Covering an entire city block, Powell’s City of Books is more than a great bookstore: It’s a microcosm of Portland, packed with smart and eclectic offerings, passionate people and, naturally, its own coffee shop. And, just like Portland, it’s open 365 days a year!
A Storied Beginning
Founded in 1971 in a former car dealership on a then-derelict corner, Powell’s has grown into a Portland landmark and the world’s largest new and used bookstore — and its location is now at the heart of the city, bridging the Pearl District, downtown and the West End.
Early on, founder Walter Powell made the revolutionary decision to comingle new, used, hardcover and paperback books. This egalitarian approach means you can easily see everything by a favorite author — and often score a great deal by choosing a well-loved edition over a brand-new one. And, in addition to shelves upon shelves of books, the store also stocks wonderful gifts and souvenirs.
Lost in the Stacks
It can be easy to get lost in the City of Books’ 68,000 square feet, nine rooms, three floors and 3,500 sections. In fact, losing yourself in the sprawling store (or one of its more than 1 million books) can be half the fun. But for those who prefer navigating over perusing, Powell’s offers a detailed map to its color-coded rooms.
Good to Know
- The main entrance is at the corner of 10th and Burnside.
- Grab a map at the info desk in the center of the Green Room.
- Need coffee, stat? Head to your left and pass through the Blue and Gold rooms to get to the café.
- Restrooms are on the second level in the Purple Room.
- Every room has staffed information desks and computers for customer searches.
- Cashiers are located near the two entrances, in the Green and Orange rooms.
- If you’re selling used books, you should use the entrance at 11th and Couch — this takes you right into the Orange Room, where books are bought 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
Happening at Powell’s
Powell’s hosts frequent author readings and events in the Pearl Room’s Basil Hallward Gallery. Every Saturday at 11 a.m. is kids’ story time in the Rose Room, featuring a different book every week.
Serious book lovers should plan to visit the Rare Book Room, which houses several thousand valuable books and is open daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m. or by appointment.
Beyond the “City”
There are two Powell’s outposts in a single block of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard: a general bookstore and one focused on volumes (and superb gifts) for gardeners and cooks. You’ll also find a location in Portland International Airport, in the Oregon Market pre-boarding area. There’s another location in Beaverton, southwest of Portland.
Portland Book Festival (formerly “Wordstock”) returns every November with an impressive (and extensive) lineup of local and national authors.
Pick up a winning read at one of Portland’s many independent bookstores and curl up in a cozy corner of one of these eight local coffee shops.
Discover a town full of libraries and book stores.
Current science gets up close and personal at Meet a Scientist. This program, held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, features local scientists who share their research and knowledge with you through hands-on activities and conversation. Meet a Scientist exclusively features professionals who are OMSI Science Communication Fellows. June 13 Topics Meet…
Join Literary Arts’ annual celebration of the state’s most accomplished writers in the genres of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, young readers and graphic literature. Hosts in 2020 are Elena Passarello and Omar El Akkad.
Every May, thousands of visitors flock to the city’s famous UFO Festival, featuring four days of parades, costume contests, expert speakers
OryCon is Oregon’s premier, fan-run, annual science fiction/fantasy convention held in Portland since 1979. OryCon is a 100% volunteer-based production of Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. (OSFCI), which is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 corporation.
NOTE: This event has been postponed until May 29, 2021. TEDxPortland, the largest TEDx event in the world, celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2020. For its first time, the event heads to the Moda Center in North Portland (home of the city’s iconic NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers). Enjoy a day of notable and…
Visual Effects and the Complexities of the Entertainment Industry With Jeffrey A. Okun, VES, Visual Effects Supervisor and Co-Editor of the VES Handbook of Visual Effects: Best Practices and Procedures Everyone thinks it’s all glitz and glam in Hollywood but what is it really like working on a set to make a movie or TV…
Building on the momentum generated by the genre-defining Brene Brown’s Call to Courage and Tony Robbins’ I Am Not Your Guru comes Russell Brand’sRecovery Live. World renowned stand-up comedian, Russell Brand, has twenty years’ experience as a live stage performer and multiple successful specials already to his name, including the 2018 Netflix original, Re:Birth. In…
The Northwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America presents Save The Cat Writes A Novel Workshop with Jessica Brody In Save The Cat Writes A Novel, Jessica Brody presents a comprehensive story-structure guide for novelists that applies the famed Save the Cat! screenwriting methodology to the world of novel writing. During the seminar, she’ll cover…
“It’s like the This American Life of SEX!” Storytellers share their true sexual experiences in front of a live audience, offering a glimpse into one of the most basic human drives that connects us all. Stories told at The Mystery Box Show explore sexuality from the vanilla to the kinky, and all across the gender…
The Ecology of Surprise: Ecology and Environmental Ethics in an Old-Growth Forest with Michael Paul Nelson, PhD, Ruth H. Spaniol Chair of Renewable Resources and Professor of Environmental Philosophy and Ethics, and Lead-PI at the HJ Andrews LTER Program in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University Science Pub Portland at…
Every third Wednesday of the month at noon, photography enthusiasts gather at the Portland Art Museum to hear talks by regional photographers, gallerists, historians, curators and collectors.
Frances Glessner Lee was supposed to spend her life as an heiress and socialite. Born in 1878 into a wealthy Chicago family, she was never meant to have a career, let alone one steeped in death and depravity. Yet she developed a fascination with the investigation of violent crimes and made it her life’s work….
Discover the advantage custom wood cabinetry provides when facing complex design challenges! By balancing period-appropriate architectural specifications with modern performance standards, and combining historic techniques and modern technologies, we break down how to tackle the toughest of challenges. Learn why wood, one of our most valuable, renewable resources, is a key component to achieving seamless…
Join the 40th Annual Gem and Mineral Show for: 45 Dealers with rocks, fossils, gems, minerals, beads, tools, jewelry.Kids’ Activity Corner with games & prizes.100 Exhibits of fossils, lapidary arts, and minerals.Demonstrators showing faceting of precious stones, wire wrapping, cabochons and more.Door & Raffle PrizesSilent Auctions all day and every day. The show benefits 5…