I’ve written a lot of stuff about little known spots in Portland that don’t get a lot of touristy stuff written about them. I think that’s great to have a more local perspective. However, with this being said, I also lived in Santa Barbara for about 14 years without seeing any of the tourist destinations. So I can’t let that happen to me here. Portland and it’s vibe and culture are just too cool.
Today I’m going to write about Powell’s City of Books. Powell’s headquarters, dubbed Powell’s City of books, claims to be the largest independent and used bookstore in the world. Powell’s City of Books is located in the Pearl District on the edge of downtown and occupies a full city block between NW 10th and 11th Avenues and between W. Burnside and NW Couch Streets. It contains over 68,000 square feet, about 1.6 acres of retail floor space. CNN rates it one of the “coolest” bookstores in the world.
The City of Books has nine color-coded zones and over 3,500 different sections. The inventory for its retail and online sales is over four million new, used, rare, and out-of-print books. Powell’s buys around 3,000 used books a day.
Powell’s is a local institution. One whole room close to the coffee shop, where I end up hanging out most of the time, is the science fiction/fantasy section. Another zone for me is cookbooks and books on food. There an entire zone on the top floor for rare books.
One day I found my Mom in her favorite Zone the Design and Fashion Zone.
One of the things I like about them the most is their used book program. They buy used books, and when they shelve them, they put them right next to the new ones. So by shopping there you can save a lot by finding used copies of what you wanted to buy.
Basically, the place is a freaking trap for someone like me. You can’t go there without spending way too much money. No better place to hang on a rainy Portland day.