As the temperatures rise and the humidity sets in, it's good to have a list of places with A/C to retreat from the city sizzle. There are plenty of ways to beat the heat between public pools, breezy rooftops, and indoor attractions. Here are a few places to cool off this summer in Boston.
New England Aquarium
On the days that are real scorchers, head to the New England Aquarium for much-needed air conditioning. Open seven days a week; the aquarium has 15 fun exhibits where the whole family can explore the wonders of the deep. The Caribbean reef exhibit is housed in a mind-bogglingly large 200,000-gallon tank that positively teems with life. More than 1,000 different species live in that tank, and the bright colors dazzle visitors of all ages. There are also exhibits dedicated to the Indo-Pacific, Olympic Coast, and the Gulf of Maine. Get up close and personal with sharks and rays at the touch tank. The penguins and Atlantic harbor seals are also fun to watch while enjoying the A/C. For added excitement, book a one-on-one encounter with the animals!
When the kids start complaining about the heat, get them in their swimsuits. There are splash pads all over Boston, and they are fun places to play and cool off at the same time. Many of the splash pads and fountains are free, like the Frog Pond Spray Pool, Rings Fountain on the Greenway, and the Charles Bank Playground. Others like the Davis Farmland and Water Spray Park or the Bradley Palmer State Park and Wading Pool charge admission. There are spray decks and splash pads in an assortment of neighborhoods, including Belmont, Cambridge, Roxbury, and Brighton.
If you want to cool off in the lap of luxury, check out Boston's swankiest rooftop pool. The Colonnade Hotel's rooftop pool is open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., and reservations are required at least 48 hours before your visit. A day's admission is $45, and the full food and drink menu is available all day. Make the experience more private and rent a cabana for the day. A weekday cabana rental will run you $250 plus a $300 food and beverage minimum. You and five guests can enjoy private lounge chairs, a TV, a mini-fridge, branded Colonnade sunglasses, and the Sun Bum "Day Tripper" package to help keep skin safe from the sun's rays.
Get out on the water and feel the ocean breeze in your hair. Sailing lessons with the Boston Sailing Center are available for all skill levels, and there are even specialty lessons in racing and navigation. The beginner's course is perfect for those new to sailing or who have only hit the waters on occasion. The class here is one of the most thorough sailing courses in New England, and it helps guide students to become confident, safe sailors. The advanced course for more seasoned sailors covers close-quarters maneuvering, spinnaker handling, anchoring, and navigation. If you're unsure of which course is right for you, give the Boston Sailing Center a call, and the senior staff will help match you to the right program for your skill level. Private instruction for two starts at $150.
There are few things more refreshing than an ice cream cone during the dog days of summer. The small-batch flavors from Honeycomb Creamery are made from scratch using local milk and heavy cream (as well as other local, in-season ingredients whenever possible). The flavors are constantly rotating at this female-led establishment, but previous flavors have included jasmine and sea salt ganache, banana rum caramel, and matcha pistachio. You can further personalize your ice cream by creating your own sundae or ice cream cookie sandwich. With so many delicious flavors, it can be hard to choose just one. Order a flight and try four kiddie-sized scoops of creamy goodness. Frequently there are vegan ice creams available as well in flavors like pistachio rose and coconut lime sorbet.