PDX Airport Guide: Retail

You Can Do All Your Holiday Shopping at the Airport

Check every name off that list with Powell’s, Columbia, Tender Loving Empire, the Kenny & Zuke’s cold case, and more.

By Margaret Seiler September 23, 2019 Published in the October 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Jonathan Case

Start at the south end of the terminal’s Clocktower Plaza at the Columbia store, next to the Barbers by the A-B-C security line. A lot of people stop here on their way out of town to grab a souvenir T-shirt for a gift, while others pop in right after they’ve landed because they forgot to pack socks. See if that polka-dot raincoat your mom would like is on sale. If you didn’t bring a bag to serve as Santa’s sack, get yourself a carry-on-size suitcase (that $199 model might just be 50 percent off—there’s always some sort of  sale going on) to fill with presents.

Just across the way at the Nike store, browse top sellers like the all-white Air Force sneaker and Team USA women’s soccer tees before picking up a Portland Thorns jersey for your niece. (Timbers fans are out of luck—their league is sponsored by Adidas.)

You double-checked the shoe size of your other mom, the one who’s always complaining about her aching feet, so you can grab her a sale pair of Dansko clogs at CC McKenzie. The mini-chain of three stores (pre- and post-security at PDX, plus the original in Bend) moves a lot of shoes—it’s one of the country’s top sellers for Spanish shoemaker Pikolinos. (Staff at the post-security store refer to their shoe display as the “wall of comfort.”) Also find bags, hats, and comfy, packable clothing.

At Powell’s Books next door, take care of your old high school teacher, sister-in-law, and uncle with something from the Pacific Northwest authors table, one of many Portland cookbooks (Salt & Straw’s ice cream tome, Joshua McFadden’s Six Seasons), and a $12 pair of Gumball Poodle–brand “I Miss Obama” socks.

Your crafty, Comic-Con-loving aunt doesn’t know she needs a pair of robot earrings made out of knitting needles from The Real Mother Goose, but you do. Also wedding gift central, the store/gallery sells work from around 800 artists nationwide: owl puzzle sculptures, glass menorahs, backgammon sets, live-edge cribbage boards, jewelry. (Since the downtown Portland store closed in 2017, this is the 48-year-old company’s only retail location.)

Find more cribbage boards (PDX: an unlikely cribbage hub?) carved from myrtlewood next door at Made in Oregon. Along with Powell’s and Real Mother Goose, the store has been anchoring the terminal’s shopping zone for more than 30 years. Grab Pacifica lip tint and tea from Stash or Steven Smith Teamaker for stocking stuffers; a Salty Raven screen-printed Portland bridge onesie for your cousin’s new baby; and a Hydro Flask for just about anyone. Wait till you’re past security to load up on liquids at Made in Oregon’s Concourse C location, where you can fill any spare carry-on room with cans from Pelican, Ninkasi, Buoy, and countless other Oregon breweries.

At Pendleton, if you’re not ready to drop $239 to get your dad the Dude’s sweater from The Big Lebowski, just get him a pair of sensible (but colorful) wool socks and, if they’re still in stock, a souvenir 20th anniversary Lebowski pin.

Post-security, put together an Oregon picnic basket for your brother at either Kenny & Zuke’s (on the A-B-C side) or Capers Market (D-E), packed with Olympia Provisions meats, Face Rock creamery cheese, and Three Little Figs jam (and grab a Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwich for yourself). Your sister won’t ever want to take off the super-soft crew sweatshirt you find for her at Concourse D’s Tender Loving Empire.

Did everything fit in that new suitcase? If the flight is crowded and the gate agents want you to check your bag, make sure you’ve saved all the receipts in case this precious loot gets lost.

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