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A student’s guide to staying cool for cheap during summer heat waves

From laying in Minneapolis’ many free shady parks to watching basketball games in air conditioned stadiums, here is a list of ways students can stay cool this summer without breaking the bank.
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter

When summer hits, many of us plan on getting out of the house and into the sun. With that said, somewhere around the 85 degrees mark our ambition starts to melt away along with the ice in our glasses.

With both global temperatures and prices rising, many college students on a budget are forced to choose between their wallets and their comfort. This guide is for those who don’t have the luxury of air conditioning and still want to make the most of summer.

Big sports fan looking for an air conditioned stadium game? Minnesota’s WNBA team, the Lynx, have college nights where students can get tickets for $10 online with a “.edu” email address.

Heat bearable enough to sit outside? Stop by Target Field for a Twins game. Tickets are $5 for students Monday through Thursday. Pick up a baseball cap full of rich ice cream, sit back and enjoy the game, whether or not you actually understand the rules.

Less of a sports enthusiast and more of a film buff? AMCs across the metro area offer $5 fan favorite movies daily. Local The Riverview Theater in Minneapolis offers $5 movies all day Tuesday or any day before 6 p.m. So bundle up for the notoriously excessive movie theater air conditioning, take a break from that laptop screen and enjoy the silver screen.

Curious about checking out the art scene in the Twin Cities? There is a diverse array of museums in both St. Paul and Minneapolis that offer either free admission or student discounts. In Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Weisman are two of the many that offer free admission. In St. Paul, the Minnesota History Center offers discounted tickets for students. The History Center’s current exhibits include a showcase of paintings, sculptures and photos by Minnesotan artists.

Want to cool off by going for a dip but are hesitant to swim in possibly polluted water? Thankfully, there are many places in the cities where it is both enjoyable and safe to swim. One well known place in Minneapolis is ironically named Hidden Beach on Cedar Lake where you can take a plunge without leaving the city. A less populated swimming beach can be found at Phalen Regional Park in St. Paul. On the refreshing, clear waters of Lake Phalen, visitors can even take discounted sailing, rowing and paddling classes.

Need something to do in the evening as the day cools off? Como Park recently introduced swan paddle boats for visitors to rent. The swans even light up for night rides. It costs $30 to rent a four-person boat for an hour, so get three friends or organize a double date for a cruise around the lake.

Feeling lazy? The all-time cheapest, simplest way to get out of a hot, stuffy apartment on a sunny day is to just lay in the shade. A few parks tout a noteworthy amount of leafy trees to tie up a hammock or lay out a blanket but one especially known for its tree cover is Deming Heights Park. Surrounded by colossal, luscious oak trees, one can escape with a book and a favorite refreshing drink to spend a day under the leaves.

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