Where to beat the heat — or in some cases, lick it.
Since 2001, Liz Davis has served Wisconsin-style frozen custard and other treats in her sparely decorated parlor. It’s a wish come true as strangers turn neighborly over jigsaw puzzles and tuck into vanilla custard splashed with seasonal toppings.
TheDairy Godmother, 2310 Mount Vernon Avenue, between East Oxford and East Del Ray Avenues, Alexandria (703-683-7767 or thedairygodmother.com).
A course at “Ice Cream University” inspired Susan Soorenko to open her first parlor in 2002. Among our favorite scoops: Cotton Candy Gummy Bear, Megajolt (a bean freak’s dream), and the goes-with-everything creme fraiche.
Moorenko’s Ice Cream Cafe, 8030b Georgia Avenue, at East West Highway, Silver Spring (301-565-7804 or moorenkosicecream.com).
Robb Duncan brought home two things from his trip to South America: his wife, Violeta, and a shared dream of a gelateria like the ones in her native Argentina. Flavors are seasonal (strawberry lasts only as long as the organic berry harvest), but year-round treats include alfajores, churros, and painstakingly brewed coffees.
Dolcezza Gelato, 1560 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest, at Q Street (202-333-4646 or dolcezzagelato.com).
D.C.’s only waterfront bar and restaurant serves up sunsets over the harbor along with margaritas, nachos, and crab cake sandwiches. Pick a table: Baseball fans, fishermen, Hill staffers, and girls’-night-outers get comfortable under twinkly lights near the docks and wait for breezes.
When a Holiday Inn reopened as the chic Liaison Capitol Hill hotel, the rooftop made the biggest splash. A $20 day pass gives you access to the bar and sizable pool (the closest to the Hill). Yogis can register in advance for poolside vinyasa on the weekends.
The Liaison Capitol Hill, 415 New Jersey Avenue Northwest, between D and E Streets (202-638-1616 or affinia.com).
Sunny Barcelona is seven hours by plane from D.C. Much closer is the bar at Estadio with pintxos (snacks on toothpicks) and icy drinks. The slushitos, booze-infused refreshers in surprising combos like bourbon-grapefruit-chamomile, and cava-based cocktails keep the vibe chill.
Estadio, 1520 14th Street Northwest, between P and Q Streets (202-319-1404 or estadio-dc.com).
The family-friendly, retro-styled diner has an accessible sense of humor. Shows from the Golden Age of TV are projected on a wall, the all-day Big Mark Breakfast comes with house-made tarts, and nine boozy milk shakes such as the minty Dirty Girl Scout are served thick-thick.
Ted’s Bulletin, 505 8th Street Southeast, between E and G Streets (202-544-8337 or tedsbulletin.com).
D.C.’s premiere public pool is free to all District residents. The indoor water world includes an Olympic-size pool with dedicated lanes for laps, a leisure pool for kiddies, and a whirlpool for achy bodies. Open swim times are posted daily.
Wilson Aquatic Center, 4551 Fort Drive Northwest, at Albemarle Street (202-730-0583 or dc.gov).
Depart for Harpers Ferry on a classic day trip with the help of Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (formerly the colorfully named Butts Tubes). Tip: use the provided leash to tether your cooler’s inner tube to your own as you meander down the Shenandoah.
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center, 10987 Harpers Ferry Road, Purcellville (800-836-9911 or hfadventurecenter.com).
The nicies behind Goodies dole out frozen vanilla custard from a truck that looks like it drove straight out of a French cartoon. During the week, it often stops at Farragut Park to scoop the treat Midwesterners call concrete.
A think tank for fruit-flavored ice on sticks, this mobile cooling station serves Mexican-inspired paletas. The ever-changing menu focuses on regional, farm-to-icicle flavors like pineapple basil and watermelon black pepper.
Built as a practice space for the Washington Capitals, this ice palace on the roof of a parking garage knocks every other area rink into the boards. Check the schedule for the daily public skate; fans may even catch a glimpse of Ovie leaving in his fancy sports car.
Kettler Capitals Iceplex, 627 North Glebe Road, suite 800, between North Randolph Street and North Carlin Springs Road, Arlington (571-224-0555 or kettlercapitals.com).
The car-free park along the Potomac has arching fountains that cool people and pups alike. No-slip rubber flooring lets everyone splash about while enjoying views of the river, Key Bridge, and Theodore Roosevelt Island without wiping out.