Check Out These Cultural Attractions in Oregon for AAPI Month!



Serene gardens, historical landmarks, and unique museum exhibits—when it comes to Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, Oregon does not disappoint. From experiencing a tea ceremony in a traditional Japanese Tea House to exploring a Chinese cemetery, check out these attractions for AAPI Month!

Portland Japanese Garden

In Washington Park’s lush hills, the Portland Japanese Garden is your serene escape from city life. Wander through 12 acres of beauty, starting with the Strolling Pond Garden, where a babbling stream and the picturesque Moon Bridge link two ponds. Check out the Sand and Stone Garden’s raked gravel ocean and the Natural Garden’s native plants. Stop by the Umami Cafe for traditional tea and light snacks. Or, check out the gift shop full of unique Japanese items. Throughout the year, stop by for the cultural exhibitions and workshops.

Four Rivers Cultural Center & Museum

Located in Ontario, Oregon, the Four Rivers Cultural Center houses fascinating exhibits showcasing Japanese, Native American, Mexican, and European history and culture. The most notable Asian exhibit is the Hikaru Mizu Japanese Garden, the second-largest Japanese garden in Oregon. Enjoy a walk through the meticulously manicured 1.3 acres that’s home to a koi pond and meditation garden. Inside the museum, explore exhibits and life-size dioramas depicting the different cultures that settled the Four Rivers region – the Northern Paiutes, Basque, Japanese, Hispanic and Euro-American immigrants.

Japanese American Museum of Oregon

Located in Old Town, the Portland Japanese American Museum might be small, but it’s brimming with powerful exhibits on Japanese-American experiences during the 1940s. Explore artifacts from the World War II era and listen to firsthand audio stories about the forced relocations that upended the local Nikkei community. Don’t miss the rotating exhibitions highlighting Japanese-American soldiers’ narratives, Asian art, and literature. The museum hosts various events throughout the year, from book readings to bazaars.

Pendleton Underground

Step back in time and explore Pendleton’s underground city, once home to the Red Light District. Led by an expert guide, you’ll venture through hidden tunnels beneath the town, uncovering landmarks like the Empire Ice Cream Parlor, Hop Sing’s Chinese Laundry, and the Duck Pin Bowling Alley. Sneak through a secret passageway to a Prohibition Card Room, then tour historic Chinese living quarters, a jail, and even an opium den. This immersive experience offers a fascinating glimpse into Pendleton’s colorful past, making it a must-see for history buffs and adventure seekers.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

The Lan Su Chinese Garden occupies one city block in Portland and acts as a tranquil oasis away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Enjoy a stroll through picturesque gardens – all filled with native Chinese plants, stunning Asian architecture, a koi pond and unique stonework. Take a break at the traditional tea shop for treats like Chinese pastries or a warm bowl of wonton soup. Some days, you may catch musicians playing authentic Chinese instruments by the pond.

Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site

Experience history at the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon. Explore this well-preserved building, once a general store, clinic, and social hub for Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s. Wander through the museum to see fascinating artifacts, including intricate herbal medicine bottles, traditional Chinese furnishings, ancient scrolls, and old ledgers. Join a guided tour to learn about the lives of Dr. Ing Hay and Lung On, the remarkable men who ran the store. This site offers a captivating glimpse into the vibrant Chinese community that once thrived here.

Portland Chinatown Museum

Step into the heart of Old Town Chinatown at the Portland Chinatown Museum. This vibrant museum delves into the rich history of Chinese immigrants in Portland. Discover contemporary Asian-American art in its front galleries and immerse yourself in the detailed 2,400-square-foot exhibition about Portland’s Historic Chinatown neighborhoods. Visit during the Lunar New Year for the spectacular Dragon Dance Parade, featuring energetic dancers, rhythmic drummers, and a 150-foot dragon winding through the streets. It’s a lively celebration that brings history to life!

Bonus Spot: Chinese Cemetery

Located in Baker City, the Chinese Cemetery honors the Chinese American laborers who worked on the railroads and gold mines during the Gold Rush. Explore the grounds and see the engraved headstones. Sit under the pavilion that was designed and built in Suzhou, China. You’ll also find a replica of a small stone burner, aka the Prayer House. During the annual Ching Ming Memorial Festival, folks offer money, paper prayers, and objects to be burned in honor of the departed.

Take this guide on the go with Apple Maps on your iPhone!

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