The 22 Best Ice Cream Shops in LA

Summer means ice cream.

Monty's Good Burger
Photo courtesy of Monty's Good Burger

In LA, where it’s almost always ice cream weather, artisanal ice cream shops proliferate on practically every corner—and we’re here for it. When summer calls for a cold, sweet, satisfying scoop, our city has no shortage of options, from soft-serve innovators to Mexican-style paleta masters and ice cream makers churning new, mind-blowing, melt-in-your-mouth profiles. 

Ready to grab a scoop? Read on for 22 of the best places in LA.

Photo courtesy of Smize Cream

Santa Monica 
Ice cream might not be the first thing that comes to mind when the name Tyra Banks enters the conversation, but the internationally recognized supermodel, TV producer, and talk show host recently forayed into premium frozen custards with the launch of her Santa Monica Smize Cream shop. Inspired by the after-school ice cream dates she used to have with her mother, Smize Cream urges diners to dig deep for their dreams, as well as for a sprinkle-covered chunk of truffle cookie dough that’s at the bottom of each cup. The brand launched with seven signature flavors that are similarly nostalgic, like Purple Cookie Monster & Me, a rich, sweet cream-based custard that’s swirled with crunchy crumbles of Oreo cookies and naturally dyed with carrots to achieve a bold lavender color. The supermodel-turned-entrepreneur even tapped the world’s only ice cream scientist to ensure that she gets her flavors and textures exactly right. 
How to order: In-store or online for local and nationwide shipping.

Photo courtesy of Haute Mess

Haute Mess launched its gelato bar earlier this year, making this neighborhood Italian market one of LA’s best undercover places to get the richest, creamiest gelato. Their 12 farmers-market-driven flavors—including Amarena cherry, saffron rosewater, and lavender poppy seed—are made with natural ingredients, using secret recipes and techniques they’ve perfected to keep you coming back for more. Pro tip: Don’t sleep on the chocolate, a luscious combo of dark and milk chocolate that’s packed with depth and intensity. Along with Haute Mess’s picnic-friendly gourmet sandwiches, bread, and pastries, as well as its expertly curated selection of wine, artisanal cheese, and more, you can take home any gelato flavors by the pint—including several cashew-milk-based vegan options.
How to order: In-store or via website, Postmates, and Grubhub for pickup/delivery.

Monty's Good Burger
Photo courtesy of Monty's Good Burger

Multiple Locations
Fans of Monty’s often say its vegan burgs are practically indistinguishable from non-vegan burgers. The same goes for the cult-favorite restaurant’s 100% plant-based milkshakes, which are incredibly thick and creamy the way all shakes should be. Made with a base of organic soy vanilla soft serve, they’re available in mouthwatering flavors like chocolate, salted caramel, or DodgerBerry (a strawberry/blueberry blend that’s a delicious tribute to the team) with well-considered toppings like brownies or Sonoran cowboy cookies.
How to order: In-store or via website for pickup.

Multiple Locations
This Filipino fast-food joint, often dubbed the McDonald’s of the Philippines, is perhaps most famous for its hand-breaded fried chicken. But don’t sleep on Jollibee’s colorful take on halo-halo, a traditional Pinoy dessert that means “mix-mix” in Tagalog and offers up a hodgepodge of flavors in one plastic cup. Cold fruits, jellies, sweet beans, and coconut meat are layered with shaved ice and topped with creamy caramel flan and a heaping scoop of ube ice cream. Like the name suggests, you’re supposed to mix the various ingredients for a symphony of textures and tastes that are absolutely delicious together.
How to order: In-store or via DoorDash for pickup/delivery.

Magpies Softserve
Courtesy of Magpies Softserve

Multiple Locations
Owners Warren and Rose Schwartz are both professional chefs who wanted to create an elevated take on Dairy Queen. Magpies is their brainchild—featuring a made-from-scratch ice cream base, and flavors that remind you of the classics but are infinitely more sophisticated and upscale, like malted milk chocolate and sweetened cream. Also on offer? Flavors that evoke the Schwartz’s own childhoods, including honey matcha, Cracker Jack, and corn almond, as well as made-in-house toppings like chocolate-covered honeycomb, almond brittle, and butterscotch rice krispies. If you’re lucky, their famous fried ice cream pie will still be available—can’t-miss layers of fudge, ice cream, candy honeycomb, whipped cream, and deep-fried corn flakes that meld soft, crunchy, and cold textures all in one heavenly bite.
How to order: In-store or via website for pickup/delivery.

