A visit to Portland would not be complete without visiting one of its greatest treasures and most popular sites to see. The Lan Su Chinese Garden, is an idea made up by the cities of Portland and Suzhou, the latter being the sister city in China’s Jiangsu province made popular by its majestic Ming Dynasty gardens.
Lan Su was crafted by Chinese artisans from Suzhou and is considered to be one of the most authentic Chinese gardens apart from China.
Not only a botanical garden that is a feast for the eyes, but it is also a creative wonder which incorporates 2,000 years of old Chinese tradition featuring art, design, architecture, and nature blending together.
Once you step into the garden walls, you will be transported back in time in an era from a faraway country.
The name comes from sounds from both Portland and Suzhou put together, poetically it can be worded as “Garden of Awakening Orchids.”
Lan is a Chinese word for orchid while Su is a word for Awaken or Arise.
Become a Member
A membership with the Lan Su Chinese Garden gives you benefits if you plan to visit more often. The perks include the following:
- A year of admission to the garden with a guest
- Get Lan Su quarterly newsletter and e-newsletter updating you of coming events
- 10% discount for purchases at the Garden Shop
- 10% for Teahouse orders
- Invite to special members-only events
- Added discounts on special ticket events like Chinese New Year Lantern Show
- Member benefits with the Portland Japanese Garden yearly in November
- Admission to many other area attractions initiated by PAMA in 2015, like Oregon Zoo,World Forestry Center, Washington County Museum, Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, Oregon Historical Society, Columbia River Maritime Museum, Architectural Heritage Center, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Clark County Historical Museum, Deepwood Museum and Garden and Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals
Things to Do
Learn how to play mahjong or join in and play one game with the experts. There is also the traditional Chinese Chess that you can learn from the staff at Multnomah County Library.
Art Demos from the day’s featured artist can help you learn about an artists’ work and process. An exhibit will be on display plus getting to listen to the artist yourself.
A garden will not be complete without learning about Chinese plants, you can see a wide variety of Camellias that are propagated in Oregon.
You can also delve into the art of Chinese brush painting of a goldfish from a featured artist in the traditional “Lingnan” style.
Public tours are given by a trained docent but are subject to availability. You can ask their garden staff for the tour times for your group.
Get your heart pumping with an instructor-led Tai Chi class to open activities. Rest after while sipping tea at the Teahouse while listening to a performance of traditional Chinese music.
There are also different Cuisines of Asia being showcased during specific dates. You can learn about the history, art, and tales behind some of Asia’s most popular foods given by local Asian restaurants.
Witness performances from dance troupes representing different cultures of Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, India, Cambodia, Thailand, and the Pacific Islands.
You can also rent the garden for any special occasion you may have. It may be a simple dinner for 50 or a large celebration with 300 guests. Lan Su has a catering partner that can give delectable cuisine and beverage and arrange for all equipment needs.