Powell’s City of Books Tours & Tickets
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Encompassing an entire city block in downtown Portland, Powell’s City of Books is the world’s largest independent new and used bookstore and a top attraction for book lovers visiting the city. Here you’ll find upwards of a million books, including rare finds, first editions, and autographed copies of bestsellers and little-known titles alike, all under one roof.
Launched by Michael Powell in 1971, Powell’s has long been a Portland institution. Although there are multiple outlets, the flagship location in downtown Portland offers by far the best selection. Here you’ll also find a rare-book room and a coffee shop where customers are welcome to read books before buying. Many tours of downtown Portland stop here, though bibliophiles could easily dedicate an entire afternoon just to wandering the shop’s seemingly endless aisles.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Powell’s City of Books is a must for bibliophiles.
- The bookstore is divided into color-coded rooms (blue room, rose room, etc.).
- If you have used books to get rid of, you can sell them for cash or store credit at any Powell’s location.
- Powell’s City of Books is wheelchair and stroller accessible.
- Powell’s doesn’t just sell books: All locations also sell gifts, souvenirs, journals, and even chocolate.
How to Get There
Powell’s City of Books, the shop’s flagship location, is located on West Burnside Street, at the edge of the Pearl District in downtown Portland. The Portland Streetcar stops just outside, but it’s easy walking distance from most city center hotels. There’s also a small parking lot for shoppers and plenty of street parking in the neighborhood, though it can be hard to find a spot during the dinner hour.
When to Get There
Powell’s is a year-round destination, and it’s open late most nights, making it a good option for those looking for some late-night book browsing. It can get crowded on weekends and during the pre-Christmas rush. Regular readings and author events are held at the store throughout the year, usually in the early evening.
Although most people head to the flagship location on West Burnside, Powell’s also operates a few smaller outlets. There’s a small one at the Portland International Airport as well as a larger branch at Cedar Hills Crossing in the neighboring suburb of Beaverton. Powell’s also has a quirky scaled-down version of its main store on trendy Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and an adjacent specialty store, also on Hawthorne, focusing on cookbooks and gardening.
Address: 1005 W Burnside St., Portland, Oregon 97209, USA
7 Tours and Activities to Experience Powell’s City of Books
Explore beautiful central Portland and sample some of the city’s iconic brews on this afternoon bike tour. Accompany your expert guide on a leisurely bike ride to several classic Portland microbreweries, including Lucky Lab and Rogue, for some fun and informative beer tasting.
Want to see a bit of Portland and get some exercise while you're at it? Try a walking tour in the center of the city. You can choose from three tours based on your interests: the first covers the city's architecture and parks, the second focuses on the arts scene, and the third is dedicated to what makes Portland weird.
On this 3.5-hour tour, you'll get a broad overview of the Central City. We'll make stops at Pittock Mansion, the International Rose Test Gardens, and the Portland Aerial Tram. At Pittock Mansion, you'll get pictures of the best views of the city, and the five stratovolcanoes that are visible on a clear day. You'll have plenty of time to smell the roses at the Rose City's most famous garden. You'll get another great view of the city riding the Aerial Tram (*PORTLAND AERIAL TRAM CURRENTLY CLOSED TO PUBLIC DUE TO COVID-19*). Your expert guide will provide background on the sites and city history, while navigating through city traffic, so you don't have to. You'll meander through all of the major neighborhoods of inner Portland on both sides of the river while gaining views of 14 of Bridgetown's 22 notable bridges. Your guide will return you to your departure location at the end of the tour. Book our Explore Columbia River Gorge Half-Day Small-Group Tour as well, and receive $10 cash back.
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for travelers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Face masks provided for travelers
Immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of central Portland as a local would—by bike. On this bike tour, ride through Portland’s historic west side, exploring art galleries, food carts, iconic breweries and 19th-century architecture. Then head to Waterfront Park for great river views and bridge spotting.
Pay tribute to Portland’s myth-laden landmarks with a fun scavenger hunt adventure! This competition adds pizzazz to a walking tour with a friendly race through Portland to solve clues, complete challenges, and track down some of the city’s hidden gems. Don’t forget your smart phone and sleuthing sensibility! Note: Price is per individual, but each team must book together to join in the same adventure.
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
Explore beautiful urban Portland and the Columbia River Gorge on this hop-on hop-off combo tour. With your 2-day sightseeing trolley pass, create your own adventure with possible stops the International Rose Test Garden, Powell’s Books and the Pearl District. Then travel aside the Lewis and Clark Trail to visit Multnomah Falls and the Bonneville Dam.
Taste the best of Portland with this scrumptious foodie adventure with stops at multiple local hot spots. Meet-up with your group at the swanky Heathman Hotel to start your morning adventure. Along the way, you can learn about the Portland food scene, visit a few hidden foodie gems, and enjoy breakfast and lunch dishes before indulging your sweet tooth with a tasty dessert.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Powell’s City of Books?
The best ways to experience Powell’s City of Books are:
- Portland Brewery Bike Tour
- Best of the City Small Group Walking Tour
- Discover Portland Half-Day Small-Group City Tour
- Downtown Portland Bike Tour
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