Editor’s note: Face coverings (ages 5 and up) are required at all indoor public spaces statewide, regardless of vaccination status. Learn more here.
Time spent in Oregon’s Portland Region is a feast for the senses. Mornings are savored over steaming coffee and tea before exploring mural-covered streets and carefully curated shops. Your day might involve sipping wine at vineyards and stepping onto forested trails, an urban beer tour and farm-to-table meal, inspiring museum exhibits and a night at the theater, or really all of the above.
This holiday season consider giving gifts that have meaning — ones that transport your loved ones to special places in the Portland Region with a smell, a taste, a feeling, or a plan to vacation again. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination and help local businesses that need support. We won’t judge if you purchase a few of these for yourself.
Shopping Districts in the Portland Region
The Portland Region is open for business. The city of Portland’s six quadrants each boast several vibrant neighborhoods with many locally owned shops, such as St. John’s, Mississippi Avenue, Alberta Street, Sellwood-Mooreland and The Pearl. Downtown Portland may look emptier now that offices are working from home – but that’s all the more reason to spend a day supporting these hard-working businesses. Outside the urban core, you’ll find friendly locally owned boutiques in the downtowns of Oregon City and Gresham, plus uniquely Oregon shops in Tigard, Beaverton and Hillsboro.
Potters, jewelers, knitters, illustrators and artists of kinds converge at Portland Saturday Market and Crafty Wonderland. The Portland e-Bazaar puts the spotlight on 80+ Portland artists and small businesses. Discover more Oregon-made products online with Built Oregon Marketplace, a new directory celebrating the state’s maker culture.
Home Gifts in the Portland Region
Who wouldn’t like to spruce up their home for the new year? Shops that specialize in Oregon-made home gifts big and small include White Birch Design Co. in Hillsboro, Made in Oregon and MadeHere PDX; for the offbeat friends, find unique goods at Cargo and Paxton Gate. Music lovers deserve new releases and rare collectibles from local legends like Music Millennium, Tender Love Empire (also a record label), and Mississippi Records. The cooler months are prime time for reading, with endless selections at independent bookstores like Broadway Books, Annie Bloom’s Books, Mother Foucault’s Bookshop and the three locations of Powell’s Books (now with its own fragrance). For at-home chefs, pick up a skillet from FINEX Cast Iron Cookware. The Portland Region also earns its stripes as a knife capital, with local forgers like Gerber, Leatherman, Kershaw and Benchmade.
Clothes and Designs in the Portland Region
Pack a wardrobe with fashion from the Portland Region’s very own designers like female-empowering Wild Fang, Pacific Northwest-inspired Bridge and Burn, ultra-wearable wool pieces from wool&, couture African fashions at N’Kossi Boutique, sustainable fibers with Super Natural, small-batch global textiles from Parker + Simonne, classic Western wear at Portland Outdoor Store or the iconic logo of Portland Gear, to name a few. “Project Runway” fans will appreciate the styles of the series’ Portland-based alums, Michelle Lesniak, Sonia Kasparian and Dayoung Kim. Big-name sportswear brands like Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear and Danner are headquartered in the Portland Region and their stores are often must-visits for athletes. Accessorize with the handcrafted jewelry of The House of Rose, Betsy & Iya, Dea Dia, Seaworthy and more. For the outdoors enthusiast, help them gear up with equipment, rentals and repairs offered at the Mountain Shop, U.S. Outdoor and Next Adventure. Shop for the family, friends and yourself at Orox Leather Co., where 4th generation Mexican-American leather crafters handmake leather goods. Orox is part of the 10Y retail space managed by Prosper Portland, with priority given to business owners who are local, women, and from communities of color that have not had access to the downtown market.
Food and Drink in the Portland Region
Half the reason to visit the Portland Region is its food. Share the love of local cuisine with a restaurant gift certificate from the likes of James Beard Award-winning chefs to Latinx food carts at Portland Mercado. The Chef’s Table gift card is redeemable at more than 16 locations. Oregon’s third-wave coffee movement is a renaissance of sourcing and roasting methods, with the Portland Region on centerstage; give your loved ones a morning boost with beans from local roasters like Dapper & Wise Coffee Roasters in Hillsboro, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Coava Coffee, Nossa Familia Coffee, Deadstock Coffee, Prince Coffee or Thornton Family, among others. If tea’s more their scene, you’ll find no shortage of bags or gift cards at the tea rooms of the Portland Region, including Steven Smith Teamaker, Stash Tea, Mamancy Tea Co. and Tea Chai Té. Iconic tastemakers like Salt & Straw are getting creative with special merch for the holidays, including a waffle-cone-scented candle.
