Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden

When I stayed in Portland early last summer, one of my favourite things was exploring 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 nothing but rain is a myth created the locals to keep the tourist numbers at bay) so it was the perfect time for wandering around all of the gardens and parks.

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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.

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It costs $9.50 (just over £6) 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!)

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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.

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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 the bustling outside Portland’s streets is the ever present view of ‘Big Pink’ beyond the walls.

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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 they call it – drew me in and I spent at least another two hours in peaceful bliss sipping some amazing Black Rose Petal tea and journaling.


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