The 21 Best Ice Cream Shops in Massachusetts
From innovative flavors to classic sundaes, here are the best places to get ice cream in and around Boston.
Everybody knows that Massachusetts has its fair share of big-name ice cream brands, from Friendly’s to Baskin Robbins to Ben & Jerry’s. But when it comes down to it, nothing beats small-town shops and hidden city gems scooping some of the best flavors around. Whether you’re strolling around Boston or heading out to the ‘burbs for a road trip, we’ve rounded up the region’s top ice cream peddlers for your next frosty treat.
Emack & Bolio's
What started in a single basement in Coolidge Corner has spread into ice cream shops found in locations around the world. Emack & Bolio’s came to life in 1975 after Bob Rook, a music lawyer, created a spot for musicians to satisfy their “midnight munchies.” Eventually, Emack & Bolio’s “Ice Cream that Rocks” took off, but vegan options, sorbet, and frozen yogurt are also fan favorites today. The shop goes all out with flavors like Salted Caramel Chocolate
Pretzel, Chocolate Addiction, and Stoney’s Dream with cookies, brownies, and a fudge swirl. The waffle cones take the decadence one step further, with signature options covered in Fruit Loops, Oreos, and more.
Tipping Cow Ice Cream
Acquired by duo Gerly Adrien Lindsey and David Lindsey, Tipping Cow forgoes the “ego” in gourmet ice cream. Made with 100% nut-free ingredients, while also avoiding any GMO ingredients and preservatives, Tipping Cow has a lengthy list of purely delicious and feel-good flavors—from Dark Chocolate Sea Salt to Vanilla Buttermilk—with all-natural vegan options as well.
From the ingredients in each scoop of plant-based ice cream to eco-friendly shipping packages and BPA-free, reusable and recyclable pint containers, FoMu considers the environment every step of the way—and man, does it come together deliciously. Take your pick from scoops of Blueberry Shortbread, Chocolate Pudding, and Raspberry Crumble or enjoy some of the baked goods, ice cream cakes, and novelties like housemade chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and cookie dough bars.
New City Microcreamery
Talk about a modern spin on a frozen treat, New City Microcreamery is doing the most. Founded in 2015, New City Microcreamery incorporates a liquid nitrogen process to freeze the cream, resulting in some of the smoothest ice cream scoops you’ve ever tasted. The flavors are also far from what you’d find in an old-school scoop shop, with options like Salted Cookies and Cream, Cannoli, and Lemon Poppyseed. Plus, the shop has an entire section of the menu dedicated to “funks” or toppings like brownie crumbles or Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal that can be added to the ice cream or served on top.
Christina's Homemade Ice Cream
If you’re looking to try experimental flavors like Burnt Sugar or Ginger Molasses, look no further than Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream. Serving up more than 50 flavors on any given day, Christina’s has been Inman Square’s go-to sweet spot since 1983.
Another heavenly homemade option, Acushnet Creamery has grown to offer a long list of flavors and specialty desserts including frappes (their cereal-inspired frappes are a must try), floats, smoothies, ice cream sodas, and ice cream sandwiches. If you’re planning a road trip this summer, scheduling a stop-off here is simply necessary.
Amorino serves up aesthetically pleasing and tastefully satisfying snacks for gelato aficionados strolling down Newbury Street or roaming around Harvard Square. Go for the classics or mix things up with an ice cream-stuffed macaron tailor made to sweeten up your week.
Cape Cod Creamery
This family-owned and operated creamery offers some of the smoothest gourmet ice cream around and is a must-visit for any trip to The Cape. With handmade offerings like Allen Harbor Almond Joy, Hyannis Heath Bar, and Sandy Neck Snickers, you’re in for a memorable treat. Plus, the shop happens to stock only the finest ingredients and proudly uses hormone-free cream from New England dairies, cocoa from France, vanilla from Madagascar, coffee from Colombia, and mint straight from Italy.
Dr. Davis Ice Cream
Started in 1939 by veterinarian Dr. “Doc” Davis, this parlor is part ice cream mecca and part hangout spot for Pepperell locals. And it’s easy to see, or taste, why: The hand-made ice cream is crave-worthy, from the basics (like butter pecan and rum raisin) to more adventurous scoops like Caramel Apple Pie and Peanut Butter Moose Tracks. Pay homage to the founder with Doc’s Special, a giant cup brimming with any two scoops, sliced bananas, hot fudge, strawberries, and marshmallow or whipped cream. Or take your pick from Doc’s soft-serve, waffle cones, flurries, frappes, and sundaes. You won’t be disappointed, and you most definitely won’t leave hungry.
