There’s no denying it — Valley summers are brutal. That’s why we’ve come up with 50 cool ways to ease the pain a bit.
1. Ski season may be eight months away, but you can still enjoy a ride on the ski lift at Arizona Snowbowl (located seven miles northwest of Flagstaff on Highway 180). The lift — open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through mid-October post-Labor Day — takes guests up to an elevation of 11,500 feet, where it’s cold enough to warrant a jacket. Admission: $6-$10. Info: (928) 779-1951.
2. Children of all ages will enjoy a dip in the Kiwanis Wave Pool (southwest corner of Baseline Road and Mill Avenue, Tempe). The waves are currently turned on from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Beginning Memorial Day, swimmers will also be able to enjoy the pool from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission: $3-$6. Info: (480) 350-5201.
3. Go on a deep sea adventure as the IMAX Theater (5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe) presents two cool underwater flicks: “Ghosts of the Abyss” and “Coral Reef Adventure.” The former explores the legendary wreck of the Titanic, while the latter takes moviegoers on a tour of the South Pacific’s spectacular coral reefs. Tickets: $7-$9. Info: (480) 897-4629.
4. The name says it all — Angel Sweet (1900 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler) is truly heaven-sent. This strip-mall favorite features more than two dozen flavors of rich, dense Italian ice cream, such as mango, chocolate Oreo and tiramisu. Our fave? The tart ’n’ tangy lemon gelato. Info: (480) 722-2541.
5. It’s going to be a strawberry summer at Jamba Juice, as the hoppin’ juice spot has unveiled two new creations. Strawberry Dream’n is made with soy milk, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt and strawberries, while our fave, the tart Strawberry Tsunami, is blended with fresh-squeezed lemonade, lime sorbet, strawberries and peaches. Jamba Juice has East Valley locations in Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Ahwatukee Foothills. Info: www.jambajuice.com.
6. Hit the rink at Polar Ice (8270 S. Kyrene Road, Tempe). Whether you fancy yourself a figure skater or a hockey player, you’re sure to have a cool time at Polar Ice, which also features a food court and arcade. Open skate hours vary by day. Admission: $6.50-$7.50 (plus $3.25 skate rental). Info: (480) 598-9400.
7. The Phoenician’s (6000 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix) ice cream-making class is back by popular demand. During the 90-minute class — held at 12:30 p.m. Saturdays in the kitchen of Windows on the Green — guests will make (and taste) ice cream sandwiches, sugar cones and sundaes. The class begins June 7 and is offered through mid-September. Cost: $25 per person. Info: (480) 423-2530.
8. The key to surviving an Arizona summer is staying hydrated — but water is so darn dull. Thank goodness for Pop the Soda Shop (2015 N. Scottsdale Road), which offers more than 400 varieties of soda, such as Black Lemonade and Orange Cream Soda. The hard part is picking just one. Info: (480) 994-4505.
9. Nothing marks the beginning of summer like the opening of the Valley’s three water parks. Sunsplash (155 W. Hampton Ave., Mesa,  834-8319), Big Surf (1500 N. McClintock Drive, Tempe,  947-7873) and Waterworld (4243 W. Pinnacle Peak Road, Glendale) will all open for business Memorial Day weekend. Call for hours and admission prices.
10. Chill out with a cool slice of Key lime cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory (3111 W. Chandler Blvd., Suite 2100, Chandler,  792-1300; 15230 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale,  607-0083; and 2402 E. Camelback Road, Suite 101, Phoenix,  778-6501). Sure, the dense peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake is to die for, but it just doesn’t say summer like the tart and delightful Key lime.
11. Nothing satisfies like crisp, cool lettuce wraps, and homegrown chain P.F. Chang’s has the best in town. Priced at $6.25, the vegetarian version of the appetizer features wok-seared tofu, red onions, water chestnuts with mint and lime served with lettuce cups. P.F. Chang’s has East Valley locations in Tempe, Chandler and Scottsdale. Info: www.pfchangs.com.
12. Go west to Havasupai and Mooney Falls (located on the Havasupai Reservation in Grand Canyon National Park). The picturesque blue-green waterfalls, which look like something you might see in Hawaii, are only accessible by foot, horseback or helicopter. Mooney Falls, which is 190 feet high, is the more popular of the two, as the pool below it is said to be one of the state’s best swimming holes. Admission: $20 (camping fees are extra). Info: (928) 448-2141.
