Two-year-old Hadley Younger keeps cool at the Jamison Square fountain. "Jamison Square is the best-kept secret in the Pearl," notes Hadley’s mother Bianca Younger. And it’s safe to say that Hadley doesn’t mind jumping around in the water on a broiling day either.

On the hottest day Portland has seen so far this summer, photographer Meghan Colson and I headed to the Pearl District to soak up the sun and, hopefully, capture the essence of a bustling First Thursday.

We observed puddle-jumping toddlers who couldn’t bear to leave splash time at Jamison Park, begging their parents for "just a few minutes longer." Further down, the after-work crowd at Vault Martini were waiting for an innervating cocktail and the chance to unwind al fresco after being cooped up in the cubicle all day. And, of course, there was an overflow of art, not only in the galleries but along the streets as painters, jewelers, and cunning clothing designers sought to beguile passersby with their wares.

The faces, flavors, and feel of the Pearl are diverse and distinctive, as evidenced by a shop like Visage, that displays provocative combinations of eyewear and art for the benefit of strolling locals. So follow along and explore this particularly prosperous corner of Portland in our web-exclusive slideshow.