Very rarely can one find one particular cross-section of a major city that represents the city as a whole, but the Portland Saturday Market does exactly that. Just starting its 40th season, PSM is the largest continually operating outdoors arts and crafts market in the US, and operates every Saturday and Sunday from the beginning of March through Christmas Eve (including the “Festival of the Last Minute,” in which it opens daily up through Christmas Eve).
PSM’s unique nature is not so much about what is being sold–arts and crafts fairs everywhere tend to have the same things on offer–but about who is selling them. Whether it is the flannel shirts, the thick lumberjack beards, the messenger bags, or simply the atmosphere, stroll through the 258 vendor booths and you feel 100% reassured that you’re in a city where emo music, veganism, compost and recycling are ubiquitously accepted. There is plenty of talent too, as you may score a beautiful wall decoration, a unique homemade toy or piece of jewelry. That depends on your style. But one thing that is universally true is that you will go home with a happy stomach. With offerings ranging from Polish to pizza and mezze to Mexican, there is truly something for everyone.
Just make sure you make it to the right place–along the Waterfront on the river side of Naito Parkway, since the Skidmore Market adjacent to the MAX station often cashes in on its proximity. The more “authentic” experience is a block or two east, by the river–at the “official” Portland Saturday Market!