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How (And Where) To Get Relief As LA Goes Into A Brutally Hot Weekend

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Here's a look at Friday highs in Southern California from the National Weather Service. (Screenshot via the NWS)
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It’s going to be a hot-hot weekend.

UCLA Climate Scientist Daniel Swain says this heat wave is going to last a week to 10 days, with unusually warm nights, and very hot temperatures inland.

It's so hot that local cities and counties will open their cooling centers.

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These are free, indoor, air-conditioned refuges from the heat, and because local governments are sponsoring them, they should be COVID-compliant. That is to say, you should have enough elbow room so you’re not breathing in what somebody else is breathing out.What’s different during this year’s heat spell? In pre-pandemic times there were lots of cheap and free places we could go to beat the heat. Most are now closed. Forget about going to the movies, live theater, indoor restaurants, indoor ice skating and roller rinks.

Los Angeles County and city pools are all closed, and so are most public pools operated by smaller cities, so those are not an option for cooling off. L.A. County-operated splash pads are free and open this weekend. Details here.

What is open?

Swain told us:

"The ocean is the clear choice, but there's only so much space on the beaches, and it could really complicate people's ability to to stay distance from one another."

And yes, L.A. County and city beaches are open this weekend, with the usual physical distance and mask rules in place. Also open: County-run swim beaches at Bonelli, and Santa Fe Dam recreation areas. [Note: Castaic is closed because it’s a staging area for firefighters working the Lake Fire.] Those places get crowded on weekends and operators may limit how many people may get in, so if you plan to go, get there early.
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Open air shopping malls are not the coolest options, but most will have shade and places to buy a nice tall lemonade. Think Americana in Glendale, The Grove, Citadel Outlets, 2nd & PCH in Long Beach.

But indoor mall-walking or sitting is out. Indoor malls like the Glendale Galleria were open during a brief few weeks starting in May, but when coronavirus cases rebounded, they were closed again in late July. Stores at shopping malls accessible from outside are still open.

Big stand-alone indoor retailers like Walmart and Target are open, but you probably can’t wander aimlessly for hours or sit around in the patio furniture displays, so, again, not a prime option.

It’s the same sad story with local museums. They were reopening in May and June, but were ordered closed again in early July.

You might try finding a shady green spot in the carefully curated outdoors. Several of L.A.’s spectacular open spaces are open during the pandemic. L.A. County operates the Arboretum in Arcadia, Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge and the South Coast Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes and all are open. Huntington Library is also open. However, those and other public gardens might require advance reservations and paid tickets.

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If you don’t mind a drive, Lake Arrowhead is going to be about ten degrees cooler than the L.A. Basin this weekend. That’s still pretty hot, but it’s a tourist town, the shops are open and COVID-compliant, which means you need to wear your mask when you’re not eating your ice cream cone.


COOLING CENTERS IN L.A. COUNTY

Quartz Hill Library

Open Friday, August 14 to Sunday, August 16 from noon to 8 p.m.
5040 W. Avenue M-2, Quartz Hill

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Stevenson Ranch Library

Open Friday, August 14 to Sunday, August 16 from noon to 8 p.m.
25950 The Old Road, Stevenson Ranch

Claremont Library

Open Friday, August 31 to Saturday, August 1 from noon to 8 p.m.
208 N. Harvard Avenue, Claremont

Salazar Park

Open Friday, August 14 to Sunday, August 16 from noon to 8 p.m.
3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles

Valleydale Park

Open Friday, August 14 to Sunday, August 16 from noon to 8 p.m.
5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave. Azusa

Topanga Library

Open Friday, August 14 to Sunday, August 16 from noon to 8 p.m.
122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga

CITY OF L.A.

Canoga Park Senior Center

Open Friday, August 14 to Monday, August 17 from noon to 8 p.m.
7326 Jordan Ave., Canoga Park

Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult Center

Open Friday, August 14 to Monday, August 17 from noon to 8 p.m.
5056 Van Nuys Blvd. Sherman Oaks

Pecan Recreation Center

Open Friday, August 14 to Monday, August 17 from noon to 8 p.m.
145 S. Pecan St. Los Angeles

Slauson Recreation Center

Open Friday, August 14 to Monday, August 17 from noon to 8 p.m.
5306 South Compton Ave., Los Angeles

Lafayette Recreation Center

Open Friday, August 14 to Monday, August 17 from noon to 8 p.m.
625 S. Lafayette Park Pl., Los Angeles

EL MONTE

Grace T. Black Auditorium

Open Friday, August 14 to Saturday, August 15 from noon to 6 p.m.
3130 Tyler Avenue, El Monte

BURBANK

Buena Vista Library

Open Friday, August 14 to Monday, August 17 from noon to 6 p.m.
300 N Buena Vista St., Burbank

GLENDALE

Griffith Manor Park

Open only Friday, August 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
1551 Flower Street, Glendale

Pacific Community Center

Open Saturday, August 15 to Tuesday, August 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
501 S. Pacific Avenue, Glendale, CA 91204

SAN FERNANDO

Las Palmas Park

Open Friday, August 14 to, August 16 from noon to 6 p.m.
505 South Huntington Street, San Fernando

PALMDALE

Chimbole Cultural Center

Open Friday, August 14 to Thursday, August 20 from noon to 6 p.m.
38350 Sierra Hwy., Palmdale

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