13. Forget Fashion Center and all those fancy galleries. The real downtown Scottsdale attraction is Sugar Bowl (4005 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale). This bright pink Old Town landmark serves up the best sundaes, shakes and banana splits in town — along with a heaping helping of nostalgia. Info: (480) 946-0051.
14. The Salt Cellar (550 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale) is proof positive crabs and clams are cooler when enjoyed underground. The popular eatery — literally nestled underground — specializes in all things seafood, from lobster and shrimp to oysters and salmon. Info: (480) 947-1963.
15. Check out the Queen Mine Underground Tour (118 Arizona St., Bisbee), where the temperature is a brisk 47 degrees year-round. Tours of the Queen, one of the oldest copper mines in Arizona, are offered five times daily, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission: $3.50-$8. Info: (520) 432-2071.
16. Lazlow’s Dawg House (2765 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 107, Scottsdale) may be better known for its Chicago- style chili “dawgs,” but the hot dog shop’s malts are just as incredible. Owner Peter DeCarl’s secret-recipe malts are thick, sweet and delicious — the perfect remedy for triple-digit temps. Info: (480) 990-3294.
17. If you prefer not to venture out of the house until nighttime, when the temperature has at least dipped into the 90s, you’re sure to like the Thursday hours at Phoenix Art Museum (1625 N. Central Ave.,  257-1222) and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (7374 E. Second St.,  994-2787). Phoenix Art Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and SMoCA is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Best of all, on Thursdays, admission is free at both places.
18. Lace up those hiking boots and head out to Kachina Trail (located at Arizona Snowbowl, seven miles northwest of Flagstaff). The moderate, 5-mile-long trail takes hikers past white-barked aspens and meadows of wildflowers to the top of the tallest mountain in Arizona. Not only will you get a good workout, you’ll be awed by the scenery. Info: (928) 526-0866.
19. Seek relief from the summer heat by cooling off on the shaded patio at House of Tricks (114 E. Seventh St., Tempe). Featuring a cozy outdoor bar and fireplace (which is out of commission through November), Tricks’ lush patio, located under an umbrella of shade trees, is the perfect place for sipping a cool glass of lemonade. Info: (480) 968-1114.
20. Cooler temperatures are a mere two hours away in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon (125 miles north of the East Valley off Interstate 17). Home to the mystical, magical Red Rocks, along with plenty of art galleries, Southwestern- themed stores and quaint eateries, Sedona is one cool day trip. Info: www.sedonachamber.com.
21. Even pooches need an escape from the dog days of summer. Man and his best friend can cool off at In the Raw (8320 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale), a coffee shop and juice bar that serves up fruit smoothies for two- and four-legged patrons alike. In addition to a fire hydrant-themed fountain, dogs can enjoy mutt muffins made with fruit pulp. Info: (480) 443-4113.
22. You’ll be wowed by Dean Harrison’s lions, tigers, panthers, snakes and lizards at Out of Africa Wildlife Park (located two miles north of Shea Boulevard off Highway 87 near Fountain Hills). From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the park — home to the popular Tiger Splash show — is open from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $6.94-$14.95. Info: (480) 837-6833.
23. Freeze your brain with a slushy something from Fat Tuesday (680 S. Mill Ave., Tempe,  967-3917; 455 N. Third St., Phoenix,  256-2444; and 21001 N. Tatum Blvd., Suite B-3, Phoenix,  473-0666). Featuring more than two dozen frozen alcoholic drinks, from a strawberry daiquiri to a Sex on the Beach, you’ll be feeling the buzz in no time.
24. What would summer in the Valley be without Salt River Tubing? The season kicks off from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; tubers can choose from two-, three- and five-hour floating adventures. Salt River Tubing, which is open daily through Labor Day, is located in northeast Mesa, 15 miles north of U.S. 60 on Power Road. Admission: $12 (includes tube rental). Info: (480) 984-3305.
25. When it comes to iced coffee, no one beats Coffee Rush (1949 W. Ray Road, Chandler). The java spot, nestled next to the Andersen community lake, is always bustling with customers who just can’t get enough of the shop’s tasty iced mochas. And the lattes and homemade baklava? They’re not bad, either. Info: (480) 855-9815.
26. Chill out on the patio of El Zócalo Mexican Grille (28 S. San Marcos Place, Chandler). Although it serves up mean margaritas and chips and salsa, the main draw at this downtown eatery is the lush, charming patio — complete with a fountain. After all, a margarita always seems a little more enjoyable when its sipped amidst bold flowers and greenery. Info: (480) 722-0303.
