In search of a place to soak up the sun while cooling off in the water? Head to Portland, Oregon, in summer. With many lakes, beaches and waterfalls, Portland is a water-friendly place, ideal for a great vacation with kids. However, what makes the city unique is its myriad artistic and captivating outdoor water fountains, ranging from drinking fountains to splash pads. While some of these water features were built to quench the thirst of humans and animals alike, others were built to honor the city and its people, while some were built merely for an artistic purpose. When the heat starts turning up, people find solace in these cool water spots and enjoy time with family. If you are in Portland during summer, take your bathing suits, towels and sunscreen and enjoy the splashes. Check out some of the best fountains in Portland, Oregon, and enjoy the cool water activities in the area.
1. McCoy Fountain, McCoy Park
This interactive fountain, installed in 2006, is located outside of the downtown area of Portland. You will be in for a surprise if you are close to the fountain as you will never know when the water will spray out and soak you! This beautiful fountain has seating ledges around it and water shoots about 6 feet (1.8 meters) high. This playful water feature is greatly enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
Address: 8965 N Newman Ave, Portland, OR 97203, USA
Website: McCoy Fountain
Opening hours: 7:00am - 10:00pm (Memorial Day weekend through September)
2. Horse Trough Fountain
This drinking fountain was installed sometime in the early 20th century. Originally built as a drinking trough for horses, the Horse Trough Fountain also has a bowl at the base, likely for dogs, and a drinking spigot for humans. National Geographic research in 2003 showed that a bunch of children raised funds to buy the trough as they felt sorry for the hard-working animals trudging up and down the hill everyday with their loads.
Horse Trough Fountain
Address: NW 31st Avenue and Thurman Street
Website: Horse Trough Fountain
Opening hours: Every day in spring/summer/fall
3. Jamison Square Fountain
The main attraction of Jamison Square is the fountain. Modeled after a shallow tidal pool, water flows from stone joints into low pools. Using energy efficient pumps and motors, the fountain recirculates treated water. The place is very popular among kids and families, as kids can enjoy time in water and elders can just sit on the stone benches and enjoy the activities. Along the edge of the park, you can also see various sculptures by artists including the Tiki Totems, Rico Pasado, a sleek red granite bear, and Contact II, a 1972 metal sculpture. An ice-cream shop across the street is another reason why kids love this place.
Jamison Square Fountain
Address: 810 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Website: Jamison Square Fountain
Opening hours: 7:00am - 10:00pm (April through September)
4. The Skidmore Fountain
The first landmark in the city, the Skidmore Fountain is a historic fountain in Portland. Made of bronze and marble, it was designed as a drinking trough, with tiers for dogs, horses, and men. One of the important landmarks of the city, when the Sunday market is open, the area around the fountain attracts street performers. The fountain also serves as a gathering place for several Portland events. The fountain’s base has a quotation from C.E.S. Wood: “Good citizens are the riches of a city” The MAX Light Rail line runs past it and it has a nearby stop named after the fountain.
The Skidmore Fountain
Address: W Burnside St & Ankeny, Portland, OR 97204
Website: The Skidmore Fountain
Opening hours: Open 24 hours
5. Bill Naito Legacy Fountain
The Bill Naito Legacy Fountain, named after the late Portland businessman and civic contributor of the same name, includes two interactive water features within the park. The Upper Plaza fountain is the interactive fountain area under the canopy with playful water spouts emerging from decorative pavers. The Lower Plaza is the pool area to the south of the canopy with dancing water jets. The spacious pavilion in the park houses Portland’s Saturday Market on the weekends. During this time, the upper set of fountains are switched off to make room for the market. It is a great spot for kids and families to enjoy the splashes, as this is less busy than the other downtown fountains.
The Bill Naito Legacy Fountain
Address: W Burnside St & Ankeny, Portland, OR 97204
Website: The Bill Naito Legacy Fountain
Opening hours: 24 hrs a day except for cleaning times
6. Chimney Fountain
Chimney Fountain, otherwise known as the Source Fountain, is one of the smallest fountains in the city. Representing an artesian spring, this fountain depicts stages of a stream as they pass from the mountains to the low lands. It is also called the Chimney Fountain because of its structure. It is shaped more or less like an old brick chimney, with water bubbling up from the center and falling down its sides. Symbolically, it represents the neighborhood before urban renewal, and the flow of water looks like smoke flowing from between the bricks.
Address: North of SW Lincoln between 3rd and 4th Avenues
Website: Chimney Fountain
7. Animals in Pools
Animals in Pools fountain lets you enjoy the wildlife amidst the busy city. Conveniently located near the MAX station, the fountain is made up of 25 bronze sculptures of Pacific Northwest animals. The bears, sea lions, beavers, deer, ducks and otters appear to be lifelike and water flows around them. The statues are placed in 10 pools located on each side of Pioneer Courthouse.
Animals in Pools
Address: SW Yamhill St & SW 5th Ave Portland, OR 97204
Website: Animals in Pools
8. Keller Fountain
A beautiful fountain in downtown Portland, Keller Fountain allows visitors to stand at the top of the waterfall. This multi-tiered fountain is a perfect place to sit and enjoy the weather in summer. Some spots are deep enough to swim in. Kids need to be advised on where they can and cannot play, as there are steep drop-offs. Although the fountain is the major attraction in the park, there are also many spaces throughout the park to move around.
Address: SW 3rd Avenue and Clay Street
Website: Keller Fountain
Opening hours: 5:00am - 9:00pm (daily)
9. Lovejoy Fountain
Inspired by mountain lakes and streams, Lovejoy Fountain is a hidden gem in the urban jungle. This organic fountain features levels of concrete staircases and is located in the middle of a tree covered park. This interactive water fountain gives visitors a feel of going on a small mountain hike. Adults and kids will enjoy the time spent in the park.
Address: SW Harrison St & Southwest 3rd Avenue, Portland
Website: Lovejoy Fountain
Opening hours: 5:00am - midnight (daily)
10. Holladay Park Fountain
Enjoy the playful water splashes at Holladay Park Fountain and relax under the shady trees in the park. Jets of water rise and fall on a wide plaza bounded by a garden, public art, and walkways. Check out the three cast-bronze sculptures that add to the beauty of the park.
Holladay Park Fountain
Address: NE 11th Avenue and Multnomah Street
Website: Holladay Park Fountain
Opening hours: 8:00am - 10:00 pm (April through September)
Enjoy the amazing water fountains in Portland
Playing in a fountain is one of the best ways to beat the summer heat. Portlanders are lucky that way as they have enough fountains and splash pads to forget the heat. Choose one or many of the fountains in Portland from the list above and enjoy a great time in the city.
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