Sometimes you just need to escape the city. This isn’t always an easy thing to do when you’re actually in a city. But right in the middle of downtown Portland, is a full city block that contains the Portland Classical Chinese Garden (NW 3rd & Everett, Portland, Oregon, 97209). If you’re looking for something interesting, different, and fun to do in Portland, Oregon – the Chinese Garden is a fantastic place to visit on your list of things to do.

The Portland Chinese Garden was started in 2000 – as a partnership between Portland and it’s Chinese sister city: Suzhou, China. The two cities became ‘sisters’ in 1988 and support many projects between the two. The Portland Chinese Garden is like a window into Chinese culture, architecture, and gardens – right in downtown Portland.

The architecture and garden itself was created by workmen from Portland’s sister city of Suzhou – which is also one of China’s oldest cities. Portland construction companies provided the foundation, while all of the Chinese structures in the garden are truly Chinese.

The garden is over 40,000 square feet with an 8,000 square foot lake, Lake Zither. The garden contains a large number of plants indigenous to China – some over 100 years old.

As well as the beautiful garden and lake, there is a traditional Chinese teahouse located in the Garden’s Tower of Cosmic Reflection. In the teahouse you can sample a wide variety of teas which were originally used as medicines in ancient China – and experience a traditional tea ceremony. While you’re enjoying your tea you can read and learn about the long history and benefits of different teas.

Although you can go and enjoy the Chinese Gardens for a few quiet hours in the middle of a busy day – the garden is also available to rent for various events – like weddings. I imagine it would be a very interesting and fantastic location for a wedding.

The Portland Chinese Gardens also offer a number of classes and tours for schools or visitors. Or you can explore the gardens on your own. One of the great things about the garden is that it is constantly changing as well, so each visit is unique.

There is an admission fee – or you can purchase an annual membership at a reasonable rate. My wife and I actually received a membership as a wedding present and have enjoyed it immensely.

If you’re looking for something to do in Portland, Oregon, something that is a little bit quieter than the usual hustle and bustle of the city – be sure to check out the Portland Classical Chinese Gardens right in the middle of downtown Portland, Oregon.

Portland, Oregon Chinese Garden