August has arrived, and any Central Texan knows exactly what that means: We're in for a month of cook-eggs-on-the-sidewalk-style heat.
If you're looking for some fun ways to chill out and cool down in a month that brings the pain, we've got suggestions. Here are seven of our favorite ideas.
Blast from the past at Violet Crown Clubhouse
Coins slip into the bellies of arcade games as the smell of fresh popcorn wafts through the air. In the back, teenagers hide out from the summer heat in a sky-blue booth that looks like it came straight from a ’50s diner, their bikes and skateboards parked out front.
To walk into the Violet Crown Clubhouse, located across from Little Deli in Arlan’s shopping center in North Austin's Crestview neighborhood, is to step back in time. Except, of course, that the clubhouse is brand new.
“I’ve always wanted to have an arcade,” said Mike Lavigne, who co-owns Violet Crown Clubhouse with his friend, Galaxy Café’s Kelly Chappell. “We knew we needed some sort of community space, and it made sense to have a dessert place.”
Located in a building that once housed a soda shop and was most recently Crestview Pharmacy, Violet Crown Clubhouse aims to be a neighborhood hangout for Crestview and Brentwood residents. In designing the space, which opened about a month ago, the owners' goal was to stay true to its retro vibe, keeping the original booths from the 1950s and updating its checkered flooring.
Current arcade games include Frogger, Street Fighter 2, Galaga and a claw game, which is the most popular. There’s also a stack of board games in the community room, which is available to rent for parties and special events.
On lazy summer days, the clubhouse is a perfect place for a blast of AC and a cool treat — refreshments include New Orleans-style snowballs and Austin Scoops ice cream, as well as popcorn and coffee. It’s currently BYOB with free beer on Fridays, but Lavigne said the clubhouse plans to sell alcohol soon, hopefully by this fall.
“It’s a place that kids can come and a place that grown-ups can come,” Lavigne said, adding that he’s especially enjoyed spending time here with his 10-year-old daughter, whom he joked “works for popcorn.”
The clubhouse will celebrate its grand opening Aug. 2-4, with Free Beer Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. Aug. 2 featuring beer from Fredericksburg's Altstadt Beer; a Second Line Parade with the Austin Knights Brass Band at 2 p.m. Aug. 3; and a rummage sale in the party room from noon to 4 p.m. Aug. 4.
Info: 7100 Woodrow Ave. 512-565-0445, violetcrownclubhouse.com
Make a splash with Waterloo Adventures
There’s nothing like doing a cannonball into Lake Travis on a steamy summer day. If you’re looking for any easy way to do that, look no further than Waterloo Adventures, a floating water park and obstacle course that is in its second season on the lake.
Here’s how it works: Participants take a boat ride (included in the cost of admission) out to “adventure island,” where they participate in a 45-minute session on the 600-foot Floating Challenge Course that includes more than 70 obstacles, such as monkey bars, slides, balance beams, hurdles and climbing walls.
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The $54 excursion cost also includes unlimited access to the Aqua Park, home to a 14-foot climbing tower, water slide, jumping tower and 25-foot trampoline. Participants must be at least 7 years old and 45 inches tall to participate; reservations are required.
Info: 13987 RM 2769, Leander. 512-614-1979, waterlooadventures.com.
» Related: Get more Heat Week stories at austin360.com/heatweek
Shake it up at the Yard Milkshake Bar
There’s not much that’s more refreshing than a frosty shake on a 100-degree day.
To sample the latest craze in shakes — and get some great Instagram snaps — head to the Domain’s Yard Milkshake Bar, which opened earlier this summer.
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The Yard is home to nearly two dozen themed shakes ranging from the Unicorn (cotton candy ice cream inside a marshmallow-cream-dipped jar topped with whipped cream, cotton candy, a sour rainbow and a sugar cone unicorn horn) to the Birthday Cake (birthday batter ice cream in a vanilla-iced, sprinkle-coated jar topped with whipped cream and a whole cupcake).
The Yard is a chain — there are five scoop shops nationally — but the Austin location does offer one locally themed shake. The Keep Austin Weird features Graham Central Station ice cream in a marshmallow-dipped jar topped with whipped cream, fudge and a churro loop.
Be warned that the shop is small and gets crowded on nights and weekends.
Info: 3400 Esperanza Crossing. 512-551-9542, theyardmilkshakebar.com.
Dive in at Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest Municipal Pool
There are lots of great pools in the city, but Northwest Pool, tucked inside Beverly Sheffield Northwest District Park, remains a favorite of many Austinites for its laid-back vibe and all-ages appeal.
The large yet shallow kiddie pool is perfect for tentative tots, while the open-swim areas are ideal for diving for rings or practicing underwater somersaults. The lap-swim space is ample, and the diving board is an excellent place to learn a new trick or two.
Info: 7000 Ardath St., 512-453-0194, www.austintexas.gov/department/northwest-pool.
Swing into Camp Ben McCulloch
If you’re looking for a fun, free, family-friendly place to cool off, look no further than Camp Ben McCulloch, which is located just south of Austin in Driftwood and known for its crisp, blue-green water.
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The rope swing, located along the trail just to the right of the main parking area, is simply too inviting, and too easy to access, to pass up. But those traveling with smaller children or four-legged friends will also appreciate Camp Ben McCulloch for its shady, shallow spots — it’s the perfect place to linger on a hot August day.
Water levels can fluctuate depending recent rains; always scout the scene and check depths before plunging in.
Info: 18301 RM 1826 in Driftwood. campbenmcculloch.com.
Go underground at Inner Space Cavern
When you’re in the middle of seemingly endless triple-digit days, why not escape to a place that’s 72 degrees all year?
That’s the case at Inner Space Cavern, which was discovered in the 1960s after being hidden for more than 10,000 years. It is considered one of the best-preserved caves in Texas.
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In addition to a fascinating hour-long tour in which you’ll learn all about the history of the cave, you’ll also find a mining area and several fossils that were discovered on site.
Info: 4200 N. I-35 Frontage Road in Georgetown. 512-931-2283, innerspacecavern.com.
Slip and slide at Chaparral Ice
When the outside's hot, why not take to the ice indoors?
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Chaparral Ice, Austin’s beloved ice rink of more than 20 years, has undergone extensive renovations in recent years and is the place to go for everything from casual public ice skating to figure skating, hockey and curling lessons.
Info: 2525 W. Anderson Lane. 512-252-8500, chaparralice.com.