Vancouver’s waterfront is one of the best pedestrian attractions of its kind in the country, according to a recent ranking from a high-profile travel website.
Earlier this month, Fodor’s Travel listed the cities with the 15 best riverwalks in America. Vancouver’s new waterfront development came in at No. 13.
“Following the curves of the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington, the Vancouver waterfront includes a two-mile paved path with fantastic views and a wealth of cultural and recreational experiences for visitors and locals to explore,” wrote freelance travel writer Molly O’Brien.
She urged readers to check out the Kaiser shipyards and the Ilchee Statue and Plaza along the Waterfront Renaissance Trail, as well as the Headwaters Wall water feature at Vancouver Waterfront Park.
The walk-up window at seafood eatery What a Catch and the self-serve beer tap wall at Barlow’s Public House also got a shout-out.
“Check into the trendy Hotel Indigo, Vancouver’s first boutique hotel with fantastic access to the riverwalk,” O’Brien concluded.
The article’s top spot went to tiny Breckenridge, Colo. (pop. 4,938 as of 2019). But the list also included some heavy hitters: major metros like Chicago, Detroit, Tampa and San Antonio ranked as among the best for riverside pedestrians.
According to Teresa Brum, Vancouver’s economic development director, the list puts Vancouver in good company.
“It’s really exciting for our riverwalk to be acknowledged like this. Also in the context of the article, to see our riverwalk alongside San Antonio, and Portland’s waterfront park?” Brum said. “We’re the best throughout the whole country.”
The city across the river also got some love: Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland ranked second. O’Brien included a nod to the park’s Saturday market, the popular performance venue Lot at Zidell Yards, and the springtime explosion of Japanese cherry blossoms.
That both Portland and Vancouver were included on the list, Brum said, just adds to the area’s overall appeal as a destination.
“Everyone I talk to looks at us as a region. What’s good for Portland is good for Vancouver, and vice versa,” she said.
Compared to the rest of the list, Vancouver’s existing waterfront is a relatively new attraction — Waterfront Park opened up to the public less than three years ago, after more than a decade worth of planning work to transform the abandoned industrial zone into a public hub.
Brum pointed to the waterfront’s other attractions that didn’t make Fodor’s list.
“They mention two restaurants, but there are actually seven. They didn’t mention any of the six wineries,” Brum said. “What they mentioned is really just the tip of the iceberg.”
Fodor’s unofficially launched in the 1930s, when traveler and author Eugene Fodor wrote “On the Continent — The Entertaining Travel Annual” following his tour of Europe. He’d continue to publish Fodor’s Modern Guides over the following decades.