15 Fun Ways to Beat the Heat in Arlington

We’re heading into the hottest days of summer. This weekend is supposed to reach a high of 100 degrees!  But that’s no reason to stay at home and miss the summer fun.  Here are 15 cool places in Arlington to chill out and beat the heat.

Water Works

1. Drew Park Playground and Sprayground

Located adjacent to Charles Drew Community Center, this park is an excellent place to spend the day enjoying the outdoors. Challenge your friends to a game of hoops on the basketball court or take to the bases for a game of softball or baseball on a diamond field. The park also features a playground and, best of all, is home to one of Arlington’s spraygrounds.

2. Lyon Village Park

Lyon Village is a two-acre fenced in park packed full of recreational amenities. In addition to a picnic area, there are: two tennis courts, a tennis court practice wall ,a basketball court and most importantly, a sprayground.

3. James Hunter Park

James Hunter Park has a plaza terrace, open lawn, demonstration gardens, water feature and adjacent dog park. The creation of an automated water management system to capture and reuse rainwater on-site and the integration of renewable solar power makes this park not only fun but environmentally friendly! A great place not only for families, but also their pups to hang out and cool off.

4. Ocean Dunes Water Park

Make it a beach day — with waterslides — at the beach-themed Ocean Dunes Waterpark in Arlington’s Upton Hill Regional Park. Find excitement on the 230-foot open slide, or 170-foot covered waterslide, or set the kids free in the play area to splash, slide and play in the water jets. The 500-gallon dumping bucket is a favorite hangout during the hottest days of the year. Sliding is hard work! Take a break under the shade umbrellas and order a meal at the snack shack.

5. Crystal City Water Park

Not as much splashing, but still lots of fun, this water park is a Crystal City staple.  Open every Friday starting in May, Fridays at the Fountain is Crystal City’s seasonal pop-up beer garden set within the Crystal City Water Park, featuring food and drink from The Stand’s rotating lineup of vendors and live music from local bands and musicians.

Sweet Treats

6. Nice Cream

A local favorite, Nice Cream is not only delicious, but exciting! Made with liquid nitrogen, this ice cream is made right in front of you! From their website, “Handcrafted ice cream is our passion. We start our process by combining fresh local grass-fed cream and local ingredients from nearby farms. Using our freezing agent, liquid nitrogen, we freeze the ice cream on the spot in front of our guests, creating the freshest handcrafted cup of ice cream you can get.”

7. Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream

Specializing in small-batch homemade traditional ice cream, Toby’s is the perfect place to grab a cup, cone, or shake.  With some of the creamiest ice cream around, Toby’s is a popular spot in the Westover Village neighborhood.

8. The Italian Store

Not in the mood for ice cream? How about some gelato?  Almost next door to Toby’s is The Italian Store. The Italian Store is a family owned gourmet Italian Specialty Shop, owned and operated by the Tramonte family for over 30 years.

​They specialize in hard to find Italian products sourced from Italy and their own network in Brooklyn. From homemade style ravioli and pasta, to fresh cheese & meat, to unique Italian wines, the Italian Store has the products you cannot find anywhere else.

9. Dogma Bakery

Want a sweet treat for your canine companion? Stop in to Dogma Bakery in Shirlington! Dogma’s baked treats are baked in the store, using only human-grade ingredients, with no added salt, sugar or preservatives.

10. I CE NY

Try one of the new dessert trends to hit the USA: rolled ice cream! The ice cream has a uniquely smooth and fun texture. Because of the distinctive freezing technique, they are able to create ice cream that is creamy and smooth by balancing the size of ice crystals and air in the ice cream.

Free Places to Chill

11. Paddle the Potomac

Tired of your typical Thursday evening happy hour? Go mingle, network, and enjoy the great outdoors. All are welcome, but space is limited. Register today to reserve a FREE spot in a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. This event is appropriate for all skill levels. Beginners and experts are welcome!

12. Fred Schnider Art Gallery

Located in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood, the gallery is an intimate and open canvas to display an array of work. The gallery features exhibitions of artists throughout the Washington, DC metro area. They showcase a diverse range of media and styles, through a continual evolution of short-term exhibits.

13. Gallery Clarendon

Opened in June 2018, Gallery Clarendon in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia, is a popup gallery, one of two art spaces that exhibit and promote the work of Gallery members, and also other local and national artists in special exhibitions. The other professional show space is Gallery Underground within Art Underground in Crystal City.  The artwork at Gallery Clarendon changes each month, with a free opening reception held on the second Friday of every month.

14. The Arlington Library

Located throughout Arlington, branches of the library are the perfect place to chill.  Find an old classic or a new favorite book, join the summer reading program, brush up your improv skills at Improv for All! or discover the new Makerspace at the Central Library.  The Grand Opening is this Saturday, July 20!

15. The Arlington Historical Museum

The Arlington Historical Museum, owned and operated by the Historical Society, is located at 1805 South Arlington Ridge Road, close to the Pentagon City and Crystal City metrorail stations. The two-story brick structure was built in 1891 as the Hume School, named for Frank Hume who gave some of the property for the school. It is the oldest school building in Arlington County.