At first glance, the shops lining Portland's Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard conjure up many a Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein sketch from 'Portlandia': Independent, eclectic, and proud of it. The reality, however, is less polarizing. While still emanating PDX's easily lampooned eclecticism, Hawthorne (as the greater neighborhood around the boulevard is called) is inviting and appropriately whimsical – not the elitist hipster breeding ground portrayed in the media. In spots, the neighborhood overflows with unique stores, mostly of the vintage variety. Scouring them all would take days, but these five – plus a historic theater and a can't-miss barbershop – embody the diversity and good taste at the heart of the neighborhood.
Lounge Lizard Vintage Furniture
A spacious white storage hangar packed with 1960s and 1970s furniture and illuminated by nearly 100 retro lamps, Lounge Lizard has built a strong reputation for eye-catching, reasonably priced decor during its nine years of operation. Resellers from Los Angeles and Seattle frequent the store, snatching items at cheaper Portland costs and later reselling them for at least twice as much. Merchandise is well priced – midcentury side tables for around $60, Danish Modern couches from $200 – and the across-the-board quality is unmistakable. If furniture isn't your thing, there are other oddities, like clothes, books, and even a framed velvet unicorn picture hanging on one wall. "We get a lot of unicorn folks in here," says Mark Price, a Lounge Lizard employee. Whether purchasing or not, the sightseeing alone makes Lounge Lizard worth a visit.
Credit: Christopher Onstott