For a city of just 500,000 souls, Portland packs a punch out of all proportion to its size when it comes to retail therapy. Yes, the likes of Saks, Macy’s and Marios are suitably imposing department stores full of big name brands – but it’s the sketchier, cooler neighborhoods that excite the most, with their mix of high fashion and edgy designs.

And the best bit? Shopping is tax free in Oregon. You’re gonna need a bigger bag.

NW 23rd Avenue

At the heart of the Nob Hill district, this ruler-straight avenue is lined with boutique shopping experiences; homeware, gifts, fashion, jewelry and more. It’s a handsome procession of stores with plenty of places to eat and drink alone the way. And don’t miss the streets running east and west from here (the City Market, on NW Johnson Street, is home to some great local food producers).


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The Pearl District

East of Nob Hill, towards the river, the Pearl District is the place for one-of-a-kind fashions, artisan crafts and curios, and designer homewares. Great for finding stuff you just won’t find in the big department stores. Good for recycled and upcycled, vintage, repurposed and retro pieces too.


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SE Hawthorne

The rents are cheaper in the Hawthorne district, so you can expect the price tags to be, too. This is the place to head for bohemian cool, second hand books, the eclectic and the funky. The vibe’s decidedly home-spun and thrifty – but that doesn’t mean it’s flea-market central: you’ll find some quality amid the quirky too. Its bumper sticker is ‘Keep Portland Weird’.


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NE Alberta

Colorful, vibrant and thrumming with life not least on its monthly street fair, Last Thursday – Alberta Street is shopping with a huge dollop of soul. Garden cafes, children’s emporia, sharply curated galleries and niche shopping make for a refreshing alternative to the malls. Last Thursday, should you time your visit right, is an al-fresco arts fair (runs June-Aug, on the last Thursday. Obviously.)

Mississippi Avenue

From Jory coffee’s excellent brews to Babylon Vintage’s carefully edited selection of oldies but goodies, Mississippi Avenue is hipster personified. It’s a historic thoroughfare, given a new lease of life thanks to the artisans, bakers, jewelers and eccentric, but passionate young entrepreneurs. It’s fun in a very Portland way.


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Powell’s bookstore

The world’s largest independent bookstore has four locations in Portland. The flagship store at 1005 W Burnside St famously features over one million books. Kindle? What’s one of them?


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Pioneer Place, Lloyd Center

These upscale shopping malls are crammed with the usual suspects. When only a spot of air-conditioned, muzak-pumped marble-floored window shopping will do, these won’t disappoint. The usual suspects are all present and correct including Nike, Zara, Bath & Body Works, Foot Locker, Gap and more.  As malls go, these are animated and enjoyable enough.


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