Where to Go When It's Hot and UGH
*It's the most [uncomfortable] tiiiime/of the year*
I'm of the opinion that the best way to deal with summer heat is to embrace it (and drink lots of water). Then again, that's pretty easy to say coming from LA. Boston is a completely different beast.
So here's a bunch of eats and things to do to distract you from your sweaty sticky gross body. Don't touch me.
Monica's is Destination #1 for a day on the Greenway (besides the Greenway itself - you're going to want to claim some space early on). Not only does Monica's dish out the best Italian sub in the city, but also some of the best Italian antipasti in the North End. Capreses, artichokes, brussels sprouts (no really, they're great), red peppers, marinated olives, porchetta, and a variety of cured meats and cheeses make for one delightful day of basking and snacking.
We just awarded Parziale's Bakery the very official BFB's Best in Show at Boston Pizza Festival for their Sicilian pizza - which you should definitely get when you stop by. But I first and foremost know Parziale's as the maker of my favorite Boston cannoli. Vanilla custard, chocolate dipped ends Y/N, and that's it. So simple, so good. And for a summer bonus, Parziale's cannolis are a manageable size; face it, a mouthful of cannoli/burrito hybrid monstrosity from a block away is not a good look (nor a good feel) in this heat.
It's not froyo, it's not gelato, it's ice cream. Toscanini's is very far from a secret, but if you're feeling like the ultimate treat against the summer heat, this is the place. I like my JP Lick's, and that's a fact, but good sweet heavens Toscanini's is undeniable.
You probably already know all of these, because despite Boston being surrounded by lots of water, there's very little of it in which people can swim...safely. So to spice it up I've ranked Boston's few accessible pools by least-to-most douchey.
Warning: only one of them is zero-douchey.
No d-bags here; just lots of floaties. The Boston Center for Youth and Families operates this large, ideally located pool in the North End. It's always busy because summer and water and all ages (slightly less during the week), but everywhere else is the same busy, too.* At least here nobody is judging you for not wanting to pay for table service. Then again, children... I guess it all balances out.
*Before we move on: it's summer in a smallish city with lots of bored college kids and young professionals and every one of them knows about every one of these pools. When you show up for a swim, especially on the weekend, it's... well, it's like that scene in The Jungle Book where all the animals gather at the shrinking oasis during the Time of No Water or whatever. You know the one.
Basically it's a bunch of hot furry bodies waiting for a splash.
The pool at The Colonnade is probably the best deal of the pack. Rooftop views, adult beverages, solid food, comfortable lounge chairs, cabanas by reservation; the RTP (their name, *eyeroll*) has the works, but it's definitely a treat yoself experience. If you go during the day admission is $45, a bit steep for the young and the hip. Then again, the 21+ crowd can go at night for a not-too-shabby $10 cover and enjoy drinks with a view. You do you.
Robots@Revere - ah, shoot, Rooftop@Revere "is one of the most coveted rooftop lounges in Boston," says Revere Hotel. That's about right for them. My turn: "Welcome to Boston's HOTTEST summer rooftop escape experience, complete with 'banas, bevs, and babes. Just remember, BYOB: Bring Your Own Bod!(!!)"
Yeah I just won't with Revere. The drinks are good and the staff is nice. There are views. The pool is indoors. The people can be insufferably cooler-than-thou, but you don't have to talk to them. I think this is actually my "UGH."
This one's all museums. Except for the Museum of Science, because full disclosure: it's just not my fav. I know, #unpopularopinion, but if you didn't grow up with this old kinda grandma's-house-smelling place that still hosts exhibits about "The Web," and instead grew up near a science museum with a Cool Actually-Went-To-Space Space Shuttle parked outside, you miiiight think the same.
Maybe too harsh. Um...the Museum of Science has a lot of heart. And character? Yeah. We'll go with that.
I didn't like art museums until I got to Boston. Turns out living across the street from one for five years makes it hard not to give it a shot (also, it's free for students). However, since my first visit and subsequent exploration of art museums elsewhere, the MFA still ranks as my favorite art museum, anywhere. Whether sculpture or quilting, inspiring historical paintings or mind-popping contemporary multimedia showcases, The MFA has art ranging the full spectrum of crisis-inducing to crisis-comforting. And bring a sweater; it's always cold in there.
Man, the ISG is so pretty. While small, this museum is one of the most relaxing experiences in Boston. Granted, the main attraction - The Courtyard - is not safely air-conditioned... but maybe that makes you appreciate the A/C even more? Sure. Visit during the day for the regular museum experience, or at night for one of their popular music events. Compared to the MFA, it does cost a bit to get in, but it's not exactly robbery. Eh? I'm great.
Are you ready for a crisis? How about a dozen crises? I'm fairly sure the staff at the ICA could act as crisis-sommeliers if requested: "Over here you can find a smooth, existential crisis fingerpainting, over there a sculpted sharp, crisp crisis in individuality, and in the next room we have a delectable, dry mortality crisis in video form... Ah, looking for a challenge to the definition of 'humanity?' Let me show you to our performance art theatre. We have an actor that's also a puddle."
The ICA also hosts Summer Fridays, al fresco events with DJs, oysters, food trucks, and plenty of drinks. But my favorite part is the bathrooms. There's this hallway (above) with a beautiful view of the Charles and the Constitution across the water. It's really nice there. And mentally safe.
Just don't snore and you'll probably get away with it. Aside from the stunning sculpture and architecture, and the Ghostbusters vibes in the Reading Room, the Boston Public Library is an oasis for readers and studyholics during the dog days of summer. Book->chair->chill. Don't drool on anything.
Outdoor bars, abbreviated.
Full outdoor food recs coming soon!
BBQ, beers, and a lot of love. Sweet Cheeks puts real effort into making every customer, inside or out, feel like they're having a great time; and it works. During the summer their outdoor bar area is the place to be, whether you're a can-in-each-hand-man or a cool-cocktail-customer (meh). Just please also order a plate of something swimming in A) BBQ sauce B) cheese or C) butter.
Coppersmith is a funky joint. Go in the morning, and they have a full cafe spread with Counter Culture coffee and wifi. Go at night, and it's 1/3 young profesh bar, 1/3 restaurant with food trucks (?), and 1/3 casual roof deck bar serving drinks out of an Airstream. I hate to lay down that West Coast claim, but Identity Crisis: The Restaurant is kind of our thing. Then again, it all comes together nicely at Coppersmith, and it remains unique in Boston. Plus their drinks are solid and the outdoors people tend to be more fun than the indoors people. Give it the ol' West Coast try.*
*...actually don't because that ain't much.
Check out the caption. I don't think I need to say more. How about: "It's very nice." Did that do it?
Did I miss your go-to summer spot? I mean, probably. This wasn't a very long list. Give me your recs below, and then... I'll know. That's it.