The Seven Coolest Places in Savannah to Beat the Summer Heat

Summer starts tomorrow. And summer weather has fully arrived here in Savannah. With temperatures breaking 100 degrees a few weeks ago, we are in for a long, sweltering Savannah summer.

When I moved from the great, cold North, I knew Savannah was going to be hot. “Savannah? It’s hot,” is the first thing people would say when they heard where I was going. ‘Yeah, sure,’ I thought, ‘how bad could it be?’ I was full speed ahead, looking forward to never shoveling snow again! (Until that first winter when it actually snowed in Savannah. Go figure.) I was undeterred. That is until I arrived in April 2016, just in time for a full blast of the ruthless, oppressive, sometimes deliriously comical heat of Savannah in the coming months.

Fortunately, I found a number of places to get out of the furnace and get a blast of blessed AC or at least a blast of refreshing water right to my sweaty, red face. When you’ve reached your wits end on the umpteenth 90+ degree day, seek shelter in one of these seven best places to beat the summer heat.

Tybee Beach – Just a 20-minute drive away from downtown Savannah, you can immerse yourself in the Atlantic for a few hours to stave off heat stroke. Just remember to bring an umbrella or pop-up canopy for shade.

Image: Gary Dee, License

Oglethorpe Mall – Honestly, the mall is one of my favorite places to beat the heat. It is always a stable 65 degrees. It makes me nostalgic for the days of my youth when kids went to the mall to “hang out.” I can pass hours sniffing all of the candles at Bath & Body Works. And there’s usually something I need. Sweet AC relief + errands = two birds, one stone.

Royal Cinemas in Pooler – I love a good Marvel flick, so the movie theater is a great place to cool off for a few hours. You know when you go in at, say, 6:00 to catch a movie; it will be at least 10 degrees cooler when you leave at 8:00. Usually.

Fun Zone Amusement & Sports Park in Pooler – If you’re going to Pooler for a movie, why not make a day of it and kick it off with some ski-ball and air hockey at the Fun Zone. Relive more childhood memories of playing Pac Man for hours. Plus there’s a bar.

Alley Cat Lounge – Speaking of bars, if you are melting into your car seat but want to partake in a more civilized pastime, head to Alley Cat Lounge downtown. The nondescript door opens to a beckoning stairwell that leads to a basement bar with some of the finest libations in the city. It is truly an oasis for the weather weary and thirsty.

Splash Pad at Ellis Square – This one is a great place to take the kids. Let them run around chasing arcs of cool water while you sit in the shade. Or join the fun with them.

Savannah’s Museums – Like the mall, Savannah’s museums are always kept at the reliable degree of “Thank Heaven.” Unlike the mall, you’ll leave feeling more cultured, dignified, and pleasantly pretentious rather than possibly broke with untold numbers of scented body spray in tow. (Bring back Juniper Berries, Bath & Body Works, I beg you!) Check out the Jepson Center, Telfair Museum, SCAD museum or the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum.

Image: Jud McCranie, License

One spot that didn’t make the list is Leopold’s Ice Cream. Now don’t get me wrong, their ice cream is spectacular. But I judge a good place to cool off by the number of undisturbed hours I can spend inside it’s artificially icy environment. Leopold’s usually has a line out the door (read: in the heat). Once inside, the eating of said ice cream takes maybe 20 minutes tops. Then obligation to give other guests a table will whisk me from my seat and back out into the boil of Broughton Street. By all means, get your ice cream fix, but I recommend taking it to go and scarfing it on a couch in your pleasantly frigid living room.

Stay cool out there!