Walking Tour: Old Town Chinatown

  • Start New Market Theater
  • End Lan Su Chinese Garden
  • Length 1 miles; three hours

Kick off your Old Town-Chinatown stroll at the New Market Theater building, where you can admire architectural details that date back to 1872 such as the arches that face SW 1st St. Adding to the nostalgic architecture is the Skidmore Fountain, just across the street at the corner of SW 1st Ave and SW Ankeny St.

If you happen to find yourself in the area on a weekend, you'll be right in the middle of the Saturday Market action, which spreads all the way to the riverside Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Located within the park, just north of the Burnside Bridge, head to the Japanese American Historical Plaza. One-hundred cherry trees line this stretch of the park, which features monument sculptures dedicated to the Japanese-American residents of the Pacific Northwest who were sent to internment camps by the US government during WWII.

From there, follow the path out of the park and cross over Naito Pkwy to NW Couch St. Continue three blocks to Kiriko Made, just past the intersection of NW 3rd Ave. Browse the beautiful handmade clothing, accessories and home goods that are all made with vintage Japanese textiles and techniques.

Next, walk a block south down NW 4th Ave to the Hoxton hotel, where you'll see the Chinatown Gateway just past its entrance. After admiring their colorful, ornate details, head to Tope on the Hoxton's rooftop for a drink with a wonderful view.

Head back up NW 4th Ave and take a left on Couch St. Pop into Deadstock Coffee, a laid-back shop dedicated to sneaker culture. Next door, family-run Orox Leather Goods is part workshop and part showroom, where you can watch beautiful leather bags and accessories come to life – and purchase something before you go.

Continue another block west on Couch St to NW 5th Ave and check out Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade for a round of pinball or old-school video games like Pac-Man and Mortal Kombat. Afterwards, walk north to NW Davis St at the end of the block and hang a right; take a left at NW 3rd Ave and stick to the left side of the street, where you can load up on Mexican street food at Little Taco & Tequila.

Finish the walk at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, located catty-corner at the end of the block on NW Everett St. It's a wonderfully tranquil place to digest as you admire the traditional Chinese architecture and landscaping – and if you're feeling especially ambitions, see if there's a tai chi or kung fu class scheduled.