No air conditioner? No problem. Portland is bubbling over with fountains where kids are free to soak up the sun while cooling off in the water. Here are six awesome fountains that welcome squirt gun-wielding tots.
Jamison Square (810 NW 11th Ave.)
Located in the center of the Pearl District’s urban sprawl, Jamison Square features a cascading water fountain down tiered steps. The basin fills, then empties and restarts every 20 minutes to squealing kiddos ready with their little buckets to fill. The water pools at the base of the steps and creates a wading pool that’s perfect for beginning walkers. There are small bits of shade that are snagged early, and plenty of sun. Parking isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Kid-friendly eateries, like Hot Lips Pizza (721 NW 9th Ave.) and Cool Moon Ice Cream (1105 NW Johnson St.) surround the place and there’s a public restroom nearby at the corner of NW 11th and Kearny. Details online at portlandoregon.gov/parks.
Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden in Grant Park (NE 33rd Ave & US Grant Pl.)
Oregon’s own famous children’s book author, Beverly Cleary, was the inspiration for the sculpture garden in this park. Bronze statues of her book characters including Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins and Ribsy, look on as children play at the splash pad. There’s also a playground, picnic shelters and paved paths, perfect for scooters or trikes. On the way out, grab a map at the Hollywood Library (4040 NE Tillamook St.) to tour the neighborhood spots that inspired Cleary’s stories. The two-mile loop includes a stop along Hancock St. where Cleary lived and includes a stop at 28th and Klickitat, home to her character, Ramona. Details online at portlandoregon.gov/parks.
Peninsula Park Rose Garden (700 N Rosa Parks Way)
Hidden in NoPo, is Portland’s first city rose garden. It has a fun center, spraying fountain that kids can play in. Nine-thousand blooms, picnic tables and an amazing, mostly-shaded, mixed-age level playground on the north side, make this a spot that kids and grownups all love. It’s less known, so it’s more serene that the more heavily visited Rose Test Garden. Check it out in July when roses are in full bloom. Details online at portlandoregon.gov/parks.
Salmon Street Springs Fountain (SW Naito Pkwy & SW Salmon St.)
Part of Tom McCall Waterfront Park, this fountain is located to the north of the Hawthorne Bridge. There are 200 water jets and three different water show combinations. After playing at the “splashground,” you might want to enjoy a bike ride or walk along the Willamette. There are a few Smart Park’s nearby that make parking here easier. Details online at portlandoregon.gov/parks.
Beaverton City Library Park (12375 SW 5th St, Beaverton)
Across the street from the Beaverton City Library is a popular summer park with plentiful free parking. It has a play structure, swings, picnic tables and spraying fountains. There is a small kiosk that sells coffee and snacks in the park, but if you need a little more food, stroll a few blocks down the street to the cafe, Ava Roasteria (4655 SW Hall Blvd.). Details online at beavertonoregon.gov.
Magnolia Park (1810 NW 192nd Ave, Hillsboro)
Magnolia Park is on the westside in a Hillsboro suburb. There are two new play structures and a circular water feature. This spot is tucked in a neighborhood within walking distance of Peet’s Coffee and Whole Foods. There’s free street parking, but it can get crowded, so early birds have a better chance of a short walk. There’s limited shade, so bring sunscreen and hats. Details online at hillsboro-oregon.gov.
Which fountain is your favorite when it’s sweltering? Feel free to share in the Comments section.
— Melissa Uhles