At first glance, Lan Su Chinese Garden seems oddly out of place in such an artisan city but that’s what makes it kind of great. It’s this whole other universe tucked inside a city that already operates like another universe. Tickets are $10 a piece for adults making it an inexpensive tourist attraction you should definitely take advantage of next time you’re in Portland, Oregon.
There are a slew of narrow, twisting pathways that take you on a straight run throughout the garden, but fortunately lead you to different viewing areas along the way. It wasn’t overly crowded when we went the first week in March so we were able to navigate the walkways pretty quickly.
It’s a stunning backdrop. Not only is there a charming pond with catfish, but there are also these giant flowers and dragons plastered in the center of the water. We saw a group of people planted in the seating areas along the walkways looking out toward the water and I was curious as to whether or not these giant objects glided over the water in some sort of show. It doesn’t, and people were waiting to see their children perform a customary dance which was adorable.
Near the seating area, there is a giant building that at first glance looks to be just there for decoration but it actually turns out to be an authentic tea garden! We walked in and chose a spot upstairs at a tiny table that was only big enough for the two of us. All the tables vary in size, some of are coffee tables, benches, even ledges. I ordered a green tea and it came out in the smallest cup in the world – it was fantastic!
The menu offers mainly small dishes like the ones we ordered below. But they sure do pack a punch.
We spent about forty minutes here, walking around, taking in the sights and enjoying authentic Chinese food and drinking tea before walking back out to Everett Street in Portland. It was a charming little escape from the city and we adored it. It just goes to show yet again, how Portland does everything – even Chinese Gardens – the right way.