: NashCO Photo

Ultimate Guide to Portland Shopping Experiences

Find apparel, home goods and snacks in Portland’s tax-free shops and markets.
May 28, 2024

In the market for a cool new outfit, something special for your place or an inspiring ingredient to spice up dinner? Portland has got you covered. Independent and boutique shops are a way of life in a city known for its maker culture and DIY spirit; when you shop at these local businesses you can learn what Portland is all about. To sweeten the deal, there’s no sales tax, as is the case for all of Oregon. Here are some top spots for window shopping, stocking up and everything in between.

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Window view of a storefront selling women's clothing.
Wildfang (Courtesy of NashCO Photo)

Books, Records and Apparel on the West Side

Start your shopping spree on the west side of the Willamette River with a stop at Powell’s City of Books, Portland’s legendary city-block-spanning bookstore. Highlights of the many independent shops include Garnish, a local women’s-apparel designer that makes its garments in-house, and MadeHere, where you can shop the work of 150 local makers crafting everything from ceramics and jewelry to hats and hot sauce.

Portland’s West End — a few blocks northwest of downtown — is packed with independent shops and businesses. Visit the last Wednesday of every month for West End Wednesdays, when shops stay open late and there’s live music and special events. Shop size-inclusive apparel at Wildfang, including its ultra-cool line Laika-inspired designs. Be sure to stop next door at Tender Loving Empire, which is both a record label and a great place to grab a new pair of earrings or a handful of whimsical postcards. From there stroll to MACHUS, which specializes in emerging, up-and-coming menswear designers with an edgy vibe. You can also get happily lost in Indigenous-owned Frances May, which offers 6,000 square feet of curated independent apparel brands for women and men, and Kiriko Made a few blocks away, which sources vintage clothing and Japanese textiles to create one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories. 

In Old Town Chinatown, start your day with a latte and a little streetwear shopping at Deadstock Coffee, where your drink might come topped with a cocoa-stenciled sneaker. Around the block is Unspoken, which dishes up contemporary menswear from around the world. Shop for Japanese toys, figurines and plushies at Stumptown Otaku nearby, or pick up an iconic woolen blanket at the Pendleton Home Store from historic Oregon brand Pendleton Woolen Mills. Post-shop, refresh with cookies from Goodies Snack Shop, a first-generation snack shop packed with nostalgic Asian American treats.

If you’re visiting on a Saturday, don’t miss the PSU Farmers Market in the South Park Blocks, which takes place year-round. A few blocks north of the market is Hi Books, which specializes in rare and contemporary photo books from independent publishers and small presses — and a few blocks north of that is the Portland outpost of Kinokuniya, a Japanese book and stationery store specializing in art and comics from Japan.

Inside a shop with a minimal, plant-forward aesthetic.
(Courtesy of ECOVIBE)

Games, Tea and Perfume in Southeast Portland

Even if you’re not in the market for a hundred-year-old doorknob or light plate, browsing at Hippo Hardware’s three stories of hardware is always a pleasure. At Guardian Games a few blocks south, choose from a vast selection of tabletop games, puzzles and miniatures. Ask to try out a game from the demo library over a beer or a kombucha. 

Just a few blocks from there is Kabinett, which offers an eclectic collection of beautiful cabinetry, chic barware and the largest selection of vermouth in the city. Across the street, Cowbell offers picnickers the best cheese counter in town. A few blocks north, stock up on black, green and herbal teas at Steven Smith Teamaker, then head across the street to Sunflower Sake for a lovingly curated collection of sake by the bottle, plus glass pours.

Southeast Hawthorne is another major shopping street with dozens of vintage shops and specialty boutiques. Black-owned ECOVIBE carries a huge selection of houseplants and home goods, while The Perfume House offers an expert-led perfume-shopping experience. Shop for fancy salt, chocolate and other treats at The Meadow, then head over to Southeast Division’s Third Eye Books for some new reading material.

People perusing the many vinyl records at a shop.
Mississippi Records (Courtesy of Justin Katigbak/ Travel Portland)

Candles, Crystals and Stickers in North and Northeast Portland

Start your Northeast shopping adventure at Seven Sisters to shop for eclectic apparel, apothecary and home goods from women designers — including playful birthday-cake candles shaped like asparagus or raspberries. Then head north to North Mississippi and follow the glow to Sunlan Lighting, which stocks every variety of light bulb under the sun. It’s worth a visit just to gaze upon its quirky window display. Ever wanted your own mammoth tooth? Visit Paxton Gate for a one-of-a-kind collection of taxidermy, crystals, skulls and other curiosities. Then grab some new tunes at Mississippi Records, a record shop and record label specializing in reissued recordings of previously overlooked music.

Northeast Alberta is also a great spot to shop for new and used clothes, home goods and other tidbits. It’s the home of the only U.S. location of Seisuke Knife, which offers a beautiful selection of Japanese knives. Then get inspired at Collage, an art and craft supply store stocking a vast collection of everything from stickers to felting kits to beads — check out the gift guide curated by hobby. Shop for a new outfit at Monochromatic, a hip, all-gender boutique specializing in playful, ethically made clothing. 

About The
Author

Margarett Waterbury
Margarett Waterbury is a lifelong Northwesterner who writes about food, drinks, travel and agriculture for local and national press. She lives in a 90-year-old bungalow in Southeast Portland and enjoys high-octane coffee, low-ABV beers and walking long distances.

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