The Coolest Ice Cream Shops in Philadelphia
From soft serve to scoops to gelato, here are our favorite places to chill out with a sweet treat this summer.
It’s ice cream season — and while we consider the frozen delicacy to be a year-round food, nothing quite hits the spot in hot weather like a frosty double scoop in a crisp waffle cone or a fudgy, overloaded sundae. Here are our favorite Philly-area ice creameries to keep you cool and creamy all summer long.
Jen and Andy Satinsky’s Best of Philly-winning Girard Avenue scoop shop sources hyper-local ingredients for seasonal flavors of their rich, French-style custard. Be sure to get a mini ice cream sandwich to top your next scoop (served in a homemade waffle cone, of course).
Scoop DeVille, Midtown Village
This candy-colored, retro-style ice cream parlor is the place to be when you’re ready to overload on creamy, cold, sugary goodness. Get sundaes and scoops with whipped cream and a ton of toppings, or take your ice cream served in a cookie cup.
Little Baby’s, Fishtown, Cedar Park, University City
For ice cream flavors that range from inventively delicious (speculoos and cardamom caramel) to downright odd (pizza, everything bagel), visit the weirdos at Little Baby’s at their Frankford Avenue and Baltimore Avenue locations, or check out their new spot at Franklin’s Table on the Penn campus.
Big Gay Ice Cream, Avenue of the Arts
This soft serve spot made its name in New York with cheekily-named concoctions like The Salty Pimp and the neon-orange Cheat-Ohs cone it served on President’s Day. Or customize your cone with unusual toppings like sugary cereal and caramel corn.
Franklin Fountain, Old City
Eric and Ryan Berley’s ice cream parlor recreates a Victorian-era vibe with old-timey uniforms, decor, and even equipment. Be sure to check out its just-opened sibling, the Franklin Ice Cream Bar, right next door.
La Michoacana Ice Cream, Kennett Square
This offshoot of downtown Kennett Square’s Michoacana Grill makes more than 50 flavors of house-made ice cream, water ice, and frozen pops in classic flavors and tropical options like guava-guayaba and passionfruit.
Roly Cow, East Passyunk
Cool down on the Avenue at this spot, which sells Thai-style rolled ice cream, made to order. Get it in a cup, traditional waffle cone, or in a taco-style homemade waffle cone.
C & C Creamery, Manayunk
This seasonal spot on Ridge Avenue has been serving up frozen treats and baked sweets for several decades. Head there for house-made water ice, soft serve, shakes, and malts.
Capogiro, Midtown Village, Center City, East Passyunk
Okay, so it’s technically gelato — but when National Geographic names you the best ice cream in the world, you just go with it. Our favorite is a combo of standbys dark chocolate and avocado, but be sure to sample their ever-rotating seasonal flavors, too.
Trolley Car Ice Cream Shoppe, Mt. Airy
Right next door to the Mt. Airy diner of the same name, ice cream is sold — right out of an actual trolley car. Just look for the 1948 green-and-buff old-style trolley, which serves water ice, soft serve, and scoops of Nelson’s ice cream, made in Royersford.
Philly Flavors, Fairmount, Center City, Midtown Village, East Passyunk
This mainstay for frozen treats offers a wide variety of sweets, from water ice to sundaes to shakes. Try the Philly Blast, a milkshake blended with the sundae topping of your choice.
Lil’ Lina’s Slices & Scoops, Kensington
This Riverwards newcomer makes ice cream — hard and custard-style, served as scoops, sundaes, shakes, floats, and egg creams out of its flagship store in Titusville, NJ.
Zsa’s, Society Hill and Rittenhouse
This scratch-made Philly brand sells scoops and sandwiches in seasonal flavors like salted caramel and strawberries and cream at the Rittenhouse farmers’ market on Satursdays and at the Headhouse Square on Sundays.
Bright Yellow Creamery, Various neighborhoods
Look for the pale yellow ice cream cart at several farmers’ markets across the city during ice cream season to try Bright Yellow’s slate of carefully crafted flavors like sea salt honey and chai.
More Than Just Ice Cream, Midtown Village
This comfort food spot does a full, diner-esque menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes, but their ice cream — its original concept — is the attraction in the sweltering summer months.
El Pueblo, Italian Market
This 9th Street spot offers more than 20 flavors of ice cream, plus popsicles, fresh juices, and chamoyada (smoothie-like shaved ice with pickled fruit) sourced from La Michoacana.
Häagen Dasz, South Street
One of the oldest ice cream shops in the city, owner Brian Calhoun’s outpost of the Bronx-based chain (yeah, we always thought it was European too) has been scooping at 3rd and South Streets for 33 years.
Gran Caffe L’Aquila, Center City
This Chestnut Street emporium boasts espresso, a full menu, and a shop full of Italian goodies — plus some of the best gelato in the city. Stop in for a scoop or go all out and book your own gelato tasting with optional wine pairing.
Sweet Charlie’s, Washington Square West and Rittenhouse
This Philly-based chain makes rolled ice cream, but nighttime is when they really shine: from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Rittenhouse location, they offer special boozy menu items for 21+ customers.
Tubby Robot, Manayunk
A Best of Philly winner, Tubby Robot makes all their flavors in-house, using locally sourced ingredients. Even better? You can order up ice cream flights, sundaes, waffles, and even an ice cream hoagie — that’s scoops sandwiched inside a fresh-baked puff pastry “roll.”
This longtime Society Hill cookie bakery moved to the ‘burbs in 2011 and added Pennsylvania-made Leiby’s ice cream to its offerings at the same time, somehow making an already-perfect menu even better.
Bassett’s, Market East
The OG of Philadelpia-style (egg-free) ice cream — and the oldest ice cream brand in the country — still serves up shakes, cups, and cones from its longtime stall in Reading Terminal Market.