Bridge City Comics

3725 N Mississippi Ave., 282-5484,

Bridge City has the comics zone covered: local authors, independent publishers, classics, kid-friendly, how-tos, used and new. The staff, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, can suss out the perfect person-to-comic match with astonishing accuracy. Bridge City's motto is no exaggeration—these really are "comics for the people."

Buy this:

Acme Novelty Library No. 20: Lint ($23.95).

Missing Link Toys

3824 N Mississippi Ave., 235-0032,

A haven of carefully crafted toys, games, apparel and decor, Missing Link Toys is not just your little cousin's store. Whether you're hunting down the latest designer Dunny collectible art vinyl or you just want to add a giant plush doughnut to your life, this is the spot.

Buy this:

O-No sushi set ($25), Kidrobot zipper pulls ($3-$5).

Porch Light

3972 N Mississippi Ave., 288-8773,

Most of the old-timey items at Porch Light are rescued from the Midwest; now it's time to start decorating your stately Pacific Northwest bungalow with them. A hotspot for any vintage or retro junkie needing any more reason to decorate via time machine. Find rugs, candles, kitchenware, wall hangings, furniture, beauty accessories and maybe even an old iron birdcage or two.

Buy this:

Vintage Des Moines street sign ($42).

She Bop

909 N Beech St., 473-8018,

The vibe at She Bop is light and comfortable; the vibes ain't bad, either. This self-described female-friendly sex boutique is what adult shops should be, with an aim toward education, health and positivity. Friendly staff and a wide array of toys, books and products make She Bop a necessary stop.

Buy this:

Hello Kitty vibrator ($35).

Sunlan Lighting

3901 N Mississippi Ave., 281-0453,

"Welcome to Sunlan; how can we light up your life?" This electricity emporium will strike awe into your heart with its kooky, ever-changing shop window displays and an equally kooky proprietress who goes by the nickname "The Light Bulb Lady." Go here on an extremely specific search, or just for a good time.

Buy this:

Battery-powered (i.e., wearable) light string ($15-$20), Star of David bulb ($10).


3948 N Mississippi Ave., 288-1649,

Is there a term for feeling simultaneously spooked and enamored? It's what you get reading Edward Gorey, or walking through the industrial boneyards of Northwest Portland, and it's exactly the feeling Flutter engenders. The store does eerie with panache. Inside you may find a potpourri of Catholic paraphernalia, quaint Victorian games and book sets, ventriloquist dummies, consigned lace frocks and a veritable zoo of animals—dead and alive. Owners Kalaisha and Cindy opened the shop about four years ago, in a move that seemed inevitable: "We're both natural treasure hunters," says Kalaisha. "We couldn't stop if we tried." They have recently started incorporating some new into their old, mainly in the form of shiny art books piled in the back. Stay safe and pick up a bright toy accordion; court danger with the taxidermied head of your favorite beast. The shop is alive for the holidays—though the splendor is more secular than saintly, it stays wonderfully strange year-round.

Buy this:

Crocodile head ($165).