Pilgrimage to Powells

B and I just returned from an extended weekend in Portland, a joyous break from the intensity of work. The four days included a family wedding reception, a graduation celebration, and quality time spent with family. Great Grammy even got to meet the Grandboy for the first time! What a lovely weekend!


While in Portland, we also made a group pilgrimage to Powells Bookstore. Powells is an institution in the Portland area, and an incredible experience. It was the first time my mother, almost 89, had been there, and she was overwhelmed, to say the least. She looked around and then turned to me and asked, “Where do I start?” Exactly!

Powells takes up a complete city block in downtown Portland. And you have never seen so many books! To get an idea of how huge it is, click here. They have both new and used books on the shelves, and the genres are housed in different rooms like the Rose Room, (children’s books, education, sciences, natural history) and the Blue Room (literature, poetry, small press, classics), etc. It’s called the City of Books, and be prepared to spend more than just an hour wandering around. It’s a destination all on its own!


My brother went in with a list, which was such a good idea. When we go, however, we usually wander around and serendipitously find books we’ve always wanted but never found, which is also a delightful way to shop there. Purchases? I bought one book (a new world’s record for me at Powells): Hannah Coulter, by Wendell Berry. Brother bought numerous Stephenie Meyer books. Mom bought A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. And husband bought three Kundera books that he hadn’t read yet.

Now it’s back to the grind this morning … and my final 2 weeks of school!

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12 thoughts on “Pilgrimage to Powells

  1. Kay

    What a joyful experience! Powell’s is one of my favorite places ever. We lived in Portland for 3 years and I loved, loved, loved Powell’s. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you!

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  2. Robin

    Nymeth, that’s such a good description — beyond amazing! It really is worth a trip to Portland just to go there.

    Kay, it’s a favorite place for us, too. Another Portland favorite of ours is Camera World!

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  3. Susan

    I grew up near Portland – my absolute favorite place in the city is Powell’s. I’m glad you had such a good time browsing!

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  4. tanabata

    Oh wow! I watched the little video on the Powells website and it looks fantastic! I could spend days in there!
    Sounds like you had a lovely weekend. 🙂

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  5. Gentle Reader

    I’ve always wanted to make a pilgrimage to Powell’s! Sounds like it was fun. I’ll be sure to bring a list if I get there 🙂

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  6. Tara

    Ahh. Powell’s. I visited this amazing store in 1997 and was completely overwhelmed. I’m pretty sure I could spend an entire day there. Good luck with the last 2 wks of school. The last day for us is tomorrow!

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  7. Robin

    Susan, you definitely know what a delight it is to spend an afternoon (or longer) in the store!

    Tanabata, yes, you could completely lose track of time in there, and easily spend days and days among the stacks.

    Gentle Reader, it’s worth a trip to Portland just for Powell’s, although there are lots of other nice reasons to visit there. We love it.

    Tara, I don’t think Powell’s hasn’t changed much since 1997 — it’s still much as it was when I first went there many years ago … still wonderful!
    And thanks, I’ll be so glad when school ends and I can get back to my reading!

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  8. thebluestockings

    I lived in Portland when I was younger and what I miss most is Powell’s. On the strength of this post alone, I’m adding you to my RSS reader so I can check in regularly!

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  9. Robin

    Thanks, Nan. If you do ever head out to the Pacific Northwest, an afternoon in Powell’s is a must.

    Thanks, Jessica. It’s nice to meet another passionate book person. I enjoyed looking at your blog, too, and am adding it to my blogroll.

    Stephanie, it IS awesome! Actually, it’s overwhelmingly wonderful!

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