Don’t be Normal: Local Shops in Portland

Local Shops Portland

You can’t leave Portland before going to an “unusual” local shop!

Being normal is overrated for PDX. At one point, “Keep Portland Weird” was a typical slogan of the city, but for many, that wasn’t enough. The large sign at W Burnside St is simply at a parking lot, but it’s spawned imitators and even satire, such as the Keep Portland Paranormal bumper sticker that tried to outdo the original. This unique personality means that there are plenty of local shops that can’t be found anywhere else. Whether you’re looking for snacks, souvenirs, or simply a place to spend the day, don’t go to a chain store! Like Dr. Roof Inc off Farmington Road, Try something original, and at the very least, it will be an unusual experience.

Pick up a cup of coffee–and a cat–at Purrington’s

Although often lauded as the most dog-friendly city in the country, cat people don’t have to hide in the outskirts of the city. In the heart of Portland is Purrington’s Cat Lounge, affectionately known as a cat cafe. Why choose between having a sip of beer or coffee and playing with cats when you can have both at the same time?

It’s also an adoption center

Cats PortlandThere are plenty of animals to see at the Oregon Humane Society, but interaction is strictly supervised. Workers want to make sure their animals are treated properly and try their best to streamline the adoption process while also finding a good fit. Animals are typically introduced on their own; but what if you want to see how a cat behaves around other cats? Try Purrington’s in Portland instead! The cafe is set up in a home-like setting with plenty of soft beds, places to hide, and boxes to fit into. Cats are free to come to see you or not as they please, giving you the chance to see how they behave in an environment they’d be living in. The adoption process is similar to the Oregon Humane Society:

  1. Make sure you have landlord approval for renters. Purrington’s wants to know that the cat will have a permanent home.
  2. Find the purrfect cat that’s available at the cafe and make sure you can meet its needs (e.g. indoor only).
  3. Meet with an adoption counselor, sign the contract, pay the fee, and take your new friend home!

Have some snacks too

There are treats for more than just the cats! Have a scone or peanut butter cookie, or Sergio’s famous homemade salsa with a side of chips. Of course, since this is Portland, there’s plenty of craft beer options, or a “Meowmosa” to help ease tensions. And don’t miss out on Happy Meower with discounted nachos and drinks!

Things are odd at the Freakybuttrue Peculiarum and Museum

What’s a good way for Portland business owners to let people know their place is different? Put it in the name! And there isn’t a much more unusual name for a place in Portland than the Freakybuttrue Peculiarum and Museum. Dedicated to the paranormal and impossible (0r at least improbable), owner Conrad Elwood does business in his trademark quirky style and isn’t afraid to stand out.

Small, but fun

Don’t come with too big of expectations; the Peculiarum makes it clear that they promise nothing. As a smaller museum, there aren’t too many exhibits to see. But the ones that are there are certainly memorable. Showcasing aliens, bigfoot, a haunted dollhouse, and more, there’s plenty to see, but none of the usual fare.

Don’t come hungry

Unless you’re looking away to get rid of annoying hunger pangs without indulging, you might be better off eating a local burger first. While the museum does have some snacks and food options, they aren’t for everyone. A double scoop of ice cream with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry on top is good on its own, but adding in bug larvae tends to turn off the appetite for most people instead of making stomachs rumble.

Buy a souvenir at the gift shop!

Admission is cheap, just $5 for all ages (and free for dogs), but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to spend your money. With an instore and online gift shop, buy a Guy Fawkes Mask from V for Vendetta, “Serious Putty”, or dog slobber hand sanitizer. Artist Colin Batty also offers a number of strange art pieces such as Cthulhu wall busts, original paintings, and cabinet cards where he alters 100-year-old photo cards into something a little different.

Remember to pick up dessert at the Candy Basket-Shorthill Taffy

There are literally dozens of specialty dessert shops throughout Portland, ranging from bite-size truffles to party-size cakes. After spending all day at the natural features Portland has to offer, you’ve earned a good dessert! The Candy Basket-Shorthill Taffy shop stands out from the rest with a unique feature thought to only exist in fiction, and has great sweets too!

There’s a “water” fall right in the store!

When Charlie Bucket went through the famed Chocolate Factory, he immediately encountered all sorts of incredible sights. But the biggest and most marvelous of all was the chocolate river and Ichocolate waterfall. And the most amazing one of all is one that exists right here in Portland! With minimal advertising, the chocolatefall isn’t on the website, but has been made known via traveler’s photos. At over 20 feet tall, the 2700 pounds of recirculating chocolate aren’t for eating, being several years old and exposed to the elements, but it’s a sight to behold nonetheless!

Take a real-life tour of a chocolate factory

You don’t need a golden ticket to tour the Candy Basket’s factory. It will set you back $3 to get in the doors and is by appointment only, but where else can you see how delicious chocolate is made and eat it fresh?


Directions from Candy Basket-Shorthill Taffy to Dr. Roof Inc

Candy Basket-Shorthill Taffy
1924 NE 181st Ave, Portland, OR 97230

Get on I-84 W/US-30 W
2 min (0.6 mi)

Follow I-84 W to SE Morrison Bridge in Portland. Take the exit toward City Center from I-84 W
12 min (11.0 mi)

Continue on SE Morrison Bridge. Drive to SW 3rd Ave
2min (0.5 mi)

Dr Roof Inc
818 SW 3rd Ave #1435, Portland, OR 97204