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89 Days

Six ways to beat the summer heat in the Twin Cities

People play in the water at Fuller Wading Park pool to stay cool during a heat advisory in Minneapolis, Minn.., on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.
People play in the water at Fuller Wading Park pool to stay cool during a heat advisory in Minneapolis, Minn.., on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.Kerem Yücel | MPR News

by Lydia Moran

July 25, 2022

This July's sizzle has left me trying to "beat the heat" with a vengeance. Since my AC unit has been broken all summer, lying on the floor with a bag of frozen peas on my head has been my go-to thus far. I'm not sure one could characterize that as beating anything — it feels more like a surrender. As difficult as it is to drag ourselves out of the house in this humidity, that is often where the energizing endorphins and cool breezes can find us. 

If you’ve been lying in front of a fan for hours, eating pretzels for dinner because you refuse to turn on the stove, and sweating so much you can't think clearly, here are six suggestions for cooling off in and around the Twin Cities.


Every Minneapolis Park and Recreation beach has a different personality that changes ever-so-slightly each year. If you're inclined to take a dip in the lakes, check the water quality, and make a day of it. Walk or bike on the paths to sample the selection — from Lake Nokomis's open shoreline, the volleyball pits at Bde Maka Ska, or Cedar Lake's East Beach (aka Hidden Beach) and storied Mud Pit. There's also the Mississippi River, which can look enticing on the banks of unincorporated beaches like Longfellow and White Sands, but I wouldn't suggest full submersion. Accessing the St. Croix River, particularly from Afton State Park, is a sweet alternative. Webber Pool on the Northside is a natural, chlorine-free swimming pool, meaning the water mimics a lake's cleaning effects but without all the weeds at the bottom. There are also innumerable wading pools (those aren't just for kids!) scattered in neighborhood parks across the Twin Cities.

Exploring the world — inside

Skulls and mounted antlers of different animals line a wall.
Skulls and mounted antlers of different animals line a wall inside of the Bell Museum in Falcon Heights, Minn. on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News

The Bell Museum is hosting the entire world until August 14 with Gaia, a touring installation from U.K.-based artist Luke Jerram. Gaia is an internally lit orb spanning 23 feet in diameter and projected with photo-realistic NASA imagery. It presents the Earth 1.8 million times smaller than its actual size, complete with a soundscape composed by BAFTA winner Dan Jones. Due to high demand, the Bell has extended hours on Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Then head to the Science Museum of Minnesota for an exhibit about what daily life is like hurtling through space aboard the International Space Station. There you can peek at Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 gloves.

Art making

Sure, you could do this at home, but beating the heat can also mean getting out of your head. Curiosity Studio in Minneapolis’s Longfellow neighborhood offers classes — such as "Trash Course" — that encourage play and exploration. They also feature free open studio times when artists of all experience levels congregate to create with a common theme. Similarly, Twin Cities Collage Collective has free monthly collage-making meet-ups at Fresh Eye Gallery, with materials and tools provided. Articulture has open enrollment for courses in August where you can make a window mosaic to capture the sun's rays.


A hand holds a red slushy in a red cup
Cool yourself to the core with a slush-based beverage.
Julia Joppien

I always forget they exist until I experience an intense craving somewhere around mid-July that can only be satisfied by a trek to the nearest gas station for an enormous red and blue concoction. For something more upscale and adult, Hola Arepa boasts a ridiculously good rhubarb margarita slushy, and at Centro, people can pretty much consume frozen margs by the gallon. And yeah, there's the homemade route.


There's nothing like the blast of movie theater air conditioning on a scorching afternoon. The Trylon Cinema in Longfellow is presenting a Nic Cage Summer and additional tantalizing programming. The Parkway Theater is putting on the Rocky Horror Picture Show on July 30, and more nostalgia-heavy picks throughout the rest of the season. Or score tickets to Marcel the Shell With Shoes On at MSP Film at the Main (fka St. Anthony Main). 

Night biking and walking

A man rides a bike as the sun sets behind him
A man bikes near the Minneapolis waterfront.
Javier Quiroga/Unsplash

With proper PPE, including functioning lights, biking through the dark summer in the Twin Cities is a transcendent experience. The air moves fast against your skin, the streets show a gentler side, and the sun can't find you. And you certainly don't need a destination, which is one of the best parts of the warmer seasons: being outside simply to be outside.


Two people hike down a hill near a river and a farmers market
Minneapolis artist Andrés Guzmán created three original pieces of 89 Days of Summer artwork.
Andrés Guzmán for MPR

This feature is part of The Current’s 89 Days of Summer series, helping you enjoy the best of the season with weekly guides to events, entertainment, and recreation in the Twin Cities.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.