An exquisite cultural experience is found at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland, Oregon. This classical Suzhou-style walled garden has a series of events and activities happening daily.


Visitors can take in a tour of the gardens; enjoy authentic Chinese tea and teacakes in the Teahouse; listen to music; attend festivals, workshops and lectures; experience classical Chinese art forms of poetry and calligraphy; participate in Tai Chi and Qigong; or sit and play Mahjong or Wei Chi.


Painted Boat in Misty Rain — 畫舫煙雨

The mission of Lan Su Chinese Garden is to cultivate an oasis of tranquil beauty and harmony to inspire, engage, and educate our global community in the appreciation of a richly authentic Chinese culture.

Yin and yang energy, the duality of nature, are interconnected to achieve balance and harmony. Five elements of a Chinese garden: rocks, water, plants, architecture and literary inscriptions, blend the energy of nature with architecture and poetry. The Garden is poetry in slow, contemplative motion, ever-changing by the season: soft, flowing yin of water and plants contrast against strong, solid yang of stone and architecture.


“Hall of Brocade Clouds” — on the roof, two dragon fish protect this formal ceremonial/greeting hall from fire, water lilies grow in the pond


“Flowers Bathing in Spring Rain” — Cross the “Rainbow Bridge” to this pavilion with its six-panel screen made from ginkgo wood, each representing famous Suzhou scenes

Water lilies bloom around Zither Lake in the center of the garden. Stroll over bridges and along paths to view the flora of the garden…

Follow pebble pathways through the Garden…

Pebble mosaic pattern in pathway


Traditional Chinese tea evoking a Ming dynasty atmosphere

Sit, relax and enjoy traditional Chinese tea at the Teahouse, the only two-story building in the Garden. The second floor offers a bird’s eye view of the Garden. Antique furniture, music and incense contribute to an authentic Ming dynasty atmosphere.



“Moon Locking Pavilion” — from above, the Garden contrasts against the city

A Chinese Suzhou scholar garden like Lan Su creates an illusion of infinite space in a restrictive urban setting. An oasis is created in a city center, a place of tranquility among its activity. A feeling of greater space is achieved by placing features so that views are obstructed, making it difficult to see the entire garden. Framed openings and “leak windows” offer perspectives to many layers of plants and structures. Each turn and “leaked” composition produces a unique experience.

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