The Best Gift Shops
In the age of Amazon, it’s completely feasible to cross everyone off your list from the comfort of your desk. That said, so long as you don’t find yourself somewhere too overcrowded, there’s really nothing that inspires holiday spirit more than a day spent picking up special, unique pieces for loved ones in person. Here, our favorite shops for perusing with an armful of shopping bags in tow and Christmas music playing in the background (plus a few online favorites for emergencies).
Canoe1136 SW Alder St., Goose Hollow | 503.889.8545
As its name suggests, this long-reigning home goods store in Portland prizes simple lines and useful shapes, like a simply but beautiful Brasilia coffee mill, or a set of Alexander Girard playing blocks. There's an emphasis here on pieces made in the Pacific Northwest, though it has global pull, too: You'll find candles and colored pencils from Japan, and vases from Scandinavia.
Alder & Co.616 SW 12th Ave., Goose Hollow | 503.224.1647
At once flower stand—they work with local florist Hilary Horvath—knick-knack shop, stationer, and clothing boutique, this general store kind of has something for everyone. While they reach as far as Europe for some of their finds, including Mariage Freres teas, along with American-made table linens and napkins, Doug Johnston baskets, cookbooks, magazines, and more, they also proudly carry a tasteful selection of Oregon’s best handmade goods.
Woonwinkel935 SW Washington, Goose Hollow | 503.334.2088
While working in Amsterdam as a color designer for Nike, owner Kristin Van Buskirk developed a deep admiration for the quirky yet practical design brands that surrounded her. And so, upon moving back to Portland, she brought a couple of her favorites back with her and opened a shop, Woonwinkel—that’s home in Dutch. Here you'll find Hella Jongerius’ ceramics and Studio NL dinnerware along with some local, American brands with a similar design ethos, like Iacoli & McAllister, Von Tundra, and Studio Makelike.
Animal Traffic429 S.W. 10th Ave., Downtown | 503.241.5427
This eclectic Downtown Portland shop is like a shrine to time-honored American craftsmanship: their selection of new and vintage clothing, home goods, tools, and other necessities are all hand-picked for those with a hands-on, active lifestyle (plus, rugged gear fit for braving the great outdoors, catered specifically to the inclement climate and woodlands-mountains-ocean trifecta of the Pacific Northwest). The storefront itself, outfitted with salvaged wood flooring and reclaimed barn wood walls that nod to Oregon’s rich heritage of manufacturing and agriculture, captures the city’s rustic-meets-contemporary style. There's a shoe-centric outpost in Boise that's worth checking out.
Artemisia110 S.E. 28th Ave., Kerns | 503.232.8224
This cozy indoor-gardening boutique nestled in Northeast Portland has everything you need to create your own miniature ecosystem: healthy, happy plants, and plenty of decorative touches–there’s even special sand for planting your succulents in, which is a bonus because, 1) it’s quick-drying, unlike soil (succulents don’t require much water), and 2) you can layer colored sands–the red garnet sand, sourced from India, is especially pretty. The mini-gardening experts at Artemisia host workshops that teach customers all they need to know to make their own terrarium, all the while encouraging creativity. For a less hands-on experience, you can always buy one of the pre-made terrariums.
Beam & Anchor2710 N. Interstate Ave., Eliot | 503.367.3230
Husband-and-wife team Jocelyn and Robert Rahm (a painter and furniture reclaimer, respectively) restored this 7,000-square-foot warehouse into a workspace-slash-retail space in 2011, and it’s since become a major go-to for Portland’s designers and makers. Here you’ll find that everything has its own story, from vintage home goods and refurbished furniture to handmade ceramic pottery, sunglasses, and earrings, even organic fragrances—some of which is produced in the studio upstairs. This impressive, warm-yet-industrial environment is all for promoting homegrown talent; their second-floor studio is open to inquiries for any independent designers who’d like to share the workspace.
Hand-Eye Supply427 N.W. Broadway, Pearl District | 503.575.9769
This Old Town Portland work-supply-meets-lifestyle shop is a hotspot for the city’s creative craftspeople and DIY enthusiasts. Locally-made and ethically-sourced goods are their specialty: you’ll find everything from work aprons to selvedge denim jeans, gardening tools to axes for chopping firewood, even a selection of stationery and decor for your studio. In keeping with the founders’ DIY spirit, its airy, modern interior, modular storage, and interactive displays were custom-built by their own team.
Imogene + Willie1306 W. Burnside St., Downtown | 971.302.6024
When childhood friends-turned-married couple Matt and Carrie Eddmenson brought their warm, inviting Nashville shop to Portland, everything we loved about the original came along with it: from their top-notch selection of jeans, including their own in-house line of American-made Japanese selvedge denim (his and hers), down to the friendly, knowledgeable service and community-centric events. Adding to the Americana ambiance is the wooded interior design, featuring a cedar-lined pine dressing ‘hut’ they blowtorched, sealed, and treated with a Japanese wood-preserving technique.
Powell’s1005 W. Burnside St., Downtown | 800.878.7323
Powell’s hardly needs an introduction at this point—the Portland flagship is world’s largest new and used bookstore, with more than one million books inside its walls. The interior is always full of people, but with countless bookshelves to peruse, it's easy to find a quiet reading corner. Definitely take the time to look through the incredible selection of obscure titles and ancient editions in the rare book room.
Gem Set Love720 N.W. 23rd Ave., Nob Hill | 503.226.0629
Home to thousands of pieces of fine vintage, antique, and estate jewelry, Gem Set Love (formerly known as Gilt) has been a destination for collectors and casual shoppers alike throughout its 20-plus years in Northwest Portland. Brides-to-be flock here from around the country for the impressive collection of estate engagement and wedding rings with stunning, well-preserved diamonds and precious stones, as well as bracelets, brooches, necklaces, and earrings, each in hard-to-find, if not totally individual designs. With prices ranging in the low hundreds to the several thousands, there really is something here for every budget. This is a reliable place to bring in your own well-loved jewelry for repairs, too.
Kids at Heart3445 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne | 503.231.2954
Every bit the neighborhood toy store, Kids at Heart has been in business for almost thirty years. They carry a great mix of the classic, nostalgic toys parents typically pick out as well as of-the-moment trends that the littles seek out for themselves. Probably the best part of the store is the books section, which carries everything from beautifully illustrated picture books to young adult novels.
Polliwog234 N.E. 28th Ave., Kerns | 503.236.3903
Polliwog is run by a husband-wife pair who moved to Portland from Brooklyn—they were seeking a more flexible, laid-back lifestyle after having their first child. Polliwog specializes in products from small, hard-to-find brands, offering tiny knit hats, design-focused onesies, and battery-free toys.