Everyone enjoys a change of scenery now and then — but while daydreams of distant locales abound, time and money often do not. Looking for a fun-filled getaway a bit closer to home? You’re in luck, Portlanders: a new adventure awaits only a short drive away, in a destination right under our collective noses. Head to Vancouver, Washington, for a weekend that will have you asking yourself, “Why have we never done this before?”
Any Pacific Northwest excursion must begin with a good cup of coffee. Rub the sleep out of your eyes and travel across the Columbia River to Brewed Cafe & Pub; the disco ball decor will have you dancing with glee, and the loaded $4 biscuit sandwich will bring joy to your taste buds and your wallet. Next, hit the Waterfront Renaissance Trail, which stretches five miles from Esther Short Park to Wintler Park, offering magnificent views of Mt. Hood and several nearby bridges.
Take a step back in time at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a former Hudson Bay Company fur trading post built in 1824. Visitors can marvel at whirring steel blades of the 19th-century U.S. Army Dragoon Saber Training Program, participate in a Victorian handcraft demonstration, and learn about achievements in aviation at Pearson Air Museum.
Locally-sourced bites are on the menu at Eatery at the Grant House, a farm-to-table eatery located in a 170-year-old log building that originally served as military headquarters and commanding officers’ residence. Dishes such as Pastured Oregon hanger steak, served with crispy smoked new potatoes and kalettes, expertly showcase the beauty and bounty of the region.
Who doesn’t love a bit of vintage shopping? Browse retro looks at Uptown Attic and Mod Haus until you've found the perfect style. Before you know it, it’s time to relax with a glass of wine at Maryhill Winery. Perched on the Columbia River, the tasting room pairs its breathtaking views with any of 60 different wine options.
Spend the sunset dining on grilled salmon at Wildfin American Grill and enjoying more beautiful river views. As night falls, rendezvous with Lady Luck at Ilani Casino or sip a nightcap at The Grocery Cocktail & Social.
Wondrous aromas waft from the Mack Shack, a downtown Vancouver food cart beloved for its gourmet breakfast burritos. Order the ‘Couve Delish, packed with eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, onions, garlic, and spinach. Splash some homemade rosemary steak sauce or spicy tangy Shack Sauce to zest it up.
With a full belly, lace those hiking boots and head out of town. Cape Horn Trail offers an elevated panorama of the Columbia Gorge. Meanwhile, at Moulton Falls, the trails pass over a picturesque arch footbridge perched among a forested canyon.
Thankfully for your tired feet and parched throats, Vancouver has its fair share of craft breweries. If you’re feeling adventurous, Trap Door Brewing’s innovative beers pair perfectly with its sunny patio and food truck eats, while Heathen Brewing's Feral Public House promises "progressive ales for the promiscuous palette." Regardless of your choice, a cheers to an unforgettable weekend is in order. For more information, go to visitvancouverusa.com.