Craft breweries and the culinary scene in Portland are a given. They are two aspects of the city’s culture that are most looked forward to by visitors. But, the city is more than the beers and delicacies. If you’re into a bit of magic, Portland has its own Mystic District too. Here the stores sell various crystals and minerals from across the world, unique gifts, fine jewelry, apothecary, books, gems, clothing and incense. Here is our guide to Portland’s Mystic District…
Mystic shops in the District
Magical things have become increasingly popular in the last few years. People tried out burning cedar, a bundle of sage, or palo santo sticks as it makes the room smell and feels good. Some select and arrange crystals that might help keep themselves ‘centered.’
It may surprise you that the city has witch shops, spiritual shops, occult shops, witchcraft stores, and crystal shops for those interested in metaphysics. These shops line up in what they call the ‘Mystic District.’ Whether you dream of new divination decks, are curious about crystals or are interested in sweet-smelling soap bars, these shops in the District spark your imagination and meet your needs.
The owner of Seagrape Soap, Maria Vashakidze, thinks that once you land in Portland, you will know that the ‘city has a lot of magic.’ Vashakidze started making body and bath products for school, and since then, her business has taken off.
Today, she still makes baby rum aftershave, rosemary shampoo bar, and aromatherapeutic soaps with lavender orange and mint green tea scents. Portland has several soap makers, but Vashakidze stands out because she makes them with magic. She considers her scent as her magic. She magically works with plant matter and essential oils, which typically focus on self-care.
The shop itself smells amazing because she usually makes soaps here. Seagrape soap obviously sells products for the body like body oil, scrubs, soaps, and bath soaks. It is also one of the witch shops in the area selling witch products from various queer artists across the US. There are divination decks, ritual candles, smudge sticks, and sprays with names such as “Mercury Clarity Spray” and “Boundaries in a Bottle.”
Seagrape also holds workshops and public events several times a month. These events include astrology lessons and tarot readings.
Brown Bear Herbs
Care for some unique herbs and natural remedies? You can visit Brown Bear Herbs, which sits two doors away from Seagrape. It is owned by a registered nurse named Arati Ursus, who began exploring the wonders of herbalism over a decade ago. Ursus revealed that a small, evergreen shrub started talking to her. She researched it and discovered that it was a sacred smoking plant for Native Americans. That was when she experimented on organic cigarettes and opened her store in 2016.
Brown Bear Herbs is a shop providing a vast selection of tinctures and feminist zines alongside a range of organic herbal cigarettes. Free from tobacco, marijuana, and nicotine, the cigarettes are made to help smokers slow down their addiction. Every herbal blend is also created for various situations like sleeping or socializing.
Like Vashakidze, Ursus says she is a ‘star witch’ curious about how people can use real physical and natural tools to heal one’s body.
Clary Sage Herbarium
This shop sits in Alberta, whose mission is to promote local product awareness and offer a sacred venue for emotional and physical healing. Owner Laurie Lava-Books also owns Two-Spirit Medicinals, a line of formulas made from natural and ethically sourced flowers, herbs, and gem essences.
Besides the vast selection of dried herbs and tinctures, the store is also one of those spiritual shops offering spiritual teas and ceremonial allies such as incense, smudge bundles, moon spray, and feather essences. The shop is an excellent start for those planning to make potions and kinds of butter at home.
New Renaissance Bookshop
The New Renaissance Bookshop is your go-to shop for all things witchy, spiritual, and metaphysical. This is the place for tarot decks, a wide selection of salt lamps, candles, jewelry, oils, incense, crystals, Buddha heads, Egyptian cat statues, etc
. It is also one of the few witchcraft stores opening until nine in the evening. This gives visitors more time to appreciate the displays without having to rush.
Ed’s House of Gems
The shop is famous for slicing off a piece of rock and weighing it for you if you are not ready to buy a larger piece. Ed’s House of Gems offers a wide variety and selection of gems, cut or uncut. You might also want to ask assistance from the staff if you need a specific or rare gem that is not on display.
This is another one of the many crystal shops to visit if you are into crystals. They have cut gemstones into glass bowls and various transformational tools available. You can also shop for sage and incense here.
Sugar Mountain Vintage
Crystal shops are also here in the Mystic District. It is a thrift shop showcasing elixirs and crystals alongside retro patches and shearling vests. Witches, radicals, New Agers, and curious tourists flock to this block to explore various magical tools.
Sugar Mountain Vintage focuses on one decade- the 1970s – from shoes, accessories, records, and housewares, among others. All of these displays are curated by the owner Hannah Humphries. This shop exudes a funky, silly, and affordable cute shop where visitors can enjoy and feel the vibe of the place.
How to get to Portland’s Mystic District
Portland is a big city; hence you need to choose your transportation if you do not want to tire your legs and feet from walking through every shop in the district. However, if you prefer walking, you can also do so, especially if the district is just near the place you are staying.
Regardless, here are some easy and friendly transportation options for you.
You can check the fares and routes of buses here. Bus lines numbered 6, 8, 12, 44, and 77 will take you near Northeast Portland, where the Mystic District is located.
Try one of the colorful, fast-moving streetcars plying along the rails across Portland. It offers comfortable and inexpensive rides to various places, including the Mystic District. Just ensure you get the correct route so you will not get lost.
Lyft is a cab-for-hire application that you can download using your mobile phone. You can hire a can using the app. All you need to do is specify your current location and destination.
Taxis are relatively expensive. However, like Lyft, it offers you a door-to-door service with comfortable seating. You can hail a taxi on the streets. While Portland is generally a safe city, taxis can be an ideal and safe option, especially for solo and female travelers.
It is not Portland without bicycles. Most people go to work riding their bikes. If you are staying just near the neighborhood in Mystic District, you can opt to rent a bike.
Places to visit near the Mystic District
Sure, you get excited about treating yourself to mystic treats from mystic shops, crystal shops, witch shops, and more. However, if you are already in Northeast Portland, it will be ideal for you to explore more about the neighborhood. Here is a glimpse of what you can see in the Northeastern part of the city.
- Alberta Street
This is one of the Portland areas where hipsters highly favor. It is also called the Alberta Arts District, showcasing an electric stretch of sophisticated galleries and cafes, and indie art spaces. Here lies art walks, arts and crafts displays, and street performances on certain days and months of the year.
Alberta Street is also home to a few favorite stops, including Salt & Saw ice cream, Bollywood Theater, Collective Art Gallery, Pine State Biscuits, and many more.
- 28th Avenue and East Burnside
If you are up for some food trip after shopping at the Mystic District, then you can head to East Burnside and 28th Avenue. You can find several blocks of first-rate cafes and eateries and a handful of boutiques and shops.
Heart Coffee Roasters, Vino wine shop, Bamboo Sushi, and Crema Coffee & Bakery are some of the must-tries here.
- The Grotto
Whether you are a Catholic or just curious about architecture and design, you can visit the Grotto. Its official name is the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother. This is an outdoor 62-acre shrine displaying over 100 statues. Using the elevator, the gardens, shrines, sculptures, and a glass-walled cathedral will welcome you as you ascend the cliff face.
The cathedral offers a dazzling view of the Cascades and the Columbia River. See the Festival of Lights happening around late November to December. There are masses daily here, but the hours can vary seasonally.