Holiday Shopping Season Kicks Off in Downtown Portland

New international brands, PDX Pop-Up Shops and festive art welcome shoppers for 2018

PORTLAND, Ore – Today, Portland business leaders celebrate the start to the 2018 holiday shopping season with big retail news, featuring the opening of two popular international retailers whose only Oregon stores are in the heart of downtown Portland.

“Everyone is starting to get excited for the holiday season in downtown Portland, especially because of some big new retailers in town and all our incredible local businesses and pop-up shops already stocked with plenty of gifts,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Plus, our crews will be making it easier for shoppers to get around this year, by putting major construction temporarily on hold.”

Fast-fashion giant ZARA is now open at Pioneer Place. The 38,400 square foot store spans two levels of the complex at 3rd Avenue and Morrison, and features women’s, men’s and children’s collections. The store opened Nov. 1 and is touted as an eco-efficient store, using 20 percent less energy and 40 percent less water than traditional retail stores. ZARA is one of the biggest international fashion companies, owned by Inditex and based in Spain. The company, founded in 1963, owns more than 7,000 stores in 96 markets around the world. Over the years, ZARA has remained faithful to its core values, expressed simply in the same four keywords that define all stores: Beauty, clarity, functionality and sustainability.

Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI will open its first store in the Pacific Northwest in the historic Meier & Frank building at 5th Avenue and Morrison. This is the brand’s second largest store in the U.S., spanning 11,000 square feet. The MUJI name derives from the company’s original name in Japanese: Mujirushi Ryohin, meaning No Brand, Quality Goods. The brand’s main product line includes: Apparel, kitchenware, tableware, furniture, interior and storage accessories, stationery, skincare, bags and suitcases. MUJI started in 1980 and now has more than 400 stores in Japan.

If MUJI and ZARA are not enough, more than 35 new retailers and restaurants opened in downtown this year!

Lululemon opened a second location downtown at Pioneer Place, and Brooklyn based IGWT women’s clothing opened in the West End. Grayers brand men’s clothing, offering a modern take on classic sportswear, will open a temporary shop in the West End in November. Dream Cloud Bohemian Market features curated goods from around the world. Popular local favorite Blue Star Donuts’ new flagship space is more than triple in size from its original location, while local apparel company Bridge and Burn has relocated to a larger shop in the West End. Tea Bar, near Nordstrom, adds a refueling station for thirsty shoppers, while Bistro Agnes and Il Solito add more fine dining options downtown.

“We are so excited about all of the new businesses opening downtown. Come explore the best our downtown has to offer during the holidays,” said Downtown Retail Council (DRC) co-chair Courtney Posey, store manager of Nordstrom Downtown Portland. “We can’t wait to share all that’s new with Portlanders and visitors alike!”

Through November and December, retail events and promotions will be updated regularly at and on our popular Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The new festive holiday campaign will feature a Portland take on the classic Twelve Days of Christmas, with each number presenting a festive component of the holidays downtown, like Twelve Tubas Tubing, Eleven Unipipers piping, Nine Ladies Dancing, Five Golden (donut) Rings, Four Hipster Santas, Three Fancy Cocktails, and a Partridge in the Square’s tree. The campaign will be featured in local media outlets, billboards throughout the region and a printed map that showcases all of the cultural events, holiday happenings, and the stores and restaurants that downtown visitors will want to explore this season. Maps are available at local stores and through Clean & Safe’s Sidewalk Ambassadors.

PDX Pop-Up Shops

PDX Pop-Up Shops are back this year for the ninth year, turning Portland’s vacant retail space into temporary destinations for local designers and artists to “set up shop” for the season.

2018 PDX Pop-Up Shops include:

  • dfrntpigeon is a social enterprise lifestyle and apparel brand run by Portland’s marginalized youth, with the support of nonprofit New Avenues for Youth. dfrntpigeon’s unique designs are featured on unisex apparel, artist prints and a range of locally produced goods.
  • City Pop features handcrafted items, small goods and original art by Portland-based female artists. The thoughtfully crafted items are sure to put a smile on your face- vibrant colors, cute characters and quality materials combine to ‘pop’ a bit of fun into your daily life.
  • BlackSheepMade is a collection of hand-knit, locally made goods, fiber art and accessories for you, your pets and your home including scarves, hats, pet beds and wall hangings. Shop small batch, ready-made pieces, create your own on site or take a workshop and learn more.
  • Cloth & Ore showcases female designers, and their love and passion for all things beautiful. The shop features High Sparrow clothing and jewelry, in addition to all-natural, and handwoven home and clothing textiles.

