Get your sugar fix with everyone’s favorite summer treat: ice cream, NYC style! Sure, you could get a pint from the grocery store—or you could make magic by grabbing a cone (or a cup, or a fish pancake!?) at any one of NYC’s delightfully unique ice cream spots. From extravagant creations to responsibly homemade allergen-free treats, the ice cream shops we’ve highlighted below will surely be a hit with the whole family.
Sugar Hill Creamery
The Harlem-based, family-owned small business ice cream shop might have expanded to three locations, but you can expect the same thoughtfully curated and sourced goods at all three. The creamery specializes in small-batch cream and non-dairy ice cream with flavors heavily inspired by Caribbean, Midwestern and Halem cultures. You can always get a scoop of the classics, like Andy Griffith (vanilla, of course) and Nunu’s Peach Cobbler, or stop by for a rotating menu of seasonal, quirky flavors like Mrs. Robinson’s Neighborhood — a zucchini bread and pickled ginger swirl masterpiece. The menu details not only what to expect from each flavor but also where the key ingredients are sourced from, down to the cows that made the cream.
Sugar Hill Creamery also has other treats like floats, ice cream sandwiches, push pops, sundaes and a Nicaraguan and Guatemalan coffee blend roasted by Gotham Coffee Roasters. You can now get a hold of Sugar Hill’s signature flavors anywhere in the country: As of 2020, the Creamery ships nationwide. And, it’s pet friendly!
184 Malcolm X Blvd Harlem
3629 Broadway Hamilton Heights
Time Out Market, first floor 55 Water St.
Stuffed Ice Cream
Hear me out: Ice cream in between glazed donuts with cereal toppings. It’s technically a sandwich, right? The over-the-top concoctions here might be a bit extra, but they’ll certainly leave you full and satisfied! The donut in question is a toasted, glazed donut called a “cruff” and it’s the perfect companion to Stuffed Ice Cream’s flavors. Choose from signature cruffs like the Mint Monster (mint and cookie monster ice creams topped with oreo pieces and Captain Crunch cereal) or the Unicorn Poop (white chocolate lavender and Thai tea flavors with Fruity Pebbles and condensed milk). If a cruff is not your thing, you can get a cone—which is available as a seven- or 21-scoop creation dubbed a bouquet if you so choose. (Like we said, extra.)
139 1st Ave. NoHo
6805 Bay Pkwy Bensonhurst
Davey’s Ice Cream
Unlike the crazy flavors and over-the-top creations of some other ice cream spots, Davey’s Ice Cream brings ice cream back to its roots. You’ll find classics like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, as well as new favs like speculoos, Nutella and salted caramel. You can also get ice-cream-topped waffles and beautiful ice cream cakes for bigger occasions. All potential allergens are listed clearly, and ingredients are locally sourced. the result is a down-home, classic taste.
This year, Davey’s closed up shop at its first location, 137 First Ave, but don’t worry: The fan fav is bringing the goodness to three other neighborhoods with two new stores and one reopening. Still too far from you, or get a hankering for some Davey’s while away from the city? No problem: The spot now ships nationwide!
74 Meserole Ave. Greenpoint
Opening summer 2022:
Moynihan Train Hall (midtown) 421 8th Ave. Btwn. 8th and 9th Ave.
Riis Park Beach 16702 Rockaway Beach Blvd Rockaway Park
(Reopening) 309 9th St. Btwn. 1st & 2nd Ave. East Village
Blue Marble Ice Cream
Blue Marble prides itself on being all natural, but it’s also organic, fair trade, woman owned and striving to use the most high quality ingredients possible. The rich scoops come from local organic sources and feature flavors from the humble vanilla to banana cream pie and “bread and roses” (a mix of rose and shortbread). Vegan options are available. Blue Marble’s Prospect Heights location has a kid’s play space and outdoor garden, and is steps from Prospect Park. Take note: With each scoop you buy, you and your family are supporting Blue Marble’s not-for-profit organization, Blue Marble Dreams, the mission of which is to use ice cream to inspire joy, spur economic growth and employ and empower women in places like Rwanda and Haiti.
This year, Blue Marble celebrated opening its second UWS location, in place of the Big Gay Ice Cream (don’t worry — that one’s still alive and thriving in NYC and still on our list!).
186 Underhill Ave. Prospect Heights
2578 Broadway Upper West Side
2058 Broadway Upper West Side
This lesser-known spot is as fun to watch as it is to eat: After you make your order at this Kings Plaza ice cream spot, step to the side and watch the ice cream artists do their thing. Raw ingredients transform into thin sheets of ice cream loaded with chopped fillings like fresh fruit, nuts, oreo cookies or whatever your order calls for. They’re then rolled up into ice cream tubes and topped with toppings of your choice, from more fresh fruit to sprinkles, gummy bears or soft popping boba. Ask for the marshmallow as a topping and they’ll toast one for you before placing it on top of your creation.
