Similar to Chicago, Portland has a lot of distinct neighborhoods, each with their own flair, shopping scene and food style offering a unique set of experiences in the different districts. During my 5 days in Portland, I knew I wanted to explore each neighborhood more in depth, and really check out the local shops.
There are a lot of different gift shops in boutiques in the different neighborhoods, but below you can find some of my favorite (and reasons why!) spots in the various districts around town.
Best Place for Reasonably Priced, Trendy Clothing: Sloan. There are three locations, but all serve up an awesome assortment of trendy clothing with a Pacific Northwest vibe at prices that are totally reasonable for what they are selling. I think the Mississippi location might be my favorite, but the one on Hawthrone is also great. I got an amazing plaid poncho here that I’ve been wearing non stop since I got home!
Best Place to Find a Unique Book: Powell’s Books. This is not the original one, but honestly, I prefer it because it’s not nearly as crowded! Amazing selection of books for any category you’re looking for. Found a few cool birthday gifts for Mr. Sam thanks to Powell’s amazing recommendations.
Best Place for Friendly & Helpful Staff: Imelda’s Shoes. When I was in Portland on my last trip in 2012, I spent like $400 here on amazing quality leather shoes that I still have and wear today! The staff is really friendly and helpful, and they know their brands so you aren’t stuck wandering the piles to find the best for you.
Best Place to Find Affordable Thrift Style: Crossroads Trading. Gotta give a shout out to my favorite second-hand clothing store! I frequent this shop in Chicago, so I definitely knew I wanted to check out the one in Portland. They’ve got lots of great stuff for a fraction of the price.
The Pearl District
Best Place for Modern Clothing & Jewelry: Backtalk. An independently owned modern clothing boutique, Backtalk just feels trendy to be in. Their simple merchandising and colorful watercolor prints are the perfect backdrop for their geometric jewelry and feminine clothing. I got a spectacular delicate ring during my visit that I pretty much haven’t taken off since!
Best Place for a Unique Shopping Experience: Union Way. A Scandanaian designed shopping alley, Union Way is something different in the heart of the city. It is collection of about 10 different small stores clustered together, featuring everything from a shoe store to a ramen restaurant. Definitely worth a stroll through if you’re already across the street at Powells.
Best Place for Cool Androgynous Clothing: Wildfang. I had never been in a store quite like this one, but I knew that I liked it. There is no men or women’s section. All the clothes can be worn by either gender, creating a street style androgynous look that could be on the runways of New York.
Best Place for an Amazing Designer Selection: Frances May. As a former Shopbop employee, I appreciate stores that have a selection of unique designers. Frances May is one of those stores. Don’t get me wrong, it’s expensive, but looking at designers like Dusen Dusen or Opening Ceremony in person is a treat. Wish I could have afforded everything in this shop!
Best Place for Western Style Clothing and Backpacks: Animal Traffic. With a great selection of Hershel Supply Co. backpacks and second-hand flannel, Animal Traffic has a distinctly western-meets-northwest vibe. I went here hoping to find a vintage Pendleton jacket, and walked out with an awesome vintage poncho.
Best Place to Find Quirky Art Prints & Cards: Land. Stocked full with handmade, local prints, Land is open early for browsing while waiting for brunch. They’ve got a quirky and eclectic style with lots of cards and wall prints, as well as screen printed Oregon themed tees.
Best Place for On-trend Women’s Shoes: Manifesto Shoes. A modern shop with minimal merchandising, Manifesto has a beautiful selection of leather shoes from local designers as well as famous labels. Plus, they’ve got some amazing jewelry goods and leather bags. The necklace I bought here has already gotten me a bunch of compliments!
Best Place for Cool Camping Gear: Worn Path. A great store for your outdoorsy brother or boyfriend, Worn Path offers a log cabin-esque vibe filled with classic but stylish camping accessories and supplies.
Best Place for Well-Displayed Men’s & Women’s Shoes: The Annex. Associated with Animal Traffic, the Annex has lots of shoes for men and women displayed with in reclaimed and vintage materials. They’ve focused on trendy styles, like lace up booties and chunky loafers.
Best Place for Succulents: Digs. A great garden & home décor store, Digs has an awesome selection of cool succulents, including air plants! Plus, they’ll serve you up a free cup of espresso as you walk around.
Best Place for Funky Local Art Finds: Screaming Sky. Expect weird when you walk in here because there are some strange art pieces. But they’ve also some really cool gift ideas, like bobbleheads and needle felted creatures. It was so much fun to look around at their quirky selection.
Best Place for Art & Craft Supplies: Collage. A two store front place, there are so many supplies in here from painting to scrapbooking. It’s fun to wander around and see all the vintage trinkets they’ve collected, like loose scrabble tiles and stray address numbers.
Best Place to Find a Gift for Your Boyfriend: Cord. When I walked in here, I immediately thought of how much Sam would love this place. Cool outdoorsmen books, neat gadgets for camping and a case full of knives all displayed in a modern and easy to view way.
Best Place to Find Cute Handmade Dresses: Amelia. This place has a ton of gamine style clothing handmade in Portland and the nearby areas. It’s cute and girly and their jewelry selection is surprisingly quirky! (cover photo of this post is from there)
Best Place for Funky Vintage Selection: Bristlecone Vintage. Just off of Alberta Street, Bristlecone is a hole in the wall place with a well-curated selection of vintage Pacific Northwest style pieces. Think fleece jackets, high-waisted denim and plaid.
Best Place for Monochrome Style: House of Commons. This store offers an interesting mix of vintage and modern clothing all in a simple and monochromatic style. It’s not normally somewhere that would draw me in, but I wound up finding an amazing cropped cashmere sweater and black & white stripe palazzo pants!
Best Place for an Head-to-Toe Outfit: Adorn. The sales associates at Adorn are friendly, and their easily pair-able separates and accessories make it simple to create a seamless outfit all in one spot.
Best Place for Best Place for Vintage Home Décor: Artifacts. A mixture between vintage furniture store and on-trend consignment shop, Artifacts has a little bit of everything. I found an amazing thrifted maxi skirt as well as a vintage table runner. It’s just a fun place to walk around.
Scattered Elsewhere Stores
Best Place to Find Asian Inspired Home Décor: Cargo. I came to this store back in 2012 when it was in the Pearl. The new location is much bigger, with two full levels of browsing potential. This place is one of a kind, with vintage Tibetan jewelry, hand-dyed indigo textiles and vintage furniture imported from Japan. Budget at least an hour here, it’s so fun to walk around!
Best Place for Pacific Northwest Décor: Beam & Anchor. This store could be plopped in the middle of downtown Chicago and it would still feel like Portland. It’s like walking into a perfect showroom photoshoot of glamorous outdoor catalog. Everything is intentional. Everything is Pacific Northwest. Everything is awesome.
Best Place for Modern Jewelry: Betsy + Iya. I didn’t explore much of the alphabet district, but my friend works at this boutique, so I wanted to stop in. Part store part studio, Betsy + Iya has a modern jewelry aesthetic done slightly different. Think unique shapes, textured metals and bead details. Certain days of the week, you can even watch the artists making the work in the back.
Basically, no matter which neighborhood you explore in Portland, you are bound to find some awesome shops with quirky items. Do you feel like going on a shopping spree now? Check out this interactive map below to plan your next outing in Portland!