I'll admit to being a reluctant outdoor lover. I don't enjoy camping; I don't kayak, and I certainly don't rock climb. But even a newbie like me can find a lot to love about REI. It's a dream of an outdoor store, with something for everyone.
The new store in the Pearl District is really top notch. There's plenty of room to display everything, from equipment to clothing. I could spend hours just browsing, figuring out what amazing new technology has been adapted to make your time outdoors just a little more comfortable. Some of the backpacks were so light it was astonishing; I found a silk liner for a sleeping bag, and an origami-style piece of plastic that folded into a cup. The clothing is rugged and durable as well as lightweight; you'll stay comfortable in any weather. And the gear? Oh my gosh, the gear. I almost wished for an opportunity to be more sporting, just so I could use the gear.
The staff is very helpful and very knowledgeable, just another good reason to come to REI for all your needs. They have classes and even an indoor rock climbing wall. How cool is that? Get a membership there, as it's well worth it. You'll smile every time you walk in the door.