wanderlust creamery
Courtesy of Wanderlust Creamery

Multiple Locations
What started off as a small shop in Tarzana quickly turned into a household name (to ice cream lovers at least) after partners Adrienne Borlongan and Jon-Patrick Lopez opened a booth at Smorgasburg LA, as well as locations in Atwater Village, Venice, Fairfax, and Pasadena. If you couldn’t guess, the flavors here are inspired by far-flung destinations; Thailand’s famous dessert is channeled into a rice milk with coconut cream and swirls of mango, China gets an ice cream made from the beloved Chinese white rabbit milk candies, and the Philippines are embodied by an ube malted crunch influenced by Adrienne’s Filipino-American upbringing. 
How to order: In-store or via website for pickup/delivery.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Courtesy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Multiple Locations
Founded by Jeni Britton Bauer in 2002, Jeni’s is less about crazy, out-of-the-box flavors and more about interesting pairings—often inspired by her childhood memories—that ice cream consumers find unequivocally delicious. This Certified B corp chain of scoop shops, which first opened in Ohio, ditches synthetic flavors, dyes, stabilizers, and emulsifiers to whip up stuff like brambleberry crisp (which is peppered with oat streusel chunks based on a family recipe) and gooey butter cake (a riff on the the moist yellow cake Jeni’s mom would bake for special occasions). Most of all, however, they’re known for ice cream with unparalleled texture—thanks to a buttercream-like body, it’s got a smooth-yet-slightly dense and chewy consistency.
How to order: Takeout or via website for pickup/delivery.

McConnell's Fine Ice Creams
Courtesy of McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

Multiple Locations
McConnell’s isn’t just an ice cream shop with cool flavors like Eureka lemon and marionberries—it’s an actual dairy located in downtown Santa Barbara that’s been around for decades. Instead of slapping its brand on an outside manufacturer’s ice cream, McConnell’s makes everything from scratch, using grass-grazed Central Coast milk and cream and working exclusively with local farms. The family behind McConnell’s, now in its third generation of ownership, is obsessed with creating perfectly balanced scoops; the higher percentage of milkfat and lower percentage of overrun (the amount of air pushed into the ice cream as it’s made) results in a magnificently creamy product.
How to order: In-store, via website for curbside pickup, or via Postmates, DoorDash, Seamless, and Uber Eats for pickup/delivery.

Courtesy of Coolhaus

Culver City 
Co-founders Case and Estreller were inspired by architecture when they first started baking cookies, making premium ice cream in boundary-pushing flavors, and combining the two into creative “cool houses” (hence the name Coolhaus). Along with their now-famous pre-packaged sammies, which you can find in the freezer aisle of hundreds of grocery stores across the country, they’ve expanded Coolhaus to include dairy and dairy-free pints in a range of crowd-pleasing flavors—like street cart churro dough (which combines brown butter ice cream with a sugary cinnamon dough) or campfire ‘smores (a hard-to-put-down salted vanilla swirled with graham cracker cookie butter). For the true Coolhaus experience, a store visit to create a bespoke sandwich—consisting of a freshly baked cookie, ice cream, and toppings—is a must.
How to order: In-store or via Postmates, Uber Eats, Caviar, and DoorDash for pickup/delivery.

Multiple Locations
One of the first modern artisanal ice creameries to open up shop in LA back in 2005, Scoops set the bar with their cult-favorite flavor—an innovative, Grape Nuts-based brown bread—that’s now the only one they offer daily. While the original Scoops in East Hollywood has now closed, the other outposts in Highland Park, Chinatown, and Torrance rotate between flavors like banana malt burnt sugar, almond horchata, or mint whiskey—relying on the lighter, less fatty base they’ve used for years that allows you to taste the nuances in each scoop.
How to order: Takeout only or via website (for Chinatown location).

