Book lovers know Portland’s Powell’s Book as the iconic store that has been selling new and used books since 1971.
The company’s flagship location, Powell’s City of Books, in downtown Portland is a block long and boasts more than a million books. The store hosts hundreds of author readings and appearances each year.
The Powell’s Books branch at PDX is a rarity in airport book shops in that it carries new and used books and has been operating for 30 years.
Besides the joy of having a real bookstore at the airport, many travelers loved being able to order a book and pick it up at the airport on their way out of town. Or when they landed.
Better yet, the airport branch of Powell’s Book was located pre-security, with lot of other shops that draw locals as well.
Since Covid-19 blew in, Powell’s has shuttered all its locations, but is still offering shipping and pick-up. Powell’s plans to reopen its downtown flagship store and, perhaps, its other branches in town. But the company has decided that will not reopen its airport shop or the concourse kiosk.
“The privilege of welcoming book lovers to Portland, and sending Portlanders off on their travels with a good book in hand, has been a true gift, Emily Powell, CEO of Powell’s Books, said in a statement, “It’s hard for me to imagine our future without the airport, and without the airport’s seasoned team of booksellers.”
Shops closing at other airports too
Losing Powell’s Books at PDX is a heart breaker. But, sadly, it is not the only popular airport shop – or restaurant – that PDX and many other airports around the country are losing.
As passenger numbers stay in the dumps, many airport concessions can barely afford to stay open or reopen.
Post-pandemic, we’re sure to see a great many shuttered airport shops.
You can see the movies before or after a flight and online.
Here’s one filmed with just a drone that will get you up to date on Portland’s many bridges.
2. PDX Art Program
PDX has an extensive permanent and temporary art program that includes work throughout the terminal, on the airport drive, and out by at the MAX light rail station.
The airport is getting ready to welcome a major new piece by Jacob Hashimoto in the new Concourse E extension, Southwest Airlines’ new home at PDX.
3. The Live Music at PDX
Most every day you can hear and see live music in the PDX terminals.
The musicians are volunteering their time and talent. So, tip well and buy a souvenir CD if you can.
4. Food carts, coffee, and whiskey at PDX
Portland is serious about its coffee, its food carts, and its spirits.
And travelers can sample them all at PDX.
In addition to coffee drinks from Pete’s, Starbucks, Stumptown, Portland Coffee Roasters and Blue Star Donuts + Coffee, PDX has both a kiosk and tasting room for Portland-based Westward Whiskey. Hopworks Urban Brewery serves up seasonal and signature beers as well as grab-n-go beers.
In addition to many great places to eat, PDX also celebrates the local food cart scene with a changing array of food-cart venues in the pre-security Clocktower Plaza.
5. The shopping at PDX
Portland International Airport is a great place to shop.
Not only is there no sales tax in Oregon, but PDX requires its vendors to offer street pricing.
And, unlike many airports these days, many of the shops are in the pre-security area.
As a bonus, PDX has branches of many iconic and popular downtown shops, including Pendleton, Made in Oregon, Powell’s City of Books, Tender Loving Empire, The Real Mother Goose (crafts) and cc McKenzie (shoes and apparel).
And what about PDX’s iconic, much-loved, and replaced carpet?
According to airport spokeswoman Kama Simonds, “The last remnant of the old carpet was removed from the threshold between the old and new parts of Concourse E and temporarily relocated to the space under Jacob Hashimoto’s artwork until the coffee kiosk opens in that space.”
Once that new coffee kiosk opens the last bit of the old PDX carpet will removed.
Sad? Yes. But it’s a good bet shops at the airport will continue to stock carpet-themed souvenirs for a long time to come.
Did we miss your favorite amenity at Portland International Airport (PDX?). Leave a note in the comments section below. And let us know, too, which airport you would like us to visit next.
As always, if we missed your favorite thing at CLT, please add a note in the comments section below. And keep in mind that some amenities mentioned may be temporarily unavailable due to health concerns, but we are sure they will be back.
