In 1988, Portland and Szouhou, China became sister cities and for the last ten years, the Rose City has been offering a bouquet other than its famous namesake. Sans the exhausting flight and complications of customs, Portland's Lan Su Chinese Gardens bring oriental majesty to the Northwest.
Szouhou's mild climate is similar to Portland's, making the city an ideal location for recreating the flora of ancient China. Some flowers seen there today are over 100 years old and are descendents of plants brought from China to Oregon years ago. The Chinese city was primarily inhabited by Imperial officials whose houses included intricate, sprawling gardens, inspired by the Yellow Mountains. In response, Portland's own landscape leaps directly from the canvases of traditional Chinese landscapes. Meander through the park's waterfalls and ponds and sample the authentic Tea House. The garden takes you directly to the famed Chinese Yellow Mountains, recognized by their hilly landscape submerged in clouds – much like this Northwest city. The garden loses nothing in translation as each path leads to near authentic, serene views.
If your visit falls during the end of January or early February, an excursion to the Chinese Garden for Chinese New Year cannot be missed. Lantern displays, fortune telling and demonstrations are free for visitors. And it's not the only time of year to celebrate. Events are year round, with everything from rare Chinese kite collections decorating the massive garden to Feng Shui lecture series.
Though Portland is famous for its internationally acclaimed Rose Garden, visitors will regret it if they don't take a day to get a glimpse of these flowers of the Ming Dynasty. Tours are available daily from noon to 1 pm, but visitors are welcome to wander the park without direction.
- Summer Hours: April 1 through October 31: 10am to 6pm daily
- Winter Hours: November 1 through March 31: 10am to 5pm daily
- Adults: $8.50
- Seniors (62 & above): $7.50
- Students (6-18 & college students with I.D.): $6.50
- Children 5 and under: Free
- Bus Stop:
- 4-Division/Fessenden, 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th, 16-Front Ave/St Johns, 35-Macadam/Greeley, 44-Capitol Hwy/Mocks Crest, 77-Broadway/Halsey to the NW Everett & 2nd Station
- Location: 239 Northwest Everett Street, Portland, OR
- Phone: 503-228-8131
- Website: www.portlandchinesegarden.org