Welcome back as we make further forays into my Portland trip – this time with a shoppier theme, after all the point of taking money on holiday with you is not taking it back right?

Doct Mart

Guess what this place sold.

Downtown Portland offered Macys, Nordstrom Rack amongst its American shopping standards along with a Nike Store and an official Oregon State University merchandise shop – the Beaver store (stop sniggering at the back.  However the best plan is to head into the Pearl District where the shops take a quirkier and more independent tone, as do the cafes and restaurants -of which I can heartily recommend the Pearl Bakery as an excellent neighbourhood location for a Sunday morning latte and croissant.  There is however one 600lb gorilla in the district, the majestic behmoth that is Powell’s City of Books.


Unprepossessing but within lies a bookish wonder of the modern world.

My word dear reader, what a mighty fortress of knowledge and wonder Powell’s is.  Taking up an entire city block, and made up of sixty eight thousand square feet of bookishness, along with World Cup tea and coffee and free wifi, if this place had a beer license I’d set up a bed there in a trice.  There are seven or 8 different colour coded sections that cover three floors and it seems all books are here.  Interestingly, there is no separation twixt hardback, paperback, first or second hand books, all editions of a particular book in stock are shelved together.

I can not stress enough the magic with which this store enchants the visitor.  At least a whole morning could be lost therin, and verily getting lost was all too easy, as one could wander different routes yet still end up at the same point in the shelves.  Another part of the charm is that the feel of the place is not as slick as say a branch of Barnes and Noble or Waterstones, more it feels like the best University library in the world, only one where you can buy books, t-shirts and so forth.  I came away with four books and a ‘born to read’ t-shirt’ and felt I could have come away with a lot more (The Sherlockian by Graham Moore, The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, The Birth of Classical Europe by Simon Price and the Orkneying Saga in case you wondering, confess you were)

Powells along

Warning, may contain lots and lots and lots of books.

Out on the redline en route to the airport was the Lloyd Centre, a large shopping mall with attached multiplex cinema, and concrete for all
with another large Macys store.

lloyd centrer

Big, concretey and shops

However, once you made your way into the center proper, other parts were revealed including a passing ice rink .

ice rink

Yes, an ice rink bang in the middle of a shopping mall.

However, there were more artisanal shopping experiences available downtown as evidenced on the Monday I was there, where Pioneer square, slap in the middle of downtown Portland played host to that most pleasant event, the farmers market.  There seemed to be a good range of local cheeses, breads, fruit and veg, and meat available so yay this, with a friendly atmosphere aided by the 80 degree sunshine.

Farmers Market, Portlandian style

That then wraps up this episode of adventures in Portlandia, next time for those intrepid souls staying the course, some more scenic touristy stuff, then for part four, the beery bit.