“This is not really a bookstore at all; it’s a vast public amenity—almost a civic space. When I was attending college in Portland, I used it more than the library. There were many days when I arranged to meet a friend there, and we just didn’t leave.” —Fred Dust
1005 W. Burnside St., (503) 228-4651.
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Buy a Book at Powell's
Going to Powell's City of Books in Portland's Pearl District is a bit like finding yourself back in the college library. It's so big that books are categorized not by shelf but by room (Purple Room, Green Room, Pink Room, and so on) and you keep coming across young people slumped on the floors of the book stacks, their legs splayed in front of them, their eyes focused on an improving tract.
Portlanders are rightly proud of Powell's and its ongoing ability to stay open when so many bookstores are falling victim to Amazon. It took only one trip to fall in love; by the second, we were making completely unnecessary purchases (including merchandised soda) just to make sure we were doing our bit to keep it alive.
Go, browse, read, buy. There's no way you can go into the USA's largest independent bookstore and fail to find something you like. That's a promise.
I was thrilled to spend time walking around Powell's, potentially the most famous bookstore in the U.S. The store takes up an entire city block, and book lovers can plan to spend half a day in there. The only thing I was a bit disappointed by was their used-book selection. I prefer to buy used when possible and they didn't have as much as I anticipated, and what I did find used was priced fairly high. Still, the experience of being in a store that size is incredible, and the selection is unlike any other I've ever seen!