P is for...Powell's City of Books

Oh man, oh man.  P is probably my favorite topic in this month-long exploration of Oregon.  Not because it's my favorite letter (that would be Q or G...because they're my favorite to write), but because of what it represents for voracious readers like myself!  In Portland there is a place that I kindly refer to as the "Mecca of Books."  That place is...

Powell's City of Books

Located in downtown Portland, Powell's City of Books is exactly that, a city  of new and used books unto itself.  It is a truly glorious place to wile away the hours (maybe even days) perusing shelves upon shelves of alternate worlds.  Encompassing an entire city block, Powell's has something for everyone.  It is nearly impossible to walk into the store and leave without something in your hands.  Along with the main store (the Mothership, as I refer to it), there are five satellite stores (three around the city and two at Portland International Airport). 

Powell's main store is so large that they've conveniently color-coded the entire store, providing maps to the customers, and helpful brochures to ease the navigational process.  With a total of five floors consisting of over four million books, these handy directional guides are incredibly useful (and needed) since there are a total of 122 major subject areas and over 3500 subsections.  In addition to books galore, you can spend a little time in the coffee shop sipping on some delicious liquid ambrosia and people watching since nearly 7,000 people pass through the doors every day.  

Touted as the largest new and used bookstore in the world, Powell's was originally opened in 1971 and has since expanded to include their other locations, as well as an online store that was established before Amazon.  It has consistently been included on the list of America's Best Bookstores and is a destination that most people make a point to visit while in Portland.  Having a consistent five-star ranking on Yelp doesn't hurt either.  If you ever get the change to see Powell's, do it!  You won't be disappointed.

Interesting tidbits:
  • You can get married in any room at Powell's.
  • More than 3,000 used books are purchased by the store from walk-in customers every day.
  • Powell's has an Espresso Book Machine available for customer use.
  • The pillar at the Pearl District entrance includes a Latin inscription reading:  "Buy the book, read the book, enjoy the book, sell the book" and the ashes of one of the store's most devoted patrons was mixed into the cement at her request (Morbid much?).
  • The main building is comprised of over 68,000 square feet of books.

Happy Thursday, fellow A-Zers.  Until tomorrow...


  1. My boss would live at Powells if he could :)

    1. I would live there if I could :) Haha. Thanks for visiting, Judy.

  2. The first time I went to Powells (1990 or so, I believe), I almost hyperventilated, I was so overwhelmed and excited! I don't get there nearly enough these days.

    1. I completely identify with that reaction, Sherilee! It's amazingly awesome :)


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