27. Seven o’clock in the morning might be early, but it’s also the coolest part of the day. During the summer, the Phoenix Zoo (455 N. Galvin Parkway) is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., allowing visitors to check out the lions, tigers and bears before they sneak indoors to escape the heat. Admission: $5-$12. Info: (602) 273-1341.
28. After work, cool off with a piña colada on the (enclosed) patio at Bahama Breeze (7200 W. Ray Road, Chandler,  705-7399; and 1959 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix,  650-1800). This tropical-themed hot spot offers music on the patio, as well as an outdoor bar, so you don’t have to exert too much effort.
29. Ride the rails on the Grand Canyon Railway (233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd., Williams,  843-8724) or the Verde Canyon Railroad (300 N. Broadway, Clarkdale,  320-0718). The Grand Canyon Railway takes passengers on a two-hour trip to the South Rim of the Canyon; trains depart daily at 10 a.m. Guests on the Verde Canyon Railroad will enjoy Sinagua Indian ruins and pass through a 680-foot man-made tunnel during their journey through the Verde Valley. Train schedules vary, but trains generally run Wednesday through Sunday during the summer. Grand Canyon tickets: $25-$147. Verde Canyon tickets: $24.95-$59.95.
30. Get a cool taste of the Big Apple at Brooklyn Italian Ices (11 E. Sixth St., Suite 101, Tempe). This Mill Avenue sweet spot offers 100 flavors of Italian ice, gelato and ice cream, including such exotic delights as honeydew, coconut cream and bubble gum. All are made fresh in Brooklyn. Info: (480) 736-0011.
31. If it’s good enough for the bats, it’s good enough for you. Kartchner Caverns State Park (located on I-10 near Benson), with its spectacular stalagmites and stalactites, averages 68 degrees year-round. The park is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; tours are offered from 8:40 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Admission: $10 per car; tours are $6-$14. Info: www.pr.state.az.us/ parkhtml/kartchner.html.
32. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Cold Stone Creamery. The ice cream shop invites patrons to create their own concoctions, choosing from a variety of homemade ice creams and such toppings as cookie dough, M&M’s, gummy bears and apple pie filling. Our favorite combo? Candy Land, made with Cold Stone’s new cake batter ice cream, M&M’s, Kit Kat bars and Snickers. Cold Stone has East Valley locations in Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Ahwatukee Foothills. Info: www.coldstonecreamery. com.
33. How good does a cold beer taste on a hot day? Throw down a cold one or two at Tempe’s best watering hole, Four Peaks Brewing Co. (1340 E. Eighth St., Suite 104). This neighborhood bar offers more than 20 homegrown beers, including the popular Kilt Lifter. Info: (480) 303-9967.
34. The kids are sure to get a kick out of the Splash Playground at Tempe Town Lake (Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway). The one-acre play area — which is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 28 — teaches how a drop of rain falls from the sky and ends up either in the ocean or becomes part of the city water supply. Admission is free. Info: (480) 350-8625.
35. Splish ’n’ splash around on the bumper boats at Fiddlesticks Family Fun Park (1155 W. Elliot Road, Tempe,  961-0800 and 8800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale,  951-6060). Take one of these babies for a spin, and you’re sure to get soaked — but isn’t that the whole point? Rides: $4.
36. There’s no cooler place to take in a D-Backs game than the Pool Pavilion at Bank One Ballpark (401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix). The Pavilion features a 385-square-foot pool, 85-square-foot hot tub, patio area, reserved row of bleacher seats and changing areas with restrooms, showers and lockers. The area rents for $5,500 per game and includes 35 game tickets, five parking passes and a D-Backs beach towel, cap and pair of Sensi Sandals for each guest. Info: (602) 514-8400.
37. Nothing takes the edge off a 100-degree day like one of Starbucks’ new Frappuccino flavors. Choose from the coffee-based Mocha Malt or the cream-based Chocolate Malt. Topped with whipped cream and Hershey’s syrup, the drinks are this summer’s coolest blended beverages. Starbucks has locations on nearly every corner in the East Valley. Info: www.starbucks. com.
38. Check out the Flashlight Discovery Tours at the Desert Botanical Garden (1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix). During the tours — which begin in June and run from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursdays through the end of July — guests will discover the garden’s nocturnal mysteries, like a night-blooming cactus or the eerie calls of the toads in the pond. Participants should bring a flashlight and wear tennies or hiking boots. Admission: $3.50-$7.50. Info: (480) 941-1225.
