When the cooler temperatures set in, many people may not think it’s the time for visiting gardens, but they can actually be beautiful places to visit in the fall and winter months—especially Asian gardens. Portland, Oregon is home to two magnificent gardens: the Portland Japanese Garden and the Lan Su Chinese Garden. I’ve visited both during different times of the year and have yet to find a season I didn’t appreciate. If you’re seeking tranquility, you’ll get that and so much more; a visit to either of these sacred spaces will renew and invigorate you.
Portland Japanese Garden
This 5.5 acre garden, located in the west hills of Portland, features five different Japanese garden styles. Whether you’re restoring your chi by strolling along the waterway in the Natural Garden, or admiring the dry landscape in the Flat Garden, you’re sure to get your nature fix at the Portland Japanese Garden. Workshops, lectures, festivals and other community events are held throughout the year, so be sure to check their events calendar.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
This garden, located in the Chinatown district in downtown Portland, takes up a whole city block. It is a slice of serenity within the urban landscape that surrounds it. The Garden features hundreds of native Chinese plants, several gorgeous building structures (like the Teahouse), and over 500 tons of rocks that were shipped from China for the landscaping. To learn all about the Garden, I suggest taking a docent led tour. Also, plan your trip around an event, like music in the Teahouse or the Chinese New Year festival held each year in February.
Where to Eat
Visitors to the Lan Su Chinese Garden will want to sip some authentic Chinese tea and eat light snacks in the Garden Teahouse located on the property. Once you’ve built up a nice appetite, take a short walk to Vegetarian House Chinese restaurant, located at 22 NW Fourth Avenue, where you can feast on healthful and flavorful Chinese cuisine. Another fabulous Asian-themed restaurant in downtown Portland is Loving Hut, located at 1239 SW Jefferson Street, which features healthful vegan cuisine. Visit their website for location details and to view the menu.
Where to Park Your Rig
The closest RV parks to downtown Portland are the Jantzen Beach RV Park and Columbia River RV Park. Both are great parks featuring wide sites and plenty of amenities, including free WiFi.
For more information visit japanesegarden.com and portlandchinesegarden.org.