Van Leeuwen ice cream
Courtesy of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Multiple Locations
Over the past decade, Van Leeuwen has come a long way—from its humble beginnings operating out of a yellow, refurbished ice cream truck, to its now-ubiquitous pints in fancy grocery stores and expanding brick-and-mortar locations (24 and counting). Even 13 years after the company kicked off, Van Leeuwen still makes all its ice cream from scratch in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, using only a handful of ingredients, including fresh milk and cream, cane sugar, and egg yolks. They’ve also become well-known for decadent vegan scoops—made with either housemade cashew milk or oat milk that’s combined with coconut cream, cocoa butter, and coconut oil for you-won’t-believe-it’s-not-dairy taste and texture.
How to order: In-store or via website for pickup/delivery.

Salt & Straw
Courtesy of Salt & Straw

Multiple Locations
This Portland-based, small-batch ice cream shop now has even more locations in LA (seven!) than in its Oregon hometown. That’s a testament to how much Angelenos go crazy for its tasty scoops and innovative concoctions, often made in partnership with local vendors. In addition to shilling “classic” flavors which are anything but—like rainbow-sprinkled birthday cake folded with blackberry jam, or a spectacular take on cookie dough that’s made with massive, salty, malty chunks—they have a monthly flavor series that’s resulted in some cult favorites, like March’s Pots of Gold & Rainbows. Each year, the Salt & Straw kitchen sorts hundreds of boxes of Lucky Charms® by hand, infusing the grainy cereal pieces into sweet cream and stirring marshmallow charms into the finished product for a flavor that tastes exactly like the bottom of your breakfast cereal bowl (only far better).
How to order: In-store or via website, Postmates, Uber Eats, and DoorDash for pickup/delivery.

Happy Ice
Courtesy of Happy Ice

A former tattoo artist and reality TV star, Happy Ice founder Lemeir Mitchell has enjoyed an unconventional path to becoming a purveyor of water ice—a type of Philly-style Italian ice that’s rarely found its way out of its hometown. As a born-and-raised Philadelphian, Mitchell was determined to introduce the iconic treat to Los Angeles, which you can now find at his roaming food trucks and Melrose storefront. If you’ve never had Mitchell’s water ice before, the ultra-smooth, ice cream-like texture might tempt you into thinking dairy is involved, but his rich, frozen treats are vegan-friendly and nut-free. In brightly colored flavors like strawberry lemon lush, mango madness, or rainbow rocket (a vibrant combo of all eight flavors that’s highly Instagrammable), these cool concoctions are the ultimate summer treat.
How to order: Takeout only or via DoorDash for pickup/delivery.

Courtesy of Mizlala

Multiple Locations
Although Mizala is billed as a Mediterranean grill specializing in spit-roasted shawarma and fluffy falafel, one of its best-kept secrets is the dessert—specifically the shakes. In three flavors—halva cinnamon, chocolate almond, and salted caramel—these creamy concoctions are rooted in tahina, a thick, earthy paste derived from ground sesame seeds with a peanut butter-like texture. Generously spread in the restaurant’s stuffed pita sandwiches and often accompanying various plates, the nutty paste is blended with soy milk, ice, and dates for an incredibly rich dessert that tastes like a bonafide, full-dairy milkshake.
How to order: In-store or via website, Postmates, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats for pickup/delivery.

Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars | Courtesy of Sean Cooley

Multiple Locations
Founded by the late Oaxacan native Priciliano Mateo, beloved Mateo’s has made the fruity, Mexican-style popsicles called paletas for years, and its brightly colored passionfruit, guava, tamarind, and soursop treats match the vibrant interiors of its shops. If you’re not familiar with paletas, the wonderful flavors featured here might be unique to your palate, such as smoked milk with cactus fruit, mamey (a berry many describe as a cross between a pumpkin, peach, and sweet potato), and black sapote (often called chocolate pudding fruit)—although you’re just as likely to find strawberry and banana split on offer, too.
How to order: Takeout only.

Founded by brother-and-sister duo James Tatsuya and Elaine Yukari, this South Bay gem churns ice cream fresh five days a week. While they’ve experimented with dozens of flavors over the years—many of them Asian-inspired, like Japanese barley tea, black sesame, and kumquat marmalade—they only carry about five a day, as well as a handful of parfaits. (The matcha is particularly popular, a medley of ice cream, matcha jelly, syrup, mochi, corn flakes, and sweet red bean paste, and whipped cream). At Kansha, which means “gratitude” in Japanese, the focus is always on giving back to the community— whether it’s by utilizing organic ingredients from local farmers or donating a percentage of sales to charities around the world. 
How to order: Takeout only or via website for pickup/delivery.

