Portland's Pearl District was originally called the "Northwest Industrial Triangle," denoting its role as a railroad yard and warehousing hub; however, its name and purpose have changed. This commercial site has transformed from what it was—abandoned buildings and remnants of the past—to what it is—one of Portland's most popular hangouts.
The area's coarse industrial warehouses have been restored and polished into sleek living and commercial havens, epitomizing the concept of urban renewal. Trendy boutiques, funky antique shops, and unique home and interior stores breathe life into these previously cold walls. The contrast between soft and hard, modern and inviting make Portland's cosmopolitan neighborhood an eye-opening experience for the traditionalist.
The Pearl stretches over 50 city blocks north of downtown and is bound by West Burnside Street to the south, the Willamette River to the north, NW Broadway to the east and Interstate 405 to the west. Janice Griffin Gallery Director Thomas Augustine, who related the rough, crusty buildings to the shell of an oyster, and the artists and galleries inside the buildings to the pearls hiding within the oyster's shell, coined the name, "The Pearl District".
One of the major perks of shopping in the Pearl is that the area is condensed— that is, you can walk everywhere. The streets are easy to navigate with its grid layout comprising numbered streets that run north to south and named streets that run east to west in alphabetical order. Most stores are located between NW Everett and NW Irving, and NW 14th Ave. and NW 10th Ave.
For athletic wear, stop into Lululemon Athletica, Lucy or the Northwest favorite, REI.
For footwear, try Solestruck, Imelda's Shoes or Louie's Shoes For Men. Little Urbanites, Hanna Andersson, and Posh Boutique for the Modern Child are popular choices for fine children's apparel.
If you're looking for a little reading material, visit Powell's, a Pearl shopping highlight and the world's largest independent bookstore. This four-story building stretches an entire block on W. Burnside. Used and new books are sorted into color-coded rooms, and a map can lead book lovers to their desired section.
The Pearl also has over 70 home and décor stores. Gallery Zen, Cielo Home and Garden and Coco-Kimono are just a few to name. At Sorella Luna, shoppers can find ceramics and fine arts made in Italy.
Need a break from all the shopping for a warm treat? Stop at TeaZone, the American style tea salon featured in The Oregonian. Offering a selection of over 100 hand-picked loose-leaf teas and a wide variety of teapots and accessories, they also serve fine desserts and lunch. Its Camellia Lounge, a marTEAni bar, mixes custom blends of teas.
- • All information about the Pearl District (public transportation, neighborhood maps, store addresses and contact): www.explorethepearl.com
- • Portland Streetcar: www.portlandstreetcar.org, 503-238-RIDE. Hours: Monday through Friday: 5:30am to 11:30pm, Saturday: 7:15am to 11:45pm, Sunday: 7:15am to 10:30pm