Portland, Oregon's Artistic Side Shines in its Pearl District

Posted February 26, 2009 by Kate Hamman

OR-Portland-PowellBooks-DEF With lofts housing the tortured artistic elite, cafes fueling their creativity, and shops designed to capture their spirit around every corner, the Pearl District is Portland's premier arts area. Wander the stacks of dreams fulfilled and lost in a giant bookstore. Or take inspiration from contemporary artwork displayed in a local gallery. After you've spent the day appreciating the visual arts, you can indulge in creative concoctions at a trendy bar.

Shop
Powell's City of Books: You'll find a contender for the world's largest bookstore straddling downtown and the Pearl District on Burnside Street. Housing 68,000 square feet of new, out-of-print, and long-forgotten titles, Powell's City of Books is where hardcovers and paperbacks are given a second chance at a new life. The store buys and sells books of all shapes and sizes for all tastes. You can get lost in the maze of massive shelves overflowing with the written word for months, even years. It's free to browse, and most used books are marked way down from the original price.

Play
Froelick Gallery: Museum admissions can add up, but it doesn't cost a thing to go to an art gallery. Since 1995, the Froelick Gallery has exhibited and represented contemporary artwork from different regions of the world, and includes a strong Pacific Northwest influence. The inviting and sparse display space highlights the work and encourages you to view each artist's talent free from distraction. Exhibits change monthly, with a public reception on the first Thursday of each month.

Drink
Vault Martini: If you've ever wondered what sloth, wrath, envy, or greed might taste like in liquor-form, Vault Martini is here to quench your curiosity. With more than 44 diabolical and angelic elixirs, this hip lounge turns martinis into an art form. The menu features concoctions named after the seven deadly sins, along with sweet and savory tastes like banana bread and cilantro. And, you can sip your drink next to the fireplace for warmth or at the 18-foot ice-glass bar if you need to cool down. Happy hours martinis cost $4 Mondays through Fridays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

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(Photo: Powells Books)

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