Here's Our Travel Guide to This Nation of Over 7,000 Islands
Larchmont & other locations
Two years ago, this Portland-based creamery introduced its fresh-made waffle cones, delicious ice cream, and long lines to LA. Now, every month, they highlight seasonal SoCal produce -- so summertime brings freshness like blueberry-studded Meyer lemon buttermilk and strawberry cilantro lime cheesecake.
Downtown & Studio City
For years, your UCSB friends wouldn’t shut up about McConnell’s. But thanks to locations in Grand Central Market and Studio City, you now get to rave about their small-batch ice cream too. They’ve got churros con leche, chocolate almond brittle, and Turkish coffee, but our money’s on the peppermint stick -- which tastes like a frozen candy cane that melts on contact with your tongue.
Koreatown & West LA
Soft-serve tends to be lower in milk-fat than regular ice cream, but Honeymee’s has a creamy, luscious mouth-feel that deserves a call-out here. And in flavors like green tea and sea salt chocolate, the milkshakes are a must-try, too.
This Ohio-hailing creamery uses the same rich, velvety base (hint: it involves cream cheese!) for all its flavors, which are given sweet names like brambleberry crisp and Savannah buttermint.
Another Santa Barbara establishment helmed by a former pastry chef, Rori’s opened up a Westside outpost last year. Their ice cream is made with organic grass-fed milk and cream and focuses on sweet-leaning flavors, like honey almond crunch and root beer float.
The SFV’s got its own artisanal ice cream spot in Wanderlust, where everything’s inspired by travel destinations. You’ll find a rotating selection of exotic flavors like Thai sticky rice and mango or Icelandic pretzel and rugbrauø, cone flavors in ube or brown butter, and even one-of-a-kind toppings such as pandan rice crispies.
All of Beachy Cream’s small-batch, concentrated flavors are made from scratch in their retro-inspired Santa Monica shop. Their organic ice cream sandwiches, including a candied ginger/molasses spice cookie pairing, are also perfect as to-go treats.
Right off PCH, this Italian chain makes traditional gelato that’s smooth and supple enough to merit a spot on this list. They’ve got all the usual suspects -- tiramisu, stracciatella, pistachio -- but the star is the crema di Grom featuring Battifollo cookies and Colombian chocolate chips.
Sweet Rose’s mint chip tastes like you inhaled a delicious, ice cream-filled herb garden (get that for sure... that, or the summer corn... or the blueberry muffin... you're gonna be here for a while). Go heavy on the toppings -- most of them are made from scratch, which means quality marshmallows and shortbread bits.
With flavors that sound like fragrance notes (saffron, rose, orange blossom, jasmine) and a consistency as dense and gooey as peanut butter (well, almost), this Persian-style ice cream spot is worth the line that sometimes snakes out onto Westwood Blvd.
Even the lactose-intolerant get a nod from this unassuming Burbank joint. In addition to hawking out-of-the-box flavors like gingerbread stout, hibiscus prickly pear, and chili mango lime (plus made-to-order funnel cake sandwiches on Wednesdays), they also sell Lactaid pills -- so no one has to forfeit on a tasty scoop.
This bicycle-churned ice cream spot promises a free scoop if you pedal on stationary bikes for 15-20 minutes at 15 mph, which makes one batch of ice cream. But if you feel like sparing your thighs the workout, a scoop of amazing maple pancake batter or kumquat will set you back for less than a fiver.
This beloved spot in the Spring Arcade building makes gelato smooth and creamy enough to pass for ice cream. All their classic flavor profiles are noteworthy, but go for the speculoos, which boasts a rich, cinnamon-y, caramelized flavor, and is loaded with crunchy biscuit bits.
While everyone else is coming up with crazy-inventive flavors, Three Twins deals in perfectly delicious, organic basics-with-a-twist, like cookie-flecked lemon and mouthwatering milk and honey. But if crazy is calling your name, opt for one of the kitchen-sink sundaes with names like Slop Bucket or Cookie Monster.
Culver City & Pasadena
This architecture-inspired shop names many of its pre-packaged cookie/ice cream sammies after famous architects, like IM Pei-Nut Butter and Mies Vanilla Rohe. But their real specialty lies in sweet-meets-savory combos, including their seasonal “fast food” flavor -- salted Tahitian vanilla bean studded with chocolate malt balls and French fry crisps. You read that right.
Palms & other locations
Scoops’ street cred comes from their cult-favorite flavor (the Grape-Nuts-based brown bread), but they’re also known for incredible soy-based options (like maple cookie dough and salty chocolate) that some non-vegans even prefer to dairy-based options.
It’s tough to one-up a cupcake vending machine, but Sprinkles has the dessert game on lockdown with red velvet waffle cones and slow-churned ice cream hybrids such as cupcake sammies and cupcake-blended shakes.
