Mid-Century Magic: Portland’s Antique Mall Adventure

Oh, the joy of antiquing! There’s nothing quite like the thrill of the hunt for that perfect piece of the past to bring into the present. My recent antiquing spree in the charming city of Portland, Oregon was nothing short of magical. The city, with its quirky and retro vibe, is a treasure trove for lovers of mid-century modern, atomic, and retro vintage treasures.

My first stop was the famed Stars Antique Mall, a place where the past comes alive. The aisles were brimming with delightful finds from vintage furniture to quaint knick-knacks. I left with some amazing vintage pieces!! Each booth told a story of a bygone era waiting to be rediscovered. I enjoy shopping at Stars for a couple of reasons:

Stars Antique Mall
Stars Antique Mall

The Stars Antique Mall in Portland is a captivating blend of variety, space, and convenience, making it a must-visit hub for antique enthusiasts. Housing a lively community of 200 dealers, the mall offers a rich tapestry of merchandise ranging from Mid-Century Modern pieces of the 1950s-1960s, retro delights from the 1970s-1980s, vinyl records, whimsical kitchen kitsch, ephemeral items, charming figurines, novelties, and seasonal collectibles, among others.

This diverse array of merchandise not only creates a vibrant and dynamic shopping environment but also invites visitors into a nostalgic journey through time. Adding to its allure is the mall’s spacious and expansive layout, spread across two storefronts on the same block. The generous space provides a comfortable ambiance for shoppers to meander through the huge showrooms, making the exploration of antique and vintage treasures an exciting adventure.

Located in the quaint Westmoreland neighborhood of southeast Portland, the mall is easily accessible to both locals and visitors. To top off the delightful shopping experience, the vicinity boasts a range of refreshment options. Just a short stroll away, one can find a welcoming array of food and beverage outlets, from the comforting brews of Starbucks to the savory delights of Pizzicato, catering to every palate and making the antiquing adventure not just a feast for the eyes, but also a satisfying treat for the taste buds.

Next on the agenda was Midtown Mod, a haven for mid-century modern enthusiasts. Midtown Mod is more than just a store; it’s a portal that transports you to a different time, where every item has a story to tell. I purchased some of the most adorable little pixies and several Mid-Century Modern pieces and I just wished I could have taken home the prettiest MCM lamp that was in the window and the pair of black and white atomic lamps with incredible shades. The Pyrex collection and vintage mermaids and fish were also showstoppers!!

Midtown Mod is a well-curated haven where each item is meticulously selected to represent the epitome of vintage elegance and functionality. The store’s assortment of lamps, furniture, and collectibles is not just a random collection but a harmonious blend that tells a story of bygone eras. The way merchandise is organized is nothing short of incredible, with themes and colors coordinated in a manner that not only highlights the beauty of individual pieces but also creates a cohesive narrative that enchants every visitor.

The thematic and color-coordinated merchandising makes the shopping experience highly enjoyable, as customers can effortlessly envision how different pieces could come together in their own spaces. Whether you’re a casual shopper or a vintage aficionado, the visual appeal and the organized layout of Midtown Mod beckon you to explore, appreciate, and rediscover the charm of mid-century modern and retro aesthetics, making every visit a delightful journey through time.

As the day progressed, I found myself at Lounge Lizard, a spot that screamed retro cool. The vibrant colors and funky designs of the 50s-70s were in every corner, from Mid-Century atomic lamps to groovy pieces and plush sofas. Oh, how I wished I could take home one of those dynamite lamps!

Lounge Lizard in Portland, Oregon, is a haven for those seeking to immerse themselves in a vintage aesthetic, offering a curated selection of retro, fun, and funky items. The store specializes in providing a rich variety of vintage and used furniture, lighting solutions, and custom-made lamp shades reminiscent of the 1950s era. Their merchandise largely embodies the Funk and Retro vibes, allowing patrons to travel back in time as they stroll through the store. For over 20 years, Lounge Lizard has been supplying a distinct selection of homemade furniture, lamps, and refurbished vintage furniture, cultivating a unique shopping ambiance that resonates well with their clientele​.

