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NW 3rd and Everett, Portland, Oregon 97209  503-228-8131
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A little bit about the Portland Classical Chinese Garden

Lan Su Yuan, Garden of Awakening Orchids

Just the seed of an idea in 1985, the Portland Classical Chinese Garden opened in September 2000. The Garden is a masterpiece on many levels. The walled garden in Portland’s Chinatown replicates the Suzhou gardens found in Suzhou, Portland’s sister city in China. It features the five elements essential to a Chinese garden: water, stone, architecture, literature, and plants. The design embodies the Chinese philosophy of the duality of nature. The buildings represent the order of Confucian thought and the landscape represents the Taoist view of chaotic nature. When these are balanced, harmony results.

Water, like the wise man, does only what is natural. The lake invites contemplation. The rocks represent mountains and are coarse with wrinkled surfaces, like the beautiful face of a wise old person. The pavilions’ leak windows leak ever-changing views. Poetry as inscribed on rocks, screens, and plaques hint at another time and place. Each plant symbolizes a person or trait; and, although plants may seem to be randomly placed, they have meaning by virtue of position. The garden unfolds myriad views to the visitor, but experiences in the garden include all the senses, the sound of rain dripping on a banana leaf, the fragrance of wintersweet, the changing sensation with each footstep on the mosaic stone paths.

The collaboration that created the Garden is as intricate and exquisite as this all-season, all-weather Garden. Mayor Vera Katz and civic leader, the late Bill Naito, spearheaded the drive to acquire land for the garden. Design teams from China and the US meshed ancient construction methods with current construction codes. Suzhou shipped 500 tons of rock from Lake Tai with 60 craftsmen and two designers to ensure authenticity. Horticulturists and nurseries combed the area for the correct plants; many donated by enthusiasts. The outcome is an urban oasis defined by sheer beauty and quiet harmony.

Date of Opening: September 14, 2022

Location: The Garden is located between NW 2nd and 3rd and NW Everett and Flanders in Portland’s Chinatown/Old Town.

Hours: The Garden’s winter hours, November 1 to March 31, are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Garden’s summer hours, April 1 to October 31, are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission: Admission is $7.00 for adults; $6.00 for seniors 62 years of age and older; $5.50 for students with ID; children 5 and under are free. Groups of 15 or more, booked 2 weeks in advance are $5.00 per person. School groups 15 or more, booked two weeks in advance are $3.00 per person.

Membership: With a membership, admission is free for one year. Membership also includes a 10% discount in the gift shop and teahouse and a 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. There is a discount of up to 20% on garden classes and programs for members.

Parking:  On-street meters, both short-term and long-term, surround the Garden. Several parking garages are within a few blocks including a Smartpark on the corner of NW Davis and Naito Parkway.

Press Contact

Gloria Lee
Executive Director
Portland Classical Chinese Garden
PO Box 3706
Portland, OR 97208