Great Ice Cream Shops from Coast to Coast
Move over, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. The world's most-delicious dessert is showing up in shops from coast to coast in delectable flavors like salted caramel, Prosecco, roasted banana and beyond.
Photo By: Sean Vahey
Photo By: Leela Cyd
Photo By: Ryan Kundrat
Photo By: Emily Hart Photography
Photo By: Donny Tsang
Photo By: Essdras M Suarez ©Essdras M Suarez/ EMS Photography
We All Scream for ...
There are few better summer pleasures than ice cream. Whether you like yours in a cone, cup or piled high in a sundae, here are a few top spots for the sweetest scoops across the country.
San Francisco: Humphry Slocombe
This ice cream shop continues to surprise customers with its ever-changing array of flavors (prosciutto, anyone?). For a treat that will appeal to the kid in every adult, try the Secret Breakfast. Cornflakes are baked into a crispy cookie, then folded into a bourbon-infused ice cream base. It's appeared on Top 5: Restaurants and The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Go to: Humphry Slocombe
Washington, D.C.: Ice Cream Jubilee
Using locally sourced dairy, this acclaimed parlor, founded by attorney-turned-“icecreampreneur” Victoria Lai, makes a wide selection of seasonal scoops, including mint chip with garden mint, a buttery salted caramel and several alcohol-infused treats, including gin-and-tonic sorbet.
Go to: Ice Cream Jubilee
Brooklyn: Ample Hills
The names are nearly as clever as the scoops are delicious at Ample Hills. This family-run chainlet of ice cream parlors regularly commands lengthy waits on warm summer days for flavors like Salted Crack Caramel, The Munchies and The Dude, a White Russian-inspired ode to The Big Lebowski. It Came from the Gowanus, a flavor unique to the Gowanus location, was deemed the best flavor in the country, according to Top 5: Restaurants.
Go to: Ample Hills Creamery
Anchorage, Alaska: Wild Scoops
This shop sources its ingredients from local bounty for flavors like Alaska Birch — with local birch syrup and almond-birch brittle — and a Baked Alaska cone, under a swirl of torched marshmallow.
Portland, Oregon: Salt & Straw
This ice cream chainlet has attracted international press and shops throughout the West Coast, but it still feels like a neighborhood parlor. There’s a monthly themed menu — creative flavors inspired by cheese, cocktails or “rescued food,” such as day-old bread and celery leaves — plus a dozen standbys that lean a little more traditional (if you consider strawberry balsamic with black pepper traditional). Follow the smell of fresh waffle cones to the line that’s always snaking out the door, and comfort yourself with the knowledge that a generous sampling policy awaits you once you get to the front.
Go to: Salt & Straw
Newtown, Connecticut: Ferris Acres Creamery
It could be the gentle symphony of moos from a nearby herd of cows, or the bucolic 150-year-old dairy farm setting, but Newtown’s Ferris Acres Creamery is one of Connecticut’s most-beloved ice cream destinations. With more than 50 flavors to choose from, the shop usually has something for every taste, but the majority of ice cream fans are there for just one; the locally inspired Cow Trax is many a regular’s top choice. A rich and creamy vanilla base is densely packed with swirls of peanut butter and mini chocolate chips. Open seasonally and on certain holidays, the shop offers cones, cups and, around the corner, a to-go window for pints, which is a nifty way to get an ice cream fix without the wait.
Go to: Ferris Acres Creamery
More About: Graeter's
San Francisco: Bi-Rite Creamery
First the good news: The rich, custardy ice cream at Bi-Rite will be among the best you'll taste in your lifetime. Now the bad news: Lines can last up to an hour. Do not be discouraged. The dense, creamy and complex Salted Caramel — one of the company's best flavors — is worth the wait. Other winners on the ever-changing roster of flavors: Toasted Coconut, Cara Cara Orange Cardamom and Malted Vanilla.
Go to: Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop
Philadelphia: Franklin Fountain
This old-timey ice cream parlor offers classic scoops, shakes, splits and soda concoctions — including phosphates and egg creams — served by staff clad in bow ties and white caps. Go for a classic scoop of vanilla or rum raisin or try a sundae, like the Franklin Mint, with chocolat syrup, marshmallow fluff and mint syrup over mint and vanilla scoops.
Go to: The Franklin Fountain
Denver: Sweet Action Ice Cream
Sweet Action is regularly hailed as one of Denver’s top spots to grab a cone. Flavors change daily, but include vegan options and creative combinations like sake-ginger, peppermint-mocha and Rocky Mountain root beer.
Go to: Sweet Action Ice Cream
Los Angeles: Sweet Rose Creamery
New York: Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
Columbus, Ohio: Jeni's Ice Cream
This handcrafted ice cream is seemingly everywhere, with shops dispensing those irresistibly delicious cones and cups of Salty Caramel, Brambleberry Crisp and Darkest Chocolate all throughout the country. But Columbus is and always will be home, including to several scoop shops. The secret? Milk from grassfed cows and locally sourced ingredients.
More About: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Milwaukee: Kopp's Frozen Custard
If you haven’t licked a scoop of frozen custard, some might say you’re missing out on the Midwest’s most-delicious sweet. Kopp’s has three locations (in Glendale, Greenfield and Brookfield), each with old-school flair (think white-paper hats for the workers, and stainless-steel counters). Founded by Elsa Kopp in 1950, the business is now managed by her son Karl. Pro tip: Check out the Flavor Forecast on Kopp’s website, should you be deciding which day to visit. Flavors are often inspired by restaurant menus, including creative combinations like Tiramisu and Maple Syrup & Pancakes.
Go to: Kopp's Frozen Custard
Chicago: Black Dog Gelato
More About: Black Dog Gelato
More About: Churn
Miami: Azucar Ice Cream Company
Cool off with a scoop or two of homemade Cuban ice cream at this Miami shop. The tropical flavors includesweet plantain, mantecado (Cuban vanilla), coconut flan, guava, avocado and the signature Abuela Maria (vanilla swirled with red guava, cream cheese and chopped Maria cookies).
Go to: Azucar Ice Cream Company
St. Paul: Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe
More About: Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe
Philadelphia: Capogiro Gelato Artisans
More About: Capogiro Gelato Artisans
Washington, D.C.: Moorenko's Ice Cream Cafe
More About: Moorenko's Ice Cream Cafe
Detroit: Guernsey Farms Dairy
More About: Guernsey Farms Dairy
Miami: The Frieze Ice Cream Factory
More About: The Frieze Ice Cream Factory
St. Louis: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
More About: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
Boston: Toscanini's Ice Cream
More About: Toscanini's Ice Cream
Atlanta: Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream
More About: Morelli's Gourmet Ice Cream
Denver: Little Man Ice Cream
More About: Little Man Ice Cream