Winter In Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland, OR

Lan Su Garden, located in downtown Portland, Oregon, offers a peaceful escape from the city.  The garden is home to plants indigenous to China, including evergreen trees and shrubs. This makes it a beautiful spot, even in the cold season.  This garden is as close as you can get to a classical garden of Suzhou, without actually visiting China.  We were gifted a sunny winter day, which is uncommon for Portland, so we decided to make the best of it.  I’d like to return and take some additional photos in the other seasons as well.  The spring in particular.

The garden offers yearly memberships for $60, which provide free admission for yourself in a guest.  Alternatively a single entry adult ticket is $12.95.  Coming up for the Chinese New Year Festival(January 25 – February 9), they have a 20 foot dragon lantern sculpture, dragon and lion dance teams, along with other activities (for a separate admission).

Lan Su Chinese Garden occupies an entire city block in the Chinatown area of Portland, Oregon. Suzhou and Portland became sister cities in 1988, and over a decade later a Chinese garden was established to commemorate this sisterhood.

The two-story structure in the background is the Tea House, which offers a variety of teas and small plates. In the foreground is the Moonlocking Pavilion, whose shadow helps to reflect the moonlight at night.
According to their website, Lan Su is a result of a collaboration between the cities of Portland and Suzhou, which is Portland’s sister city in China’s Jiangsu province, a city famous for its beautiful Ming Dynasty gardens. [src]

The large, well-kept pond is home to brightly colored koi and goldfish, though the intense reflection of sunlight made them difficult to see.
Lan Su was built by 65 Chinese artisans from Suzhou who took up residence in Portland for the project, and is one the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. [src]

Pictured is a pavilion titled “Painted Boat In Misty Rain”, which represents the “boat of friendship between” Portland and Suzhou.
From the pavilions to footbridges, the grounds have been meticulously designed.
The Rock Mountain and Waterfall was assembled using tons of limestone rock imported from China.

In total, 600 tons of rock from Lake Tai were imported from Suzhou. Each rock’s unique shape was formed over the years as the result of the acidity of the lake eating away at the limestone.

I’ve always enjoyed the rounded doorways of Chinese gardens, and how efficiently they can divide up the space without being constricting.

The garden’s buildings also have traditional rooms, such a hall, a shrine, and a study. Each appointed with traditional artwork and furniture. There is even artwork on display which you can purchase.

Thanks for dropping by! I hope that you enjoyed my travel photos and commentary, and will return for more travel content in the future.


Between Lake and Mountain Lies True Meaning[Brochure]. Lan Su Chinese Garden, Winter 2020

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