5 Things We Love about Charlotte Douglas International Airport
1. The Rocking Chairs at CLT
CLT oozes charm with its signature rocking chairs.
The welcoming amenity first debuted at CLT in 1997 and since then hundreds of airports around the country have added rocking chairs of their own.
CLT also has towering Ficus trees in the terminal and a piano just waiting for volunteers to sit down and serenade passengers.
2. Selfie Stations at CLT
To add a bit of fun to layovers, CLT has several #TakeMySelfie stations in the terminal.
You will find giant CLT letters on the wall at Checkpoint E; a colorful vintage postcard on the Concourses A/B Connector; and a Queen Charlotte mural in the Concourse A Expansion.
3. Shopping at CLT
Take a look at some of the fun gifts and souvenirs you can pick up at CLT.
4. CLT’s Airport Overlook
CLT’s Airport Overlook is a large area near the airport (7300 Old Dowd Road) with parking, picnic tables, and benches. It is a perfect spot for watching aircraft take off and land.
Inside the airport, the best place to get great views of the Charlotte skyline is from Concourses D and E.
5. Art at Charlotte Douglas International Airport
The work of at least 14 artists, many of them local, is featured at CLT airport. Here are just a few of our favorites.
Charlotte is known as the Queen City and there’s a statue of Queen Charlotte by Raymond Kaskey in the garden area between the East and West Daily Parking Decks.
On the Concourse A Expansion near Gates A21 and A22 is Refik Anadol’s “Interconnected.” The piece is a series of three massive LED screens with ever-changing digital artwork modeled on real-time airport operations data.
It looks abstract, but the work is translating particles representing flight arrivals, departures, baggage movements and airport parking into millions of pixels.
And there’s there’s Journey 1 and Journey 2, by Ráed Al-Rawi. Charming!
Stuck at The Airport continues its “5 Things We Love About…” series today with “5 Things We Love About Evansville Regional Airport (EVV)” in Indiana.
If we have missed a feature or amenity at EVV that you love, please be sure to add in the comments section below.
And keep in mind that some of the features we mention may be temporarily unavailable due to health concerns.
Before we get started, here’s a link to all the other airports we’ve featured so far in the 5 Things We Love About… series. Feel free to nominate an airport for the series. If you want to sponsor one of the episodes, get in touch.
5 Things We Love About Evansville Regional Airport (EVV)
1. EVV’s business lounge
EVV’s free-to-use post-security business lounge has privacy booths, couch seating, privacy shielded tables and “fishbowl” offices.
Bonus “get things done” extras include free Wi-Fi and seats with charging outlets in the terminal.
2. EVV’s Second Saturday Stories
Here is a great way to make an airport a key part of the community.
EVV’s “Second Saturday Stories” is a storytelling program in partnership with the local library system that takes place at the airport on, you guessed it, the second Saturday of each month.
Children and their family members gather at the airport to listen to stories, sing songs, create art about airplanes and aviation, and just have fun.
We also love the play area for kids at EVV
3. EVV’s Iron Compass café
EVV’s Iron Compass Café and bar – the airport’s only restaurant – is a bit different than other regional airport restaurants. The menu includes more than 70 brands of bourbon, from regional Kentucky bourbons to nips of the precious Pappy Van Winkle.
4. EVV’s solar parking canopies
Fewer than 10 airports around the country have solar covered canopies and, at 1.3 megawatts, EVV’s will be the largest solar parking canopy installation in the U.S.
When at full operation the canopies will supply 50 percent of the terminal’s power.
5. Shopping at EVV
Evansville Regional Airport (EVV) has one small gift shop, but it stocks some unusual items.
On the shelves, passengers will find a local line of soap and shampoo for dogs, Evansville-themed “e is for everyone” swag and, for some reason, giant spoons that are more than 3 feet long.
Did we miss a feature or amenity at Evansville Regional Airport that you love? Please add a note in the comments section below.
Have an airport to nominate for the series? Let us know which one and, of course, 5 reasons why you love that airport.