Saffron & Rose Ice Cream

Some people say Persian ice cream (known for its stretchy consistency) isn’t for them because some flavors—such as lavender, white rose, and jasmine—are reminiscent of perfume. Don’t listen to these naysayers. Located in Westwood’s Little Tehran, Saffron & Rose often has a line of eager customers snaking out the door, waiting for its dense, gooey ice creams (and yes, flavors that often sound like fragrance notes but taste incredible). If you’re into sweet-tasting scoops, they’ve got you covered with milky cookies and cream or a luscious caramel crunch, while those with a preference for fruity flavors should order the light, delightfully refreshing cucumber or watermelon.
How to order: In-store or via Postmates, DoorDash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, and Seamless for pickup/delivery.

Sweet Rose Creamery
Sweet Rose Creamery | Abby Mahler

Brentwood & Santa Monica
Part of the Rustic Canyon restaurant group—which includes Santa Monica stalwarts like Cassia, Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe, and Milo & Olive—Sweet Rose Creamery follows in the tradition of its sister eateries and utilizes the nearby Santa Monica Farmers Market for seasonal ingredients. That’s what gives each flavor a distinct freshness, from year-round offerings (like fresh mint made with organic peppermint leaves) to seasonal options (such as stone fruit sorbet). The farm-to-spoon creamery even offers to-go bundles for picnic-friendly consumption, including a $110 ice cream sundae party pack that includes six pints, a jar of hot fudge, toppings, and everything else you need for the perfect summer afternoon.
How to order: Takeout only or via Postmates, ChowNow, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash for pickup/delivery.

Little Tokyo
This little cafe only has a few soft-serve flavors—matcha, black sesame, and hojicha—but they do all three exceptionally well. Their matcha uses organic, ceremonial-grade, Japanese green tea that gives it a rich yet subtle flavor that tastes legit, while the hojicha has an earthy, roasted quality for a bolder appeal. If you can’t decide, opt for a swirl!  
How to order: In-store or via Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash for pickup/delivery.

Hollywood & Westwood
Long-standing Mashti Malone’s is a direct rival of Westwood’s Saffron & Rose, but we’d be remiss not to mention both on this list. Like its competitor, Mashti makes scrumptious Persian ice cream in flavors like rosewater, lavender, and orange blossom—all colored and flavored naturally using herbs and spices from Lebanon, India, and other countries—and, if you so desire, topped with sour cherry syrup or lemon juice. Ask for a “Mashti” instead of a cone, and you’ll get a fat scoop sandwiched between two crisp, paper-thin wafers and rolled in crunchy pistachios. Order the “Malone” to get your ice cream served on a zoolbeyah—an Iranian take on the carnival funnel cake that’s deep-fried and deliciously sweet.
How to order: In-store or via Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash for pickup/delivery.

San Fernando & Van Nuys
From six generations of ice cream makers, this unassuming shop turns out a massive variety of melt-in-your-mouth tropical ice cream, served in standard cones or Instagram-friendly coconut bowls. Go for the exotic profiles like lucuma, a Peruvian superfruit with a maple-like taste; sugar corn, which owner Marthin Ken (whose father-in-law operated the original Helados Pops) perfected based on an old family recipe; or almond avocado, an extraordinarily unique flavor combo you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
How to order: In-store or via Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash for pickup/delivery.

Gelateria Uli
Courtesy of Gelateria Uli

Downtown & Beverly Grove
When owner Uli Nasibova traded in her finance career for frozen treats in 2014, no one could stop raving about her speculoos flavor, infused with crushed, caramelized bits of the beloved Belgian spice cookies. Now that it’s been seven years since she opened her first location in downtown’s Spring Arcade—often credited with helping usher in the area’s renaissance—we’ve discovered that the rest of her made-on-site, silky-soft gelatos and sorbets are just as delicious. Profiles like horchata and black sesame are inspired by the city’s diverse communities; yellow peach and blueberry sorbet represent the region’s seasonal produce; and stracciatella and pistachio pay homage to classic Italian gelatos.
How to order: In-store or via website, Postmates, DoorDash, Caviar, Grubhub, and Uber Eats for pickup/delivery.

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Tiffany Tse is a writer for Thrillist and has been researching for this article her entire ice-cream-eating life. Follow her adventures around town at @twinksy.