8 Cool Cities For Summer

Many people’s winter vacation plans understandably revolve around sand and sun and colorful cocktails sporting tiny umbrellas. But summer in the states can be just as oppressive, whether you’re battling sweat-inducing humidity, malodorous public transportation, or overzealous mosquitoes. So for those who want to skip the sunscreen (I know, I know, you’re supposed to wear sunscreen all year round) and instead wrangle that favorite fuzzy sweater out of storage, here are eight cooler cities to visit. A few are in the Southern Hemisphere, offering a double helping of winter. Others have an Arctic vibe. And some made the cut because they stay relatively chilly all year round. Forget endless summer and embrace its polar opposite.

Anchorage, Alaska
Explore the U.S.’s northernmost city this summer by walking or biking the 11-mile Tony Knowles trail. The paved path curls along the spectacular coastline where you might even catch a glimpse of beluga whales along the way. And, since temperatures stay pretty cool, you won’t even break a sweat doing it.

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
If you think Canadians in general are nice, Newfoundlanders will blow your socks off – and then give you their own socks because your feet might be cold. St. John’s, the capital, is the foggiest, snowiest, wettest, windiest and cloudiest of the major Canadian cities. Have I sold you on it?Katoomba, Australia
Only an hour from Sydney, Katoomba is the main town in the Blue Mountains region – a wonderland of eucalypt forests and gorges where Aussies often vacation. Katoomba is also the home of Yulefest, where, throughout July, the entire place pretends it’s Christmas. Area restaurants and hotels serve up multi-course traditional holiday meals, even hiring local carolers and Santas to complete the picture.

Galway, Ireland
Summer temperatures in this west coast city don’t typically top 65 degrees and nights are frigid enough to justify rounds of Guinness at the local pub. At the end of July, Galway hosts an awesome Arts Festival, not to mention an incredibly popular seven-day horse race, the longest in all of Ireland. Be sure to ask a local lady’s help picking out the right fascinator for the event.

La Serena, Chile
Located 300 miles south of chaotic Santiago, La Serena is Chile’s second oldest city. A normally overpopulated beach town during the summers, La Serena transforms into a friendly, laid-back locale in winter, making it the perfect time to visit this “City of Churches.” There are more than 30 of them, many dating as far back as the late 16th century. Where better to keep warm?

Reykjavik, Iceland
It might be the land of the midnight sun, but you definitely won’t overheat in Reykjavik. Arrive by June 21 for summer solstice festivals that take place around the city, including ones where residents wear traditional Viking garb. Don’t think that you can shirk your sartorial duties just because it’s chilly, though; Reykjavik residents dress to impress when they go out no matter the season.

Queenstown, New Zealand
Known as the “adventure capital of the world,” spend your Kiwi winter skiing, bungee jumping, mountain biking, skydiving or paragliding. You can even go canyon swinging if choosing from several ways to launch yourself off from a 100-meter-high, cliff-mounted platform sounds appealing. I hear it’s easiest if you just let someone push you off the edge.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sure you can tango, eat the world’s best beef and load up on all kinds of leather goods, but you can do that any time in Buenos Aires. So instead check out a distinctly winter event this July: the Annual Buenos Aires Chili Cookoff. This ex-pat organized affair has quickly become a must-attend for locals, too. And word on the street is they still need judges.

[Flickr image via Unhindered by Talent]