I don’t always want to go to Powell’s Books for my book needs. Yes, it’s a great bookstore, but there are times when I want to spend the day mowing my lawn or playing with the dog. Fortunately, the St. Johns neighborhood is close by and has a fine bookstore with access to all the same books as Powell’s. St. Johns Booksellers lies in the heart of the super cool St. Johns neighborhood, in a brick building nestled amongst delicious restaurants, a quaint cinema, and enough vintage and antique shops to keep even the most ardent antique collector well-stocked.
I cross the St. Johns Bridge, with its churchlike archways and breathtaking views, into this appealing little North Portland neighborhood. The Thai Cottage beckons me and I go in and order some incredible Pad Thai. I see the sign for St. Johns Theatre and decide to see what’s playing. It’s a two screen theatre showing newer films at half the price of similar theatres. I buy a ticket for one, a slice of pizza, andenjoy two hours of cinematic entertainment.
I leave the theatre and find myself in a quiet residential area. I walk past newer condos painted in gentle blues, purples, and oranges. I round the corner and pass the St. Johns’ Racquet Club and come upon a variety of large, older homes—houses with A-frame style roofs, unique bungalows, and classic craftsmans. They are equipped with generously sized front porches, well-maintained yards, and ultra-friendly residents.
A Safeway, a post office, and a McMenamins wave hello as I round the corner and nose my way through a vintage store or two. Still making my way back to the bookstore, I’m confronted by the aroma of baking bread and sugar and see a bakery promising homemade doughnuts. I decide to take them up on their promise and I enjoy what is, quite literally, the best apple fritter I have ever had.
I finally make it to the bookstore and am greeted by the friendly owner. I walk around and grab a few titles. I pay for the books and head back to my car. I notice the waste receptacles have the same arched shape as the bridge and this makes me smile; leave it to Portland to show creativity even in waste cans.
I get back in my car and cross back over the St. Johns Bridge and arrive home quickly, though much later than I had planned. There’s no better place to spend a day, or a lifetime, than the St. Johns neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. I really like St. Johns.