Food & Drink

The Best Ice Cream Shops in Denver

Summer means ice cream.

High Point Creamery ice cream flight
Ice cream flight at High Point Creamery | Courtesy of High Point Creamery
Ice cream flight at High Point Creamery | Courtesy of High Point Creamery

Denver might be the gateway to the Rockies, but a cold, snowy tundra it most certainly is not. It’s widely said that the city gets an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, which might explain why there are so many ice cream shops in the Mile High. Denverites also love a good workout, whether they’re hiking in the mountains, biking around the city, or, you know, casually climbing cliff faces. But all that healthy exercise just means they can indulge a little more too (see also: craft beer). And now, with so many indoor activities closed or restricted, getting outside is one of the best ways to entertain yourself in Denver. Next time you’re working up a sweat in the Colorado sunshine, hit up these spots for the city’s best sweet, frozen treats -- whether you’re walking up (wearing a mask of course) or looking for contactless pickup or delivery.

Little Man Ice Cream

LoHi
This shop has become an icon in Denver since opening in 2008 thanks in large part to its unique architecture -- aka the 28-foot-tall, 14,000-pound cream can where the scoops are served out of. Lines can get long, but it’s well worth the wait for their most famous flavor alone, salted oreo. But you can’t go wrong whether you opt for a banana pudding float, seasonal honey almond in a waffle cone that’s made on site, or one of their sorbets or vegan options. They also give back through their Scoop to Scoop initiative which donates a scoop of rice, beans, or other essentials to those in need for every scoop sold.
How to order: The walk-up window is open Sunday-Thursday from 11am-11pm and Friday-Saturday 11am-12am.

Magill’s

Lakewood
This is the classic ice cream shop of your childhood dreams, probably because it’s been around since childhood for a lot of people. The shop opened in 1981 and maintains that classic nostalgic feel, complete with old-school ice cream sandwiches, brightly decorated ice cream cakes for special occasions, and of course, scoops of their house-made flavors -- there are 40 of them available daily, including customer favorites like seven layer coconut and Jack Daniel’s chocolate chip.
How to order: Magill’s is open for takeout and curbside pickup only, 10am-9:30pm every day. Order online or call ahead at 303-986-9968.

Milkroll ice cream best in Denver
Courtesy of Milkroll

Milkroll Creamery

Congress Park, Aurora
Forgo the traditional scoop and experience Thai-style rolled instead. Made to order on sub-zero metal plates, the results are highly instagrammable and packed with fun add ons. You start by picking your base from flavors like chocolate, caramel, matcha, and ube. Then you can customize your creation with options that include everything from M&Ms and gummy bears to Poky Sticks and red beans. They also have a selection of house-made combos, like the colorful Unicorn Magic which is loaded with colorful add-ons and crowned with fluffy blue and pink cotton candy.
How to order: Open for walk-in orders and online ordering for contactless pickup in Denver or Aurora Thursday-Sunday from 3pm-8pm.

Smith+Canon Ice Cream

Cheeseman Park
This spot gets extra creative with their flavors, even going into spicy territory. But the real highlight is that they also serve nitro cold brew and espresso which means you can get the ultimate caffeinated ice cream mash up: the affogato, aka espresso amped up with a scoop of your choice of ice cream flavor. But whether you want that coffee-enhanced kick or not, flavors like strawbeñero and their signature Foxy Brown (think cinnamon rolls and cheesecake) will keep you coming back.
How to order: Order online for pickup. They’re also accepting walk-in orders and are open 11am-8pm Monday-Saturday and 12pm-7pm on Sundays.

High Point Creamery Best Ice Cream DEN
High Point Creamery

High Point Creamery

Hilltop, Berkeley, RiNo
Do you have a hard time choosing just one flavor? Three words: ice cream flight. High Point’s signature flights are perfect for sharing (although that’s definitely not required) and include five flavors of your choice and a side of chocolate sauce. While they’re not open for dine in right now, you can still score a flight-to, or take an entire pint of your favorite flavor home. Don’t miss their seasonal creations like mango coconut lassi and funfetti.
How to order: Delivery is available via DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats. They are also open for carryout -- hours vary by location so check their website for the latest.

sweet cow
Courtesy of Sweet Cow

Sweet Cow

Highlands, Platt Park, South Broadway, Stanley Marketplace, Louisville, North Boulder
This spot’s got a winning ice cream trifecta: ice cream that’s made daily; earth-friendly recyclable and compostable cups and spoon; and pretzel cones. Yes, you can get any flavor, from cookies and cream to german chocolate, in a pretzel cone for a sweet and salty experience that should noy be missed. If you’re not a cone fan, opt for a heaping drizzle of their caramel sauce made with local Hammond’s Candies caramels.
How to order: Visit their website for online ordering links to pickup at each location. They’re also open for walk-in orders, hours vary by location. Delivery is also available through Grubhub.

Dang Soft Serve Ice Cream

Park Hill
Have you ever dipped French fries into a frosty and wondered why that’s not more of a thing? Well, now it is. This shop from the same owners at Little Man specializes in the sweet and salty combo of soft serve and fries. But they go beyond the typical vanilla, chocolate, or swirl. Flavors include peanut butter, lilikoi, and matcha, and they always have vegan options too along with fun toppings -- cookie butter sauce, anyone? 
How to order: Open for walk-ups Monday-Friday, 12pm-10pm and Saturday-Sunday, 11am-10pm

Ice Cream Riot

Cheeseman Park
Munchie cravings meet ice cream at this shop with the slogan “roll joints not ice cream.” Yeah, they’re not afraid to call things as they see it, and they’re also not afraid to have some fun with their flavors -- one of their signature options is cheddar goldfish after all. Other items to not skip: Pop-Tart ice cream sandwiches, Philly water ice, and ice cream cannoli. 
How to order: Delivery is available via Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Postmates. They’re also open for walk-in orders Monday-Thursday, 1pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday, 1pm-11pm, and Sunday, 1pm-10pm

Sherry’s Soda Shoppe

Five Points
Since opening the original Rosenberg’s Bagels in 2014, Josh Pollock has continued to bring a taste of the East Coast to Denver with Famous Original J’s pizza and Lou's Italian Specialties. Then in March, right before the COVID shutdown, he opened the latest in his collection: an old-school soda shoppe complete with retro favorites like malts, phosphate sodas, and orange creams, along with black and white cookie ice cream sandwiches and CBD soda add-ins. Now Sherry’s grand opening is getting a redo, so come try Denver’s newest destination for scoops.
How to order: Open for walk-ins Tuesday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm, and Sunday 11am-9pm.

Bonnie Brae Ice Cream

Washington Park
This old-school, family-owned joint that makes ice cream fresh daily has been around since 1986 and remains one of the standards in Mile High ice cream perfection. They offer 30+ flavors daily, including vegan options, and while most flavors stay in the traditional range (rocky road, rum raisin, and mint chocolate chip are all accounted for) they’re not afraid to play around with new ingredients too. Chocolate cardamom? They’ve done that. Deep dish apple pie? Yup, they’ve got that too.
How to order: Pints and ice cream cookie sandwiches are available to order online for pickup. You can also get takeout Sunday-Thursday, 11:30am-10:00pm and Friday-Sat, 11:30am-10:30pm

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Molly Martin is a Denver-based freelance writer who likes her ice cream loaded with extra sprinkles. Follow her @mollydbu on Instagram and Twitter for more updates on food, fun, and life in the Mile High.