Gibby’s Ice Cream
As part of Gibson’s Dairy Farms’ creamy empire, only the freshest milk goes into the lineup at this more than 75-year-old stunner. Choose from over 60 ice cream flavors and 20 non-fat yogurts. And as the (literal) cherry on top, they have an endless array of toppings like fresh cut strawberries, homemade brownies, and hot fudge to fulfill your frosty dreams.
Gracie's Ice Cream
Gracie’s isn’t your typical ice cream parlor. Known for whipping up the dreamiest creamy concoctions (think: Honey Cornbread and Poptart), Gracie’s takes your mid-day or after dinner dessert drive up a notch. And if you happen to swing by the Kendall Square outpost, check out Earnest Drinks while you wait—the onsite coffee shop-meets-bar is on hand to give your dish a boozy upgrade.
Herrell’s is known for innovation and evolution. Case in point? It was the first shop to mix name-brand candies into ice cream (a la Heath Bar). Western Mass’ go-to for premium gourmet ice cream, they’ve made changes to the menu as of somewhat late, with regular, kosher, vegan, and dairy-free delicacies (AKA No-Moo®) for all to enjoy. Get amped for originals like Burnt Sugar and Butter, Chocolate Pudding, and English Toffee Crunch.
Crafted with local, in-season ingredients, Honeycomb Creamery’s offerings are sourced from Mapleline Farm in Western Massachusetts, guaranteeing no stabilizers or growth hormones. Expect consistently new flavor batches (you can peep their current menu on their website) alongside unique creations like ice cream tacos and mini cookie-wich desserts.
Boston’s beloved J.P. Licks has been the area’s signature sweet spot for more than 40 years.
You can find a location in just about every nearby suburb complete with your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt flavor on their menu. For those party people, the shop also creates custom cakes layered with ice cream, frosting, candy, fondant, and more, ranging from $34 to $55.
Since 1939, Kimball’s has been a Massachusetts favorite, earning its beloved reputation with more than 50 flavors of homemade deliciousness. That’s right—all homemade. The flagship farm in Westford ups the fun factor with summer activities like rentable bumper boats, batting cages, mini golf, a zipline, and more.
Meola’s Wayside Ice Cream
Meola’s founder, Anthony A. Meola Sr., started working at a West Boylston dairy at only 10 years old. After racking up years of experience, he later opened Meola’s Wayside Ice Cream. Now, the family-owned, more than 100-year-old business serves up 65 delicious flavors including Toll House Cookie, Bear Claw, and PB&J, along with some consistently crafty sundae specialties.
Now an essential stop in Harvard Square, Milk Bar is known for its signature Cereal Milk soft serve and has been a hit since it first opened its Boston location in January 2019. Founded by award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi in NYC’s East Village, Milk Bar offers a range of goodies like cakes, pies, cookies, cake truffles, and of course, ice cream. Let’s not forget unique toppings like crispy corn flakes for a savory and sweet treat all in one.
This buzzworthy New York City-based chain brings traditional warm Japanese taiyaki waffles filled with soft serve ice cream to the Seaport. Presented with brightly colored swirls and a variety of candied toppings, Taiyaki NYC creates truly unforgettable—not to mention Insta-worthy—fish-shaped ice cream cone treats.
Known to offer the city’s finest sweets, Toscanini’s lives up to hype with flavors like Bananas Foster, Honey Lavender, Goat Cheese Brownie, Burnt Caramel, and plenty more. Plus, there’s a handful of local offerings including coffee from Barismo, teas from MEM Tea, and baked goods from Iggy’s (if not from Toscanini’s themselves). Even better, Toscanini’s two locations in Cambridge are conveniently located not far from the Kendall/MIT stop in case you’re in need of a sweet pitstop.
Uhlman’s Ice Cream
With more than 45 years in the business, Uhlman’s offers more than 60 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt. Start with fan-faves such as Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Oreo, Pistachio, and Rum Raisin, or dive into something more seasonal with scoops of fresh Peach or Blueberry flavors. Old-fashioned sodas, frozen lime rickeys, and made-to-order whoopie pies are other signature treats that pair nicely with any hot day. What’s not to love?
West End Creamery
Located on a quaint family farm not far from the city, West End Creamery peddles a long list of hand-dipped flavors as well as fat-free frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet, and soft-serve delights. And if you’re looking to extend your outing, throw in a round of mini-golf on the farm’s scenic course.