It’s hot. And you’re sweating. A lot. The last thing you’re gonna want to do is subway your ass around NYC tracking down the city’s best ice cream. The first thing you’re gonna want to do, though, is walk like, one or two blocks to your neighborhood’s best ice cream.
Not sure where that is? Well now you will: here’s where to get a decent scoop in 25 different Manhattan neighborhoods.
Mikey Likes It Ice Cream (address and info)
Jay Z’s ice cream maker is churning out seriously good stuff at this pint-sized Ave A storefront. The pop culture-inspired flavors -- think Cool Runnings (coconut with dark chocolate shavings and toasted almonds) and Southern Hospitality (pecan pie and pralines) -- are amazing on their own and even better when sandwiched between fresh-pressed waffles in the Mac Daddy. Which you should get.
Battery Park City
El Vez Burrito (address and info)
Because ice cream is the best way to wash down a burrito, Stephen Starr’s weekdays-only stand also does soft serve. Skip the plain old chocolate and instead go for the cinnamon-spiked horchata. Oh, and don’t skimp on toppings, because bro, they include churro stars and salty corn flakes.
Amorino (address and info)
Not only are the sorbets the perfect refreshing antidote to summer, but the crafty scoopers at this Parisian chain can shape as many flavors as you want into a flower cone. Yeah, you’re gonna want to re-read that.
The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (address and info)
The OG of New York City’s fancy scoops shops has been slinging Asian-y flavors since 1978. Choose between “regulars” like the nutty Almond Cookie and sesame-studded Zen Butter or the “exotic” stuff (Oreo cookie, mint chip, you get the picture). The truly adventurous, though, should try durian, the Southeast Asian fruit with a smell so funky that Anthony Bourdain once compared it to “French-kissing your dead grandmother.”
Holey Cream (address and info)
They make donut sandwiches here featuring house-made ice cream that 1) ranges from the decadent brownie a la mode to the even more decadent peanut butter caramel cookie dough, and 2) GOES IN DONUT SANDWICHES.
Davey’s Ice Cream (address and info)
If you’re looking for tried-and-true flavors that are made from scratch, then this is the place for you. Graphic designer-turned-ice cream maker David Yoo churns out damn good classics such as cookies ‘n' cream and peppermint chip, but also plays around with limited-edition specials (Red Velvet Oreo, anyone??), including an off-menu Thrillist exclusive (!!!!!): the Double Trouble Ice Cream Sandwich, featuring three cookies, two scoops of ice cream, and toppings.
Gelato Ti Amo (address and info)
The Italian import stays true to its roots by getting crucial ingredients from Boot country -- milk from Tuscany, lemons from Naples, pistachios from Sicily, and so on -- for melty scoops that are a much needed in the otherwise-ice-cream-starved FiDi.
Eataly (address and info)
The Italian market’s no-fuss, traditional flavors like fior di latte and hazelnut are perfect for gelato purists -- or really, just anyone sweating.
Tipsy Scoop (address and info)
Not only is Melissa Tavss bringing homemade ice cream to the neighborhood -- she’s making it boozy. We’re talking dark chocolate and salted caramel infused with whiskey, and strawberry sorbet spiked with white sangria, available for pick-up at Hot Bread Kitchen or at Vendy Plaza on Sundays.
Ample Hills Creamery (address and info)
No need to cross the river anymore -- the BK favorite started serving a rotating menu of 12 ice creams and sorbets at Gotham West Market earlier this year, which means you can get breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, all under one roof.
Vivoli Il Gelato (address and info)
Tucked away on the sixth floor of Macy’s, this under-the-radar gem comes from serious gelato-making lineage -- Vivoli was founded in Florence in 1929 and continues to impress with super-creamy scoops of hazelnut, chocolate, and its signature eggy crema.
Mia Chef Gelateria (address and info)
What happens when you fuse age-old Italian techniques with global ingredients? Crazy-sounding varieties like Cap’n Crunch and Wasabi Green Tea that we seriously can’t get enough of.
