The Hot List: New To-dos to Keep Cool This Summer

written by JENNIFER COLOSIMO | photos courtesy of Square Threads; Jennifer Colosimo; The Cooler; dk Gallery; 200 Milll

Okay, folks — break out your red, white and blue because it’s officially summer in the city. Despite sweltering forecasts, we can’t help but get out and soak up the sunshine. Who can blame us when there is so much to do around town? To kickstart a fever reliever, we’ve rounded up the coolest (and mostly air-conditioned) new hot things to do, so you can make the most of any day in the heat.

Nothing cures a humid summer hangover like a little retail therapy. Plus, you’ll probably need a wardrobe change or two when the thermometer peaks. Defrost your winter wallet with a spending spree at Square Threads, the latest in menswear. The ambiance works for fashion savvy gentlemen young and old — err, we mean, mature — to come in, shop for quality clothing and experience a high level of customer service that was otherwise only found in Buckhead. With contemporary and relevant, yet classic and traditional looks from their own line of tailored clothing to favorites like Agave, Fish Hippie, State Traditions, Poston Price and more, they’ve created a timeless way to get dressed this summer. Now you just have to decide what to wear. 77 Church Street, Marietta,

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While lip smacking isn’t technically a Southern tradition, at Buckhead’s 521 Kitchen & Que, it’s a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy one of our favorite food pastimes. Squeezed in on Roswell Road, it’s an air conditioned way to eat smoked onsite meats, homemade black-eyed peas, unbelievably sweet Coca-Cola braised collards and the why-haven’t-we-thought-of-this BBQ Grilled Cheese sandwich. Chef Drew Kirkland shops local and prepares everything in-house, calling his nosh-worthy nook a place where they “don’t fuss anything up, but just serve good, quality food.” That’s an understatement. Nothing is ever made batch-style, it tastes like it is supposed to and that’s a whole lot more than good. In fact, when you top it off with banana pudding, it’s even better than great … sauce-drenched fingers or not. 4365 Roswell Road, Atlanta,

When the threat of sunburn cuts playtime outside short, seek the seriously cool conditions at an Alpharetta classic – The Cooler. Trade your flip-flops for ice skates and completely escape the summer swelter, lap after lap around the rink. With rentals starting at just eight bucks, you’ve got the perfect family outing (or a something-different date night) that doesn’t risk heat stroke. If you’re planning to stay poolside (umbrella drink, optional), sign up the little ones for skate lessons and summer camps. You might just discover your own winter Olympian before the next round of medals. 10800 Davis Drive, Alpharetta,

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A stroll through Marietta Square isn’t complete without a little artfulness. This summer, dk Gallery opens “Farm to Table” to whet our appetites, with a landscape and still life show featuring artists Karen Appleton, Robin Cheers, Cecilia Haught, Holly Irwin, Lorra Kurtz and David Wendel. August debuts the powerful “About Face” show, a collection of portraits featuring Wendel, Terrence Gasca, Shellie Lewis-Dambax, Alberto Mier and Catie Radney. Whether you’re in the market to buy or to browse, this prettied-up way to see the city makes either experience reign supreme.
25 West Park Square NE, Marietta,

Speaking of retail therapy … enter 200 Mill, a pop-up shop on Marietta Square. Here, you can hit a one-stop spot to pick up something new for him or her and anyone else. Schedule that stop this month for the weekend of July 10 through 12 and buy that something from artist Britt Bass or one of 15 others with a KB_copper-torch-2.01-HR-4664range of products for sale. With the shop’s focus on craftsmen (and women) and the stories behind their goods, it’s a dose of localized culture as well.

“Our goal is that every shopper can learnabout both the craft and the makers themselves,” said Dana Poor, an interior designer and owner of Boxtree Designs, as well as one of the owners of 200 Mill. Along with her partners, photographer Ashley Woodson Bailey and glass artist Lindsay Troutman of Copper and Torch, the trio provides an avenue for people to purchase a unique item they can’t find anywhere else. That’s exactly the kind of treasure map we need when it’s too hot to window shop. 31 Mill Street, Marietta,

If chilling out is something you’re really ready to take seriously, make an appointment at Roswell’s Chill & Body. It’s the latest location of the LeBron James-approved cryotherapy booth – all the rage with athletes, ailing or achy individuals and anyone needing a jolt of rejuvenation. Just three minutes inside this Nitrogen gas chamber cools you down with shocking, icy temps between 140 and 170 below zero. Once you’re out and the fog has settled (literally), your body warms up quickly, sending a bombshell of oxygenated circulation to repair muscles, joints and even tighten up your skin. It’s cold – really, really cold – but better than sitting through a 30-minute ice bath or ice pack routine. You could even do it on your lunch break. So, disrobe and rejuvenate before it’s time to clock back in. 1137 Canton Street, Roswell,

Whether you’re into breaking a sweat or only into sweets, you’ve got to have dessert. So, feed your face with a rainbow of new flavors at Four Fat Cows. New to downtown Alpharetta (in time for school to end and sugar cravings to hit an all-time high), the family behind this new ice cream and soda shop cures those cravings with hand-scooped recipes for creamy, rich on-the-cone flavors. I wouldn’t schedule a visit without planning to try the textured Coffee Almond Crunch, the classic Mint Chocolate Chip, an indulgent Chocolate Overload and their tastes-like-homemade Strawberry. They serve it just a few degrees above what you see at the big box counters, so it’s extra creamy and extra, extra delicious. Order your favorite as a milkshake so that your hands are free to browse an extensive line of cool toys, locally-made candy and bright, ice cream themed t-shirts. 64 North Main Street, Alpharetta,