Kings Plaza, first floor 5100 Kings Plaza Online: kingsplazaonline.com
Taiyaki is a sweet Japanese treat in the shape of a fish that tastes somewhere between a donut and a pancake. They’re often filled with creams, pastes and, yes, ice cream! At Taiyaki NYC, you, too, can eat swirled soft-serve ice cream from the mouth of a cute warm fish pancake treat filled with red bean or custard. The store goes the extra kawaii step and turns creations into unicorns, adds little candy garnishes and generally makes these delightful treats as photogenic as possible. The various stores around NYC often has seasonal specials like its spring sakura-flavored ice cream and the current Rilakkuma collaboration (just when you thought it couldn’t get any cuter!). You can build your own taiyaki ice cream or get treats like huge and fluffy souffle pancakes (topped with a small taiyaki, of course).
119 Baxter St. Chinatown
294 Bedford Ave. Williamsburg
Queens Crossing, first floor 136-17 39th Ave.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
No NYC ice cream list would be complete with a mention of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. This hole-in-a-wall family-owned spot has been a Chinatown staple since 1978, and connoisseurs of ice cream flock to this place for their rich and thick ice cream (there’s nearly always a line, but it generally goes super fast). There are three locations now but the OG Chinatown spot has been serving up mango and matcha ice cream before other ice creams caught on. Today, you can choose from a huge selection of flavors, from the tame — rocky road, strawberry cheesecake, coconut — to the Asian-inspired — pandan, red bean, durian — to the downright intriguing — caramel bacon swirl, lychee rose. New flavors are often added to the lineup, in case you needed an excuse to visit more than once. Need a hand choosing? After discontinuing it for a while due to covid, you can now once again ask for a sample before you commit.
65 Bayard St. Chinatown
135-15 40 Road Flushing
Essex Market 115 Delancey St Lower East Side
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
This classy establishment pulls off a retro vibe with a modern style. It serves up a variety of classic and unique flavors in cones, cakes, sandwiches, pretzels and more, as well as a full all-American menu of burgers, fries and beer for the adults. Along with the regulars, Morgenstern’s is often putting out interesting limited-time options. Right now, you can get a hold of four flavors inspired by Rick and Morty (they’re out of this world!), or try one of the Flavors of Singapore collection, which features package designs by moo.inks, a tattoo artist from Singapore and flavors like pandan and egg custard.
Kids will love their own menu with special cup and cone sizes and sundaes that are sure to please like the Butterscotch Banger — vanilla ice cream with caramel and cream. Morgenstern’s now ships pints to anywhere in the US.
88 W Houston St. SoHo
A La Mode
Do you or the little ones have allergies? If you’ve ever struggled to find an ice cream that’s safe to enjoy, then A La Mode is about to become your best friend. All of the ice cream at this store and the facility where the magic happens is nut-free, sesame-free, egg-free and all-natural. And with flavors like Partly Cloudy (blue cotton candy with marshmallows) and Pink Sprinkle (pink vanilla with rainbow sprinkles) for the kids and Wired (coffee with chocolate chips) for adults, everyone at A La Mode has something to smile about. More good news: the shop just launched its online business so now you can order the stuff from the comfort of your couch — pints, bars and cups can be delivered right to your door.
360 E 55th St. Midtown East Online: alamodeshoppe.com
Ample Hills Creamery
This Brooklyn-born brand is famous for irresistible combinations like Snap Mallow, Pop, (marshmallow ice cream with toasted Rice Krispie clusters ) and The Munchies (pretzel infused ice cream with clusters of potato chips, pretzels, Ritz crackers, and mini M&Ms). And with seven locations city-wide, you’ll be spoiled for choice!
The shop is always surprising customers with truly unique and unusual flavors. Corn ice cream with cornmeal crumble and blueberry swirl, anyone? Plus, Ample Hills Creamery has declared this summer the Summer of Love (again) and partnered with Baked by Melissa to create ice cream with cupcake bits and a tie-dye design that’s delightfully 60s. On top of all this, the flavors have fun names and often nostalgic names (“Coffee Toffee Coffee,” “I Wanna Dance with Some Berry”) that are just plain fun to say!