Sierra Madre & Pasadena
This old-school parlor in Sierra Madre serves up generous scoops of feel-good flavors. Best mooooooooves are the brown sugar oatmeal and organic cornflakes, as well as their excellent made-in-house ice cream cakes and pies.
Pasadena & other locations
Want plain, old-fashioned strawberry or chocolate? Then don't go here! This ice cream shop -- which is run by a married couple who sources locally grown & organic herbs, spices, and flowers -- does up far more inspired flavors like rosemary with toasted pine nuts.
1. Salt & Straw1357 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles
2. McConnell's Fine Ice Creams317 S Broadway St, Los Angeles
3. Honeymee3377 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
4. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams1954 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles
5. Rori's910 Montana Ave, Santa Monica
6. Wanderlust Creamery18511 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana
7. Beachy Cream1209 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica
8. Grom3886 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu
9. Sweet Rose Creamery225 26th St, Santa Monica
10. Saffron & Rose Ice Cream1385 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles
11. Quenelle2214 W Magnolia Blvd , Los Angeles
12. Peddler's Creamery458 S Main St, Los Angeles
13. Gelateria Uli541 S Spring St Ste 104, Los Angeles
14. Three Twins2726 Main St, Santa Monica
15. Coolhaus8588 Washington Blvd, Culver City
16. Scoops Westside3400 Overland Ave, Los Angeles
17. Sprinkles Cupcakes & Ice Cream9635 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills
18. Mother Moo Creamery17 Kersting Ct, Sierra Madre
19. Carmela Ice Cream & Sorbet2495 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena
Small-batch ice cream in inventive flavors is the calling card at Portland-based chain Salt & Straw’s Venice shop. All of the batches are made in-house, and the flavors vary based on the seasons and the whims of the artisan ice cream makers. Expect flavors like avocado and honey lavender, but don’t be surprised if the Abbot Kinney shop, one of Salt & Straw’s few LA outposts, sells out by the end of the day.
Originally hailing from Santa Barbara, this cult creamery has been serving up mouthwatering ice cream since 1949. Their LA outpost doesn’t disappoint, using locally sourced ingredients and homemade syrups to create imaginative flavors like Churros con Leche, Black Coffee Chip, and Eureka Lemon. The company prides itself on its sustainability efforts, so there’s no need to feel guilty when you’re perusing Grand Central Market and your sweet tooth kicks in. Go ahead and indulge.
Welcome to land of milk and honey. You’d think using the same two ingredients – fresh milk from local farms and 100% raw honey – would get boring, but the flavors at Honeymee continue to excite and surprise. If you’re in Koreatown, look for the classic black and white-striped awning of this chic little parlor and satiate your sugar cravings with their namesake scoop: a swirl of “true milk” ice cream garnished with a natural honeycomb chip.
When you combine sugar, spice, and everything all natural, you get Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Although the company got its start in Ohio, Jeni’s Los Feliz outpost keeps up with the hype, serving creamy, luscious flavors like brown butter almond brittle and wildberry lavender. It’s worth the wait, but with over twenty different flavors available for sampling, the line can get quite long. When you've had your fill, take a hike up the nearby Griffith Observatory to walk off the calories.
Helmed by a former pastry chef, this Westside outpost (the original shop is in Santa Barbara) churns out ice cream made with organic grass-fed milk and cream. Rori's, housed inside a glassy, former boutique space, focuses on sweet-leaning flavors, like honey almond crunch and root beer float. Even the cones here are made in-house, so you know every bite of your frosty treat is crafted with TLC.
As the name indicates, the unique flavors at this artisanal ice cream spot is inspired by travel destinations. You’ll find a rotating selection of exotic flavors like Thai sticky rice and mango or Icelandic pretzel and rugbrauø. The variety even extends into their cones and toppings: cone flavors come in ube or brown butter, and toppings include one-of-a-kind selections like pandan rice crispies. You'll leave with with your sweet tooth satisfied -- and maybe an idea for your next trip, too.
The small-batch, concentrated ice cream whipped up inside this retro Santa Monica shop is all made from scratch. Get your sweet fix through their dreamy selection of organic ice cream sandwiches, which includes a candied ginger/molasses spice cookie pairing. Or, if a cone is what you're after, try the Strawberry Balsamic Swirl or the Bitchin' Hot Chocolate (they really mean hot -- it's made with a hint of organic cinnamon and cayenne).
If you’re seeking refuge from the traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway, swing through Grom. Nestled in the Malibu Country Mart, this gelateria imports their product directly from Italy, sourcing all natural ingredients from their own organic farm. The old school Italian approach produces mouthwatering results, including popular flavors like bacio, a blend of chocolate and hazelnut and stracciatella, which features dark Colombian chocolate and thick cacao chips.
