Take a spin on the Capitals’ home ice.
We’re still a few months away from Washington Capitals training camp, but there are multiple public open-skate sessions this weekend at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex, the team’s practice complex atop Ballston Quarter’s parking garage. Admission is $9 for those ages 13 and older, or $8 for those 12 and younger, with an extra $5 for skate rental. The Iceplex website warns that, “The rink is cold so don’t forget to wear layers,” which is music to our ears. After you’ve worked up an appetite, head downstairs to the Ballston Quarter Market for some Ice Cream Jubilee scooped into a fresh waffle cone. Bonus: You don’t even have to go outside.
Head to one of the area’s best spraygrounds.
First the kids complain because they want to go outside and play. Then they get outside and complain that it’s too hot. Find the perfect compromise by letting kids splash around the fountains, waterfalls and water-spitting sea creatures at these great local spraygrounds.
Celebrate the tastiest day of the year.
Sunday is National Ice Cream Day, which means local and national businesses will be pulling stunts to trick journalists into giving them some free press. At Yards Park, for example, Ice Cream Jubilee is attempting to build a 100-foot-long ice cream sundae to “set a record for Washington, D.C.’s longest ice cream sundae!” A ticket guarantees two scoops and “generous” toppings. Astro Lab Brewing in Silver Spring is hosting an “Ice Cream Beerwich” tasting, which pairs a housemade ice cream sandwich with two different brews from the up-and-coming brewery. Japanese fashion label Uniqlo is teaming up with My/Mo Mochi to give away trendy ice cream wrapped in sweet rice mochi dough at its Union Station store, even without a purchase, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Visit a museum.
D.C.'s world-class museums are places to experience great art and culture — and also destinations for escaping this heat dome. At the Hirshhorn Museum, for example, the galleries are kept at 70 degrees and 50 percent humidity to protect the valuable paintings — and to keep visitors from sweating on the valuable works of art.
Stay cool with “air conditioning in a glass.”
Decades before air conditioning was invented, Washingtonians stayed cool with a cocktail known as the Rickey, a mix of bourbon or gin, soda water and the juice of half of a lime, which was invented at Shoomaker’s Saloon, a bar near the 13th and E streets NW. This drink, so refreshing it’s known as “air conditioning in a glass,” is now recognized as D.C.'s official “Native Cocktail.” Every July, the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild hosts a citywide Rickey competition, inviting bartenders to put their own twist on the Rickey. Among this year’s top gin-based entries are the Bloomsbury Rickey at Hank’s on the Hill, crowned with celery, mint and smoked sea salt espuma; the Third Wind at Jack Rose, which has a chili-lime kick and a hint of Fernet; and the Pepper and Passion at the Red Hen, blending black pepper and the sweetness of passion fruit.
Take an evening dip.
Eleven D.C. public pools will stay open until 9 p.m. this weekend, meaning you can go for a swim while avoiding the worst of the heat.
Bring the outdoors inside.
With white Adirondack chairs, sky-blue hammocks, a swimming pool and cornhole games, the National Building Museum’s annual summer installation captures the summer idyll. But “Lawn,” which runs through Labor Day, isn’t a summer that most Washingtonians would recognize: The temperature inside the Great Hall is set at 72 degrees, day and night. Admission is $16 for adults, $13 for ages 3 to 17.
Go to a movie.
Movie theaters are known for being dark and chilly, but not all theaters are created equal. Post film critic Michael O’Sullivan, who regularly goes to screenings around town, points to E Street Cinema as a particularly refreshing place to go in summer. “There are times when I’ve been wearing a T-shirt [at a screening] and I had to put my arms inside the T-shirt,” he says. Brrrr! Grab a cold beer at the E Street Bar for even more chill.