Lan Su Chinese Gardens

Nothing says spring like visiting a budding garden on feisty, cloudy day. The Lan Su Chinese Gardens are in the middle of downtown, it's walls hiding a calm oasis. Designed by Chinese gardens from Portland's sister-city Suzhou, it's one of the most authentic gardens outside of China. The name itself is even a blend of the two cities, "lan" meaning orchid, and "su" meaning arise or awaken, it can be translated as "The Garden of Awakening Orchids."

The gardens are expertly tailored to help Western visitors immerse themselves in a taste of China. Maps are available, as well as specific ones geared toward children, or aimed at flower or plant-seekers. Each area of the garden is designed to help a visitor enjoy the seamless blend of architecture and nature. Our two year old loved toddling around the winding paths and discovering the birds and big koi fish. And the early spring magnolias and other blooms added to the beauty.

We ended our visit with refreshments at the teahouse, serving a wide variety of tea blends and treats (like the bean paste cake we got!)