June 4, 2012

Lan Su Chinese Garden

The other the day we decided to explore the classical styled Chinese garden located in downtown Portland. This garden is relatively new to Portland, by new I mean something that was not here when I was a child.  It opened its gates in 2000. The hubs and I went through the first time while we were visiting Portland looking to buy a home in early 2005.

Our girls had never been and we had a Living Social deal to use up before it expired and as it turned out, so did my parents!

central lake

The garden is located in the Chinatown area of NW Portland, it takes up a full city block. It is designed in the tradition of private walled gardens and is comprised of a series of courtyards, small buildings and pavilions surrounding a central "lake" with koi, ducks and water plants.

Scholar's Courtyard

The garden incorporates five elements: rocks, water, plants, architecture and literary inscriptions.  We loved the different patterns that were created in the paving with small stones in each of the different spaces.

One of many beautiful stone and wood windows.

The garden does not take a lot of time to meander through, we were there less than two hours.  I probably could have stayed sitting by the lake by myself for longer, but the family was ready to move on with our day.


We happened to be there during the peony festival. There was a large selection of exotic varieties on display and for sale, some that were so large and the petals so open, they reminded me of hibiscus that I grew when living in the Bay Area. Some varieties were hundreds of dollars!

With admission, they give you a beautiful multi-page program that explains each of the spaces and their significance. Our teenagers seemed to appreciate the cultural experience, despite themselves so I would recommend the Lan Su Chinese Garden, a nice afternoon activity for the family.

Hubs and the teenagers

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