623 Vanderbilt Ave. Prospect Heights
305 Nevins St. Gowanus
192 Prospect Park West Windsor Terrace
421 Van Brunt St. Red Hook
Dekalb Market Hall 445 Albee Square West Downtown Brooklyn
141 8th Ave. Chelsea
34-02 30th Ave. Astoria
Mikey Likes It
Mikey Cole started his business selling ice cream out of a pushcart, and today it’s a source of both delicious ice cream and pop-culture references. Most recently, Mikey collaborated with Microsoft to create the Windows 11-inspired flavor, Bloomberry (a naturally colored bright blue blueberry ice cream with pound cake pieces and blue chocolate candies, and a blueberry pie swirlBeyond Microsoft, Mikey’s flavors include Ice Ice Mikey (a blend of three types of vanilla), Foxy Brown (mocha with crushed wafer cookies and a sea salt caramel swirl) and the deceptively healthy Incredible Hulk (spinach, kale, spirulina, green apple, mango, banana, bigger melon and sea moss. Woah!). You can also order a waffle topped with your choice of flavor ice cream, milkshakes (dairy-free options available!) and floats. Mikey’s flavors are small-batch, there are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free varieties, and you can order them for your next event or just buy a pint to enjoy at home.
199 Avenue A Lower East Side 212-673-0199 Online: mikeylikesiticecream.com
Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.
Brought to you by a gastro-molecular pastry chef and a husband and wife team that admired said chef’s skills, this ice cream shop features super fresh flavors in way outside-the-box combinations. This funky shop is the place to go if you crave saffron passionfruit with bits of apricot and pistachios, or grape jelly, cake and Bostom cream in your ice cream (and why wouldn’t you?). Odd Fellows has even partnered with Penguin Random House for six flavors inspired by book genres, so you can eat your ice cream and read it, too.
60 Water St. DUMBO
Domino Park 40 River St. Williamsburg
334 Furman St. Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5
334 Furman St. McCarren Park
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
Big Gay has made a splash on the NYC scene since coming out full of style and personality. The store has rotating weekly flavors (right now you can catch the blueberry crush and the cherry Kool-aid soft serve flavors) as well as a selection of beloved options, from the Dorothy (vanilla ice cream with a dulce de leche center and crushed nilla wafer cookies around the outside) to the Mermaid (Key lime pie with chunks of pie in every bite). Big Gay’s egg-based soft serve is flavorful and creamy, and toppings are made in-house for a totally fresh treat. The shop also offers ice cream sandwiches, shakes and paletas — non-dairy Mexican fruit pops that won’t run out of flavor. Keep an eye out for the BGIC truck roaming the city streets adorned with its signature rainbow cone, as well as new flavors rotating every week.
207 Front St. Midtown West
516 Columbus Ave. Upper West Side
4 Pennsylvania Plaza Madison Square Garden
Cute and delicious, the Snowdays yeti mascot has a contagious smile and a winning shaved ice recipe. This isn’t shaved ice like you probably imagine — it’s a creamier, fluffier version inspired by Korean and Taiwanese shaved ice. You can try the yeti’s favorite treat, Yetitracks flavored with blueberries and oreo cookies, or pick from a set of other flavors: black seseme, sweet milk, green tea matcha or the two vegan flavors, strawverry or coconut. Then, choose from a large selection of toppings, like fruit, nuts, cereals, grass jelly, pocky sticks and more. A drizzle of your choice completes the mountain of snowy shaved ice. Snowdays also offers delectable hot beverages like matcha, coffee and hot chocolate, yummy mochi snowballs, ice cream cakes and ice cream sandwiches.
159 20th St #1b Park Slope Online: snowdaysnyc.com
Il Laboratorio del Gelato
Tucked inconspicuously next to the Lower East Side’s famous Tenement Museum, the atmosphere at Il Laboratorio del Gelato HQ is spare and industrial, but don’t let that fool you. On any given day customers can choose from over 50 artisanal and vibrant flavors like kid-friendly banana chocolate chip or concord grape, alongside more unusual offerings like rose petal, tarragon pink pepper and cucumber. Everything at Il Laboratorio is fresh and made at the shop, and the kids will love watching the ice cream makers hard at work in the “lab” through the glass windows on Ludlow Street.
The Ludlow 188 Ludlow St. LES Online: laboratoriodelgelato.com
Taste the Tropic
Taste the Tropics has been around for over 40 years and is an authentic, family-owned ice cream and dessert spot inspired by Caribbean culture and flavors. You’ll find coconut and rum raisin alongside Irish moss, guava and soursop — ice cream flavors you’re not likely to find anywhere else. The spot has “shakes, cakes and cones” as well as some food items like fresh-baked patties and Jamaican buns and cheese. Not sure which flavor to choose? Come in for a taste!
