The Ultimate Guide to the Finest Ice Cream in the Bay Area

Discover the Most Tempting Ice Cream in San Francisco

Indulge in unique seasonal ice cream flavors such as peach cobbler and blueberry morning, or savor classic favorites like honey lavender and Ritual Coffee at Bi Rite Creamery. This renowned ice cream parlor offers an array of delectable options that are sure to satisfy your cravings. Just take a look at the mouthwatering Instagram-worthy treats they serve!

Bi Rite Creamery

Unforgettable Classics That Every Ice Cream Lover Must Try

When exploring the vibrant city of San Francisco, make sure to visit these iconic ice cream spots that have stood the test of time:

Swensen’s: A Nostalgic Delight

Located at 1999 Hyde St. in Russian Hill, Swensen’s captures the essence of a classic scoop shop. With no frills or fancy decorations, this timeless gem is a must-visit for any ice cream enthusiast touring SF. Don’t forget, it’s conveniently situated along the trolley route!

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Bi-Rite Creamery: A Legendary Delight

At Bi-Rite Creamery, located at 3692 18th St. in the Mission district and 550 Divisadero St. in NoPa, indulge in their legendary ice cream that has captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike. From popular choices like balsamic strawberry, salted caramel, and honey lavender to their delectable Sam’s Sundaes, featuring tantalizing combinations like chocolate ice cream, blood orange olive oil, Maldon sea salt, and whipped cream, Bi-Rite Creamery never fails to impress. Be prepared for a line around the corner, but trust us, the wait is worth it.

Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop: An All-Time Favorite

For a classic hot fudge sundae complete with whipped cream and a cherry on top, head straight to the original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop located at Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point in Fisherman’s Wharf. This iconic establishment has been delighting ice cream enthusiasts for generations, making it a beloved spot for both locals and tourists alike.

Mitchell’s: A Taste of Tradition

Established in 1953, Mitchell’s at 688 San Jose Ave. in Noe Valley is a cherished spot where generations of San Francisco families have enjoyed their favorite ice cream treats. With unique and trademark flavors like grasshopper pie, halo halo, and Mexican chocolate, Mitchell’s continues to thrill visitors with its delightful offerings, each containing 16 percent butter fat. Don’t hesitate to ask for samples to find your perfect flavor!

San Francisco Hometown Creamery: An Ice Cream Haven

If you find it hard to choose just one flavor, then San Francisco Hometown Creamery at 1290 9th Ave. in Inner Richmond has the answer. Their flights of five scoops, featuring a variety of daily flavors, will satisfy your desire for endless ice cream possibilities. Move aside, beer flights! These tasty ice cream flights are here to win our hearts and calories.

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San Francisco Hometown Creamery

Smitten: Where Ice Cream Dreams Come True

Smitten has become a beloved hometown favorite, known for its unique preparation method using liquid nitrogen to make instant ice cream. With multiple locations across the city, Smitten ensures that each scoop is made to order, guaranteeing the freshest and most flavorful experience. Don’t miss out on their seasonal creations, showcasing the freshest local ingredients. Our personal recommendation? Try the Peaches & Bourbon flavor! For special occasions and parties, their sundae kits will make your celebration extra special.


The Pioneers of Creative Flavor Combinations

San Francisco is a hub of culinary creativity, and these ice cream establishments prove it. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with their innovative and unusual flavor offerings:

Humphry Slocombe: Unconventional Bliss

With locations at 2790A Harrison St. in the Mission district and at One Ferry Building in Embarcadero, Humphry Slocombe has been satisfying ice cream fanatics for over a decade. Known for their irreverent flavor combinations, this cult favorite offers unique options like Secret Breakfast (bourbon and cornflakes), Prosciutto, and even Elvis (The Fat Years). Prepare for a flavor adventure like no other!

Salt & Straw: Bold and Unforgettable

Originally from Portland, Salt & Straw has established itself as a key player in the San Francisco ice cream scene. Located at 586 Hayes St. in Hayes Valley and 2201 Fillmore St. in Pac Heights, this small-batch ice cream parlor is all about intense and sometimes unconventional flavor pairings. From Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper to Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, their creations are sure to surprise and delight. Just follow the irresistible aroma of freshly baked waffle cones and be prepared to join the line out the door.

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Salt & Straw

Garden Creamery: A Twist on Tradition

Transforming the ice cream experience, Garden Creamery, found at 3566 20th St. in the Mission district, offers their delectable “chimney” cones. These unique cones are made from Hungarian cake dough twisted around a cylinder and baked to perfection, creating a delightful texture and shape. Available only on Saturdays from 2pm to 4pm, these fluffy and sugary cones will leave you craving more. Be ready to join the block-long line of fellow ice cream enthusiasts!

