The Portland Saturday Market is a gregarious mix of public fair, marketplace and food festival.
Located in the heart of 'old town' Portland, right on the downtown 'Max' lightrail, the market is a literal maze of hand-crafted and locally made wares, artwork, jewellery, clothing and more. Live music from diverse local bands and a food court that offers a taste of just about everywhere - American, Thai, Spanish, Greek - including local brews.
Street performers - mimes, living 'statues,' jugglers and magicians stroll the market, but they are not the only entertainment - just watching the diversity of the crowd is one of the major attractions of the market.
Located right off of Portland's Waterfront Park, visiting the Saturday Market is one of the best ways to see Portlanders in their natural element - and not worry about blending in.
Since driving and parking downtown is something of a nightmare, the best way to get around to and from the market will be on Portland's 'Max' lightrail train - it runs from Portland Airport through downtown and will only set you back about $5 for a day pass. The downtown area itself is part of Portland's 'fareless' square, so if you are only riding for a brief distance - its all free.
The market can be used as a jumping off point to explore more of downtown since it is central to the Waterfront and Chinatown - and just a short train ride to Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Powell's is a Portland landmark - though there are several outlets around Portland, the main attraction is the mother ship located at 10th and Burnside - it takes up an entire city block and five floors to house its beautifully eclectic and sometimes chaotic collection of literary beasts and local ephemera.
There is a genre to suit every taste, from Science Fiction (take a moment to gawk at the walls - you'll find some famous autographs scrawled there) to Gardening to Graphic Novels and even a Rare Books Room on the top floor that smells almost as antiquarian as it looks.
Powell's also boasts a small art gallery and cafe with the best local coffee. If you want a seat in the crowded cafe though, get there early.
A typical visit to Powells will set you back at least two hours. Wear your best walking shoes. Bring a backpack too - you'll need it to carry all the heavy second-hand tomes you find.
People watching is encouraged: if you want to know what real Portlanders are like, this is the place to go.
10th & Burnside
Toll Free: 800-878-7323
One of the world's great independent book shops. Acres of new and second hand books. Great place to come when it's raining, which it probably is. Pick up a map and browse all day.
1005 W Burnside
Portland, OR 97209 USA
(at the corner of 10th Ave and W. Burnside)
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