Shopping, Portland, Oregon (A)

With a wide variety of retail stores selling clothing, books, music, and nearly everything else under the sun, the downtown area and Pearl Districts are excellent shopping centers. In addition, an array of smaller stores with loads of character dot the city landscape. And Oregon is one of the few states in the nation without a sales tax!
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Shopping
Guide Location: USA » Portland
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 4.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Author: Jim Reynoldson
Author Bio: Jim Reynoldson is an avid traveler and writer who grew up on Oregon. He enjoys hiking, camping and sightseeing throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • John Helmer Haberdasher
  • Finnegan's Toys & Gifts
  • Powell's World of Books
  • Everyday Music
  • Cargo Inc.
  • Alchemy Jeweler
John Helmer Haberdasher

1) John Helmer Haberdasher

Established in 1921 by John and Emmy Lou Helmer, this purveyor of fine apparel has been family-owned for three generations. Today, the store is owned and operated by six of Mr. & Mrs. Helmer’s descendents. Specializing in hard to find items, John Helmer Haberdasher carries an assortment of suits, sportcoats, sweaters, slacks, shoes and hats for both men and women from some of the finest manufacturers. In addition, John Helmer offers an array of accessories, including ties, belts, gloves, umbrellas and walking sticks. For clothing with a vintage class and personal service, John Helmer Haberdasher is a unique shopping experience.
Image by Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue under Creative Commons License.
Finnegan's Toys & Gifts

2) Finnegan's Toys & Gifts

Finnegan’s Toys opened in 1977, and moved to its current location in 2011 – taking its name from a cat in a children’s book. The Northwest’s largest independent toy store, Finnegan’s is locally owned and operated. The store is lively, and a joy for kids and adults alike (particularly seeing so many toys from our childhoods which are still sold today). Finnegan’s has made an effort to stock toys, gifts, and educational items that appeal to wide variety of age groups – from young kids to older kids to kids at heart. Everything from puppets to Legos to classic board games to toys made by smaller independent producers, Finnegan’s is a great place to take kids or to find gifts for kids.
Image by Steve Morgan under Creative Commons License.
Powell's World of Books

3) Powell's World of Books

Occupying a full city block at its main store and a number of smaller satellite stores around the city, Powell’s Books is said to be the largest independent bookstore in the world. Truly a city icon, Powell’s buys, sells, and trades new and used books and does a brisk business – particularly at the largest location on the edge of the Pearl District, which is over 68,000 square feet in size. Founded in 1971 by Walter Powell, the bookstore became known as a place to find rare and unique books. With a largely progressive customer base, Powell’s Books has even become a voice in local politics – often taking stances on regional political issues. Allow plenty of time to see the main location – if you are a book-lover, it’s a great place to just lose yourself in its maze-like literary goodness.
Image by Peyri Herrera under Creative Commons License.
Everyday Music

4) Everyday Music

Founded in 1995, Everyday Music operates three locations in Portland, including this site on Burnside Street. Over 100,000 CDs, records and DVDs are stocked at each location, and Everyday Music buys and sells new and used merchandise. Known for an incredibly large selection of genres, this location offers large separate areas – with rock, rap and DVDs in one monstrous area, and jazz, blues, reggae, country, and world music in another. Listening stations are set up in both areas of the store allowing customers to sample all music before buying – and extended store hours (9am to midnight daily) offer extreme shopping flexibility.
Image by M.O. Stevens under Creative Commons License.
Cargo Inc.

5) Cargo Inc.

Cargo Inc. is an eclectic retail shopping space conveniently located in the heart of the Pearl District. Highlighted by a number of high-end Asian-themed products (and some Latin American items), the store is a hodgepodge of furniture, art, vintage posters, garden statues, lamps, and other decorative products. Cargo Inc. has the feel of an exotic bazaar – with everything from ornate birdcages to antique-style printing equipment available. Allow plenty of time to see this two-story retail haven. The store’s sign is easy to miss, but look for the two-story brick building with a host of colorful decorations adorning the front façade.
Image by Sean Davis under Creative Commons License.
Alchemy Jeweler

6) Alchemy Jeweler

Alchemy is a locally owned and run high-end jeweler specializing in custom designs. A true alchemist, owner David Iler has over 30 years experience working with metals, and 15 years as a craftsman of fine jewelry. Alchemy hosts a number of visiting jewelry designers in-store, as well as opening for many First Thursday art walk events. The unique pieces - necklaces, ear rings, cufflinks and ring sets - found at Alchemy are works of art in and of themselves, and definitely a cut above anything you’ll find in a mall store. To end this tour, simply walk one block west to 11th Avenue and two blocks south to catch the Portland Streetcar at 11th and Johnson. This will take you southbound directly into downtown.