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.