Milkbomb: A Sweet Explosion

Milkbomb, situated at 1717 17th St. in Potrero Hill, has revolutionized the traditional ice cream sandwich by serving their scoops inside a sliced doughnut. This combination creates a perfect sugar bomb that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Don’t miss their vibrant ube ice cream, rolled in mochi and topped with fruity pebbles for an explosion of flavors and textures. Taste the rainbow and experience the magic!

Powder: Fluffy Ribbons of Delight

Powder, located at 260 Divisadero St. in Lower Haight, has introduced a new concept to San Francisco: gourmet, shaved-to-order, fluffy ribbons of icy ice cream. Inspired by Taiwanese-style shaved snow, Powder has become a sensation with locals and visitors alike. They’ve even expanded to include a truck at Spark Social SF. Prepare to be amazed by the delicate and velvety texture of their shaved snow, creating a unique ice cream experience.

Baked Bear: Sandwiches Elevated to Perfection

While Baked Bear is a chain, their North Beach location at 303 Columbus Ave. offers a truly unbeatable ice cream sandwich. Homemade cookies, baked fresh daily, embrace a variety of flavors such as chocolate chip, red velvet cake, and cookies ‘n cream. Let your taste buds rejoice as they meet the perfect blend of heavenly cookies and luscious ice cream. Prepare for a delightful experience you won’t soon forget.

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FK Frozen Kuhsterd: Funky Flavor Fantasies

FK Frozen Kuhsterd is known for its bar form ice cream treats, featuring funky flavors like ube, s’mores, and strawberry shortcakes. Find them every Friday at Off Grid, Fort Mason, and allow your taste buds to explore a world of delightful and unconventional combinations. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and embrace the unexpected.

The Ice Cream Bar: A Retro Bliss

Immerse yourself in the retro vibes of The Ice Cream Bar, located at 815 Cole St. in Cole Valley. They specialize in old-fashioned ice cream drinks, featuring unique flavors like tart cherry and candy cap mushroom syrups, homemade fruit tinctures, and acid phosphate soda. Indulge in these nostalgic creations and take a step back in time to savor the flavors of the past.

Polly Ann Ice Cream: A Carousel of Unique Flavors

Polly Ann Ice Cream, found at 3138 Noriega St. in Outer Sunset, boasts an impressive rotation of 500 flavors. From Irish brown bread to Black Rabbit Candy (a pork situation inside a century egg), or even miso caramel, Polly Ann Ice Cream is a haven for those with adventurous palates. Can’t decide? Let fate choose for you and spin the wheel of flavors!

Explore the World of Soft-Serve and Gelato

For those who prefer a different ice cream experience, San Francisco offers a variety of soft-serve and gelato options that are equally delightful:

Loving Cup: Create Your Own Fro-Yo Adventure

Loving Cup, with multiple locations in SF and Marin, allows you to become the master of your own frozen yogurt creation. Design your own unique flavor combinations and explore their fat-free and dairy-free options. Taste the creamy goodness while embracing your inner dessert artist.

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Gott’s Roadside: Burgers and Beyond

While Gott’s Roadside, situated at 1 Ferry Building #6 in Embarcadero, is widely known for its delicious burgers, don’t overlook their irresistible soft-serve ice cream. Hand-dipped in flavors like blueberry and peanut butter, their shells are the perfect accompaniment to their savory offerings. Treat yourself to a satisfying burger and end your meal with a delightful soft-serve treat.

Uji Time: A Japanese Delight

Uji Time, with locations at 22 Peace Plaza, #440 in Japantown and 135 4th St. in Embarcadero, brings the flavors of Japan to the Bay Area. Indulge in swirls of matcha, sesame, and tofu flavored fro-yo served in adorable fish-shaped cones. Take a moment to appreciate the fusion of cultures as you savor these delicious treats.

Lush: A Taste of Local Artistry

Discover the enchanting gelato and sorbetto churned out in small batches at Lush, located at 520 Columbus Ave. in North Beach. Made from scratch with ingredients sourced from over 15 local farms, their frozen creations are not only 100 percent local but also 110 percent delicious. Immerse yourself in the taste of pure local artistry.


Whether you’re a fan of classic flavors, adventurous combinations, soft-serve delights, or creamy gelato, the Bay Area has a plethora of ice cream options to satisfy every craving. Don’t miss out on these incredible establishments that have perfected the art of crafting irresistible frozen treats. Treat yourself and embark on an unforgettable ice cream adventure in San Francisco!

Ready to indulge in the best ice cream experiences? Visit Ice Cream to explore more delightful ice cream destinations.

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