Lower East Side
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream (address and info)
Nick Morgenstern’s LES shop has all the sure signs of ice cream greatness: a retro parlor look, a mix of classics and out-there flavors, plus innovations like avocado ice cream toast, an open-faced ice cream sandwich, and, of course, the aptly-named King Kong sundae.
L’Arte del Gelato (address and info)
Next time you end up walking out-of-towners through Chelsea Market or the High Line, take a moment to thank the ice cream gods for these ideally situated carts, peddling some of the richest gelato in town.
Jacque Torres Chocolate at Grand Central (address and info)
Leave it to Mr. Chocolate himself to make our commutes a little sweeter with this underground counter serving 36 ice creams and sorbets. Try any of the chocolate varieties (duh) or the chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches.
A.B. Biagi (address and info)
Sao Paulo native Antonio Barros Biagi infuses his buttery, slightly stretchy gelato with hints of the tropics. Along with Italian classics, including a standout stracciatella, you can get colorful cups of acai or passionfruit sorbet that’ll transport you straight to Brazil. Well, at least temporarily.
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck (address and info)
Before Van Leeuwen became a mini empire, we had to track down the sunny yellow truck for scoops of its ultra-fresh ice creams. The roving shop still parks daily on the corner of Prince and Greene for Downtown pick-me-ups of Earl Grey and salted caramel.
Shake Shack (address and info)
The burgers are great of course, but the frozen custard is no slacker. Dense and creamy, and available plain or in combos like Jelly’s Last Donut (vanilla with Doughnut Plant pastries, strawberry preserves, and cinnamon), they’re worth queuing up for, too. Thank you, C-Line.
Tribeca Treats (address and info)
This Downtown bakery takes chewy chocolate wafers and sandwiches ice cream in between them to form retro-looking treats that are anything but cookie cutter. They're also stocking the freezer with sundae cups and frozen chocolate-dipped bananas this summer. Because they care.
Ice & Vice (address and info)
Paul Kim and Ken Lo’s Vendy Award-winning stall has found a brick-and-mortar home on East Broadway, where you can now cool off with cult-favorites such as the Three Little Pigs (salted caramel, bacon butter, bacon pralines) and Nuts of Wrath (marcona almonds and grape Kool-Aid jam) all year round.
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. (address and info)
The fruit-only soft serve at this sunny storefront may sound a bit too healthy (it's all-natural, gluten-free, etc., etc.), but it’s also just the right bit of delicious, especially in sundae form. The Crunchy Salty, a banana and dark chocolate twist topped with pretzels, peanut butter, and melted fudge, is as decadent as any cream-based treat ever of all time.
Upper East Side
Sprinkles Ice Cream (address and info)
The creators of the cupcake ATM show us how ice cream should really be consumed: stuffed between two cupcake halves (icing included) or piled in a red velvet waffle cone.
Upper West Side
Milk Bar (address and info)
You can’t really go wrong with any of Christina Tosi’s treats, but her single frozen dessert is especially good when it’s hot out. The seasonal specials are always fun, but the original cereal milk soft serve -- not to mention the addictive cornflake crunch -- never leaves the menu for a reason.
Victory Garden (address and info)
The goat milk soft-serve at this tiny WV storefront is every bit as sophisticated and unique as it sounds. Tangy and bright, the swirls come in a variety of rotating flavors, including a beloved salted caramel, dark chocolate, or honey lavender.
Emack & Bolio’s (address and info)
There are few things more Instagram-worthy than the outrageous premium cones at this colorful Boston-based chain, which covers its equally out-there ice cream (Grasshopper Pie, Caramel Moose Prints) in Marshmallow Fluff and crushed Oreos, Rice Krispies, Fruit Loops, or Fruity Pebbles.
