Cool Down With These Las Vegas Ice Cream Shops
This is exactly the sweet treat you need right now.
At a time like this, and oh what a time it is, the simplest of pleasures can bring us the most joy. The fact remains that it is still summer in Las Vegas, it is still hotter than a nuclear apocalypse, and ice cream is still the emotionally distraught person’s stress-eating curative of choice. This is a time to go full YOLO if ever there was one, so order up a sundae to drown your sorrows in for at least as long as it takes you to eat it. Without further ado, these are some of the best locally owned ice cream, shaved ice, custard, gelato, and other frozen treat spots in Vegas.
Because everything is Instagram and Instagram is everything, many ice cream shops go out of their way with outrageous dessert creations, each more influencer-bait than the last. At Scoop LV, they’ve got the boba bear bottles -- bear-shaped souvenir bottles for your boba teas. (There are also light bulb-shaped bottles.) It’s food porn and you’d better believe that when the shop does limited-edition bear bottle runs, they sell out like that. There are also super fun ice cream flavors like Cookie Monster, Nutella Banana, Hokkaido Milk Tea, Fruity Pebbles, brown sugar boba, black sesame, and durian. Also expect vegan ice cream options, slushes, shakes, milk teas, halo halo, macarons, and cookie ice cream sandwiches.
How to order: Call 702-802-3800 for contactless curbside pickup or get delivery through Postmates and Uber Eats.
Gus Dean’s churns out premium ice cream from its Las Vegas production facility that is sold at retail outlets in Meadows Mall and Pawn Plaza. Made very simply with butter, sugar, and nonfat milk powder for a smooth texture, Gus Dean's offers over a dozen flavors including all the classics and modern favorites like salted caramel and mocha. The signature flavor, however, is Rebel Red, a strawberry, almond, and cookie ice cream named for the UNLV Rebels. Once things get back to something approaching “normal,” you can expect to see this local brand grow with more retail locations popping up all over town.
How to order: Walk-up locations at Meadows Mall and Pawn Plaza are both open.
If you thought 100 percent plant-based ice cream couldn't possibly be as sinful as the real thing, allow Paradise City Creamery to blow your mind. Founder Valerie Stunning is not shy about her previous sex worker days, and she brings all of that cheeky showmanship to her ice cream brand, which celebrates pleasure-seeking indulgence and plays up the naughtier side of ice cream. Current summer flavors include Birthday Sex (ube cream with ube Hennessy icing) and World’s Oldest Professional (pistachio and olive oil cream with date and rosewater dukka). Paradise City Creamery is also extremely vocal and active in supporting social justice causes.
How to order: Pre-order online and then walk up to their pop-up tent in front of the Garagiste Wine Room for no-contact pickup Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10pm.
This place is classic Vegas -- and classic walk-up custard stand. Located spitting distance from the Strip in the shadow of the STRAT in downtown Las Vegas, Luv-it has been around since 1973 (that’s historic in Vegas years) and serves a daily, fresh batch of two unique flavors, in addition to the staple vanilla and chocolate. Check the flavor calendar online for exciting flavors like Sin-a-Buns or Champagne Cherry. The shop also now accepts credit card payments.
How to order: The walk-up window, order in advance via Chow Now, or get delivery through Grubhub and Postmates
The fresh-baked cookies are equally the stars of the show at Sweet Addiction, which pairs them with more than two dozen different flavors from cult favorite Thrifty ice cream in made-to-order ice cream cookie sandwiches. Chocolate malted crunch ice cream with MochaCafe cookies? Cookie dough ice cream with classic chocolate chip? Circus animal cookie ice cream with M&M cookies? The only limit is your imagination. But, if you're lacking in that department, order one of their highly Instagrammable sundaes, like the pink and purple Take Me to the Circus with cotton candy and animal cracker ice creams.
How to order: Take-out and dine-in are both available. Note: The Green Valley location has closed permanently.
Rolled Ice Cream is not the only shop in town to capitalize on the rolled trend, but it is the only one with the namesake. Rolled ice cream is made by pouring liquid ice cream base onto a frozen pan with selected flavors and mixers, and then it is chopped and rolled from into tightly wound ribbons that are then packed into a cup and finished with a variety of toppings. It's similar to Cold Stone Creamery's Mix-ins, though a hell of a lot more artful. Try one of the house creations like The Elvis with Nutter Butter and banana, or get creative and make your own.
How to order: Dine-in, takeout, and delivery via DoorDash, Postmates, and Uber Eats.
If you don't know what the words “Asian ice cream desserts” mean, get a crash-course education at Creamberry, where they make nearly all of them. The spot has 22 ice cream and sorbet flavors and another 20 toppings to mix them with. The kicker is that you can order them in all kinds of crazy shapes: rolled ice cream, rolled “tacos” (rolled ice cream in a waffle taco), bubble waffles, bear waffles (shaped like a cartoon teddy bear), halo halo, shaved ice, snow ice, and honey toast sundaes, among other things. And by “other things,” we mean the cotton candy rainbow ice cream burrito, which is, obviously, a dessert that exists specifically for Instagram.
