If you love shopping, coffee, funky doughnuts, beer, music, art, organic, free-range chicken (thanks to Fred and Carrie of “Portlandia”), and anything that remotely relates to the independent spirit, then Portland, Oregon is for you. Thanks to all the independent artists, designers and entrepreneurs who call Portland home, this Pacific Northwest city of more than 600,000 is a great destination for every shopaholic. Oh, and did I mention there’s no sales tax when you shop in Portland? Score!
Here’s a quick rundown of the top spots to hit when you’re taking Portland by storm. Don’t leave your wallet at home!
For more than 40 years, Portland’s Saturday Market is held every Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, as well as on Sundays from 11 am to 4:30 pm. Shocking, we know. Who would’ve predicted that a market called Saturday Market would be held on Saturdays? Didn’t see that one coming, did you?
After you pick your jaw up off the floor from the pure shock of it all, dive headfirst into this oasis of unique, locally-produced items. This open-air market all started as a way to give local artists a chance to sell their handmade wares, and the event grew into a major tourist attraction that draws thousands every year. You can easily cover all eight days of Hanukkah or find plenty of fun stocking stuffers here, if you’re visiting during holiday season. And if not, maybe stock up ahead of time? You’ll be ahead of the game this year, folks.
And, there’s a bit of Portland history just around the corner! Check out Skidmore Fountain, surrounded by gorgeous Victorian-era architecture for a quick photo op, then swing by the New Market Theater, Portland’s first theater dating back to 1871. History buffs, get excited.
Need to shop for that special vegan in your life? The struggle is real. Hit up Queen Bee Creations, the brain child of designer Rebecca Pearcy, where you’ll find funky, sturdy vegan “leather” purses, wallets and accessories including hairpins and scarves.
Is your vegan friend also expecting? You’re in luck. Queen Bee has an adorably animal-product free “Chickpea Baby” line, where you can find fun diaper bags and other infant-related goodies.
The shop was originally run out of Pearcy’s home in 1996, and has since grown to become a mainstay of downtown Portland. Lucky for all of us, all products continue to be homemade and handcrafted.
Who doesn’t love getting a little bling during the holidays? Gilt Jewelry in downtown Portland has vintage bling, flashy bling, modern bling, and even specializes in engagement and wedding bling. (OK, we mean wedding and engagement rings, but that doesn’t sound nearly as much fun.) So, if you’re getting ready to get down on bended knee soon, Gilt could be the place to find a band that is as unique and special as your sweetheart! D’aaaaww.
Mabel and Zora
Don’t have a thing to wear? It’s a rough life. Peruse the racks at Mabel and Zora, a fantastic, independent women’s boutique that has been keeping the ladies of Portland looking fabulous for years. This boutique will certainly appeal to those who enjoy vintage clothing, particularly mid-century items, but there are also plenty of timeless LBD’s to be found, too.
Mabel and Zora is located in the Pearl District, which has undergone tremendous urban renewal. Once an industrial neighborhood filled with warehouses and railroad yards, it’s now filled with art galleries, trendy shops, and restaurants. If you wander through during the first Thursday of the month, don’t be surprised by all the crowds there to enjoy “First Thursday,” a monthly event when art galleries stay open late, shops have sales, and happy hour abounds!
Portland’s basically a shopaholic’s paradise, am I right? What are your favorite Portland spots to visit when you’ve got money to burn? Let us know in the comments!