Food & Drink

Cool Down With These Boston Ice Cream Shops

This is exactly the sweet treat you need right now.

Everybody knows that Massachusetts loves it some ice cream: Friendly’s, Brigham’s, Baskin Robbins (yep, it’s based here, too), we’ve got plenty of big-name brands. But when it comes to ice cream and the Commonwealth, it's all about the great local dairies and farms that supply our shared obsession -- and the small-town shops that scoop our favorite flavors. And with sweet things being a rarity in the world right now, it’s important to set aside time to add something good into the mix. Whether you’re strolling around Boston or heading out for a road trip, we’ve rounded up a few worthwhile ice cream shops to check out for a well-deserved treat.

Kimball Farm

Carlisle, Westford, Lancaster
Since 1939, Kimball’s has been a Massachusetts favorite, earning its beloved reputation with more than 50 flavors of homemade ice cream. That’s right, homemade. The ice cream hotspot also has summer activities available at its flagship farm in Westford, with bumper boats ready to rent for some social distancing fun.
How to order: Walk-up service


Newbury Street and Cambridge
For gelato lovers, Amorino serves up aesthetically pleasing and satisfying snacks while you’re strolling down Newbury Street or roaming around Harvard Square. For even more of a special treat, try a macaron filled with ice cream for something to sweeten up your week. 
How to order: In-store service (limited to six people inside at a time)

Dr. Davis Ice Cream

Started in 1939 by veterinarian Dr. “Doc” Davis, this parlor is part ice cream mecca, part hangout spot for Pepperell locals. And it’s easy to see, or taste, why: its hand-made ice cream is crave-worthy, from the basic (butter pecan, rum raisin) to the more adventurous (Caramel Apple Pie, 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. 
How to order: Curbside pickup

Meola’s Wayside Ice Cream

Sterling and West Boylston
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, 100-year-old business serves up more than 65 delicious flavors including Toll House Cookie, Maple Walnut Pistachio, Milky Way, and Coffee Kahlua Brownie. 
How to order: Walkup service

Acushnet Creamery

Another heavenly homemade ice cream option, Acushnet Creamery has grown to offer a long list of flavors and specialty desserts including frappes, floats, smoothies, ice cream sodas, and ice cream sandwiches. If you’re planning a road trip this summer, you might want to stop here along the way.
How to order: Curbside pickup


Known to offer the city’s finest sweets, and even deemed as “the best ice cream in the world” by The New York Times, Toscanini’s lives up to its high expectations with flavors like Peanut Butter Fluff, Burnt Caramel, Goat Cheese Brownie, and Belgian Chocolate. Not far from the Kendall T stop, if you’re back to commuting on the red line or simply looking for a nearby snack, you know where to make a pit stop.
How to order: Storefront is open for ordering takeout

Cape Cod Creamery

Hyannis, South Yarmouth, and Dennis
The family-owned and operated Cape Cod Creamery offers some of the creamiest and smoothest gourmet ice cream around. With handmade offerings like Provincetown Pistachio, Sandbar Swirl, and Hyannis Heath Bar, you’re in for a memorable and sweet treat. Plus, the shop happens to stock only the finest ingredients and proudly use hormone-free cream from New England dairies, cocoa from France, vanilla from Madagascar, coffee from Colombia, and mint from Italy.
How to order: Walk-up service

Uhlman’s Ice Cream

With more than 45 years in the ice cream business, Uhlman’s offers more than 60 flavors of ice creams and frozen yogurt. Start with fan-faves such as Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Oreo, pistachio, and rum raisin, then dive into its limited editions like peach and Ginger Creamy with fresh shaved ginger. 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? There are also lunchtime hotdog specials if you’re feeling ambitious. 
How to order: Walk-up service


Herrell’s is known for its innovation and evolution over the years -- it was the first shop to mix in name-brand candies into ice cream (ala Heath Bar). Besides being a go-to shop for premium, gourmet ice cream they’ve made changes to its menu, with regular, kosher, vegan, and dairy-free ice cream and desserts added for all to enjoy. Still looking for a reason to make the trip? How does Burnt Sugar and Butter, Chocolate Pudding, and English Toffee Crunch ice cream sound? 
How to order: Curbside and in-store takeout

West End Creamery

Located on a quaint family farm not far from the city, West End Creamery has a long list of hand-dipped ice cream, fat-free frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet, and soft-serve treats. If you’re looking to add to your outing, make time for a round of mini-golf on the farm’s scenic course. 
How to order: Walk-up service

Milk Bar

The highly anticipated Milk Bar, known for its signature Cereal Milk soft serve, opened in January 2019, but has experienced quite the buzz since becoming a Harvard Square staple. Founded by James Beard 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 its unique toppings, like crispy corn flakes, for a savory and sweet treat all in one.
How to order: In-store service (limited to two people inside at a time)

Gibby’s Ice Cream

As part of Gibson’s Dairy Farms, only the freshest milk goes into this ice cream shop, which has been open for more than 75 years. Choose from more than 60 ice cream flavors and 20 non-fat yogurts. As the (literal) cherry on top, they have an endless list of toppings like fresh cut strawberries, homemade brownies, and hot fudge to fulfill your frozen treat dreams.  
How to order: Walkup service

Sugarbowl Cafe

Somewhat of a little known secret, Dorchester’s Sugarbowl Cafe has delicious breakfast and lunch options with ice cream on the menu for those that experience a mid-day sweet tooth. They even have ice cream iced coffee flavors like Toasted Almond, Blueberry and Butter Pecan to help get your mornings started off right.
How to order: In-store service

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Jillian Hammell is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.