September 2014 UPDATE: As I no longer call Portland home, this list may find itself out of date, as I will only know of changes in shops via friends and social media. So it is more important than ever to check Facebook, Google, and/or Yelp pages to see if businesses are still in operation and at the mentioned locations.
Over the time that I’ve had this blog, I’ve received multiple e-mails from readers who are making plans to visit Portland, asking where where they should go to find the best vintage. And often I find myself having to actually take the time to create a list instead of just being able to pull one out of my pocket. I’ve decided to change that routine…So here is the Atomic Redhead’s Guide to Portland!
Please note that I have not included every vintage shop or antique mall in Portland. I have selected ones I and many friends enjoy shopping at. However, I have also included a handful of other shops that I don’t often visit, but those seeking very high-end vintage garments or furniture may wish to visit. Additionally, I have listed some other Portland places you may want to visit, as well as places to grab a bite to eat or a drink.
Antique Alley – Like many other antique malls, Antique Alley has a lot of good that comes with a lot of bad. But I find loads of treasures here and I’m certain you will too. It’s mostly knick-knacks and home goods but there is also a lot of vintage clothing (often very reasonably priced) and jewelry. 2000 NE 42nd Ave, downstairs.
Asylum (formerly Sorel’s) – This is one of the best places if you’re looking for furniture. They are one of the places that carries Heywood-Wakefield on an almost regular basis. If you really dig Danish Modern, definitely swing by! 3713 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
The Foundation – Get your bullet bras here, ladies! Yes, this shop stocks the What Katie Did bras, as well as a wonderful selection of girdles, corsets and stockings! 4831 SE Division St.
Hawthorne Vintage – For the most part, Hawthorne Vintage is full of mid-century furnishings, chairs, tables, and lamps, but has a handful of knick-knacks and clothing. Moderate to expensive. 4722 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Hollywood Babylon – This shop is mainly for the 80s lover or those who just love funky and off-beat stuff – both menswear and ladies’ fashions. Every so often they’ll get in some earlier items, and their prices are very reasonable. 4512 NE Sandy Blvd.
Jumblelaya – In addition to their Etsy shop, Jumblelaya now holds buying and selling appointments in their commercial studio space, the top half of a 1920s home located in downtown Camas, Washington, an easy drive from Portland. Jennifer and her partner Allan have sourced hundreds of pieces of wearable vintage from all over the United States, British Columbia, and France. Contact them through their Etsy shop for an appointment and allow 2-3 days advance notice.
Lounge Lizard – 99% furniture with other housewares and a very, very small selection of clothing. 1310 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Magpie – This place always has something wonderful and tempting! There’s lots of 40s, 50s and 60s, with even some 1920s and earlier items! There’s also a bit 70s and 80s thrown into the mix as well. The shop also has a decent menswear section. This is a swell place for finding jewelry, including Bakelite. 1960 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Monticello Antique Marketplace – This place is kind of the epitome of “shabby chic” but there are true vintage items here scatter amongst the white washed furniture. 8600 SE Start St.
Powell’s City of Books – Seriously, no trip to Portland is complete a visit to Powell’s. Get lost in multiple levels of a full block of books both new and used. 1005 W Burnside St.
Ray’s Ragtime – Ray’s Ragtime packed floor to ceiling with vintage, from turn-of-the-century frocks to 80s band t-shirts, it’s all here. It’s very important to know your measurements before come into Ray’s, as everything has its measurements, and if you want to look at the good stuff, which is up high and only available by request, you must know and don’t be surprised if they ask to measure you even if you do say you know. There is lots of jewelry (including Bakelite) and hats plus a sizable menswear section too. Prices are pretty average, moderate to expensive. 4059 NE Sandy Blvd.
Stars Antique Malls – Stars has multiple locations in the Sellwood area, offering up a plethora of vintage goodies. Although some dealers do carry more “second-hand” items, there are many true vintage treasures to be found.
Vintage Pink – If you’re on the hunt for furniture, you may find what you’re looking for here. There are a few vendors who carry clothing (mostly 80s) and other bits and bobbles. 2500 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Xtabay – Oh, Xtabay…it’s a plush Parisian style ladies’ shop with pink and silver walls and chandeliers dangling from the ceiling. Mostly 1950s and 60s items, with a handful of later pieces and a few accessories. Very expensive. Brides, make an appointment for the new Bridal Salon located upstairs. 2515 SE Clinton St.
Eats & Drinks
Burgerville – American. Need to grab a very quick bite? Forget McDonald’s. Go to Burgerville. Burgerville is the Pacific Northwest’s answer to In-n-Out. While a chain, Burgerville only uses locally sourced ingredients and has seasonal specials. Multiple locations throughout Oregon and Washington.
Casa Del Matador – Tex-Mex. Dive into the Texas Size Nachos (with carne asada!) in this plush, Mexican-Gothic setting. Two locations: East Burnisde & NW 23rd.
Cup & Saucer – Mostly American. Pretty good breakfast. Most locations close early, except for the Hawthorne location.
Hale Pele – Hawaiian/Polynesian, bar. Don’t let the plain exterior of this place fool you. It’s a full-fledged tiki bar inside complete with thatched roof, black velvet paintings and somewhere in the distance you can hear a volcano erupt. Glorious tiki drinks and small plates. 2733 NE Broadway
Kenny & Zuke’s – American. And in my opinion the best French fries in PDX. Great burgers, soups and pastrami. 1038 SW Stark St.
Doug Fir – American (also has bar seating). This place has the feel of some swank 60s ski lodge, and I adore it. It’s classy, but with a touch of kitsch. 830 E Burnside St.
The Driftwood Room – American, bar. This is hands-down my favorite bar in Portland. The service can be hit or miss, but the ambiance can’t be beat. It’s so wonderfully dark and swanky. As one friend put it “It’s like I’m seeing you in your natural habitat.” Fabulous drinks, my favorite is the Ginger Rogers. Great food too, especially their burger, and their mushroom plate is spectacular. No room in the bar? Sit in the lobby. Located inside Hotel DeLuxe 729 SW 15th Ave.
Voodoo Doughnut – Come on…you can’t leave Portland without getting a Maple Bacon Bar… (But if you want a personal tip…I think Coco’s donuts are better.) Both shops have multiple locations.
NOTE: Portland is very accommodating to those seeking vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Most restaurants offer options directly on the menu, but you may want to check ahead by visiting a restaurant’s Yelp page or by calling ahead.
Other Helpful Portland Tips
The most commonly asked question I get when I say I’m from Portland is “Is it just like that show Portlandia?” Yeah, it is a bit. That show just takes everything to the Nth degree. We like to recycle, there are loads of cyclists, we take our facial hair very seriously, there are food carts everywhere (and give ’em a try), everyone loves beer and cocktails, and multiple restaurants tell you where their food comes from either on the menu, on a board or by the waiter.
Don’t be afraid to use TriMet. The MAX is very easy to use to get around downtown. Five dollars buys you a day pass.
That big river that divides our city, it’s the Willamette River. And it’s pronounced WILL-AM-IT.
You may find yourself along Couch Street, and it’s pronounced Koo-ch.
The Pittock Mansion is worth a visit if you aren’t entirely focused on shopping and love the Victorian era.