When visiting travel destinations, most vacationers enjoy shopping at local farmers' markets instead of the big, glamorous malls or supermarkets that are products of large corporations or brands. The reasons for this are varied. For some, it’s about directly supporting local farmers or vendors. It always looks like one is helping a real person with real problems—and, in this way, boosting the local economy. For others, interacting with a vendor is the hallmark of a business transaction. For those who’ve done it, it’s quite an experience. And there are many such outdoor markets worth planning a visit around.

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Portland, Oregon’s largest city that’s known for its vibrant art and theater—boasts at least eight outdoor markets. However, the Portland Saturday Market is the finest in Portland by far. That’s according to several reliable platforms, including TripAdvisor. In this article, we curate a guide to enjoying the Portland Saturday Market.

A Guide To The Businesses And Items On Sale At The Portland Saturday Market

While many outdoor markets showcase practically any items that can be bought or sold, some like to be known for a few niche products. The Portland Saturday Market has considerable product variety. However, it tends to be heavy on arts and crafts. The major items on sale include jewelry, pottery, and woodwork items—for various uses and needs. Of course, other vendors dealing with products like food, stationery, or clothes will not miss.

However, the lifeblood of the market seems to be the arts. All in all, this market has about 11 product categories. Aside from the Visual Arts Category: Items like drawings, photography, watercolors, paintings, glassware, and sculptors, there is also the Wedding, Pets, Packaged Foods, and Home & Living categories. Packaged Foods category includes stuff like candy, coffee, snacks, and spices. On the other hand, items in the Home & Living category include ceramics, beds, and furniture— among several others.

Other categories are Jewelry, Health & Wellness, Food Court, Clothing, Children, and Accessories. Of course, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets would be in the Jewelry Category. In the same way, foods to be eaten on-site—belong to the Food Court category. These include some delectable vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Accessories include items like gloves, belts, bags, and wallets. Other Accessory items are scarves and hats. The food in this market is fresh and local; and, in most instances, deliciously prepared. Many food vendors don’t mind giving shoppers free samples so that shoppers can have a foretaste and open their purse strings. Every item to be sold is first submitted for review to a panel of members. This is to ensure that the product meets the Market’s standards of quality and hand craftsmanship.

Related: This Is Arguably The Best Road Trip You'll Ever Take In Oregon.

And before we forget, live music—oftentimes acoustics—usually croons to the enjoyment of humored shoppers.

What You Need To Know Before Visiting The Portland Saturday Market

Like many destinations, careful preparation goes a long way in making a trip successful. And that’s not any different with outdoor markets, including the Portland Saturday Market. There are several crucial bits of information that can spare a shopper an inconvenience or—at worse—an embarrassment. For starters, and as with many outdoor markets, it’s always advisable to carry cash. Although many vendors at the Portland Saturday Market take credit cards or Venmo, a few won’t take cash—and won’t budge. For those with kids, there’s a water play area that young ones will enjoy spending some time in.

One drawback of this market’s fame is that it can get uncomfortably overcrowded. Therefore, for the best experience, being an early worm is quite prudent.

Related: A Guide To Boston's Best Outdoor Markets Just In Time For Summer.

One common downside with outdoor markets is that it can sometimes be frustrating to get parking space. So having prior information regarding parking can actually save the day. At the Portland Saturday Market, shoppers can find metered street parking on the adjoining blocks. But since these fill up quickly, shoppers should come early. Alternatively, there’s a SmartPark Garage just a stroll away at NW Davis and Naito Parkway with 120 minutes of free parking provided one spends at least $25 with a Saturday Market vendor.

As with many enterprises, there’s a downside to this market. Some vendors sell explicit items. So this might concern those who are shopping with children below 16 years of age. Also, the surrounding areas of this market are not many people’s idea of “clean.”

  • Where Is The Portland Saturday Market Located? Lastly, Portland Saturday Market is located right next to the Japanese American Historical Plaza on 2 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland.

Portland Saturday Market has the enviable reputation of being the largest continuously operating open-air arts and crafts market in the country. That alone—should make a visit worthwhile.