A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. – Chinese Proverbs 

Portland is such an interesting city. Once you’ve lived in a place long enough the tourist attractions seem to fade into the background and your favorite local haunts move to the forefront. Every now and again I love to play tourist and spend some time remembering why these places are so popular. This particular day I visited Lan Su Chinese Gardens. It’s one of my favorite places to escape in the city. But this wasn’t just any old visit. It was a special occasion.

It was my best friend’s birthday. The forecast looked dreary and wet, but we weren’t going to let that stop us. We packed up our biggest umbrellas and headed out for the gardens. If you’ve never been to the gardens, they are quite amazing. You might miss them if you didn’t know they were there. Deep into Chinatown there is one city block with a discreet wall around it. You enter through a beautiful gate and are quickly welcomed to a hidden oasis in the city. The garden has flowers, plants, waterfalls and ponds. As you stroll through the gardens you are transported to China. It’s calming, tranquil and a great place to clear your mind. I find myself at the Lan Su Chinese Gardens when I need a good reset in life. A quick cleanse of the old and in with the new. I figured it would be the perfect spot to take a friend for a birthday.

Once we finished strolling the garden we entered the tea room. We scrolled through the many options and decided on a formal tea ceremony- I mean it’s a special day. I loved the ancient ritual and sitting in the cozy tea room catching up on life. It was the perfect end to our day in the Lan Su Chinese Gardens.

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Can you tell what treats we brought into the tea room? Ha it was a birthday after all. I highly suggest stopping by the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. Get your little dose of paradise in the city.

For more information, hours and admission prices check the website: Lan Su Chinese Gardens

Rachel xo

Portland: Lan Su Chinese Gardens + a birthday


  1. Ashleigh says:

    These Chinese gardens are gorgeous! What a nice way to spend your friend’s birthday! I would love to visit! Thank you for sharing!

  2. candy says:

    What a great way to spend the day at those beautiful chinese gardens.

  3. What a gorgeous spot! Perfect for a birthday celebration 🙂

  4. How fun and the Chinese Gardens are so beautiful Looks like the perfect way to celebrate. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Create/Enjoy says:

    Thanks for the reminder, I haven’t been there in years! I still think of it as new cause I remember when it opened up, haha. Beautiful photos despite the rain, and having tea there sounds so perfect!

  6. Shelly says:

    I’ve live here in Portland all my life but still haven’t made it to the Chinese Gardens. It looks like a wonderful place to visit and a great place to celebrate too.

  7. Beautiful photos! I need to make a trip back to the Chinese Gardens. I haven’t been since my oldest kid was a baby… too long ago! What a sweet birthday celebration you had here.

  8. Erin says:

    I haven’t been there since high school. I totally need to go back! Great reminder. I agree it is fun to play tourist sometimes. I need to do that more often!

  9. Angie says:

    Those photos are awesome, and I definitely need to visit this place! I have only been to Portland once, but I really need to go back and spend a little more time getting to know it. Especially since the boyfriend is from there.

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