The Milkshakes You Should Order in Philly Right Now
It’s high summer here in Philadelphia, and that means it’s hot, sticky, and sweaty out — which is the perfect excuse to duck into your favorite air-conditioned establishment for that holy grail of summertime sips: the milkshake. Part ice cream, part beverage, all cooling, creamy deliciousness to help take your mind off the heat.
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite spots to indulge in a drinkable midsummer sweet treat. With (multiple!) vegan options, gelato frappés, and even (omg) pie-boosted versions, our list will guide you to the perfect milkshake.
Scoop Deville, Center City
At Scoop Deville, the sky is the limit when it comes to milkshake flavors. You can create your own, starting with any base and adding as many ingredients and additions as you’d like. They even have an oat-milk based shake that is completely vegan in addition to being dairy free.
Craftsman Row Saloon, Center City
Craftsman serves non-alcoholic milkshakes that come topped with, for example, chocolate chip cookie pieces, or a hefty sprinkle of favorite sugary cereals, depending on the flavor. But their adult milkshakes are our favorite. Not just spiked, but developed to bring out the best in their featured alcohol, like their 3 Strikes and You’re Stout, which is made with a rich chocolate stout and a chocolate liquor.
Nifty Fifty’s, multiple locations
Thankfully, a couple of new locations of this classic burger and milkshake spot have opened over the last year. Head to the South Philly or Fishtown locations for chili cheese fries, cheeseburgers, and the biggest selection of milkshake flavors in town.
Down North Pizza, Strawberry Mansion
The best beverage to tame the heat of Down North’s spicy wings or jalapeño-topped pizzas? A handspun milkshake. Flavors change regularly, but favorites include Oreo, strawberry, and vanilla. Keep an eye out for their special bean pie milkshake, made in collaboration with Weckerly’s Ice Cream.
Bassets Ice Cream, Market East
The city’s oldest ice cream maker, located in Reading Terminal Market, is a tourist go-to. But Philadelphians love its thick shakes in classic flavors like butter pecan and updated flavors like salted caramel pretzel and pomegranate-blueberry chunk. That’s how you stay open for more than 150 years.
Franklin Fountain, Old City
Old-timey brothers Eric and Ryan Berley offer a dazzling array throwback dairy treats and drinks from a bygone era, from egg creams and sundaes to phosphates, punches and rickeys — and of course, milkshakes are on the list too. Get yours in flavors like black raspberry, caramelized banana, or Hydrox cookie (it predates the Oreo!), with malted and vegan options available, too.
Shake Shack, University City, Rittenhouse, King of Prussia
Hey, it’s right there in the name — and the frozen treat game of this New York-based paragon of ethical fast casual backs that up. They use cage-free eggs and natural sugar (not corn syrup) in their frozen custards, which form the base for their hand-spun shakes. Grab one to go with your antibiotic-free burger in flavors like salted caramel, strawberry, vanilla, and fair trade coffee.
We’ve already waxed poetic about the dairy-free shakes at CookNSolo’s latest fast-casual venture. But these sweet treats, made with tehina from Philly-based Soom Foods, are so next-level we’ve gotta say it again. Great for vegans and non-vegans alike, these ultra-creamy frozen drinks come in plain, chocolate, Turkish coffee, and coconut, served with a sprinkling of crispy, crunchy halva on top.
Village Whiskey, Rittenhouse
Jose Garces’ tony, burger-and-brown-liquor-focused spot elevates everything it serves to be just a little extra special. And of course, their desserts get the same treatment: finish your meal with decadent shake made with toasted marshmallows, Nutella, or (our favorite) butterscotch made with Maker’s Mark.
Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop, Fishtown, Torresdale
The old-school sandwich and shake joint revamped its name and added a Fishtown location recently, but its classic vibe harks back to its founding in 1949. Their shakes — in classic flavors like black and white, banana, and mint chip — are the ideal next move after a steak and fries. It’s a perfect midcentury meal.
Millie’s Burgers, Steaks, & Shakes, South Philly
This luncheonette-style spot just west of Broad Street and Oregon Avenue serves up just about everything — and that variety extends to the specialty shakes section of the menu. Order up a shake in Orange Blossom, Fluffernutter, German Chocolate, or Tropical Storm. (We’re partial to the Reese’s Pieces option.)
Hip City Veg, University City, Rittenhouse, Washington Square West, Avenue of the Arts
It’s a fact that patron saint of Philly vegans Nicole Marquis knows how to make our favorite foods vegan without sacrificing taste, texture, or overall deliciousness. And the shakes at Hip City Veg are no different. In addition to her so-creamy-I-can’t-believe-there’s-no-dairy banana whips, her shops serve up soy cream shakes in three standard flavors — chocolate, vanilla, and orange creamsicle — plus a rotating menu of seasonal flavors.