The National Weather Service has placed all of Florida, including Tampa Bay, under a heat advisory ahead of scorching temperatures this week, and we need some relief.
Luckily, this is a topic we have thought about a lot here at the Tampa Bay Times, and we have a bevy of solutions in our archives. With the sun blazing on us daily, we rounded up lists of places to linger in the blissfully chill air-conditioning. We also have dozens of ways to take to the water to cool down.
Two summers ago, we compiled a list of 18 air-conditioned spaces to escape the heat including the historic Tampa Theatre (the first commercial building in Tampa to offer air-conditioning deserves a medal of honor). Also, the Oxford Exchange bookstore and cafe, and a number of museums and art galleries that can entertain all ages.
Last year was the warmest year on record for Tampa. No surprise. Nine out of the 10 warmest years on record for the city have occurred in the past decade. So we have tips on how to keep your pets safe, such as not letting them walk on asphalt if the temperature is 93 or higher. Heat-absorbing asphalt can reach temperatures that can cause burns and even heatstroke.
You can play golf indoors, or at least practice, at a number of places in Tampa Bay, such as Topgolf or at golf simulators at Ferg’s in St. Petersburg. The new Lona at Tampa’s Water Street has an air-conditioned spot to practice your swing, and South Tampa has a new indoor golf bar called Birdie Club.
We also found more than 15 places to stay cool for $15 or less, such as the children’s museums Great Explorations and the Museum of Science and Industry, ice skating rinks, art museums and the movies.
We found more than a dozen ways to cool off at Tampa Bay pools and water parks, including hotels that offer day passes, huge water parks like Adventure Island, and free splash pads found at public parks such as the St. Pete Pier and Carrollwood Village Park in Tampa.
If you just need a dip but don’t want to be in public you can rent some swimming time. Swimply is an Airbnb-style online marketplace that lets homeowners rent out their swimming pools by the hour.
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We also have tips on beating the high cost of cooling your home. A little preventative maintenance and some other easy fixes can help keep costs down.
And as columnist Stephanie Hayes advised in her rules for summer: “Always carry two pairs of shoes: One for the morning when your feet are a normal size and the skies are clear, one for the afternoon when they have swollen up a size and a half and the streets are gushing with rains the sewers rejected.”