If you dread fighting holiday traffic and bopping from one big box retailer to another, downtown Portland is your holiday cure-all: The hub hosts shopping for uncommon gifts, family-friendly festivities and brand-new eateries, all in a few blocks radius. (Read: No driving from neighborhood to neighborhood, since it's all right here!).
Local shopping not only supports your neighbors; buying from small, homegrown businesses also satisfies your loved ones' wish lists with goodies you just can't find online. Take, for example, PDX Pop-Up Shops, where indie makers and artists set up in vacant storefronts from Nov. 16 through Dec. 24. We're excited about Animal. Plant. Mineral., an innovative retailer that minimally processes raw materials like cashmere and brass into statement pieces, and dfrntpigeon, an urban lifestyle brand that creates edgy t-shirts and totes designed by at-risk youth. Don't miss Portland Saturday Market Indoors (where you can browse handmade soaps and dreamcatchers without the umbrella typically necessary for the open-air landmark) and The Chic Coop, which semi-ironically displays its signature jewelry and handbags in a setup resembling a henhouse.
You can also gamify your holiday shopping with the three-day shopping event Little Boxes. Just download the free Little Boxes app and stop in at participating small retailers downtown, where you'll earn raffle tickets and unlock prizes—not to mention find uniquely Portland gifts.
Then, as a treat to yourself, stop by one of the 35 new businesses and restaurants downtown. (You'll need to fortify yourself for all the seasonal fun, after all!) If your group can't decide on one eatery, hit up Portland Food Hall, the new home of four restaurant outposts, or carb load at the new downtown location of Afuri Ramen.
Don't forget to swing by the Square for performances and events through Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24, will officially launch the holiday season with a community sing-along and, of course, the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Portland's Living Room also hosts the 27th annual Tuba Christmas Concert (Dec. 9), the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition (Dec. 8) and the Holiday Ale Festival (Nov. 29 through Dec. 3), where you can sample the 50 brews on tap while supporting the Children's Cancer Association. We'll toast to that!