Yasmina Greco - Vintage Pink Portland
Yasmina Greco – Vintage Pink Portland

The journey continued at Vintage Pink, where the atomic era came to life. I have written about Vintage Pink a couple times on blog here. The geometric shapes and futuristic designs were a celebration of a time when the sky was the limit. I couldn’t resist snagging some atomic MCM ashtrays (I don’t smoke but they make amazing decorations) and some beautiful Pyrex.

With over 20 vendors contributing to the inventory, Vintage Pink is a hub of fantastic treasures waiting to be discovered. The store has carved a niche in specializing in mid-century pieces, with a touch of retro and industrial aesthetics. The variety doesn’t end here; the store also harbors an eclectic mix of Danish, Kitsch, and other unique artifacts from various eras and styles, catering to a broad spectrum of vintage aficionados. On my recent visit the shop had a lot of furniture and cool MCM desks!!

My final stop was Memory Den, nestled in Portland’s historic Produce Row, a vibrant market district dating back to the 1950s. I indulged in nearly two hours of exporting two floors of treasure!! Booths brimming with vintage clothing, evocative photographs, vinyl records, quaint housewares, whimsical decorations, and nostalgic toys. Each dealer’s space radiated a unique persona, instantly immersing me in diverse eras and styles—from the groovy 70s, classic mid-century modern, to the mystique of gothic and fantasy realms. Every turn revealed a new facet of the past, making my visit enchanting.

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At Memory Den, the allure of vintage radios is elevated by a grand display on the second floor, where a vast collection awaits enthusiasts. This dedicated space showcases the meticulous restoration work, allowing visitors to marvel at the vintage aesthetics while exploring the functional beauty of these refurbished radios. The expansive display is not just a sales spot, but a homage to the timeless appeal of radio technology, making Memory Den a significant destination for vintage radio aficionados in Portland.

The mall, touted as the biggest antique shop in the city, has become a cornerstone in the Portland vintage community, offering a platform for local small businesses and vendors to showcase their unique finds. The diversified inventory, encompassing a variety of secondhand items, reflects a meticulously curated selection, resonating with the nostalgic aura that vintage enthusiasts crave.

I did find some parts of the store are rather dark, which could make rummaging through booths a bit challenging. The subdued lighting, while adding to the antique ambiance, may require visitors to take a little extra time as they navigate through the aisles and explore the vintage treasures ensconced in the dimly lit corners. Despite this minor hurdle, the aura of nostalgia, the rich history embedded in each item, and the camaraderie among the vintage-loving community make Memory Den a captivating expedition back in time.

Every store I visited was a gateway to the past, and the friendly faces of fellow antique lovers and shop owners made the experience all the more enchanting. The city of Portland truly lived up to its reputation as a haven for vintage lovers. With bags filled with cherished finds, I left with a heart full of nostalgia and excitement for the antique treasures that now have a new home.

I am absolutely thrilled to present the vintage lady headvases showcased here, each an exquisite treasure I unearthed during my antiquing adventure in Portland. Among the stars of the collection is the vintage Teen-Rific Lady Head Vase from ENESCO, a rarity that exudes timeless charm. Equally captivating is the rare vintage Inarco E-2783 Elly May Clampett headvase, whose unique allure is simply unmatched. The vintage TOPLINE LG 6 Lady Headvase Braid Head Vase Open Smile 50/427 is a delightful sight with her elegance and smile. Lastly, the vintage Inarco teen headvase adorned with a headband is a beautiful ode to youthful exuberance. Each of these pieces invigorates my passion for vintage collectibles and stands as a testament to the rich styles found in the heart of Portland’s antique market.

I can’t wait for my next antiquing adventure. The world is full of forgotten treasures waiting to be uncovered!