Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Destinations: Shopping in Portland

Canoe, a boutique in Downtown Portland's West End
For years, the Pearl District has been the top spot for shopping in Portland. But it's the city's West End, an up-and-coming pocket of town just south of Burnside from the Pearl District, that caught my eye.

Bordered by Interstate 405 on the west and SW Broadway along its eastern edge, the West End was once a sketchy part of town occupied by little more than rundown buildings. Thanks to a recent renaissance of independent, one-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants, it's now one of the best places for Portland shopping and dining.

Radish Underground
Radish Underground: Part of Radish Underground's charm is the passion that co-owner Gina Johnson Morris exudes for the West End. If you need recommendations on where to shop and what to eat in the area, stop in and strike up a conversation. She's full of great info! Plus, her shop is packed with the coolest clothes, accessories and gifts - many of which are made right in Portland.

Tender Loving Empire
Tender Loving Empire: What's really cool about Tender Loving Empire is that it's actually a combination of an independent record label, retail consignment shop and screen-printing studio. This business hybrid is typical of Portland, where anything local is revered. You could spend a lot of time at this Portland boutique, sifting through everything from kids' goods to books.

Pinkham Millinery
Pinkham Millinery: The moment I stepped into Pinkham Millinery, Kate Middleton's face flashed through my mind. Admittedly, this is a regular occurrence during my shopping excursions (I'm a little obsessed with her style), but this time around the feeling was all-consuming. Many of the shop's fascinators and hats - all handmade by owner Dayna Pinkham and ranging from modest to avant garde - evoked the Duchess of Cambridge's fashion sense in the best possible way.

Flora: Part apothecary, part gift store, Flora is an adorable West End boutique that carries things like Lucia soy candles, Marseille soap and handmade (in Portland, of course!) greeting cards. There's also a small collection of girly home goods that I was obsessing over, like the adorable teal chair in the photo above.
Canoe: A very sleek and clean space, Canoe's products reflect its environment with a collection of simple, beautiful and functional objects designed to make every day life a bit easier (and prettier!). Here, items like decor pieces and kitchen utensils take a very modern approach. It's the type of store where you could find a million things you never knew you needed, until your visit. (Wooden monkey toy, anyone?)

Alder & Co.
Alder & Co.: This is a store where you'll want to touch everything you look at. Plush children's toys, French linen throws and leather braided bracelets, Alder & Co.'s products are all rich in texture and design. Its clothing collection is minimal, but full of quality and multifunctional pieces. I especially loved the cluster of brightly colored scarves and socks.

Frances May and Parallel are two more boutiques you can't miss while shopping in Portland.

More fashionable travel destinations:

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