1839 Nostrand Ave. Little Haiti Online: tastethetropicsusa.com
Stylish and delicious, Van Leeuwen started as an ice cream truck and now has three spots where you can enjoy the creamy goodness. It’s a must if you love ice cream — and especially if you love vegan ice cream, as many vegan options are available in delicious flavors from all-natural ingredients. The flavor combinations are mouth-watering, like the hazelnut fudge cookie or the pumpkin cheesecake, though there are also some more… interesting options, like honey French vanilla and Kraft macaroni and cheese.
550 Vanderbilt Ave. Prospect Heights
81 Bergen St. Cobble Hill
304 5th Ave. Park Slope
Soft Swerve is self-described as “whimsical” and its artistic soft serve cones certainly are. The spot specializes in Asian-inspired flavors, which means you’ll find flavors like ube (purple yam), black sesame and matcha, in a variety of cones, topped by drizzles and “crunchies and chewies.” Make your own or choose from a selection of pre-made sundaes named after NYC nabes and famous locations.
85B Allen St. LES
379 3rd Ave. Kips Bay
Sam’s Fried Ice Cream
If you’ve never had fried ice cream before, you’re missing out. The combination of cold, gooey ice cream center and crispy, warm fried panko outer crust is a treat for the senses and the taste buds! Sam’s takes the simplicity of fried ice cream and adds an even more delicious twist to it with toppings like oreo crumble, powdered sugar, various cereals, whipped cream and more. Make your own fried ice cream creation with a flavor of your choice (ranging from vanilla and strawberry to birthday cake and strawberry or blueberry cheesecake), and finish it off with a customized crust and toppings.
37B Orchard St. LES Online: samsfriedicecream.com
Egger’s Ice Cream Parlor
Egger’s has been around since 1932, so you could say they know a thing or two about ice cream. Batches are homemade and no-frills: butter pecan, banana, mint chocolate chip and all the regulars you’d expect as well as some vegan, dairy-free and sugar-free flavors. The toppings are also packaged in the signature Egger’s style, and include chocolate chips, caramel, marshmallow fluff, waffle cone pieces and many more. There are also floats, shakes and sundaes in sizes from a kids Junior size to a huge Banana Royale and Double Scoop Sundae that are a whole-family affair. There’s plenty of seating, though, so get comfortable and start eating!
There are also adorable ice cream kits that come with everything you need to make your own ice cream sandwiches or sundaes as a fun afternoon activity with the kids. Egger’s is an especially great choice if you have an event or a birthday coming up: They’ll make you a fully customized cake with up to three ice cream flavors inside. Kids will love the beautiful rainbow upside-down cone cake, in particular. And if you want a treat for the furry children in your family, Egger’s makes doggie cakes, too.
1194 Forest Ave. Staten Island
Inside Historic Richmond Town 441 Clarke Ave. Staten Island
Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices
In spite of the name, Ralph’s is about much more than just Italian ices. You’ll also find milkshakes and smoothies, ice creams in classic flavors and multi-layer ice cream creations like the Hot Fudge Brownie, which stuffs vanilla ice cream between warm fudge brownies and hot fudge and the Apple Cobbler, which has layers of vanilla ice cream, caramel, apples and graham crackers. The newest addition to the menu is the Doughnado: a sensory delight in the form of ice cream with a ball of edible cookie dough.
Many locations, see website for full list.
The waffle topped with ice cream combo might be well-known now, but Eggloo takes is a step further: it just altogether replaces the cone with a waffle. These are delicious Asian egg waffles, which kids might love just for the pop-it-like shape. Classic flavors and toppings get a new spin thanks to the soft texture of the waffle (though some more unusual flavors can be found too, like lychee rose and black raspberry). Like these? You can make them at home, too! Eggloo sells waffle-making kits that come with everything but the ice cream (yes, including the waffle maker!).
60 Mulberry St. Chinatown Online: myeggloo.com
This chic bakery and cafe is a great date spot and is usually full of friends and couples out on the town for the day, but its chill atmosphere and incredible cold creations are sure to be a win with kids, too. The shop makes a giant mountain of shaved snow (the fluffier, ice-creamier type) in fun flavors like mango and matcha, with an equally impressive number of toppings. (This is seriously huge — one is definitely enough for two or even three people). There’s a wide range of other sweets to choose from in addition to this, including waffles with ice cream, Ho-Dduk (a Korean donut), matcha beignets, mochi or churro waffles, burnt basque cheesecake, brown sugar bubble tea toast and more. And don’t worry: The teas and treats here are just as tasty as they are beautiful!
17 W 32nd St. Midtown South Online: bygracestreet.com
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