Located along the northern bank of the Columbia River, Vancouver is a hip and growing city with tons of support for startups, small businesses and legacy companies that want to expand. It’s easy to get around and get outside here, since there are more than 305 miles of bike lanes and 203 miles of scenic hiking trails in the region. Vancouver is also centrally located — Portland is just across the river, Seattle is a few hours away and you can be at the Pacific Ocean in less than two hours. Your family will love the access to nature, the outdoorsy culture and the stunning views of Mt. Hood, which never gets old.
Top Industries and Employers: Education, retail, banking and manufacturing
Best Coffee Shop: People in Vancouver just rave about the coffee and baristas at Kafiex Roasters - Coffee Lab, which roasts its own certified fair trade and organic beans daily.
Best Local Beer/Brewery: Ghost Runners Brewery and Kitchen, where you can get a craft-style pizza to-go along with your craft beer.
Must-Have Meal: A mezcal margarita and any of the tacos at Little Conejo, followed by a dessert of piloncillo shortbread cookies with chocolate ganache dipping sauce.
Best Co-Working Space: CoLab Coworking, which offers creatives and entrepreneurs more than 20,000 square feet of shared workspace and offices. There are also tons of fun events like “Hump Day Happy Hour” and “Motivational Monday.”
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Barlow’s Public House, located right on the Columbia River waterfront and offering self-serve beer, wine and cider.
Creative Hub: Kiggins Theatre, which has been around since 1936 and hosts an impressive lineup of community-focused events — Re-Imagined Radio, Science on Tap and Comedy on Tap, just to name a few.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Listening to live music and perusing the fresh fruits, veggies, arts and crafts, meats and other products at the Vancouver Farmers Market.
Free Way to Have Fun: This one is easy: get outside. Explore Vancouver’s 90 parks, 20 natural areas and more than 20 miles of trails for walking, running, cycling, rollerblading and more.
Local Dream Job: Park ranger at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, which tells the story of early life in the Pacific Northwest.
- Sarah Kuta