39. Enjoy the stars in air-conditioned comfort at the University of Arizona’s Flandrau Planetarium (1601 E. University Blvd., Tucson). Current shows include “Explorers of Mauna Kea,” which examines the stars from some of the largest telescopes in the world atop this Hawaiian volcano, some 14,000 feet above sea level. Showtimes for “Mauna Kea” are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission: $4-$5.50. Info: (520) 621-7827.
40. Enjoy a slice of pie at Mt. Lemmon Cafe (2976 N. Sabino Canyon Parkway, Summerhaven). Said to be the best pie in the state (and thus, well worth the trek from the East Valley), the cafe offers such flavors as sour apple, rhubarb strawberry, apricot, Key lime and sour cherry. A slice is $6. And the cooler temperatures on Mount Lemmon? Consider them an added bonus. Info: (520) 576-1234.
41. Just a short jaunt to the northeast Valley is Fountain Park (12925 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills), home to one of the world’s highest fountains. The fountain, which sits at the center of a man-made lake, catapults a snow-white stream of water 560 feet into the sky, making it one Valley landmark you just can’t miss. Weather permitting, the fountain operates for 15 minutes on the hour, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Info: (480) 837-1654.
42. Everyone loves a snow cone — especially one from Bahama Buck’s. Patrons can pick from dozens of fruity flavors, including kiwi, blueberry, mango, passion fruit and watermelon; topped with whipped cream and cute, colorful drink umbrellas, these snow cones are sweet perfection. Bahama Buck’s has locations in Mesa and Tempe. Info: www.bahamabucks.com.
43. Forget sweating and suffering in the heat while waiting in line for movie tickets. At the Scottsdale Six Drive-In (8101 E. McKellips Road), you can enjoy the latest blockbusters from the comfort of your own air-conditioned car — and you don’t have to shell out a 20-spot for popcorn and soda. Tickets: $3.50-$5.75. Info: (480) 949-9451.
44. Escape to the islands — or rather, the next-best-thing to a Polynesian getaway, Drift (4341 N. 75th St., Scottsdale). In addition to a pu pu platter and plenty of tikis, this hip, hot downtown Scottsdale lounge offers a menu packed with refreshing fruity creations. Our favorite is the Grotto ($26), made with Bacardi, Southern Comfort, peach schnapps, apricot brandy and fruit juices. It comes with four straws, so you won’t have to tackle it by your lonesome. Info: (480) 949-8454.
45. Anyone who has jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet will tell you, it’s pretty darn cool up there. Find out for yourself at Skydive Arizona (4900 N. Taylor St., Eloy). Located halfway between the East Valley and Tucson off I-10, Skydive Arizona has been open since 1978, catering to advanced jumpers and beginners alike. Cost: $165-$370. Info: (520) 466-3753.
46. Cool off with a margarita — or 350 — at Garduño’s Margarita Factory (3155 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler,  857-8700 and 8787 N. Scottsdale Road,  607-9222). In addition to a huge menu packed with traditional Mexican favorites, this eatery also serves up more than 350 kinds of margaritas. Patrons can choose from such exotic flavors as coconut, grape, honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, kiwi and even chocolate.
47. Rent a cabin at Hannagan Meadow (located 22 miles south of Alpine on the Coronado Trail). Tucked up high in the White Mountains at an elevation of 9,100 feet, the area features beautiful scenery and cool temps, making it the perfect place for reading, relaxing and recuperating from the 9-to-5 grind. Rustic cabins can be rented for $90-$175 per night during the summer, or you can opt to stay at the quaint Hannagan Meadow Lodge. Info: (928) 428-2225.
48. Enjoy Night Lights on the Desert at Taliesin West (Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Cactus Road, Scottsdale). During these two-hour twilight tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Valley abode, visitors can check out the popular fire-breathing dragon sculpture, the Taliesin West living room, Cabaret Cinema, music pavilion and Wright’s private office. The tour, which is offered at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. Fridays, concludes with light refreshments. Admission: $25. Info: (480) 860-8810.
49. Get a dose of culture at dusk at the Scottsdale ArtWalk (Main Street and Marshall Way). From 7 to 9 p.m. every Thursday, downtown galleries stay open late especially for those art lovers who want to avoid the daytime heat. Info: (480) 990-3939.
50. Dine on the quaint, lush patio at Arcadia Farms (7009 E. First Ave., Scottsdale), where the adorable cottagelike ambience and colorful potted flowers will have you feeling like you’re on Cape Cod. And not only is the scene top-notch, so is the menu, which is packed with cool favorites such as crisp salads and hearty sandwiches. (You can save the soup for December.) Info: (480) 874-1624.