There is so much to love about summer foods. You’ve got s’mores, hot dogs on the grill, corn on the cob, the list goes on and on.
Now all those summer treats are great, and I’ma let you finish, but I would just like to point out that ice cream is the greatest summer treat of all time. What would a hazy summer month be without pints and pints of ice cream consumed?
Whether you’re traveling or staying put this summer, there are amazing ice cream shops in every corner of the country for you to enjoy! I’ve broken down the best places to get a few scoops in the East Coast, the West Coast, the South, and the Midwest, so no matter where you hail from, you can rest assured quality ice cream is within your reach. Ice cream road trip, anybody?
Izzy’s Ice Cream/ Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota
Image: Izzy’s Ice Cream
The vibrant, fun vibe of Izzy’s Ice Cream has been drawing crowds to their huge selection of unique scoops since 2000. And by “huge,” we mean they offer over 100 different flavors, made from local Minnesota ingredients, for you to chose between. This could take a while.
Must Try: Traveling with a group? Go for the famous Izzy’s Hot Dish. The dish consists of 32 scoops, crumbles of brownie and waffle cone, and seven other toppings. All in a stylish dish you get to keep. Damn.
Margie’s Candies/ Chicago, Illinois
Image: USA Today
For 90 years, Margie’s has sold classic sundaes and homemade candies to the ice cream-crazy crowds of Chicago. Considering that all of the ice cream is fresh and homemade, just like it was when the shop opened in 1921, it’s no surprise Margie’s has become a staple of the Chicago food scene.
Must Try: Any of the banana split options (the Turtle Split is a fan favorite) are a guaranteed winner at Margie’s.
Kopp’s Frozen Custard / Glendale, Wisconsin
Image: Virgin Atlantic Blog
Custard haters pay attention, Kopp’s custard is about to show you what’s what. Since Elsa Kopp opened her now iconic spot (literally, Google this scoop shop and you’ll see the word “iconic”) 65 years ago, this family business has been making what is now considered the best frozen custard in the Midwest. No, it’s not technically ice cream. Yes, it is completely worth a 12-hour road trip to taste. So do we really need to get technical?
Must Try: The banana split sounds like more than I can handle: three generous scoops of vanilla custard topped with slices of ripe banana, pastry pieces, made from scratch banana marshmallow cream, chocolate marshmallow cream, and whipped cream sprinkled with chocolate flakes. I’m sorry… what?
Blue Marble / Brooklyn, New York
Image: The Cultureist
This upscale scoop shop in Prospect Heights is about as fancy as ice cream shops come. Go for the classy AF vibe, stay for the organic, locally sourced flavors. Granted, you’ll pay a pretty penny, but you’ll be enjoying some of the best ice cream in all of NYC.
Must Try: That mile-long line coming from Blue Marble? Most likely people waiting for the Sea Salt Caramel ice cream, which is legendary.
Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream/ Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Image: The Second Lunch
There are a lot of exceptional places to eat in the seaside town of Portsmouth, but Annabelle’s is a definite must-try. Since 1982, Annabelle’s has been capturing the sweet tooth of Northeastern ice cream lovers, demonstrated by them winning the Northeast “Buyers Choice Award” multiple times.
Must Try: One of their original flavors, Swiss Chocolate Avalanche, is a tried and true favorite. The chocolate-lovers’ dream is Swiss chocolate ice cream with pecans, walnuts, chocolate covered almonds, chocolate chunks, and white chocolate swirls. Sold.
The Nut House/ Provincetown, Massachusetts
Image: Trip Advisor
One of my personal favorite ice cream spots, the Nut House is a eclectic little shop in the funky Cape town of Provincetown, Mass. This A-list shop may be small (expect to wait in line outside on busy days), but the flavor in any of these creamy scoops is huge. (Tip: If for some reason you’re not an ice cream fan, just know that I would do anything for one of their fresh baked cookies.)
Must Try: The green tea ice cream is one of the many unique flavors you’ll find at the Nut House, and it is just the thing to refresh you on a hot summer day.
