It’s not even officially summer and already there’s that certain steamy something in the air that makes us wish we were small enough to crawl into our fridge and stay there until mid-September. We considered haunting the city’s air-conditioned spaces for the next three months, but then we’d end up pale and boring at the end of the summer. Instead, we’ll brave the heat – but make sure we’ve got a few places to cool down along the way.

The Pool:  Baltimore City boasts 22 public pools. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you’ll have to wait a couple weeks to enjoy them on a weekday, as they’re weekend-only until June 25. (A couple were opened early due to our recent heatwave, however.) The bad news, part two: on a hot day, it can seem like the entire city already beat you there. The best way to avoid the crowds is to plan your timing carefully; the pools tend to be least crowded right after opening hours. Our favorite is the recently-spruced up Roosevelt Park pool in Hampden, complete with playground and misting sprinklers!

The Private Swim Club: It’s a simple formula:  fewer people, more money.

The RiverGunpowder Falls snakes through the area north of the city, with plenty of swimming spots along the way. Odds are you’ll have to hike in a bit to find a space that’s wide and deep enough to fit your splashing needs, but that makes the eventual immersion all the more refreshing.

The Reservoir:  The best thing about reservoir swimming is floating on your back in a cool lake surrounded by trees, then lying on a rock to let the sun dry you off. The worst thing about reservoir swimming is getting a $1000 ticket for swimming in a place you’re not supposed to swim. We’ve never heard of anyone actually being charged that much, but we do know some folks who’ve come home with $100 fines. (It can also be dangerous.) Makes for an expensive and non-relaxing afternoon; attempt at your own risk.

The Inner Harbor:  Just kidding! (Or maybe not?)

Where do you go to cool off on a hot Baltimore day?