Often confused with the Canadian city of the same name, Vancouver, Washington, is the fourth-largest and most southwestern city in that state. Vancouver hugs the north side of Columbia River across from Portland, Oregon. Vancouver event venues reflect a city proud of its roots: in the past several years, the city has been designated as a Preserve America Community for its preservation of cultural and natural heritage resources.
Downtown Vancouver is a 15-minute drive from Portland International Airport (PDX), which is served by 16 major airlines. There are more than 75 nonstop destinations from PDX, including international destinations such as Amsterdam and Tokyo.
Convention venues in Vancouver include the Vancouver Convention Center, which provides 30,000 square feet of function space on the south end of the 226-room Hilton Vancouver Washington (which was the first hotel in the world to attain both LEED and Green Seal certification). The city's other sizable facility is the 100,000-square-foot Clark County Event Center, with options ranging from banquet seating for 700 people, to theater seating for over 10,000.
Another meeting hotel venue includes the 182-room Heathman Lodge, a Northwest-inspired mountain lodge with 10,000 square feet of meeting space.
Vancouver's non-hotel meeting and special event sites range from a LEED Gold certified state-of-the-art library featuring a deck overlooking the Columbia River, to a spate of historic venues at Fort Vancouver National Site. Among the options: a reception for 500 can be held with a backdrop of vintage planes at Pearson Air Museum, and a gathering for up to 150 can be held in a space that features white oak hardwood floors and a restored tin ceiling in the renovated Artillery Barracks.
City spaces include downtown's five-acre Esther Short Park, which accommodates up to 9,000 people; and Vancouver Landing, an outdoor amphitheater located on the Columbia River.
Constantly evolving, Vancouver's downtown has recently seen another burst in revitalization. Additions in the past year include dozens of breweries, urban wineries, various coffee houses, boutique retail shops, an indoor rock-climbing facility, the a single-screen community theater on the National Register of Historic Places, and a number of new restaurants, many of which cater to group gatherings. Gray's at the Park Bistro, which is located in the Hilton, features regional favorites. Beaches Restaurant & Bar is located on the Columbia River waterfront and offers one of the best views in town. La Bottega, a short walk from downtown in Uptown Village, is known for its European charm.
On the east side of Vancouver, Root's Restaurant & Bar is well-known for its farm-to-fork concept and use of fresh, local produce. Brewtopia, located at Cinetopia at the Westfield Vancouver mall, offers the best of what this beer-loving area has to offer – more than 30 beers on tap.
Group activities in Vancouver include heading west to the beach towns; visiting the small towns and wineries along the Columbia River Gorge just east of the city; touring Pendleton Woolen Mills; hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, and bird watching in settings such as Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge; and a foray to Mount St. Helens for a hike up to the crater.