Summer Heat Hideaways

Most of this summer here in DC has been unusually pleasant for a mid-Atlantic summer, with low (80s) temperatures and less humidity than normal. But starting this weekend and pushing on through this week, the temperatures and humidity are back up. Summer's last salvo.


Everyone likes to talk about how much they hate the heat here, and I say I do too. But, I kind of like it at the same time. The heat here forces you to slow down and bend with it. If you walk anywhere, you have to abandon your ego (because you will be covered in sweat) and take your time. And one of the best parts about the heat is the search for the cool spots, the little urban hideaways where you can pause and bring your body temperature down. These cool spots offer the delicious respite. And maybe its because I'm always cold, but the only thing I like more than the sensation of cooling off, is the feeling of going outside again into the heat after. That brief moment of equilibrium - cool skin, hot air. The perfect temperature.

In honor of the dog days of summer, three of my neighborhood favorites for cooling down before heating up again:

Sakana Japanese Restaurant on P Street: This little sushi joint is reliably good, fast, and at the ground/underground level. I'm not sure if they even have to use AC, or if the low level, shade, and fans keep it cool. Either way, its a blessedly cool stop over if you don't want to cook after work, or you're on a weekend walkabout. And if you wait at the bar for takeout, they will give you a ice cold green tea, free of charge, which is the perfect thing to chill the sweat right off of you.

Yoga District Dupont: This is a weird one - exercise makes you hot, right? And yoga is taught without AC to keep the muscles limber. Worse, this studio is on the top floor of a converted DC row house, where all the heat rises. True, this cool down spot requires a time and energy investment. You will definitely get hotter before you get cooler. But (and I write this as somebody who rarely exercises and is not a yoga aficionado) if you can push past the heat, you'll be rewarded with a blissful temperature by the time you are lying on your back meditating at the end of class, with the sounds of the street a soft murmur from three stories up. I can't quite say you will be freezing cold, but you will be the right temperature.

Kramerbooks Bar: Always cold and kind of dark no matter what hour of day, with not a window to be seen, this is one of my favorite spots to dodge the heat and tuck in with a book and cold beer.

What are your favorite spots to cool down?