Portland Chinese Garden Guide – Tucked into Downtown
Portland in the Oldtown / Chinatown neighborhood is an amazing hidden gem
known as the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. Portlands Chinese
garden is an authentic Suzhou-style garden. This small garden packs a
lot of visual punch with many wonderful plants, asian structures, statues, and
unique windows. For being right in the city, it’s an amazingly tranquil
and serene place to spend some time. It’s said that the garden grew out of a friendship between Portland and Suzhou, a
Chinese city renowned for its exquisite gardens.
“The mission of the Portland Classical 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.”
Classical Chinese Garden
The Portland Classical Chinese Garden began as a dream in the early 1980s. It became more focused when Portland and Suzhou, China, became sister cities in 1988 and the idea of a building a Suzhou-style garden in Portland became a goal.
The city of Suzhou was founded in 252BC. It’s located approximately 50 miles west of Shanghai on the eastern coast of China.
Suzhou’s climate is similar to Portlands.
“By 1,000 AD, Suzhou had become a thriving city with an economy based on trade. It was also a place for government officials to retire. These retiring Imperial court officials built housing compounds that featured beautiful gardens. These gardens attempted to duplicate nature found in traditional Chinese landscape paintings, and the nature of the nearby Yellow Mountains. The gardens would be used to entertain guests and undertake intellectual pursuits such as painting, poetry, and conversation. This Garden is based on a garden built in Suzhou during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).”
the garden is located on prime land in Downtown Portland on land that used to
be a parking lot. It was donated to the City and plans were laid for the
garden. Groundbreaking occurred in 1999 ,with construction of the
garden completed in September of 2000. Most of the garden’s materials
did actually originate in China. In addition, 65 workmen from Suzhou
helped to work on building the garden and creating the structures.
The plants throughout the garden were grown in the US but are indigenous to
China. Due to bans on imports, it isn’t possible to bring plants in
directly from China. Prior to the import bans some of the garden plants were brought from China to the U.S.,
where you can see some of their offspring in the garden. Some of the plants are more than 100 years old.
The Portland Chinese garden windows are one of the most unique features of the
garden. These are known as Lan Su Yuans Leak Windows. Each has a unique design depicting nature or a geometric pattern.
Chinese Garden Virtual Tour
Current Events and Classes
“The Teahouse in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden offers visitors the ability to sit, relax, and enjoy tea while gazing into the Garden. Operated by the Tao of Tea, a local company that promotes the art and culture of tea, the Teahouse brings together the beauty and symbolism of the Garden with Chinese tea culture.
Tea presentations are in classical styles with snacks and sweets offered as compliments. A selection of teas includes all of the major categories of color and flavor including white, green, oolong, pu-er, black and herbal teas. As the seasons change, the selections change to match complimenting the ever changing views in the Garden.”
To contact the Teahouse, please call 503.224.8455.
Weddings at the Garden
Donate to the Garden
The Portland Classical Chinese Garden is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization not funded by tax dollars. In order to keep our Garden and its programs healthy and growing, we are dependent on donors, members and visitors.
Learning Opportunities at the Garden
Visiting the Portland Classical Chinese Garden
April 1 – October 31
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
November 1 – March 31
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
$7.50 Seniors (62 & above)
$6.50 Students (6-18 & college students with I.D.)
Five and under free
With a membership, admission is free for one year. Become a member and discover your own path through the Garden.
All memberships are good for one-year free admission to the Garden, a 10% discount in the gift store and teahouse, and quarterly newsletter. Prices are $25 for a student or senior membership, $35 for an individual membership, $60 for a family membership with additional higher memberships. Additional membership information is available on
the garden’s membership page.
Portland Chinese Garden Directions and Map
We hope you enjoy your visit to the city of Roses and to the Portland Chinese Garden. If you have photos
of the Portland Chinese Garden you’d like to share, please contact us or
post them on the Portland photo gallery.