Bi-Rite Creamery/ San Francisco, California
Image: A Vital Tours
Celebrating their 10th year of making homemade, organic ice cream, Bi-Rite Creamery is a family-friendly spot that’s been hailed as one of the best ice cream spots in California. They specialize in some creamy classics as well as some flavors you won’t see anywhere else.
Must Try: You won’t regret trying something bizarre at Bi-Rite, such as the Balsamic Strawberry or Black Sesame with Sonoma Honey flavors.
Mora Iced Creamery/ Bainbridge Island, Washington
As with most things in Washington state, Mora Iced Creamery is an extremely hip spot to enjoy some of the coolest scoops around — literally. If you were planning on taking the scenic ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, Mora’s old-fashioned ice cream cannot be skipped over.
Must Try: A good bet at Mora’s is something fruity — not to say that their chocolate or vanilla flavors aren’t amazing — because you’ll know that each flavor was handmade with real fruit. Blueberry, black raspberry, or lavender are all fan favorites. (Also, when you become obsessed, you can order Mora’s ice cream in bulk online. Yas.)
Salt & Straw / Portland, Oregon & Los Angeles, California
Image: Milk and Cookies
Few ice cream shops have been as nationally hailed as Salt & Straw. With an honest, genuine backstory (check out the About section on their homepage, you’ll want to cash in your savings and pursue your life-long dreams) and a passion to provide a community that bonds over ice cream, it’s no wonder Salt & Straw has some of the most unique scoops around. Anywhere near their Portland or LA location? Check out the artisanal flavors the Wall Street Journal has praised as “the new standard to beat.”
Must Try: Ever wanted to taste something that just describes Portland? The Salt & Straw original flavor Coffee & Bourbon has been said to do just that! Try all the bold, rich, smoky layers of flavor that this one-of-a-kind ice cream flavor has to offer.
Amy’s Ice Cream/ Austin, Texas
Image: Bring Fido
To give you an idea of how undeniable the ice cream at Amy’s is, the Austin Chronicle has raved about Amy’s, saying it’s a “quintessentially Austin institution” which “dominates the local ice cream scene.” The readers of the Austin Chronicle have also voted Amy’s the best Reader’s Ice Cream eight years in a row. The people have spoken — Amy’s is one of the South’s coolest spots, without a doubt.
Must Try: This is a tough one because Amy’s offers 300 flavors at each of their Austin locations. Can you imagine having to chose from 300 ice cream flavors?! I would be there for years. Despite the list of choices, however, the spicy Mexican Vanilla has been hailed as a true winner.
The Creole Creamery/ New Orleans, Louisiana
With a slogan like “Eat ice cream. Be happy.”, you just know you’re going to get along with the people at The Creole Creamery of New Orleans. This New Orleans ice cream parlour aims to give you a unique experience with exceptional service and out-of-the-box flavors.
Must Try: The outrageous Tchoupitoulas sundae is perfect for a group — but if you can finish this mountain of eight scoops of ice cream and your choice of eight toppings served in grand fashion with whipped cream, sprinkles, cherries, and wafers on your own, you get immortalized in their Hall of Fame!
Maple View Farm and Dairy/ Hillsborough, North Carolina
Image: Map and Menu
This award winning dairy farm has been making some of the best ice cream in the country since 2001. They boast hormone and antibiotic-free scoops and a large array of classic flavors to chose from! Their amazingly fresh seasonal flavors are renowned, like Sweet Potato Pie for fall and Brown Sugar Bourbon for winter. Don’t worry, the summer stock is just as delicious.
Must Try: Any sorbets made with real fruit (like Pomegranate Raspberry or Mango Tango) are a win at Maple View, but a deliciously unique ice cream flavor is Honey Toasted Almond. Can’t decide? Our advice: order them all, you won’t regret it. (In the moment, at least.)
Did we miss a national treasure of ice creams? Tell us where you get the best scoops in your area!