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Patty Lee is a reporter and editor who has written for Zagat, Time Out New York, New York Daily News, and Cooking Channel. She firmly believes that ice cream should be an official food group. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
1. Mikey Likes It Ice Cream199 Avenue A, New York
2. El Vez Burrito Bar259 Vesey St, New York
3. Amorino162 8th Ave, New York
4. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory65 Bayard St, New York
5. Holey Cream796 9th Ave, New York
6. Davey's Ice Cream137 1st Ave, New York
7. Gelato Ti Amo12 John St, New York
8. Eataly200 5th Ave, New York
9. Tipsy Scoop1590 Park Ave, New York
10. Ample Hills Creamery600 11th Ave, New York
11. Vivoli Il Gelato151 W 34th St Fl 6, New York
12. Mia Chef Gelateria379 3rd Ave, New York
13. Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream2 Rivington St, New York
14. L’Arte del Gelato75 9th Ave, New York
15. Jacques Torres Chocolate Grand Central StationLexington Passage, Grand Central Station, New York
16. A.B. Biagi235 Elizabeth St, New York
17. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream TruckPrince St & Greene St, New York
18. Shake Shack Theater District691 8th Ave, New York
19. Tribeca Treats94 Reade St, New York
20. Ice & Vice221 E Broadway, New York
21. Chloe's Soft Serve Fruit Co.25 E 17th St, New York
22. Sprinkles Ice Cream782 Lexington Ave, New York
23. Milk Bar561 Columbus Ave, New York
24. Victory Garden31 Carmine St, New York
25. Emack & Bolio's Ice Cream1564 1st Ave, New York
After a big break making ice cream for Jay Z, Mikey's opened up this storefront in Alphabet City. With hip-hop and pop culture inspired flavors like Cool Runnings (coconut with dark chocolate and toasted almonds), Ice Ice Baby (triple vanilla ice cream), and Pretty in Pink (strawberry ice cream with balsamic vinegar and cracked black pepper), his special twists make the ice cream truly special.
With a few "burritos especiales" and a design your own option, this burrito bar caters to anyone. It's only open on weekdays from 11am-4pm, but really that's all you need to grab a burrito for lunch. But don't neglect the dessert menu: their soft serve ice cream comes in two flavors -- chocolate and horchata (!!). Plus you can top it with fun things like churro stars or candied pepitas.
This isn't just a gelato shop -- it's a gelato boutique. And make sure you have a phone ready to snap a picture, because the signature flower shaped scoops are certainly instagram-worthy.
For over 30 years this family ice cream shop has been serving their homemade ice cream from Chinatown. Their "traditional flavors" include taro, red bean, thai iced tea, and zen butter (peanut butter with toasted sesame seeds), while their "exotic flavors" include cherry vanilla, coffee, mint chip, and chocolate. Regardless of the questionable differentiation, the ice cream is great, and they rotate in special flavors on top of the normal ones.
Donuts and ice cream, because what else do you really need. Combining two of the most popular sweet treats into sandwiches is what makes this Columbus Circle spot basically a legend.
David Yoo, the guy behind this spot, is churning out classic flavors made from scratch: Mexican Vanilla, Chocolate Chocolate, Strawberry Swirl, and Cookies & Cream among them. He also features special flavors, and once made a special off-menu Thrillist exclusive ice cream sandwich: the Double Trouble.
Sourcing its milk from Tuscany, along with getting many other flavor ingredients from the home county of this sweet treat has kept the tradition strong at Gelato Ti Amo in the Financial District.
This massive food emporium in Chelsea has all of your Italian food cravings covered, from prosciutto, mozzerella, and other panini-necessary ingredients, to olive oils, to pastas and sauces, to coffee and desserts.
Boozy, homemade ice cream in flavors like Cake Batter Vodka Martini, Vanilla Bean Bourbon, and Mango Margarita Sorbet -- what's not to love? Look for the vendors at street fairs and festivals to get your fix.
The brand takes it's name from a Walt Whitman poem called Crossing Brooklyn Ferry as an ode to the first location in Prospect Heights. The ice cream is still made entirely in Brooklyn at these full brick and mortar locations. The Manhattan location in Hells Kitchen is located inside the Gotham West Market.
