The Pearl District
When I lived in Portland (about 7 years ago) the Pearl District was basically a bunch of warehouses, some still active, some abandoned, with a few large antique stores and coffee shops mixed in. Now, The Pearl District is a destination in itself.
Here are some of the stores we visited that I would recommend (if you like the types of things I like).
My favorite store was then and still is Bernadette Breu. Bernadette chooses great items in her shop, from salvaged street lamps and building parts to a large collection of crowns (yes, the kind queens wear). You can also find vintage wallpaper, great chandeliers, etchings, jewelry and taxidermied animals. She also is a supplier for movie sets and props. Visiting her small store is like going through a really, really, really cool junk yard (really cool).
Cargo is another great place to spend time. It's a two story warehouse (20,000 square feet) full of imported antiques and items from around the world.
I think I actually gasped when I walked into Cielo Home. I went from item to item saying, oooh I want this. This store has the most amazing chandeliers and home accessories (all too expensive for me). They also carry Diptyque products which smell heavenly. The store is designed beautifully as well. They had just finished remodeling when we visited.
Oblation Papers & Press is a letterpress shop which had, by far, the best business card (as they should). Inside, Regina Spektor was on the radio, but they had a bird in the store that kept chirping. A note to Ms. Spektor, this actually improved your songs (that is not an insult, it's a comment). I'm not a paper person, I mean, I don't collect papers and ribbons and stamps and stuff like that but Oblation made me want to.
What can I say about Hive Modern? This store stocks the epitome of cool furnishings and accessories (still completely out of my reach but maybe in yours). It's worth a visit just to see the selection in person.
We have a great garden. I only wish the Dig Garden Shop was in Boston and not Portland (or at least in both places). Their website doesn't have much on it, I'm guessing that's because many of their items are too large and heavy to ship (which is what made me sad when I visited) but if you're in Portland and you have a car or something to transport your purchases with home, I recommend visiting. They have great garden sculptural items, lighting and planters.
There are so many other stores in the Pearl these a just a few. It's a interior designer's dream (or, if I was an interior designer, it would be mine).
Portlanders put on their Thursday best for First Thursday in the Pearl. Galleries and stores throughout the neighborhood are open late. Streets are closed for craft vendors (who are great by the way, some better than the artists in the galleries) and live music.
I would say, if you like shopping and browsing, the Pearl District is definitely a required stop. My suggestion (if you can work it out) is to take public transportation through fareless square on the streetcar to the Pearl during Happy Hour on the First Thursday of the month.