Portland is a book lover’s mecca. So as the true book junkie that I am, I took myself on a pilgrimage to its shining beacons of literary treasure. Here’s what I saw:
Powell’s City of Books: Inside it’s easy to see why Powell’s is a bibliophile’s paradise. Filling the nearly 70,000 square foot building are more than a million books of every imaginable stripe. They’re meticulously organized in a series of color-coded rooms with shelves arranged by subject area, a system illustrated on handy foldout maps visitors can use to navigate the store’s extensive stacks. This place should be on every book nerd’s bucket list.
Broadway Books: Located in Portland’s Northeast neighborhood for more than twenty years, Broadway Books is a thriving community bookstore that’s stood the test of time. Visit for the contemporary fiction and excellent customer service.
Annie Bloom’s Books & Cards: With its hand-lettered signs and cozy interior, Annie Bloom’s is like visiting a good friend’s personal library. It’s been in Multnomah Village, a charming enclave in Southwest Portland, since 1978. Check out which books are popular with the local clientele on the “What the Village is Reading” shelf.
The Title Wave Used Books: The discarded books from Multnomah County’s Library System end up in Title Wave, a beautiful former Carnegie library dating from 1912. Every Wednesday some part of the store’s ever-changing inventory goes on sale, reduced from already bargain-basement prices.
Wallace Books: It seems like every square inch of space in this bright yellow and blue house in Sellwood is covered in books. Browse the loaded shelves, teetering stacks, and packed crates for reads both popular and obscure.
This post is an excerpt from a forthcoming article in Northwest Travel & Life and was inspired by a presentation by John Kueber at the 2016 Travel & Words Conference in Walla Walla, Washington.
Somewhere inside Powell’s in a secret location is their most expensive book: a two-volume set of the 1814 Lewis & Clark journals. You can purchase it for a mere $350,000.