When I stayed in Portland in the early summer of 2014, one of my favourite things to do was explore the city’s beautiful green spaces and gardens. It was a particularly sunny April/May when I visited (I had one day of rain…I’m pretty convinced Portland’s reputation for non-stop rain is a myth created by the locals to keep the tourist numbers at bay!) so it was the perfect time for wandering around all of the gardens and parks.
I visited pretty much all of them, including the International Rose Test Garden, The Japanese Gardens and Laurelhurst Park (another favourite!) but the day I spent at Lan Su was something a bit special.
It costs $10.00 (just over £7) for an adult to visit the garden, which includes entry for the entire day and a tour. I’m not usually one for traipsing around after someone while they talk at you but I was really glad I went ahead and did this one – especially when he pointed out the garden’s resident Hummingbird (look out for him if you go, but you’ll need to be quicker than me if you’re going to get a photo!)
A result of a collaboration between the cities of Portland and Suzhou – PDX’s sister city which is famous for its beautiful Ming Dynasty gardens – Lan Su is known as the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. Split into different rooms or areas, each different part of the garden like a little, hidden world.
Despite taking up an entire block in Downtown Portland, once you step inside it’s easy to forget that you’re in a city. It’s one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever visited – the only reminder of Portland’s bustling streets outside is the ever-present view of ‘Big Pink’ beyond the walls.
I wandered back around the garden after the tour and found a shaded spot next to the pond to sit and read for a while. Sometime later in the afternoon, the music coming from the teahouse – or the Tower of Cosmic Reflections as it’s officially called – drew me in and I spent at least another two hours in peaceful bliss, sipping some amazing Black Rose Petal tea and writing in the sunshine.
PORTLAND LAN SU CHINESE GARDEN NEED TO KNOW
WHERE: 239 NW Everett St, Portland, OR.
PRICE: Student Admission $7.00 / Senior Admission $9.00 / General Admission $10.00
OPEN: 7-days a week – 10am to 7pm March – October / 10am – 4pm November to April
MORE INFO: www.lansugarden.org
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