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  • Address: 404 NW 10th Ave LL1
Portland's most popular commercial area, "The Pearl", as it's locally known, is north of downtown between West Burnside Street, the Willamette River, NW Broadway and the Interstate 405 freeway. Once a lonely industrial district of decaying warehouses and rail yards, a boom in urban renewal in the late 1990s to the early 2000s prompted an allusion to the area's scruffy architecture as crusty oysters containing pearls. These "pearls" were initially artists' lofts and galleries, but the neighborhood now teems with upscale eateries, small performance venues and independent boutiques as well.

The Pearl's biggest attraction is also one of the most-visited spots in Portland: the flagship Powell's City of Books. Spanning an entire city block (between NW 10th and 11th Avenues, W. Burnside and NW Couch Streets), Powell's bills itself as the world's largest independent bookstore. Galleries and other area businesses stay open late for First Thursdays (held on the first Thursday of each month), and at the Gerding Theater at the Armory (a looming fortress of a building at NW Davis, between 10th and 11th Avenues), the Portland Center Stage hosts some of the city's best theater.

For a leafier version of this condensed urban area, the Pearl offers three parks: Jamison Square (at NW Johnson, between 10th and 11th Avenues) has a cascading fountain and ebbing tide pool; the recreated wetlands of the one-acre Tanner Springs Park (NW 10th Avenue and Marshall Street) and the elegant North Park Blocks (between Glisan and Ankeny Streets), which date to the 1860s, feature tall maple, elm and locust trees, gracefully curving street lamps and a bronze replica of a Shang Dynasty sculpture (a public gift from a Chinese businessman) featuring a baby elephant perched on its mother's back.

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Photo courtesy of user AtlasPDX82 via Wikimedia Commons

Tours & Tickets

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Best of Portland Small-Group Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 25 Reviews

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Portland Segway Tour

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From USD $49.00

Portland Brewery Bike Tour

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Portland Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

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Portland Combo: Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Trolley and Columbia River Gorge Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

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Downtown Portland Walking Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

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Downtown Portland and Pearl District Walking Food Tour

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