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Powell's City of Books, Portland

1005 W. Burnside Street
Portland , Oregon
Tel: 503 228 4651's insider take:

Yes, it's the country's largest independent bookstore with more than a million volumes in stock, but it's also much more than that. Like disciples come to pay homage at a shrine, its vast and fanatical following can be seen browsing the innumerable shelves day and night (they're open until 11 pm, making this a popular spot even after dinner). Those with obscure interests are likely to find not only a few titles on the subject, but perhaps an entire shelf among the million books on offer. And with its unique approach of stocking used books right alongside new ones, thrifty readers will feel no guilt about stocking up on dozens of reads. Beware that it can be a bit like the Bermuda Triangle—hours upon hours can be lost within its doors. If you need a break, refuel at the on-site café. And if you need guidance, head for one of the information desks, where knowledgeable staff can supply you with a color-coded map and help you track down just about anything.

Open daily 9 am to 11 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.