Portland, Oregon’s Love Affair with Fountains: Toddler Fun at Jamison Square

If we learned anything about Portland on our weekend trip there last week, it’s that they have a thing for fountains.  While in the downtown area, it seemed at every corner we turned there was another park or square delightfully streaming water.  You can probably imagine the soundtrack to all the water spraying everywhere: laughter, shrieks, and just plain giddiness from little ones (and adults too!).

Thanks to our friends, long-time Portland residents, we got to visit one of the best fountains that Portland has to offer.  Tucked away in the Pearl District and surrounded by trees is Jamison Square.

Portland, OR's Jamison Square | WildTalesof.com

For logistical reasons, half of our group (including me) drove from our hotel, while the other half (including Slaed and Bergen) walked.  Since us drivers arrived before the walkers, we treated ourselves to coffee and ice cream, and then made our way over to the fountain.

Portland's Pearl District: Noosa Familia Coffee & Cool Moon Ice Cream | WildTalesof.com

Meanwhile Slaed and Bergen were getting settled.  I didn’t get to the see the whole episode unfold, but apparently it all happened quite fast. First the shoes came off.  Then Slaed rolled up Bergen’s pants.  Then he lost the pants all together.  When I arrived at the scene with coffee and ice cream in hand, I found my young toddler son having the time of his life.  He was splashing around, climbing stairs with water cascading down, and doing a whole lot of excited screaming.  He was having all this fun  in nothing but his diaper.

Jamison Square: Downtown Portland, OR | WildTalesof.com

Once I got over the initial shock and worry that this might not be the best and most sanitary choice, I kicked back a little and let him do his thing.  Maybe the “diaper bag” needs to have an emergency swim suit?  True-Portlanders come prepared.  You might not be able to tell from the photos, but they bring pop-up chairs, picnics, big cozy beach towels, and yes, bathing suits.  When the weather is slated to be nice, they make a day, or at least an afternoon, of it.

At this particular fountain, the water would fill up to about Bergen’s upper thigh, and then gradually drain to nothing.  Then the process started up all over again.  What a thrill!

Luckily, like most toddler activities, the fun didn’t last long, and before we knew it Bergen was shivering, and ready to head to dinner.  I did at least manage to have a change of clothes for him, so it wasn’t a complete worst-mom-of-the-year moment.

Tell us about your impromptu swimming experiences! Were you as ill-prepared as we were? 

Info to Know:

  • Jamison Square is located in Portland’s Pearl District
    • 810 NW 11th Avenue
    • Hours: 5:00 am to Midnight
  • Don’t get caught like us! Bring bathing suits, towels, and sunscreen!
  • Cool off with an ice cream cone from Cool Moon, located just outside the square, and cool down or warm up with coffee from Nossa Familia, also just a block or two away.

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Jamison Square: Portland, OR | WildTalesof.com

This post is part of Friday Daydreamin’ at R We There Yet Mom? and Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

More adventures in Portland: 


11 thoughts on “Portland, Oregon’s Love Affair with Fountains: Toddler Fun at Jamison Square

    • It was a little cold for my liking, but the air temperature was nice and warm that day (for Portland standards)! Bergen is a little water baby…would have no problem diving into the freezing waters of Lake Washington here in Seattle if we let him! Now that he’s a little bigger (and can walk) it will be interesting to see what he gets into this summer 🙂

    • It is an amazing city, Andrea! So much to see and do, and easy to navigate. Also tons of public transportation opportunities. I hope you make it out here soon.

  1. After my children started giving me a ton of crap when we would end up at a hotel that had an indoor pool unexpectedly, I always pack swimsuits. Totally cute!

    • Thanks, Amy! Oh we definitely have the suits in the suitcase…my husband insists. …now it needs to make its way into the diaper bag when we are out and about (maybe)!

  2. What a fun spring day! Both times we’ve been we’ve had unexpected surprises: one guy fell off the fountain the first time and the last time we went there the other got a bloody nose!!! I’ve been dying to try the ice cream there, but alas, these things totally prevented that. Looks like you guys had a great time:)

    • Oh man, Terumi, what a bummer! Great reason to go back, right?! Everything with kids is so unpredictable…hope you get back soon.

  3. Pingback: See Portland, OR: Tackling the 4-T Trail with a Toddler | Wild Tales of...

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