How to order: Takeout and delivery via Uber Eats are available.
All of the gelato and sorbet at Gelatology is made from scratch without using any preservatives, artificial flavors, coloring, stabilizers, chemicals, eggs, cornstarch, or syrups. Enjoy classics like hazelnut and pistachio, as well as more modern flavors like French lavender and matcha. Fresh fruit sorbet flavors include mango, lemongrass coconut water, peach basil, and passion fruit. There are even uniquely Las Vegas flavors, too, like Hurricane Popcorn -- a Hawaiian dessert flavor made for the Ninth Island. (That's another nickname for Las Vegas, which has the largest population of Hawaiians outside of Hawaii.) Flavors are always changing and are posted daily on Instagram. There is also always a great selection of vegan gelato options.
How to order: Order and pay in advance by calling 702-982-8881 or get takeout and delivery through Postmates.
Nielsen’s Frozen Custard is a blast from the past -- back to the days of soda shops and sock hops. Think vintage tin Coca-Cola signs and black, red, and white checkered packaging. Nielsen’s custard is made fresh in-store every few hours, always with a unique “flavor of the day” (check Facebook) in addition to chocolate and vanilla. You can order a custard cone or a pint to go, but its specialty is the Concrete, a “very thick shake you eat with a spoon” (think DQ Blizzard, only way thicker) with any number of candy, chocolate, fruit, brownie, or nut combinations.
How to order: Dine-in, takeout, and delivery via Seamless, Postmates, DoorDash, and Grubhub are available.
If you thought there were some out-of-the-box flavors listed under a few of the places above, you know nothing Jon Snow. Filipino ice cream shop Asia Creamery makes all its own flavors, like avocado, buko pandan (a popular Filipino dessert), jackfruit, creamy queso, and ube macapuno -- or purple yam and coconut preserves. America, take note: ube -- a highly Instagrammable purple yam popular in Filipino desserts -- will be the hottest national food trend as soon as New Yorkers realize it exists.
How to order: Call 702-272-0212 for pickup orders and pay in advance. Takeout and delivery via Seamless, Grubhub, and Uber Eats are available.
Level Up is a video game lounge with boba tea, rolled ice cream, and nitro ice cream. This is basically a fandom bar that serves ice cream and boba instead of alcohol. Plus, the video game theme is carried through via character murals and themed tournaments. It is basically every gamer teen’s dream. Homemade ice cream base options are the “house” flavor, chocolate, matcha, and taro, and specialty ice cream creations include the Pika Pika, Atari-O, and Red Shell. In true Vegas style, you’d be hard-pressed to find a place like this anywhere else in the country.
How to order: Takeout, limited dine-in, and delivery via Grubhub and Postmates are all available. Game play is still allowed, but available spaces are set up for social distancing (six feet apart).
“Fluff ice” is basically traditional shaved ice done in a nontraditional way through a proprietary eight-hour process. The resulting texture is described as frozen cotton candy. This place has a cult following in LA, where they are regularly asked to cater events for clients like Sony Studios and Warner Bros. Flavors include Thai tea, green tea, taro, mango, honeydew, and coconut. You can either build your own creation or order one of the signature combinations, like the very gram-worthy Peach Me with egg pudding and lychee jelly.
How to order: Dine-in, takeout, and delivery via DoorDash, Grubhub, and Postmates available.
CJ’s serves homemade soft serve custard, gelato, and Italian ice. Flavors change constantly, but expect some nostalgic ones like cotton candy gelato, Cinnamon Toast Crunch custard, and Sour Patch Kid ice. The shop also offers a variety of waffle cones dipped in chocolate and coated in cereals, candies, cookies, and sprinkles. In case you’re feeling indecisive, the customer favorite (and Instagram-famous) Bobalati is a mix of boba, Italian ice, and gelato all rolled into one. CJ’s is also known for its innuendo-heavy Instagrammable moments by way of neon signage inside its shops that make a lot of use of the word “lick.”
How to order: Takeout is available at all locations. Dine-in and delivery via Seamless, DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats are only available at the Durango location.
You don’t have to go all the way to Disneyland (which is closed anyway) to indulge in the Dole Whip craze, and you also don’t have to settle solely for pineapple. At Las Vegas’s Pineapple Park, flavors include the classic pineapple as well as strawberry, mango, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla, and seasonal flavors (and all are vegan). Plus, you can top them with all kinds of candies and cookies and sauces and fruits. Pineapple Park also serves Thrifty ice creams, Dippin’ Dots, boba teas, frappes, crepes, waffles, churros, cakes, macarons, and banana splits. Come hungry and order the massive Pineapple Boat, a banana split served in a halved pineapple.
How to order: Takeout and delivery through Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
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