Things to Do

5 Great Ways to Cool Off This Weekend

Kayaking, ice cream, a cool exhibit, and more.

Kayaking on the Potomac. Photo courtesy of Flickr user, thisisbossi.

It’s hot! This weekend, temperatures will soar well into the 90s, bringing an early taste of summer. Mayor Muriel Bowser has activated the city’s Heat Emergency Plan for the weekend, which is only implemented when the temperature or heat index is 95 degrees or higher. The sweltering weather isn’t going to last long, so here are some suggestions for how to enjoy it over the weekend without melting into a sweaty puddle.

Drinks on a rooftop

There’s nothing more refreshing than sipping on a cool cocktail at an airy rooftop bar. Head to newly reopened Deck 11 Rooftop Pool and Lounge at Yotel on Capitol Hill for an icy watermelon frosé or citrusy cocktail. For beach vacay vibes, run away to Shaw’s “adult treehouse” El Techo. Decked out with hibiscus flowers and an herb garden, the Latin-inspired joint has a lineup of tropical margaritas, mojitos, and juices. For more places to get yummy cocktails, check out our list of new and newly reopened rooftop bars and restaurants.

Swimming and boating

Most boat-rental places are currently closed for the season, but you can still rent a kayak for a couple of hours at Thompon’s Boat Center. If you want to physically get in the water, the Department of Parks and Recreation will open select spray parks and indoor pools on Saturday and Sunday. You can find more info on which locations will be open here.

Frozen treats

You can’t survive the summer heat without ice cream. Several ice cream shops have popped up in the DC-area over the past year. Union Market’s Sweet Scoops has refreshing Italian ice in fruity flavors like mango and green apple, and Kyoto Matcha in North Bethesda gets creative with milk and matcha ice cream. There are also established favorites like Mt. Desert Island in Mount Pleasant and Thomas Sweet in Georgetown, which serves ice cream by the scoop, frozen yogurt, and fudge.

Cool (in both senses) art and activities

Take advantage of indoor air conditioning and check out the Renwick Gallery’s new This Present Moment: Crafting a Better World. The exhibit, which opened this week, presents more than 200 new pieces that have been added the permanent collection (more than 100 are being shown for the very first time). If you want to do something more active, buy a $29 day-pass to the District’s only indoor climbing gym and get access to Bouldering Project’s bouldering walls, training areas, and fitness classes.

Options if it gets too intense

Retreat to one of the various cooling centers stationed throughout the District. There’s more than 40 public libraries, recreation centers, and low-barrier shelters where Washingtonians can go to cool off. To find a center near you, type in your address into DC’s interactive map.

Damare Baker
Assistant Editor

Before becoming an assistant editor, Damare Baker started out as an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.