Powell’s Books is the world’s largest new and used independent bookstore. Powell’s Books is located in Portland, Oregon, and occupies an entire city block. There are over a million books among the 68,000 square feet, nine rooms, three floors, and 3,500 sections. This bookstore is loved by locals and tourists alike. If you love to read, or just want to browse the books, I highly recommend visiting! In this guide, I’m covering everything you need to know about Powell’s Books before visiting if you’re traveling to Portland.
Guide to Powell’s Books
How to Get to Powell’s Books
The main flagship location is located in the pearl district at 1005 W Burnside St., Portland, OR 97209. This address will take you to the main flagship location. There are two other Powell’s bookstores, one located in Beaverton at Cedar Hills Crossing and the other on Hawthorne, but these are smaller locations. You can enter the bookstore at Couch & 11th entrance, which is the back of the building, or at the main entrance on Burnside & 10th.
Note: During COVID-19 regulations, the capacity is restricted. You will need to form a line to enter, however, the wait hasn’t been long each time I have visited. Masks are also required when in the store.
You can get to Powell’s Books by walking or biking if you are staying in the Northwest Portland area. If you drive, there is a parking garage at Powell’s, but there are only 40 spaces so it fills up fast. There is street parking for $2/hour, but parking can be limited in the area and you might have to drive around for a little bit on busier days. The MAX light rail also has some nearby stops. You can read more on how to get to Powell’s at the website and parking options, here.
Hours of Powell’s Books
Powell’s Books is open every day from 10:00 am- 9:00 pm, including holidays. The cafe has the same hours, with the exception of closing at 8:00 pm. There is a rare book room (more on that below), and the hours for that particular room are 10:00 am- 5:00 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. As Powell’s buys and sells used books, you can bring your books in to sell from 10:00 am- 5:00 pm daily at the book-buying counter.
There are nine different rooms amount three floors that each have different genres and sections within them. Below I am breaking down each room!
Orange Room: If you enter through the back entrance you will end up in the orange room. In this room, you can find check-outs, a book-buying counter, best-selling bookshelf, journals, and stationary. Additionally, you can find cooking books, gardening and agriculture, humor, movies + TV, music, and new arrivals.
Rose Room: In the rose room you can find the young adult (YA) and children’s books.
Green Room: In you enter through the main entrance you will end up in the green room. In this room, you can find check-outs, best-selling books, books on sale, new arrivals, and souvenirs.
Blue Room: In this room, you can find contemporary, classics, poetry, drama, and other literature books.
Yellow Room: In this room, you can find science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, mystery, and horror books. This room also holds manga and graphic novels.
Coffee Room: In the coffee room (lower-left corner in the map above) you can find the romance section, as well as an overflow of mystery and thrillers.
Red Room: In the red room you can find books on LGBTQ and gender, nature, military, languages, references, sociology, politics, and travel.
Purple Room: In the purple room you can find books on Mythology, religion, health, metaphysics, sports, business, self-help, philosophy, and psychology.
Pearl Room: In the pearl room you can find books on art, architecture, interiors, photography, crafts, math, and physics. There is also a gallery and event space.
Rare Book Room: The third floor is where the rare books room is open that can be browsed.
Selling at Powell’s Books
If you want to sell, you can bring in your books to any of the three locations for Powell’s credit. I believe they used to buy books with cash, as well, but are no longer doing that. You can also sell your used books online for an in-store credit or Paypal payment by shipping them in. A government-issued photo ID is required to sell. Books are only accepted if they are in good condition. Outdated textbooks or old encyclopedia sets are not accepted. If you have a few boxes of books to sell, make sure you get there are least an hour before the book-buying counter closes! For more info on bookselling, you can visit the website here.
- There is only one bathroom and it’s on the second floor. There is usually a wait and doesn’t typically need a code to get in.
- It gets pretty busy in the bookstore at times but doesn’t typically feel crowded since the sections are so dispersed. Visit on a weekday if you want to go during a time that isn’t as busy.
If you are visiting Portland, be sure to check out some of my other posts on things to eat, activities, and other things that are linked below!
- Ultimate Guide to Northwest Portland
- Where to Eat in Northwest Portland
- Things to Do in Northwest Portland
- The Best Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge
That’s it for the guide to Powell’s Books. If you have any other tips if you’re from the area, be sure to leave them in the comments below! If you want to be up to date with new posts be sure to follow my Instagram @maddie_deer here or like my FB page here.
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