15 picks from the shopper’s paradise of Portland, where the shopping is tax-free and the stores are packed with beautiful gifts from the area’s wealth of artisans.
The beer is nice, but Portland’s new nickname really should be “giftvana.”
The shopping is tax-free, the city is easy to navigate, and the stores are packed with beautiful gifts from the area’s wealth of talented artisans.
Here are 15 picks from the shopper’s paradise for everyone on your holiday list. Note that the stores included are close to the downtown hotel core. Check the sidebar at the end of the story for store recommendations farther afield.
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Find gorgeous clothing, jewelry and accessories at Frances May, downtown. The boutique carries hip indie designers, including locals such as Portland Garment Factory Houseline and Dehen. There’s also Portland’s Olo Fragrances and the standout Better Late Than Never Jewelry’s Caldera Studs ($95, also at francesmay.com), featuring freshwater pearls set into red-bronze bars.
If she likes the modern-rustic look, you will find the perfect gift at Porch Light in the Pearl District. Antiques and curios sit alongside country-chic textiles, pottery, candles and more. Pick up a set of 6.5-inch-tall Red Transit Letters ($12 each, also at porchlightshop.com) to spell out a personalized message.
Knock several items off your list at Woonwinkle, a Scandinavian-sleek shop downtown with décor, gifts, children’s toys and lots of local jewelry. For her, create a gift pack of Portland’s new BEING Apothecary products, such as the Treat Milk Bath ($34), Still Salt Bath ($18) and Mend Healing Balm ($16, all also at woonwinkelhome.com). The line is vegan, 100 percent natural, and the glass packaging can be reused.
He’ll be the toast of the campsite with a new Poler pack from the flagship store downtown. Celebrate two Oregon companies with the Poler x Pendleton Rucksack ($85, also at polerstuff.com), featuring a Pendleton print on Poler’s classic rucksack body, with removable side pouches.
Outfit him like a true Northwesterner at Bridge & Burn. The compact, well-curated store carries its own brand of hip tees and jackets, as well as local lines such as Wood&Faulk leather goods and Kiriko Ties ($89), Pocket Squares ($32) and Bandanas ($32, all also at bridgeandburn.com) in Japanese fabrics.
Make a stop at Boy’s Fort (where women are quite welcome) to pick up an Archie’s Press The Solar System Print ($22, also at boysfort.com). The planets and their moons are letterpressed in silver on black in this geek-chic piece of art.
Stock up on Lego, Playmobil and Calico Critters at Finnegan’s Toys and Gifts, an independent toy store downtown. The shop also has Portland-made stocking stuffers, such as Badge Bomb’s Portland Magnet Set ($10, also at finneganstoys.com).
Get your Christmas cards and some holiday bling at Crafty Wonderland, a downtown brick-and-mortar Etsy with products from scores of Portland-area artists. For the kids, pick up Little Lark tees ($28–$36, also at alittlelark.com), hand-printed in Portland with modern, gender-neutral images of space, animals and bicycles.
Near Powell’s City of Books, look for the Union Way “shopping arcade,” a fancified alley of shops that includes Danner, Kit and Ace, and Spruce Apothecary. Pack stockings or Advent calendars with Quin Candy (bags starting at $4, also at quincandy.com). The handcrafted lollipops, gumdrops, caramels and more are made with quality ingredients such as Oregon berries and locally roasted hazelnuts.
Your first stop for home goods should be boutique outfitter Alder & Co., downtown. Among candles, fine textiles and accessories for men and women are the petite Notary Ceramic Bowls ($30–$50, also at alderandcoshop.com). They’re made in Portland of stoneware with a rustic white glaze.
Back at Porch Light in the Pearl, you can pick up Aspen Summit Geometric Air Plant Holders ($22 each, online soon at aspensummit.co), a handy Portland-made item to have around in case there’s need for a chic last-minute gift.
It’s worth walking a few extra blocks to Budd + Finn, an eclectic home and gift store on the edge of the Pearl District, near Chinatown. Thrill your coffee lover with Bucket’s Portland Press ($129, also at buddfinn.com), a French press in a mason jar with an alder-wood lid and handle, and a nubby wool wrap.
Check off your teacher-hairdresser-hostess list in one stop at Powell’s Books, situated between downtown and the Pearl District. Staff book picks make shopping the expansive store easy, and local gifts are tucked into every section. Pick up packs of Jacobsen Salt Co. Salty Caramels ($14, also at jacobsensalt.com) and Bee Local Honey Sticks ($4 for 10, also at beelocal.com) as an alternative to tins of Christmas cookies.
Find just the right sentiment at Oblation Papers & Press in the Pearl District. Christmas-card themes include the Handmade Paper Evergreen ($2.50), French Schoolbook Christmas ($5) and Gold Frankincense Myrrh ($4, all also at oblationpapers.com).
Please your hostess with artisan chocolate from around the world, available at Cacao, downtown. Or shop local: The company’s Premium Drinking Chocolate ($25 for 12 ounces, also at cacaodrinkchocolate.com) is rich and velvety, and just the right size for gifting.
BURNSIDE: Cross the Willamette River to East Burnside. The 811 E. Burnside building houses several boutiques selling home goods and indie clothing. Rock & Rose has cool, curated vintage finds, while Una carries chic, minimalist women’s clothing and fabulous Olio e Osso Balm ($28, also at unanegozio.com), which soothes skin and lips with a dash of color.
MISSISSIPPI AVENUE: This hipster area is home to raw-coffee shop Mr. Green Beans and ultra-cool kids store Black Wagon. Also there is home store Flutter, which carries Magic Hour Candles ($20–$30, also at etsy.com/shop/MagicHourAstrology), which include loose herbs and a gemstone that gets revealed as the candle burns.
SLABTOWN: It’s worth a trip to “Slabtown,” a warehouse district near the west side of the river, for a visit to Schoolhouse Electric. The lighting and décor store specializes in updated reproductions of classic necessities. The company’s Choose Joy Banner ($130, also at schoolhouseelectric.com) is perfect for the season and all year long.