Powell’s City of Books

Powell’s City of Books is a book lover’s paradise ⁠— the largest independent bookstore in the world.

Located in downtown Portland, occupying an entire city block, Powell’s stocks more than a million new and used books. Nine color-coded rooms house more than 3,500 different sections, offering something for every interest, including an incredible selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles.

Be sure to grab a map: The store takes up an entire city block and it’s easy to get lost among a  million books.

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating: 5.0/5 TripAdvisor Traveler Rating based on 5371 reviews

TripAdvisor

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    January 2, 2022
    alohatripper

    See it before it becomes irrevelant

    This bookstore is one of my favorite attractions in Portland. It is by far the largest bookstore I've seen. It is the most eclectic yet well-organized. There are many customer service staff to help you with your questions. Although I didn't buy anything, I prefer buying a book here rather than a mindless order through Amazon. It's so authentic to select from a category, reading the inside covers, and turning the pages. With the Internet we've lost an important aspect of book selection and purchasing.

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    December 15, 2021
    SimeyTravels

    Book heaven

    I've never met a book store I didn't love from the moment I walked through the doors. Powell's takes that feeling - love at first sight and adoration of everything about a book-selling institution - and amplifies it by about a billion. This actually wasn't my first visit to Powell's, but it was the first time I had the freedom to wander and browse, and the option to spend almost three hours within the walls. That sounds odd, right? My first trip to Powell's was almost six years ago, when a friend and I sprung a surprise visit on another friend, which culminated in us having an impromptu girl's trip to Portland. The local friend wanted to introduce me to Powell's, but they both knew they'd lose me forever without boundaries. So, my first trip to Powell's was a tightly controlled thing, where we walked in, I picked up a stack of books taller than me, posed for a picture, and then was bustled back out before I had a chance to blink. This trip was everything the first one wasn't. To start with, my husband wanted to visit Powell's, as well. He's not a reader, but he does appreciate book stores, and...well. He knows his wife. We built a few hours into our morning, knowing full well I'd be in the store for a minute. I honestly don't remember the store being so massive. I have a vague memory (and one slightly blurry picture) of stacks of books and windows, but this store is incredible. We made it a point to follow the signs and visit every colored room available to us. We spent more time in some rooms than in others, and we both used the available computers to search for volumes we'd been unable to find elsewhere (I was successful, he was not...but he was also searching for the wrong title, so there's that.) There is definitely no shortage of things to look at, pick up, examine or get lost in at Powell's. From books to magazines to merchandise to comics, you'll get your fix. I did end up spending a bit more on merch and books than I'd planned, but really, when's the next time I'll be able to shop at Powell's? One last shout-out to their collection of antique typewriters. I was incredibly tickled by the number of old machines they had on display, and took way more pictures than is normal. I embrace it!

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    November 19, 2021
    levericn

    Haven for book lovers…

    You can spend at least half a day to go through all the sections of this bookstore. Touted to be the largest independent bookstore in the USA, with all the possible genres you would look for.

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    October 26, 2021
    travelbug20072012

    A full city block of books?

    Back in the early 2000s, Powells was the Amazon alternative. One place you could find books your local bookseller simply wouldn't have. Their paths diverged, Amazon became the behemoth it is today, and Powells is still just one bookstore, albeit an entire city block! But what a place! I could get lost here for days. Their anime/manga section alone is bigger than most dedicated anime bookshops, so that gives you a sense of scale. Only wish they could discount prices a bit, this is unfortunately the reality that drove other booksellers out of business in the face of Amazon's ruthless price wars. I think Powell's should build a hotel on top and allow guests to take books up to their room, pay for what they like when they check out...

  • TripAdvisor Rating
    September 27, 2021
    651MichelleJA

    Book lover heaven

    The outside is unassuming, and inside is a wonderland of books arranged in numerous different rooms by categories. It was quite overwhelming, and I could have spent all day browsing. There's a rare books section too, that we entered with a special pass and enjoyed a quiet, climate controlled look at some unique historical pieces. It's worth visiting!

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