Bookish Spotlight

Bookish Spotlight: Powell’s City of Books

Hello lovelies! Last week I talked about wanting to share my love for bookstores, libraries and bookish museums that have been impacted by our current global pandemic and I’m really excited to share the first post in that series!

This week I’m talking about one of my favorite bookstores ever: Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon!

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Photo Credit: Powell’s City of Books website

Powell’s is one of my favorite bookstores. It’s main location in downtown Portland is four floors, a full city block and the coffee is well worth the wait. 

My first trip to Powell’s was in the spring of 2009. My high school French Club took a trip to Portland to practice our language skills at French restaurants, learn about French artists at the art museum and take a class at the French language institute. But no trip to PDX is complete without a trip to Powell’s so on our last day we spent most of the afternoon wandering between the aisles.

Looking back I think I was really the only person on that trip that was excited to spend the whole afternoon in a bookstore.

In addition to it’s four floors (Okay technically 3, but street level is kinda two floors since the building is on a hill), Powell’s is also divided into rooms. On my trip in 2009 I went into the Blue Room (Literature) and walked out with 13 books. I spent all my money in one room. Needless to say I did not go through the rest of the store. I was 18 and my parents had given me a credit card for emergencies. I was trying to be responsible and didn’t think they’d agree that wanting more books was an emergency. So my first trip to Powell’s wasn’t the full experience but I promised myself on my next trip I’d make it through the whole store.

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Fall 2017. Visiting PDX for Museum Next conference, had to stop by my favorite bookstore at least once…maybe three times, before heading back to Seattle.

Fast forward 3 years and now I’m living in Portland, finishing up my art history degree. I’d end up living in PDX for about 3 years and would make many trips to Powell’s downtown and Cedar Hills locations all the time. One of these trips even meant I got to meet Grumpy Cat!

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Meeting Grumpy Cat was super fun! This event took place at Powell’s Cedar Hills location.

Thanks to my time living in PDX for school I usually end up in town once a year to visit friends and so I always stock up with new and used books. I didn’t make a trip in 2019 and was planning on a road trip this summer, but now with those plans on hold I’ll be placing a online order instead.

All of Powell’s locations are closed, but thanks to the amazing book community they’re been able to hire back staff to fulfill online orders. Powell’s like many independent bookstores is in danger of closing it’s doors forever so if you’re able to order a book or two from them every little bit helps.

I have some wonderful memories of spending times with friends within Powell’s walls and I can’t wait to browse it’s aisles again.

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Spring 2013. Don’t mind Lisa (Left) she just can’t have a picture taken without making a face. Lisa is also the friend who inspired this blog series so it feel’s appropriate to include her picture in my first post.

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