Children in colorful swimsuits run through a giant splash pad and fountain in downtown Los Angeles.

These public fountains are great for cooling off on steamy summer days. | Grand Park

Refreshing for all ages

When the heat wave hits, most Angelenos make plans to visit the nearest pool or beach. But splash pads require less of a time commitment, are far more accessible, and don’t require carting a boatload of equipment along with you (although you may want to bring a towel or change of clothes).

Los Angeles is immersed in somewhat of a splash pad renaissance. From Tongva Park in Santa Monica to the recently renovated Music Center plaza in Downtown, water features are a hot trend in new park design. As the city warms, expect to see more of these wet plazas—or, perhaps, ”spraygrounds”—incorporated into our urban fabric.

While some splash pads are designed for kids, most are just as welcoming for people of all ages and abilities to stop in and cool off. Be sure to also check with your local recreation department, many of which have splash pads that are part of public pool complexes. Some water features operate seasonally, so confirm opening hours before you head out—in true Southern California fashion, they might be turned off during times of drought.