The shops are open Nov. 15 through Dec. 24, dfrntpigeon is located at Pioneer Place mall on the second floor, City Pop is located at Director Park, and BlackSheepMade and Cloth & Ore are located at 803 SW Morrison.

The program has served as a launch pad for permanent shops, such as Crafty Wonderland, Boys Fort, and Bridge and Burn. Program partners include the Portland Business Alliance, Clean & Safe District, Prosper Portland, Innovative Housing, Inc., Travel Portland and Pioneer Place.

Free Parking Sundays

This year, shoppers will once again receive a special gift: Free parking in SmartPark garages all day Sunday, Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23. Between noon and 5 p.m., show your parking ticket at the PDX Pop-Up Shop in Pioneer Place (SW 5th and Morrison) or Boys Fort at its new location at 1001 SW Morrison. Eligible drivers will receive a $5 parking voucher to cover the day’s cost of parking in SmartPark garages.

Holiday Lighting

Every year, the Clean & Safe District lights more than 750 trees in a 63-block area in the retail core to provide a festive atmosphere. Holiday lighting flipped the “on” switch Nov. 1 and continues in the retail core though early March. Tree trunks on Yamhill and Morrison have enhanced lighting in November and December, bringing an even more festive feel to our signature retail streets. This year, it will be snowing all season long around Pioneer Courthouse. On Yamhill and Morrison, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, look for a special installation of snowflakes lighting up the night sky.

Visit Santa

This year, Santa is traveling from the North Pole to make several stops in downtown Portland. At Pioneer Place, Santa visits beginning Nov. 16. Santa welcomes your pet to visit each Monday from Nov. 19 to Dec. 17, 5 to 8 p.m. Santa dons his hipster threads on Thursdays, and Dec. 1 and 2, and also welcomes pets on Nov. 26. Santa stops by Nordstrom Nov. 23 for the Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Square, and visits the store Nov. 24 and 25, Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, Dec. 7 to 9, and Dec. 14 to 24.

Menorah Lighting

Chabad of Oregon hosts a Chanukah Menorah Lighting at Director Park. Join the Festival of Lights celebration on the first night of Chanukah with music, traditional foods, children’s crafts and a Menorah Lighting with dignitaries on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. Menorah Lightings occur each night through Sunday, Dec. 9. Sunday through Thursday, lightings are held at 5:30 p.m. On Friday, Dec. 7, lighting occurs at 3 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 8, lighting occurs at 6 p.m. This will be the 35th year that Chabad of Oregon is lighting Portland’s Public Menorah.

Pioneer Courthouse Square Holiday Events

Pioneer Courthouse Square is the place to be in downtown this holiday season to enjoy free family-friendly holiday events, activities, performances and tradition. The season begins with the Stimson Lumber Tree Arrival on Nov. 9 complete with Santa, as the city’s tree makes its way down SW 6th Avenue to Portland’s Living Room. The 34th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, presented by SmartPark, will be held the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 23 at 5:30 p.m., and will include Portland’s largest community sing-a-long led by Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini, as well as lighting of the spectacular and stately 75 foot Douglas-fir tree adorned with more than 14,000 colorful lights!

Other events include The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, presented by Portland Mall Management, Inc., a fun and festive event that brings caroling groups of all ages to the heart of downtown on Friday, Dec. 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Prizes are awarded to the top caroling groups along with a grand prize of $1,000. The 28th Annual Tuba Christmas Concert, presented by SmartPark, will be on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1:30 p.m. Once again, downtown will pulse with the melodic sounds of big brass as nearly 300 tubas players perform a medley of seasonal songs in unison during this free performance.

Pioneer Courthouse Square will also continue the tradition of performances by local school, art and dance groups providing festive entertainment throughout the holiday season. For a complete list of holiday events and performances taking place at the Square, or to participate in The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition or Tuba Christmas Concert, visit

For more information on these campaigns and other downtown happenings, visit or follow us on Facebook at Visit Downtown Portland, Instagram at @downtownpdx and Twitter at @inDowntownPDX. To participate in the conversation and follow the campaign, use #downtownpdx and #PDXPopUpShops.