Parks and Playgrounds that Rule in the Rain

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True, most Stumptown parents boast an impressively high tolerance to precipitation, but on some dreary, drizzly winter days we all need a bit more motivation than usual to put on our boots and head outside. Here, some of our fave parks and playgrounds to visit with your offspring during the rainy season.

Grant Park, NE 33rd and Grant Place
You know Grant Park for its Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden, playground, off-leash dog park (or all of the above), but follow the path behind Beverly Cleary’s Hollyrood campus and you’ll find a group of towering pine trees that serve as a near-perfect shelter during any downpour. Smaller kids can bring buckets and shovels and dig in the dirt. And it’ll stoke the imagination of older kids who can pretend they’re setting up house/on the run/hiding from parents, etc.

photo credit: John G. via Yelp

Gabriel Park, SW 45th and Vermont St.
What we love about this lush 90-acre park? No matter the weather, you won’t be the only family here. Maybe it’s the draw of the 10,000 sq-foot skatepark. Or the easy trails that wind through a sweet patch of woods. Personally, we think it’s the crazy cool hills that kids love to run up and down, over and over (and over) again.

photo credit: Rafael G via Yelp

Irvington Elementary School Playground, 1320 NE Brazee
Rain or shine, the playground behind this public school is the place to play on weekends. Bike, scoot, and run under the covered area or venture out onto the blacktop where a brightly painted map allows kiddos to jump from one country to another.

Macleay Park, NW 29th Ave. and Upshur St.
This gorgeous, 140-acre park is so dense with Doug firs and western red Cedars that even on the rainiest day, you won’t get drenched, and kids will love hiking into the deep ravines. Park in the Upper Macleay parking lot and it’s only a half-mile trek to the abandoned Stone House, the  oddly enchanting remains of a former public restroom. (We know. That sounds weird, but check it out and you’ll see what we mean.)

photo credit: Sean G. via Yelp

Chimney Park, 9360 N. Columbia Blvd.
Okay, so there aren’t a tremendous amount of trees here. (Translation: you might get soaked.) What Chimney Park does have: Dogs, and lots of ‘em. This 18-acre area is an off-leash, completely fenced-in dog park. You and your little ones can hit the small trail loop while cockers and Labs happily chase and fetch balls beside you. If you’ve got a little pet lover, we guarantee they’ll be too distracted by the canine company to complain about the rain.

photo credit: Josh H via Yelp

Laurelhurst Park, SE Cesar E. Chavez and Stark St.
Paths to run on. Hills to run down. Steps to race up. But perhaps the most important thing you need to know about this lovely tree-filled park is that they have ducks. You can’t feed them, but you can watch them bobbing through the water and quacking importantly, completely nonplussed by the rain. Once you’ve had enough, head over to one of the cafes on nearby Belmont and warm up with some hot chocolate.

photo credit: Crystal D. via Yelp

What’s your favorite rainy day playground? Tell us in the comment section below!

–Stephanie Booth

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