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Ways to Cool Off in Downtown Austin

June 18, 2021

On those hot days in Austin when you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, you may find it’s difficult to get motivated to leave your house. But staying indoors all summer is not the answer, either. With one of the most vibrant urban centers in the country, Austin offers many ways to beat the heat when the mercury spikes. Here are some of our favorite ideas to get off the couch and out enjoying downtown.

Enjoy an Ice Cream

Ice cream is the pinnacle of summer sweets. Downtown Austin is full of wonderful places to grab a cone or cup of your fave flavor. Yummi Joy in the 2nd Street District is the perfect spot for cooling off while enjoying a bit of retail therapy. Or try a new crush’n combo at Amy’s Ice Cream on 6th Street. If you are a cookie fan, we highly recommend you build your own ice cream sandwich at the Baked Bear in the Seaholm District. If you want to avoid dairy, Jim Jim’s Ice at 615 East 6th has a variety of varieties of Italian ices made with real fruit.

Sip on a Frosé

On a sweltering day, frosé can be quite refreshing. We recommend heading to Speakeasy on Congress, Cafe 605 at the Van Zandt and the Azul Rooftop Lounge on the Westin. Just don’t forget to order a snack along with your beverages and drink responsibly.

Pool at Zaza

Relax at a Rooftop Pool

Speaking of rooftop pools, what better way to cool down than with a day pass to a pool on top of the city. Soak in some cool water with city views underneath you. We even have a guide of places to go for a day pool pass downtown.

Catch Your Favorite Flick

Movie theaters often offer a chilly alternative to the relentless Texas sun. If you need a good way to chill out for a couple of hours, find a local showing and head to the movies. During the summer, check out the Classic Film Series at Paramount Theater on Congress. Year round you can enjoy feature and indie films at Violet Crown Cinema on 2nd Street.

Check out the Night Life

A night on the town can help you avoid the heat of the day, and thankfully, there is no shortage of activity in downtown Austin when the sun goes down. There’s always something fun going on at the Warehouse District, at venues along East and West 6th Street, down on SoCo or South Congress, in the Red River Cultural District and everywhere in between in Austin’s downtown.

Take a Sunset Bat Tour

Head to our favorite downtown spot to rent a kayak or paddle board solo or with friends, Austin Rowing Club. If you’re tied up during the day, sign up for a sunset bat tour on Lady Bird Lake to watch the bats emerge from the Ann Richards Bridge nightly between mid-March and early November. Don’t forget your camera, as you can get some great photos on the water.

Go Shopping

It’s no secret that downtown has many destinations if you want to treat yourself. With a mix of local businesses and well-known clothing chains, you’re guaranteed to find something special. You can start with the 2ND Street District and explore from there.

When temperatures climb, don’t feel like you have to stay indoors. Enjoy Austin’s downtown and find many creative ways to keep your cool. Have a blast, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

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