As we approach the holidays, it’s daunting as a college student on a limited budget to pick out gifts that are both affordable and more personal than a $15 Starbucks gift card. This list of local shops will ideally serve as a starting point for your legendary gift purchases of 2014.
Local crafts and art
516 N.W. 12th Ave.
Oblation is one of the few stores left keeping the art of paper and letter writing alive. Here you’ll find one-of-a-kind cards for all occasions, beautifully crafted stationary and an abundance of wax seals to add a nostalgic touch for those that appreciate the past. Oblation also has a number of beautiful typewriters for sale in the range of $200. You’ll step out wanting to learn and master traditional letter pressing techniques.
Stella’s on 21st
1108 N.W. 21st Ave.
Choose from an assortment of colorful, local products including jewelry, books, natural beauty products, magnets and more. Come in with one thing in mind and expect to leave with at least three other affordable knick-knacks!
2nd Avenue Records
400 S.W. 2nd Ave.
Not only do they carry a decent collection of vinyl in most genres, 2nd Avenue Records has a great reputation for their authentic band T-shirts. As with most record stores, be prepared to rummage a little for that one Police album, but it’s a fun time regardless.
Rich’s Cigar Store
820 S.W. Alder St.
Rich’s may be a cigar store first, but this is also hands down the best place to find the foreign magazines you thought were never shipped to America. Be prepared to fall in love with that British publication that only comes out twice a year and earn a little positive, pretentious cred.
429 S.W. 10th Ave.
Animal Traffic sells men’s and women’s clothing fit for someone living in the Pacific Northwest, and this is also the place to recommend for the largest stock of vintage Pendleton. An excellent choice for someone looking to further establish their Oregon roots.
Local treats and candy
Cosmic Soda Pop and Candy Shop
817 S.E. 34th Ave.
They sell an abundance of extremely obscure sodas and foreign candies, complete with a soda fountain counter that serves egg creams on the regular. It’s more exciting to pick something out here that’s not your run-of-the-mill American candy, and it’s the type of shop where your grandmother might see something she loved in the ‘50s.
Maurice Pastry Shop and Luncheonette
921 S.W. Oak St.
Since its opening in 2013, Maurice has garnered much critical praise and attention for its Nordic-French menu of quaint and flavorful treats. Natural light pours through into the small white room, which always smells of pastries and the most exotic teas. Named after the owner’s French lop rabbit, Maurice is famous for their black pepper cheesecake, but the currant and rosemary scone is equally to die for.
2225 E. Burnside St.
The owner trained in the south of France and brought her talent back to Portland to open up this haven for desserts. The New York Times have said her macaroons trounce those of Per Se’s in New York, the highest compliment an American macaroon maker could receive. Besides macaroons, the menu includes rich concoctions made with praline, mousse, meringue and ganache. For those of drinking age, Pix also has a notable champagne collection to choose from.
Blue Star Doughnuts
1237 S.W. Washington St.
For the record, if doughnuts are going to be your gift, skip Voodoo immediately and run straight for Blue Star. Made from a classic brioche recipe from the south of France, the doughnuts not only come in interesting flavors, but are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. With selections changing daily, Blue Star sells until they’re sold out but is never plagued by a 30-minute wait line. From the champagne peach to the Cointreau crème brulée, these are doughnuts that are both fun and elegant in flavor. Complimentary Stumptown coffee is also served.
Find each place using this Google map: