Holiday shopping in Portland

Unique and eclectic shops offer tax-free gifts galore

By Marguerite Cleveland on November 21, 2019

Portland is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and you can make it a day trip for holiday shopping or extend as an overnight trip to enjoy some of the city's sights, as well.

The big advantage is the tax-free shopping, which saves you almost 10 percent compared to shopping locally. Plan a big box stop like Costco and head a little further south to the Woodburn outlets for some great deals. Also, don't discount Portland's funky shopping scene for some unique finds -- even the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for someone.

There are more than 50 vintage shops in Portland. Find one-of-a-kind accessories and costume jewelry, or even shop for a vintage gown for a distinctive look at your next military ball.

One worth visiting is Hattie's Vintage Clothing. Hattie has an eye for quality vintage items and has been shopping and collecting for more than 20 years. In addition to her store located on Burnside, she also has a huge collection of items that don't fit in the store. So, if you are looking for a special one-off item, call ahead as she might have it.

Crafty Wonderland is a huge craft fair held at the Oregon Convention Center Dec. 14-15 this year, and it will feature crafts and gifts by more than 225 artists. It is also a store, so if you can't make it for the show, you can check out some of the artists and crafters featured in the shop. The company was created by two Portland artists, Cathy and Torie, who wanted a place to feature their handmade items and those of their friends.

Downtown Portland has a good mix of national stores and local favorites, and with the trees on the streets illuminated for the holidays, shopping here is quaintly festive. Connecting the west end of downtown to the Pearl District is the Union Way Shopping Arcade. Located in an alley, it opened in the summer of 2013 and evokes a Parisian feel with its shops and restaurants. Look for Danner Boots. For those who are a fan of their much-loved military boots, they make some cool civilian ones, as well. Overall, the Pearl District has a funky vibe.

Powel's City of Books is the iconic Portland bookstore. It is like the Disney World of books, and it is considered the world's largest new and used bookstore. It takes up a whole city block and has five floors of books. Another store worth checking out for those that love paper things like cards and journals is Oblation Papers & Press.

The Pearl District is also home to many athletic-wear companies. If shoes are your jam, you can visit the original Keen Footwear flagship store, and the iconic Dr. Martens brand outlet is in the area, as well.

The "Festival of the Last Minute" is for the procrastinators. Located at the Portland Saturday Market, here you can shop daily from Dec. 19 until Christmas Eve. Unique items from local artisans span more than 40 categories of arts and crafts, making this a special shopping experience. The market is decorated for Christmas and there is a Santa's booth as well as roving carolers and warming stations.

For specifics on these shopping districts and experiences, visit: