A few years ago, a western pocket of Portland's downtown was a no-go zone dotted with empty buildings, seedy bars, and low-end hotels. Powell's City of Books was a rare exception. Now the West End, adjacent to the lively Pearl District, draws a shop-happy crowd. Area code is 503, except as noted.
- Tackle your holiday gift list at Canoe (1136 SW Alder St., 889-8545, canoeonline.net ), a beautifully curated shop with Heath tableware, Noguchi lamps, and colorful blown glass by Portlander Lynn Read. A few doors down, Flora (1130 SW Alder St., 336-1668, florapdx.com ) is worth a peek for jewelry and home accessories by local designers. Duck into AM-Living (600 SW 10th Ave., 866-700-9200, am-living.com ) for model ships, maps, and globes galore.
- When you get hungry, Kenny & Zuke's (1038 SW Stark St., 222-3354, kennyandzukes.com ), an authentic Jewish deli, will fix you a pastrami sandwich. Or sit down to a communal table at Clyde Common (1014 SW Stark St., 228-3333, www.clydecommon.com ), which serves a hearty mix of meat and pasta dishes.
- For a quick pick-me-up, stop by Cacao (414 SW 13th Ave., 241-0656, cacaodrinkchocolate.com ). Its signature "drinking chocolate" is an intense concoction of melted dark chocolate with splashes of milk and cream.
- Soothe your senses, and your feet, at Aequis Spa (419 SW 11th Ave., 223-7847, aequisspa.com ). Lounge in velvet as candlelight flickers, soft music plays, and attendants administer bamboo-powder foot scrubs.
Photography by Melissa Barnes
This article was first published in November 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.