AOL PICK from our Editors
Portland’s compact downtown is made for shopping, with easily-walkable half-blocks, a free downtown streetcar and no state sales tax. The downtown shopping district centers around Pioneer Courthouse Square, which is bordered by several major department stores, as well as national-brand shops and the flagship stores of two homegrown sporting goods and outdoor apparel giants, Nike and Columbia Sportswear. North of downtown, renovated brick buildings in the Pearl District are filled with everything from couture wear to colorful imports; this is also the home of the immense Powell’s City of Books. In the Northwest sector of the city, Victorian houses of the Nob Hill neighborhood are filled with eclectic offerings, from jewelry to imported linens. East of downtown, the Hawthorne and Alberta neighborhoods are prime shopping spots, with a broad array of boutiques, bookshops and eateries along Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and along artsy Alberta, between 12th and 31st streets. To the south, the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhoods brim with antiques shops. The city’s most-famed shopping venue is the Saturday Market crafts fair (actually held both Saturdays and Sundays).
Portlanders are famously outdoorsy; that Northwest ethic is reflected in Columbia Sportswear’s flagship store, which has been awarded Gold LEED certification for its green architecture and practices. Founded in 1938, Columbia Sportswear is a Portland institution. High-tech specialty garments made for skiing and snowboarding, hiking and biking are arrayed throughout the warm, rustic interior. There’s no flash here, just straightforward outdoors merchandise displayed in an inviting setting with plenty of natural light and wood.
More Details on Columbia Sportswear Flagship Store
Neighborhood: Pearl District
Antique Buddhas from Thailand and hand-carved santos from Mexico vie for floor and counter space with thousands of folk-art objects from around the world at Cargo, an immense, locally owned warehouse in the Pearl District. Whimsy rules in the entertaining mix of old and new imports from all corners of the globe.
More Details on Cargo
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
The sophisticated community surrounding the popular Northwest 21st and Northwest 23rd streets features beautifully restored Victorian and Craftsman homes turned into shops and restaurants. Among the scores of shops here are trendy boutiques carrying jewelry, apparel, home furnishings and kitchenwares. Notable are Twist, with its handmade jewelry and gifts; Mamma Ro, with richly colored imported Italian ceramics and linens; and Portland’s own Moonstruck Chocolates. After shopping, visitors can enjoy sidewalk dining on one of this lovely enclave's leafy streets.
More Details on Nob Hill
Neighborhood: Hawthorne District
In the city’s northeast sector, an eclectic mix of boutiques and cafes are anchored by the historic Baghdad Theater and Pub, a McMenamin property. Powell’s Books has a couple of branches here, including one dedicated to gardening and cookbooks. Other stores carry apparel, from vintage to natural-fiber, perfumes and gifts. We're fond of Missing Link Toys and Presents of Mind, a gift shop.
More Details on Hawthorne District
Neighborhood: Pearl District
Portland’s most cosmopolitan neighborhood, the Pearl District, is fashioned from 50 city blocks of renovated brick warehouses. The effect of old and new is charming; planters overflow with blooms, and chichi restaurants mingle with shoe shops and clothing boutiques for both kids and grownups. Also vying for attention is the massive Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world, which takes up an entire city block.
More Details on Pearl District