The Sights, Smells, Sounds, Tastes, and People of the Portland Saturday Market

Portland Saturday Market Entrance

Located at 108 W Burnside, Portland Saturday Market was a must experience event.  I remembered visiting the market in 1998, when I moved to Washington State.  This past weekend, nearly 14 years later, marked my second visit.  One thing was certain; the hippy feel of the market hadn’t changed at all in those 14 years.

From the Portland Saturday Market website:

Operating since 1974 the Portland Saturday Market is the largest continually operating outdoor arts and crafts market in the nation. Centered in Portland’s historic Old Town the Market is one of the most popular shopping destinations for local handcrafted goods.

Portland Saturday Market was a full sensory experience that included sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and most importantly people.

The Sights

From tulips to tie die anything goes at the Portland Saturday Market.

Tulips at Portland Saturday MarketTie Die at Portland Saturday Market

The Smells

When I arrived the first things I noticed were the smell of patchouli and incents in the air.  Nothing screams arts and crafts market like those distinctive smells.

The Sounds

Walking further into the crowded rows of stalls, I started hearing traditional Native American drumming.  Close by there was more drumming, but it was plastic five-gallon drums.  Even further into the market there were small groups and even single artists strumming a tune.  The music didn’t stop at the food stall area.  There a band entertained the crowd while we devoured our lunches.

Portland Saturday MarketThe TastesGyros at Portland Saturday Market

While the smells and sounds are definitely worth a visit, the tastes are what makes a market.  I personally couldn’t leave without a traditional gyro and Portland Saturday Market delivered with the best gyro I’ve ever eaten.  I followed that taste bud delight with a refreshing Kiwi Smoothie.

The People

The stalls themselves were filled with every type of artist imaginable.  Ken’s Gourmet Products sold “King of the Cajuns” spices and barbeque sauces.  Although the spices and sauces were amazing, it was the gentlemen manning the stall that persuaded me to buy.  A little kindness went a long way.  The Hat People had custom made, beautiful, and very functional hats for sale.  I didn’t make a purchase on Sunday, but I have their website information and will definitely consider a purchase in the future.  To me a trip to an arts and crafts market was not complete without a temporary henna tattoo to commemorate the visit.  Sam, at the A La Henna stall, was Henna Tattooa hippy through and through.  Not only did I get a beautiful henna tattoo, she filled me in on her view of things.

When planning a trip to Portland, the Saturday Market (which by the way is also open on Sundays) was a must see (and taste and hear) event.

5 thoughts on “The Sights, Smells, Sounds, Tastes, and People of the Portland Saturday Market

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