With temperatures expected to reach into the 80s and possibly higher in Seattle this weekend, you may need a place to cool down. There is currently a heat advisory in effect from 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 until 8:00 p.m. on Monday, May 15.
We don’t often get extreme heat in Seattle. Many Seattle residents don’t have air-conditioning in their homes. So when heat waves like this occur, conditions are ripe for Seattleites to experience adverse health effects such as (but not limited to) heat stroke.
That is why the city has opened cooling centers in tandem with this weekend’s heat advisory. We’ve included those below in addition to some fountains, beaches, and public places in Seattle where you can cool down in the AC for free.
Here are eight options for public air-conditioned places in Seattle (plus some outdoor places) where you can cool down for free:
1. Seattle public libraries
The Seattle Public Library is a great place to cool down on a hot day: you can browse, read a book, use the Wi-Fi, and sit for as long as you want for free. There are 18 locations in Seattle with air conditioning, including the Central Library located downtown. You can find a full list of the air-conditioned library branches with hours on the Seattle Public Library website.
2. Seattle Center Armory
Seattle Center Armory is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There is free admission and the main level has a wide variety of food and beverages for sale.
3. Elliott Bay Books
This massive independent bookstore in Capitol Hill is a great place to cool down. You can purchase a book or some refreshments from the cafe, but you don’t have to if you just want to browse and enjoy the AC for free. They’re open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Best of all: Elliot Bay Books is dog-friendly! So bring your pup to cool down with you.
4. Frye Art Museum
The Frye Art Museum always has free admission. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Keep in mind that food, drinks, and pets are not allowed.
5. Seattle cooling centers
Seattle day centers being used as community cooling centers this week include The Salvation Army Jefferson Day Center in Pioneer Square, Seattle Indian Center in the International District, and Street Youth Ministries in the U District. See a full list of Seattle cooling centers and day centers providing air conditioning. The list includes locations in Bellevue and other King County cities outside of Seattle.
6. Public transportation
Although King County Metro is not officially waiving fees across the board during this week’s heat wave, if you’re in need of a ride to a cooling center or simply a break from the heat you’ll be permitted to do so for free.
7. Wading pools and splash parks
Seattle sprayparks and wading pools have not yet opened for the 2023 season, unfortunately. The sprayparks will be open May 27 through September 4 and the wading pools generally open on June 24.
That said, your kids can cool off outdoors this weekend in the International Fountain at Seattle Center.
8. Beaches and lakes
Swimming beaches in Seattle will have lifeguards for the 2023 season starting on May 29 and June 24.
If you choose to wade into any bodies of water in Seattle this weekend, exercise caution. Despite how hot the air may get, the water here (especially in Puget Sound) remains dangerously cold.
Stay cool and safe out there this weekend, Seattle!