 18 students per teacher
  • Average commute time: 25.2 minutes (26.4 national average)


A few more need-to-knows about Vancouver


The ‘Couv” was the first Vancouver

While Vancouver, British Columbia may be the more well-known Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest (depending on whom you ask), the American city came first. Both were named after British sea captain and explorer George Vancouver, though the historic Fort Vancouver trading post (which would later become the city of Vancouver) was named over 60 years before its Canadian cousin was incorporated.

Willie Nelson got his start here (sort of)

We like to think we launched Willie Nelson’s career. Before he moved to Texas and hit it big, Nelson lived and worked in and around Vancouver as a DJ. He also wrote his song “Family Bible” in 1957 while living in Vancouver, though he wouldn’t record the song himself until 1971 for his album “Yesterday’s Wine.”

 Vancouver offers plenty of socially distanced activities

Because Vancouver is so sprawling, you have plenty of space to spread your metaphorical wings. You’ll find ample parks and hiking trails where you can spend a lazy, socially distanced afternoon. Even the excellent Vancouver Farmers Market is still running, having instituted several safety precautions so folks can shop safely. If you want to get out and move, the paved, five-mile-long Columbia River Renaissance Trail linking Esther Short Park with Wintler Park is the perfect place to walk, run, and bike along the river while taking in spectacular sunset views.

Esther Short Park is the oldest public square in the West

According to legend, in 1826, British Royal Navy officer Lieutenant Aemilius Simpson planted an apple tree at Fort Vancouver from seeds he brought over from London. The tree is even credited as the start of Washington’s world-renowned apple industry. Though the original tree died in June 2020 at the ripe age of 194, its caretakers say saplings have started to grow from its root system, which stayed alive.

Ulysses S. Grant hung out here for a while

Craving a bit of history? Head down to Officers Row to check out the 22 exquisitely preserved Victorian homes comprising the tree-lined promenade, including the Ulysses S. Grant house. Even though the future U.S. president never lived in the house, then Captain Grant served as quartermaster there for a year.

Vancouver was recently named the hippiest city in America

Eat your heart out, Portland and Seattle. Partially “due to its density of tattoo parlors and microbreweries” but perhaps mostly because cost of living is much lower, Vancouver sits pretty atop the list of most hipster cities in the country. We have to agree. Saving money is pretty cool.

Find self storage in Vancouver, Washington

While you figure out how to settle into your new home, you’re going to need a place to store your stuff. With 15 locations in the Vancouver area, chances are we’re right around the corner. And to make sure you stay as safe as possible, we’ve introduced 100% online, contact-free rentals at all of our locations. Welcome to the ‘Couv!

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