Wading in Swann Memorial Fountain isn't officially allowed, but it sure is a popular tradition. (Michaela Winberg/Billy Penn)

Philly is serious about summertime fun. 

With average high temps for June, July, and August hovering in the upper 80s, it’s warm enough that people seek novel ways to cool off, but not too hot that you can’t spend time outdoors. 

From eating and drinking to swimming and partying, Philadelphia has plenty of warm weather traditions. Here are 10 of the best.    

Slurping water ice 

Plenty of cities have frozen treat shops, but Philly’s water ice has a special texture. Not so hard that you need to scrape it or lick it, not so melty that you need a straw, it’s just slushy enough that a whole cup can be slowly slurped for ultimate refreshment — no spoon needed.

Picnics on the Plateau

Belmont Plateau isn’t just a special for DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, who immortalized it in their 1991 hit “Summertime.” Tons of people make a warm weather tradition of heading to the West Fairmount Park spot for picnics, BBQs, and family gatherings. Though the giant maple there was felled last year, the plateau still offers lots of green space and a great view of the Philly skyline.

Going ‘down the shore’

Philadelphians have been escaping to New Jersey beaches during the summer since the 1800s, when they were deemed shoobies for bringing along lunches in shoeboxes.” The “down the shore” phrasing for the trip came about more recently, but it’s been around at least 50 years.   

Bangin’ block parties 

This tradition might be in danger of dying out. Once known as the “block party capital” of the nation, Philadelphia is seeing fewer and fewer of the streetfront neighborhood gatherings. After a decade with at least 5,000 block parties each year, permit applications have been on the decline. It’s not just a pandemic thing — the downward trend started in 2016.  

Eating hoagies to celebrate America

It’s pretty easy to find a great hoagie in Philadelphia. Stumbling over a decent one is easier than tying your shoe. But they taste better when they’re free! That’s proven annually at Wawa Hoagie Day. Part of the Fourth of July Welcome America festival, the event sees thousands lining up to get their hands on one of the convenience chain’s sandwiches. 

Using hydrants to cool off

Back in the day, you could put in a request for the Philly Fire Department to install a spray cap attachment that would turn the hydrant on your street into an impromptu sprinkler. That ended in 2008 — it’s now illegal to open one — but that hasn’t stopped residents from tapping into the water source. How else could you fill a dumpster pool, anyway? 

Pop-up beer gardens

Legally setting up a pop-up beer garden used to be near impossible, thanks to Pennsylvania’s antiquated liquor laws. But Philly bars and restaurants kept pressing, and in 2016 the rules changed, making it much easier. Now it’s a veritable tradition, with more than two dozen spots opening to serve each season.

Center City’s drunk Wednesdays

If you love being surrounded by tipsy office workers and grad students, Center City Sips is probably one of your summertime rituals. The weekly Wednesday happy hour promotion is like an excuse for a mid-week break, and plenty of people take full advantage

Wading in Swann Fountain

Swimming is prohibited in Philly’s public fountains, but you wouldn’t know it if you stop by Swann Memorial Fountain in the middle of Logan Circle. The basin filled with Calder sculptures of animals is a classic site for cooling off, with adults dipping in their toes and kids getting even wetter. 

Pushing for more public pools

If you want to follow the rules, avoid hydrants and fountains and hit up the 90 spraygrounds located around Philadelphia. Or, visit one of dozens of public pools — if you can find one that’s open. Because of a staffing shortage in recent years, only some have opened for use. 

Want to help by becoming a lifeguard? There’s still time to apply.