Summer is here and with it brings plenty of sunshine, time with friends, and fun adventures in and around the city. But it can also bring excessive heat that can derail anyone’s day, and even health if you’re not careful. Philly has plenty of ways to stay cool this summer, so read on to learn about ways you can stay cool safely and ways you should avoid to have a happy, and healthy, summer season.

Ways to stay cool

1. Drink water!

The easiest way to stay cool this summer is also the simplest: drink plenty of water! Philadelphia has some of the cleanest drinking water in the country, and the Water Department is constantly working to ensure the water from our treatment plants going to your tap is safe and healthy for the whole family. Fill your reusable bottles with Philly tap water, get outside, and have fun!

2. Visit your local pool or sprayground

Philadelphia has over 60 pools and spraygrounds that are open (and free!) for all to use. Use this interactive map to find your closest pool, and take the plunge into a summer of fun!

3. Visit Fairmount Water Works!

Did you know that Philadelphia had one of the nation’s first aquariums? Well, it may not be around today, but the site of it still exists, and it still has plenty to offer—including air conditioning! The Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, located right behind the Art Museum, has a regular schedule of classes, tours and so much more (all for free) where you can learn exactly what happens in Philly’s waterways. Learn about their upcoming schedule and ways you can beat the heat – and learn a thing or two along the way!

4. Explore the area around a nearby creek or river

Philadelphia is home to many outdoor spaces with thriving plant and animal life, thanks in no small part to the rivers and creeks that run through the city. These parks are often free, and include plenty of tree cover to allow you to sit back in the shade, or take a hike and enjoy time with friends or family! For information on hiking trails and other parks, check out our locator map, here.

Bonus Tip: Learn about resources and support available during “Heat Health Emergencies”

As the summer heats up, the temperature can potentially reach a point that will trigger the City’s Heat Health Emergency system. When that happens, several additional resources and support will be available to help our most vulnerable, including Cooling Centers.

Learn more →

And remember: During a Heat Health Emergency, it’s important to check on friends, loved ones, neighbors, and pets. If you think someone is having a medical emergency, call 911.

Things that may sound like a good idea, but should be avoided:

1. Don’t swim in creeks or rivers!

Thanks to the work at our treatment plants, Philadelphia has some of the cleanest drinking water in the country. But before that water goes through the treatment process, it often contains germs, debris, and other things that can lead to serious harm or illness. Swimming in rivers, creeks and other bodies of water, where there are no lifeguards, leads to tragic drowning deaths each year. Use the City’s Pool finder to find a safe and fun space to swim in instead!

2. Don’t open the fire hydrant on your street!

Opening fire hydrants is more dangerous than you think — and illegal. A fire hydrant opened at full pressure can cause serious bodily harm or even death, should a child or an adult get pushed into oncoming traffic while playing in front of the hydrant. Illegally opening a hydrant can break it, making it useless when it’s needed most—during a fire on your block. The water discharged from an open hydrant can flood local basements and cause problems with other underground utilities, including breaking the water main on your street.