We spend a good part of the year longing for summer, but when it starts getting this hot it’s as though winter never existed. The next few days are going to be scorchers, so we’ve put together a list of places and ways to cool down, chill out and appreciate the technological advancements in air-conditioning.

The Obvious Choice

The movies. Perfect for hot summer (or spring) days: extra points for choc tops and frozen beverages. Cinema Nova (as always) has lots to get you thinking, including Julianne Moore’s latest, Freeheld, and He Named Me Malala, a documentary about human-rights campaigner, Malala Yousafzai.

380 Lygon Street

If you’ve planned a date and are beginning to second-guess the spot, hop in the car and head for Coburg Drive-In. Roll down the windows, dig into some popcorn and watch a blockbuster.

155 Newlands Road, Coburg

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Down the other end of the city is Palace Brighton Bay, an example of the great small suburban cinemas of decades past. With four screens, a bar and a considered mix of arthouse and mainstream films, it’s also within striking distance of the beach.

294 Bay Street, Brighton

If you’d prefer to be outdoors, the Lido’s Rooftop Cinema has started its summer program. If you’re hungry, you can duck down to Yo-Chi for a fro-yo (endless toppings at your discretion).

675 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

The Gallery:

Tarrawarra Museum of Art is currently showing an exhibition by French artist Pierre Huyghe, who uses various multimedia forms to break down ideas of time and nature. It’s an hour’s drive from Melbourne, near Healesville, so there are plenty of other attractions in the neighbourhood, as well as a winery on the property specialising in pinot noir and chardonnay.

311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Tarrawarra

The NGV is showing Richard Mosse’s The Enclave – vivid, haunting and beautiful footage of the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo shot on 16-millimetre colour infra-red film. It’s also where you can drop off your spare Lego to contribute to Ai Wei Wei’s upcoming exhibition.

180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

If you're in the north, check out the new Neon Parc II gallery, a large, cool industrial space currently showing the psychedelic paintings of Dale Frank (arguably what your heatstroke might look like if you put it on a wall). 

15 Tinning Street, Brunswick

The Ice Cream:

Inside Spring Street Grocer is Gelateria Primavera. There are many contenders for best gelato in the city, and Primavera is always right up there with the best of them, rotating 10 milk-based gelatos and six dairy-free sorbets, with classic flavours alongside the curious, such as peach-and-basil sorbetto.

157 Spring Street, Melbourne

Meanwhile, Messina has opened its third Melbourne store in Windsor – so can feed chilly cravings on all sides of town.

Windsor: 171 Chapel Street
Richmond: 164 Swan Street
Fitzroy: 237 Smith Street

The Drinks:

Hot day, cold beer. The Local Taphouse has more than 20 craft beers on tap, along with an extensive wine list and a rooftop area to kick back in after a long day. Head chef Richard Smith has designed many of the dishes to be matched with the beer selection.

184 Carlisle Street, St Kilda

If alcohol isn’t what you’re after, stick with a cold-brew coffee from Minor Figures. There are two options: cold brew coffee (single-origin Ethiopian Guji coffee) or cold brew with organic milk (70 per cent Brazilian and 30 per cent Sumatran coffee).

Stockist: Prahran Grocer, 87 High Street, Prahran

Into Nature:

Top up your myki ( or get on your bike) and head to Black Rock for a dip. If you haven’t been to this beach in a while, you’ll wonder why it’s been so long (especially with The True South Brewery and its Little Miss Muffet Apple Cider and kolsch-style summer ale in the neighbourhood).

298 Beach Road, Black Rock

Feel like you’ve walked The Tan a thousand times? Hop on a train and check out the botanical gardens in Williamstown (with a bonus beach a short walk away).

Giffard Street and Osborne Street.

If you want to get further out towards the sticks, head to Laughing Waters, the Eltham area's natural watering hole and worst-kept secret. Listen to the birds, float on your lilo and soak in one of the cleaner sections of the Yarra.

And of course … The Pool:

Melbourne City Baths, on the intersection of Swanston Street and Victoria Parade, is indoors, but perfect for an afternoon splash around on the way home from work, or even a lunchtime lap or two if you’re in the area.

420 Swanston Street, Melbourne

If a slide is required, there’s the Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre with not one, but two waterslides: the Ship Wreck and the thrillingly-named Pirates Plunge. There’s also a 50-metre outdoor pool.

200 East Boundary Road, East Bentleigh

Of course, Melbourne has many great outdoor pools, so if you can’t access the beach but need to cool your toes, try these.