Literary Portland

This book-friendly city is home to an annual book festival and the world's largest independent bookstore.

Blame it on the rain … or maybe being home to the world’s largest independent new and used bookstore attracts both writers and readers. No matter the reason, there’s no denying that Portland loves its literature. Plan a book-lover’s holiday with these guides to the city’s literary offerings, then check out our events calendar to discover even more things to do on your next visit to Portland.

Know Before You Go

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, large events are limited based on the current risk levelFor details on the events listed below, please visit their websites

The Portland Book Festival

Portland Book Festival (formerly “Wordstock”) returns every November with an impressive (and extensive) lineup of local and national authors.

Bookstores and Reading Spots

Peruse thousands of titles at these local bookstores and cozy reading nooks.

Powell’s City of Books

Covering an entire city block, Powell's is a landmark, a great bookstore and a microcosm of the city itself.

Portland Bookstores, Beyond Powell’s

Don't stop with the largest independent bookstore in the world; these seven other shops offer an abundance of literary riches.

Quiet Places Made for Reading

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.

Portland Books and Authors

These notable hometown authors capture the spirit of the Northwest and are must-reads for visitors and locals alike.

Lit in the Limelight

Well-crafted words on the page transformed into live literary adventures.

Live Storytelling Events in Portland

Hear true stories about love, sex, history, movies and even middle school at six regular live storytelling events in Portland.

Future Prairie: A Collective of Women and Queer Artists

Portland’s Future Prairie is a collective of women and queer artists that presents chautauqua-inspired live shows, as well as a podcast.

Tender Table

Portland’s Tender Table event series features performances and snacks by women and gender-nonbinary people of color.

5 to Try

Destinations for Book-Lovers

Grab your favorite book and head to these locally beloved reading spots around Portland.

  • Multnomah County Central Library

    The oldest public library on the West Coast boasts historic architecture, more than 17 miles of bookshelves and terrific artwork.

  • Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden

    Three of the characters from the beloved author's "Ramona" books are immortalized in this Northeast Portland park, located near the famous Klickitat Street.

  • The Heathman Hotel

    This stately hotel's mezzanine library features more than 3,000 volumes signed by their authors, all of whom stayed at the hotel.

  • Forest Park

    Visit this Northwest Portland wilderness to walk in the footsteps of characters from the Wildwood Chronicles and My Abandonment.

  • Independent Publishing Resource Center

    Founded in 1998, this nonprofit provides access to the tools and skills to independently publish zines, books, comics and graphic novels.

Readings & Talks

Enjoy author talks and book discussions at these upcoming readings and talks in Portland.

Editor's Pick
Vanport Mosaic Festival
May 26–June 30, 2021

Vanport Mosaic Festival

Various locations Free

The 2021 festival will be a hybrid event, including virtual events, in-person tours, pop-up performances, a museum, an altar and video installations. In these times of collective amnesia, remembering is an act of resistance. For the fourth year, Vanport Mosaic invites you to explore the many silenced histories that surround us, in order to better…

Editor's Pick
Cultural Communities
Readings & Talks
UFO Festival
Sept. 23–25, 2021

UFO Festival

Hotel Oregon $20 and up

Every May, thousands of visitors flock to the city’s famous UFO Festival, featuring four days of parades, costume contests, expert speakers

For Kids
Friday, Dec. 31, 2021


Moda Center $79-$250

NOTE: The 2020 event has been postponed until December 31, 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…

Readings & Talks