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The Full Scoop on the Greatest Cities For Ice Cream in America

The Full Scoop on the Greatest Cities For Ice Cream in America

(Courtesy: Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain)

It wouldn’t make sense if National Ice Cream Month were in the middle of winter. Thankfully, as the temperatures are rising and our thoughts are turning to frozen desserts, we can celebrate appropriately in July.

Everyone loves ice cream, but the towns listed here love it just a little more than the rest of us. These are the places where the most people searched “ice cream” on Yahoo, with favorite shops and flavors in each.

1. New York City

Of course New York has delicious ice cream. But, unlike pizza or bagels, there isn’t one specific kind of Big Apple frozen treat. That means you can taste your way to satisfaction. Start at the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, an ice cream shop in an old pharmacy, where you can order the Sundae of Broken Dreams. Broken dreams, it turns out, come with caramel and pretzel sticks. Or, visit the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in the East Village. The shop started as a food truck, but its creations — like the Salty Pimp – were too popular to keep in one roving truck. Don’t stick to just ice cream; try their new soft serve too.


Served at Coolhaus in L.A.: Potato chip cookies with strawberries and cream (Courtesy: Coolhaus)

2. Los Angeles

No one does ice cream like L.A. does ice cream. With its warm, sunny days and sandy beaches, the City of Angels knows how to scoop with the best. Along with ice cream classics, L.A. does fresh seasonal flavors like ginger, licorice, and cognac prune at Sweet Rose Creamery. Or, try the crazy flavors at Coolhaus: fried chicken and waffles, and gin and tonic. The shop, which (like many popular places in L.A.) started as a food truck, is known for its $5 ice cream cookie sandwiches and hand-dipped ice cream bars. Why eat ice cream only in cups or cones?

Related: Cool Off with These Best Ice Cream Shops in America

Original Rainbow Cone

(Courtesy: Original Rainbow Cone)

3. Chicago 

When it gets hot and muggy in the summer, Chicago residents head to their local ice cream parlors, many of which have been around for decades and make their own ice cream from local Midwestern dairy farms. Margie’s Candies has been a Windy City institution since 1921, with ice cream made on site. Try the Original Rainbow Cone (with layers of vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, Palmer House, and orange sherbet) at Original Rainbow Cone. Or, want something hot and cold and totally Chicago? Have a fried ice cream.

yahoo ice cream

Here’s the scoop on Yahoo users and ice cream. (Graphic: Yahoo Search)

4. San Francisco

Last July, Ben & Jerry’s introduced a limited-time San Francisco flavor. It was made up of caramel ice cream with local chocolate and caramel treats, and pieces of marshmallow and graham crackers. For the rest of the year, you’ll have to hit up traditional hot spots Bi-Rite Creamery and Humphry Slocombe. Up-and-comer Smitten is also attracting a growing fan base with a technique that uses liquid nitrogen to make smooth, fresh ice cream in flavors like olive oil with lavender shortbread and Meyer lemon gingersnap.

Related: America’s Best Desserts: Chef Deb Pellegrino Shows Us the Sweet Life


(Courtesy: Morelli’s)

5. Atlanta

Atlanta doesn’t just have ice cream, it has a whole ice cream festival. The fourth annual festival will take place this Saturday with local ice cream shops serving up their best, an ice cream eating competition, and regular food and activities too. The popular Atomic Ice Cream Sandwiches will unveil its new BLT ice cream sandwich at the festival. Want something with a little less bacon? Jeni’s Westside Provisions scoops out buttermilk ice cream with shortbread biscuits and peach jam. And, the salted caramel at Morelli’s is an Atlanta favorite.

Franklin Fountain

(Courtesy: Franklin Fountain)

6. Philadelphia

What is Philly-style ice cream? The city has a long history of making ice cream, creating “iced creams” for George Washington and becoming known for its high-quality ice cream after the 1876 Philadelphia exposition. In general, Philly-style ice cream doesn’t use eggs in the mixture (though some use egg whites), as opposed to egg-heavy French-style ice cream. Try both kinds. Bassetts claims to be the oldest ice cream parlor in the country, serving up scoops since 1861. Franklin Fountain is newer — only in existence since 2004 — but is known for its homemade flavors, like Teaberry Gum, sundaes, and shakes.

Franklin Fountain

(Courtesy: Cone E. Island)

7. Washington, DC

While dessert fads come and go, ice cream will always remain a DC favorite. Thomas Sweet, an old-fashioned parlor in Georgetown, has attracted the Obamas a few times with its Cookie Monster and Coffee Heath Bar flavors. Cone E. Island, in Foggy Bottom, re-creates the feel of a Coney Island boardwalk ice cream shop and serves up an ode to the original Coney island flavor: a blend of vanilla and butterscotch with brownie and peanut butter cup bits. Or, track down the Cream Cycle DC truck for its ice cream sandwiches, in flavors like bacon and olive ice, and Mexican jalapeño chocolate.

Related: Obama, Jay-Z, and Beyonce Dine Here, and You Should, Too: the Hottest DC Restaurants Ever 


(Courtesy: Christina’s)

8. Boston

Boston takes its ice cream seriously, with awards and fans rallying around their favorites. Toscanini’s, in Cambridge, has won the “best of” award from Boston Magazine multiple years in a row. It’s also been the subject of fan essays and a massive local fundraiser after the shop was closed by the IRS for failure to pay back taxes. Try its B3 flavor: brown butter, brownie, and brown sugar. Or, get the goat cheese brownie flavor. Christina’s, also in Cambridge, has won an equally large number of best-of awards and its own rabid fan base with its exotic flavors, like cardamom-infused pistachio, ginger molasses, and blood peach sorbet.

henry's homemade ice cream

(Courtesy: Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream)

9. Dallas-Fort Worth 

If everything is bigger in Texas, then the ice cream served up has to be the biggest and best of all. When the Dallas Morning News ran an ice cream bracket contest, Monster Yogurt — a DIY frozen yogurt shop with dozens of different toppings — came out on top. But Sweet Firefly, which it narrowly beat, actually got the most votes in the first round of the competition. Sweet Firefly, in Richardson, has attracted scores of fans since it opened, with its coffee toffee crunch and rum raisin ice cream. Locals also love to argue over which DFW classic is better: Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream in Plano or Wild About Harry’s frozen custard. Guess you’ll just have to do things big and try both.

Cone Shoppe

(Courtesy: The Cone Shoppe)

10. Grand Rapids, Michigan

While most of the cities on this list likely have the largest number of people searching for ice cream because they’re some of the country’s largest cities, Grand Rapids cracks the top 10 through its fervor and high-quality treats. Jersey Junction, in East Grand Rapids, is known as one of the best ice cream parlors in Michigan. It was founded in 1963 by the mother of the author of “Polar Express,” a Grand Rapids native, and serves up Hudsonville ice cream, a local favorite. You can also try the hand-crafted ice cream (and vegan gelato) at Love’s, or the peanut butter flurry or coconut at The Cone Shoppe

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