Sweet Rose concocts a variety of delicious ice cream flavors, and also makes most of their toppings from scratch, including marshmallows to shortbread bits. Known for exotic creations like yam swirl with salty sesame brittle, or cherimoya, this ice cream shop is a homegrown talent (the first of its five LA locations is at the Brentwood Country Mart). But don’t worry: it also has classics like coffee and salted caramel, all of which are made from organic milk, cream, and eggs.
Ice cream is more than just a sweet treat at this Westwood parlor - it’s an experience. Using traditional Persian methods by adding ground orchid root to their batches, Saffron & Rose creates ice cream that is lusciously creamy, rich, and slightly thicker in texture than your average American creams. The flavor offerings are nuanced and aroma-obsessed, with menu highlights including orange blossom, cucumber, and lavender. Don’t let the line deter you – these fragrant fro-yos are worth the wait.
Owned and operated by John Park, former pastry chef at Lukshon, Quenelle is a dessert lover’s paradise. From highly imaginative ice cream flavors like black sesame macaroon and vanilla mascarpone, to additional frozen fare like Yuzu lemongrass popsicles, these aren’t your average sweets. As an added bonus, there’s no need for the lactose-intolerant to feel left out – many of the offerings are dairy-free, and there’s complimentary Lactaid pills on the counter just to be safe.
Who knew making ice cream could be as easy as riding a bike? That’s literally the case at Peddler’s Creamery—their entire churning process is powered by bicycles. If that eco-friendly incentive isn’t enough cause for you to go check it out, consider that their all-organic offerings includes vegan options and inventive flavors like maple pancake batter, raspberry Pop-tart, and cardamom. Factor in a hip, Instagram-worthy color scheme, and it’s a no-brainer.
Gelateria Uli reinforces our belief that good coffee and gelato are made for one another. Whether you’re looking for classic flavors like chocolate and pistachio or original favorites like poblano and coconut lemongrass, this contemporary, Italian-chic spot is your downtown go-to for artisanal gelato.
SF ice cream favorite Three Twins expanded to this Santa Monica storefront to make sure you get scoops of all the frosty goodness they have to offer. The earthy look of the shop matches their earthy approach to ice cream: they deal in organic basics-with-a-twist, like cookie-flecked lemon and milk & honey. If you're craving something a little crazier (and much messier), go for one of their kitchen-sink sundaes like Slop Bucket or Cookie Monster.
Founded by two ladies with design and realty backgrounds, Coolhaus blends ice cream with architecture and eccentric flavors. Most of the menu offerings here are named after famous architects and combine savory with sweet, like the Louis Ba-Kahn Sammie – a scoop of brown butter-candied bacon ice cream served between two chocolate chip cookies. Even if the puns don’t register, the flavors here are beyond your wildest dreams (Whiskey Lucky Charms, anyone?). Coolhaus also rolls deep with a fleet of ice cream trucks, so you can satiate your sugar cravings on the go.
Variety is the spi -- um, the ice of life, in the case of Scoops. The hip Westside coffee shop-meets-ice cream parlor changes flavors on a daily basis, ensuring ultra-fresh batches and crafty flavors. Whether you’re in it for the dairy-free options, hip art mounted throughout the shop, or whimsical original flavors like strawberry balsamic or “Brown Bread,” a winning combination of grape nuts and caramel ice cream, park your car (yes, there’s parking) and swing by Scoops.
You’ve probably already heard of confectionary tycoon Sprinkles, but have you visited the shop where it all began? It’s worth checking out the cupcake empire’s flagship location in Beverly Hills, as the sugary offerings here don’t disappoint. From classic cupcakes to next level fare like red velvet waffle cones and slow-churned salted caramel ice cream, it’s dessert heaven. If your sugar craving kicks in after a day of shopping on Rodeo Drive and you're unwilling to brave the line, hit up their legendary cupcake ATM to get your fix.
Tucked away in Sierra Madre, this old-school parlor serves up generous scoops of feel-good flavors in fresh-made waffle cones. If we had to choose which to indulge in, we'd pick the cinnamon graham cracker and brown sugar oatmeal. To top off their tasty selections, Mother Moo also offers excellent house-made ice cream cakes and pies.
This Pasadena creamery is run by a married couple who source locally grown and organic herbs, spices, and flowers to churn out their inventive list of ice cream flavors. This is not the place if you're craving plain old-fashioned strawberry or chocolate -- you're in for clever concoctions like lavender honey and rosemary with toasted pine nuts. If you're really in the mood for something traditional, you won't regret dipping a spoon into their classic rocky road.