Visiting this eclectic shop is a bit like walking into a natural history museum or a mad scientist’s lab with a seemingly endless treasure trove of oddities for the curious at heart.
Named for Sir Joseph Paxton, a celebrated English horticulturist and revolutionary modular architect, this small store lives up to its esoteric namesake. First launched in San Francisco’s historic Mission District, Paxton Gate’s Portland location has evolved into an ever-changing exhibition of ethically sourced life, death, and natural history.
While offerings vary from week to week as merchandise comes and goes, you might see a cobra-mimicking moth with a 12-inch wingspan from Java, Indonesia, then turn your head 90 degrees only to come face to face with a grinning antique human skull from a decommissioned medical cadaver. Around the corner, a smoky-purple amethyst crystal from deep within Brandberg Mountain, Namibia, rests just feet below an antique wall mount of an Alpine Ibex whose cloven hooves once deftly navigated near-vertical rock faces in the European Alps.
The store’s compact size only adds to the sense of wonder as you explore every shelf, case, and cabinet in this curiosity-packed mini-museum.
Know Before You Go
The store is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. A second location has opened at 811 NW 23rd Ave, Portland.