Beat the heat: Keep cool in these public spaces around the DC area

WASHINGTON — With highs expected to be in the 90s this week, the weather isn’t just unpleasant, it’s potentially dangerous.

Several cities and towns in the D.C. area have plans to deal with heat emergencies, such as opening cooling centers in public spaces.

In case of other heat emergencies throughout this summer, here’s a resource for cooling centers, shelters and spaces around the region to help keep people safe and out of sweltering weather.


When temperatures hit 95 degrees, the D.C. government puts its heat emergency plan into action and opens cooling centers. Residents can go to any public library or recreation center during normal business hours, or the Adams Place Emergency Shelter.

See an interactive map of cooling centers around the District here.

Find out more on the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency’s website or call 311. Sign up for heat emergency alerts here.

If there’s someone that needs to be transported to a cooling center, call the hyperthermia hotline at (202) 399-7093.



The city of Rockville has four cooling centers:

  • Lincoln Park Community Center: 357 Frederick Ave.
  • Rockville Senior Center: 1150 Carnation Drive.
  • Thomas Farm Community Center: 700 Fallsgrove Drive.
  • Twinbrook Community Recreation Center: 12920 Twinbrook Parkway.

Designated public areas are free at the centers, but use of amenities such as fitness rooms, computers labs or drop-in programs have a fee.

Montgomery County 

Those seeking relief from the heat around Montgomery County can head over to county facilities such as libraries, swimming pools, senior and recreation centers, and regional services centers.

The county is also reminding residents to be mindful of their pets during days of excessive heat, and to check on those who have higher risk of getting a heat-related illness, such as people over 65-years-old and children under 4-years-old.

Prince George’s County 

Find a list of the county’s cooling centers on the county’s website, which include community and senior centers. They are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, according to the county’s website. Call specific facilities to check for weekend availability.

Anne Arundel County 

Visit the county’s senior centers or public libraries, and some county police stations will have community rooms for the public. Pets are not allowed in any cooling center, but accommodations can be made for service animals.

Those who need transportation to a cooling center can call (410) 222-0022.

Charles County 

During heat advisories, these county facilities are open to residents:

For more information, visit the county’s website. You can also find information about the pool facilities, such as daily admission rates, here.

Howard County

Keep cool in the county’s senior centers, open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or public libraries, open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and until 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Didn’t find your county or town here? Find more information about cooling centers around Maryland here.



These aren’t specifically cooling centers, but residents can visit these public facilities to cool off: Arlington Public Library locations; spray parks that have varying availability of restrooms (so check the website!); and indoor pools managed by Arlington Public Schools.

Other options could be Kettler Capitals Iceplex, which has daily public skating schedules, or Ocean Dunes Waterpark, managed by NOVA Parks.

Find more tips from Arlington on its website.


Alexandria’s public facilities include a variety of indoor and outdoor pools, the Potomac Yard Park that features an interactive fountain with water jets that residents can run through, public libraries, and a number of recreation centers.

Fairfax County 

These locations are also not specifically designated as cooling centers, but residents can take refuge in Fairfax County public libraries.

The county also has recreation centers that have pools, but there are general admission fees for certain facilities. You can see the rates on the county’s website. Here’s a list of where you can swim in county facilities.

Prince William County 

The county’s fire and rescue department said there is a drop-in center at 14716 Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge for Tuesday, June 19 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Call (703) 792-7648 for more information.

Or, grab a seat at one of the county’s many public libraries.

Teta Alim

Teta Alim is a Digital Editor at WTOP. Teta's interest in journalism started in music and moved to digital media.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up