Dry heat or not, with temps hovering near the 100-degree mark, Austin summers at some point just become seasons to endure. You flit from one air conditioned locale to the next trying your best not to melt on the pavement in the process.
There are, of course, some bright spots. Central Texans have long been creative in their pursuits of cooler temps, and there are plenty of options for splashing, spelunking and slurping your way to Chilltown, U.S.A.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Our shops are now selling Cilantro Lime, Horchata, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie again! Yum!! pic.twitter.com/JlcxzJiN31
— Lick Ice Creams (@LickIceCreams) January 5, 2016
Let’s start with a beverage, shall we? In Austin we make no secret of our enduring love for an effervescent Topo Chico, which goes down especially well in June, July and August. Another must-try: a raspado, or raspa — it’s the Mexican take on a slushie, fresh fruit swirled with spices. The mangonada, a popular choice, includes mango, orange, chamoy and chile lime salt. If you’re relatively new to Texas/The South, you might not be indoctrinated yet into the obsession here with shaved ice/sno cones/sno balls. A refreshing cup of ice crystals doused in sweet (or pickley, no judging) syrup is just so incredibly refreshing. Then, of course, there is the crème de la crème, as in ice cream. As with the other items on this list, everyone has their favorite purveyor. If your tastes run on the adventurous side, check out Lick, home of unusual yet surprisingly delicious flavors such as Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey, and Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint (you can try before you buy). Amy’s Ice Cream is another beloved local chain, with lots of delectable mix-ins to create the perfect chilled dessert.
Fortunately, Austin and Central Texas are home to several great natural swimming holes and lakes that are perfect for taking your core body temperature down a notch:
- Barton Springs Pool, a three-acre spring-fed natural pool is located within Austin’s sprawling downtown Zilker Park
- Blue Hole in Wimberley used to be a local secret, but now is regularly named to lists of the top swimming holes in the state
- Hamilton Pool & Preserve is a stunningly beautiful natural pool featuring water falling into a grotto, located about 23 miles west of Austin (paid reservations are required and are in high demand throughout the season).
- Tubing is also hugely popular–check out the Comal River in New Braunfels or for a slightly more challenging run, try to the Guadalupe River.
Of course, there are several public swimming pool and waterpark options for your splashing pleasure, as well.
- Deep Eddy Pool, Texas’ oldest swimming pool, is unchlorinated with a zero-entry approach at one end. The original bathhouse, created during the Depression era as a Works Progress Administration project, has been renovated and still stands at the site.
- Check out the area’s newest renovated waterpark, Typhoon Texas in Pflugerville, which includes a Gully Washer play area for kids ages 3 to 10, several large slides and a lazy river.
Other cool places
Don’t overlook the natural air conditioning of the area’s caverns as a great way to find out some geological history while staying nice and cool in the average 70 degree year-round temperatures. Inner Space Cavern in Georgetown and Longhorn Caverns in Burnet are two great options.
If you want a little retail therapy on the side with your air conditioning, hit up one of the local malls. Barton Creek Square to the south and Lakeline Mall to the north are your best options for the total indoor mall experience.
For a little cinematic action, relax in one of the area’s several full-service theaters (where you can enjoy a frosty beverage, too): Alamo Drafthouse, iPic Theaters and Moviehouse & Eatery, among others.
And get ya some culture, too, while beating the heat. Hit up Austin’s several outstanding museums: the Bullock Museum, the Blanton Museum of Art and The Contemporary Austin, all located within a mile of each other downtown, are all perfectly worthy ways to spend an afternoon, regardless of weather.