Snuck into Herald Square is this piece of gelato royalty: Vivoli Il Gelato was founded in 1929 in Florence and hasn't changed much since. To find it, you have to get to the sixth floor of Macy's, where it resides next to Stella 34 Trattoria.
With a wide range of flavors like Pure Sicilian Pistachio Stracciatella and Raspberry Panna Cotta, plus spirit-infused varieties Figs & Tequila, Chocolate Whiskey Truffles and Crème Brulee Mia Chef Gelateria has a flavor for everyone. Plus, the facility also offers classes.
This nine-seat ice cream parlor is a true parlor; you can order while sitting at six seats on the bar. Once you have ordered, the man behind the scoop will likely slide your way one of his unique "texture-driven small-batch" flavors like a salt & pepper pine nut or Brazilian bourbon topped with curiously created made-to-order whipped cream or even Fernet biscuits.
Taking up a corner of Chelsea Market, this already popular gelato spot serves crazy rich flavors that rotate and change monthly -- but include the likes of Cioccolato al Peperoncino (Chocolate and Cayenne Pepper) and Marscapone. They also keep a few flavors of fruity sorbet in rotation.
Known for his chocolates, Jacuqe Torres now brings a sweet treat to Grand Central in the form of over thirty different flavors of ice cream and sorbet. We would recommend you give anything with chocolate a taste (or two).
This buttery, slightly stretchy gelato is infused with hints of the tropics. Alongside Italian classics, you will find cups of acai or passionfruit sorbet that will transport you to owner Antonio Barros Biagis hometown of Sao Paulo.
Before Van Leeuwen became the mini-empire that it is today, you had to track down their yellow ice cream truck if you wanted to get a scoop of their ultra-fresh ice creams, but now the truck tends to park itself on Prince and Greene so you don't have to go looking all over town for it. Or you could go to one of their brick-and-mortar locations.
Serving up standbys like the ShackBurger and the Chi-style Shack-cago dog, the newest outlet in Meyer's empire also has 'hood-inspired Concretes (dense frozen custard mixed) like a chocolate joint w/ peanut butter & marshmallaw sauces and chocolate-covere
This Tribeca bakery has some killer sweets, including their retro-looking ice cream sammies made by sandwiching ice cream between chewy chocolate wafers.
This self-proclaimed "experimental ice cream shop", formerly a Vendy Award-winning stall, puts out small batches of frozen delights in wildly original flavors, ranging from the seasonal (Crack O'Lantern) to the semi-traditional (Milk Money). There's even a "Roulette" menu, where things get even weirder -- think smoked whiskey barrel wood and Cracker Jack brittle. Their flavors have featured other crazy ingredients like lemon bread croutons, milk-braised carrots and white wine oatmeal.
Just because you’re a butterfat-shunning health fiend, that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the joys of soft-serve. At Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co., it’s made from just water, a hint of organic cane sugar, and fresh fruits like banana, mango, or blueberry. Yes, it’s light and zingy, but you’ll still think it’s soft-serve.
Sprinkles is showing us how to eat ice properly: smashed between two cupcake halves (icing included).
The Upper West Side outpost of pastry wizard Christina Tosi's Milk Bar serves all of her signature confections: the sugar-and-butter-based crack pie, birthday cake truffle balls, and the pretzel-potato-chip-coffee-oatmeal-butterscotch-and-chocolate-chip creation known as the compost cookie. Milk Bar's most famous outpost is arguably its cereal milk soft serve, which tastes like a creamier and sweeter version of the leftover milk in a bowl of cornflakes.
In a small, country store-ish shop laden with pics of the goats & farms from which ingredients are sourced, this all-nannies yogurt & ice creamery'll be slinging fresh flavors from lemon poppy to Ethiopian coffee, and topping 'em with everything from pist
The premium cones at this Boston-based chain are outrageous. Think grasshopper pie or caramel moose prints in marshmallow fluff and crushed Oreos, Rice Krispies, Fruit Loops, or Fruity Pebbles.