For those that love happy hour, select from the region’s many craft distilleries, breweries and wineries. Distillery Row features nine buzzworthy distilleries, from premade cocktails at Straightaway to botanical gins at women-run Freeland Spirits to honey-scented quince liqueur at Stone Barn Brandyworks. You can also book a tasting at Abbey Creek Vineyard & Winery’s The Crick PDX and enjoy a flight from wine from local winemaker Bertony Faustin, Oregon’s first Black winemaker.
Portland boasts the most breweries of any city in the world, meaning it’s always significant to gift branded swag from your favorite brewery or special releases like a seasonal salted caramel stout from Breakside Brewery, barrel-aged barleywine from Baerlic Brewing or farmhouse ales from Little Beast Brewing. Don’t miss the Belgian Dark Strong that comes in a champagne bottle at Ancestry Brewing in Tualatin, part of the Tualatin Valley Ale Trail.
The complex wines of the Tualatin Valley and Portland urban wineries also make for great presents (and to holiday meals). Close in to Portland, book a tasting appointment at the Abbey Creek Winery tasting room in North Plains. For the best Oregon deals on wine bottles, check out The Giving Season through December 31, 2021.
Experiences in the Portland Region
In another not-so-normal year, the Portland Region’s attractions and hotels struggled to stay afloat. Here’s your chance to help them sustain while enriching a loved one’s life, too. For the arts lover, purchase a membership to the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) or Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals; or let them unleash their inner craftsperson at DIY Bar, Roosevelt’s Terrariums and Live Laugh Love Art, among others. Families will love memberships to the Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum and World Forestry Center or an exclusive facility rental at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Those who miss the theater will appreciate season passes or tickets with Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, Portland Center Stage at the Armory and Third Rail Repertory Theatre. Broadway Rose Theatre Company and Bag&Baggage Productions are both award-winning, professional theater companies in the Tualatin Valley worth checking out as well.
Sometimes it’s easier to explore with an expert – and this region has a lot of them. Consider ordering a gift certificate with one of the Portland Region’s many esteemed guides, from foodie experiences with Forktown, to waterfall adventures with America’s Hub World Tours and wine country with Evergreen Escapes, to coastal sightseeing with Sea to Summit and sustainably minded trips with Eco Tours of Oregon. Support a local fishing guide with a gift card to Water Time Outfitters, based in Oregon City, or book a custom luxury experience with Portland-based First Nature Tours to take your group hiking, kayaking or cycling with the ease of an expert-led trip. On the water, tour the city on the luxury yacht of Portland Spirit or paddle to Willamette Falls with eNRG Kayaking. You can even take to the skies with Envi Adventures, Oregon Helicopters and Hillsboro Aviation. Most companies offer private tours.
Hotels in the Portland Region
Of course, there’s nothing like the gift of travel – and a good night’s rest. Give the gift of future travel with a gift certificate to a local hotel. The Portland Region is home to thousands of incredible places to rest your head after a day of adventures, from hip new hotels in the heart of the city like Hotel Zags and Hi-Lo Hotel to scenic waterfront spots like Lakeshore Inn and Kimpton RiverPlace. Foodies find little reason to leave the hotel at The Nines, home of Chef Gregory Gourdet’s Departure, and Jupiter NEXT with Hey Love. History buffs will be wowed by chic classics like Heathman Hotel, The Sentinel and The Benson. The region is also home to four historic properties renovated into cozy hotels by McMenamins that include a former elementary school in Northeast Portland and a transformed masonic lodge in Forest Grove.
In the Tualatin Valley, a number of well-known properties have opened recently, including Hyatt House Portland Beaverton, Home2 Suites by Hilton Portland Hillsboro, Element by Marriott Portland Beaverton, AC Hotel by Marriott Portland Beaverton and Hampton Inn Sherwood – all just minutes from wine country. Shoppers will be comfortably close to malls at Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Washington Square, The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport and Monarch Hotel near Clackamas Town Center. Find great hotel deals in Oregon at Expedia and TualatinValley.org.