Portland’s Most Romantic Street

Ever dream of a magical place where romance and beauty abound? A pathway lined with confections, jewels, wine and sensual adornments? Ok, seriously – a place where you can get all your Valentine’s Day preparations done on one street?

That place exists in Portland, Oregon. It is affectionately coined “The Romance District,” because virtually every retail business on the block promotes the art of romance. You should have no problem finding a memorable Valentine’s Day gift on this charming street – go to SW Broadway in downtown Portland, and it’s the block between Alder and Washington. Oops, the secret is out!


The most obvious gift choice, of course, is chocolates. If you want to take the chocolate offering to the next level, stop by Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland. The confections are all imported directly from Zurich, Switzerland, and are all-natural and preservative-free. The presentation, however, is what will really wow your sweetie. Sweets can be packaged in a variety of boxes, from the traditional red heart, to whimsical crepe-paper dolls (yes, they hold the chocolates!). PS: The bride and groom dolls are great for that other romantic occasion. Teuscher Owner Theresa Luthi especially recommends the champagne truffles for Valentine’s Day.


Then there’s lingerie. If you want something special, you’ll find it at Jane’s Vanity. Possible gift options include silky chemises, handmade jewelry,


perfume, stockings, and unique garter belts. Everything in the store is of the highest quality: most of the lingerie is straight from France and Italy. Jane’s Vanity will be especially helpful for the first Valentine’s Day with your sweetie, when you are unsure of fit, style, and appropriateness. Understanding that selecting a romantic gift can be a “leap of faith,” they will help you to be eloquent in “speaking the language of romance.”

For Him:

But what if you are buying a gift for a man? That can be really tough. UnderU4Menis, according to President Steven Lien, “an international adventure in men’s underwear,” with products from Hollywood, Australia, England and Canada. Valentine’s Day week is their 2nd busiest week, topped only by the week before Christmas. Their products were rated #1 in Men’s Health Magazine in 2010. Fabrics include bamboo (popular with travelers and back-packers for fast-drying and moisture-wicking capabilities), tencel (very soft and absorbent), and beech (3 times stronger than cotton, and 50% softer than silk). Oh, and there’s every shape and pattern imaginable! UnderU4Men has retail locations in both Portland and Seattle.


Been together a bit longer – ready to buy a ring? Joseph K. Wedding Rings understands what a momentous decision this can be. Built on reputation, they focus on the trust involved in such an important purchase. The family-owned business prides itself on selling only conflict-free diamonds. Modern and vintage one-of-a-kind pieces are created in-store by award-winning designers. Most im


portantly, they strive to take excellent care of their customers. Says Store Manager Darren Waage: “The hard part is over – you’ve found each other. The easy part is buying the jewelry. So come see us – quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.”


Finally, The Shutterbug can help to preserve those memories with poster-sized prints, greeting cards and calendars created from your photos, photo albums, and frames. Or, of course, you could purchase your beloved a camera, and tell them “here’s to future memories.” Digital Lab services, such as creating photo memorabilia, print scanning to CD-ROM, or video tape transfer to DVD are all done in-store.

Other businesses on Portland’s Most Romantic Street include Oregon Wines on Broadway, Bene Aesthetic Spa, About Face and More, and Pinkham Millinery, all in historic Morgan’s Alley – a good place to kiss!

Merlin Varaday Written by:

Merlin Varaday was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, raised in Ashland, Oregon – home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival – and has spent the last ten years in infamous “keep it weird” Portland, Oregon. With a B.A. in Tourism Marketing from Portland State University, Merlin’s day job is to answer questions for visitors to Portland and tell them about everything awesome in the grey-skied City of Bridges. Additionally, Merlin has contributed to the writing, editing, and layout of the Old Town Chinatown Crier (www.oldtownchinatown.com). Currently working on a blog about Living the Good Life on the Cheap in Portland (web location to be announced shortly), Merlin’s immediate plans are to stay in her hometown and write about all that the quirky metro has to offer. Which is a lot: leading developments in sustainability, an award-winning transit system, eccentric annual traditions like the Santacon, and culinary anomalies such as Voodoo Doughnuts. Because of this, Merlin considers herself a “stay-put writer” (as apposed to a travel writer). “Maybe sometime soon I’ll get to travel some place fantastic,” she says, “and then I will be a travel writer. For now, Portland offers a tremendous amount of material.”