The 18 Best Ice Cream Shops in Philadelphia
From over-the-top sundaes to decades-old family recipes, Philly has it all.
No matter how far we get into adulthood, summertime is always synonymous with three months of sunny school’s out vacation. Even if your reality is more like three months of business as usual, there are still plenty of ways to feel like a kid again this season.
Our first suggestion: ice cream. There’s nothing like a few favorite scoops outside that caters to any edge. From over-the-top sundaes to decades-old family recipes, and homemade flavors to ultra rich gelato, Philly has them all. Take a look at our picks for the best places to make your ice cream dreams come true this summer.
Ice cream flavors are created and ideated right out of 1-900-ICE-CREAM’s factory in Kensington on Italian gelato machines, with fresh scoops served in its Rittenhouse, Fishtown, and Ardmore locations, plus shipped nationally once a week. The self-proclaimed “ice cream thirst trap” lives up to the hype with ever-changing softie flavors like fruity pebbles, espresso, creamsicle, and many more, as well as carefully crafted ice cream pies and pints.
Going plant-based never tasted so dreamy. Float offers vegan ice cream in small batches every Saturday from noon to 3 pm. The dairy-free selection ranges from classic to experimental, with pint flavors including Strawburied (slow-roasted strawberry gelato with marshmallow fluff and peanut butter honeycomb) and Globzillionare (salted caramel and dark chocolate gelato with everything cookie dough). Be sure to pre-order for pickup!
Anybody who loves ice cream with a side of video game nostalgia, this is your happy place. At Tubby Robot you’ll find the Wall-O-Vision system, where you can play vintage scrolls of Donkey Kong and other old school games on screens installed on the building exterior next door. It’s arcade magic with handmade scoops crafted with locally sourced ingredients. In addition to sundaes and other a la mode specialties, you can also go for an ice cream flight of four to six different mini scoops when one flavor simply isn’t enough.
Now in its third generation of ownership, the Vanderwendes have finally opened a shop in Philly after operating a Delaware farm and producing ice cream and dairy out there for many, many years. At the shop you can expect farm-fresh deliveries of all 32 flavors in classic cups, cones, and pints, as well as ice cream floats and ice cream tacos. Plant-based eaters can also enjoy vegan soft-serve on site.
Bassett's Ice Cream
Bassetts is an international force in the frozen desserts game—acting as a distributor around the world. But lucky for us, Philadelphians can get it right from the source. This Reading Terminal staple has a long Philly-based history that stretches back to 1861, and today, it remains a go-to destination for pints, scoops, sundaes, and more than 40 flavors.
This bakery and ice cream parlor has been a staple in Philly since 1889. The shop offers signature flavors that offer an ode to Philly like the Phillies Graham Slam and the WHYY, along with plenty of toppings, sauces, and chipwiches. Gourmet sundaes and pints available to take home round out the menu.
Custard & Cakes Creamery
C&C is a haven for line-inducing frozen treats. With hand-dipped, homemade ice cream in no less than 25 flavors, water ice, and pineapple dole whip soft serve all gracing the menu, C&C has it all. Take some time to concoct your most ideal creation because you can also order shakes, sundaes, splits, and glaciers made out of anything on the menu, so get planning!
D'Emilio's Old World Ice Treats
Everything at D’Emilio’s feels very classic, from the soft serve swirl ice cream in a cone to water ice built on an old family recipe. To take things up a notch, consider one of the shop’s behemoth sundaes, like the massive strawberry crunch cake or the pretzel sundae, an ode to another classic Philly creation.
El Pueblo Refresquería
El Pueblo Refresquería serves less common flavors without the bloated pricing. Be on the lookout for options like cheese, avocado, guava, and more, plus the popsicle shop features everything from tamarind to coconut. You should also try the shop’s Chamoyada, a sweet-yet-spicy shaved ice drink with mango and chamoy sauce.
Franklin Ice Cream Bar
Artisanal scoops, ice cream bars, and toppings are the name of the game at the Franklin Ice Cream Bar. Flavors from classic coffee to caramelized banana and sea salt caramel, and there are also a few vegan options, custards, and sundaes to please everyone. Plus, many shops have cookies & cream, but why have Oreos when you can try ice cream with Hydrox, the original Oreo, instead.
Gran Caffe L’Aquila is one of Philly's greatest destinations for gelato, with so much love that it can now be shipped nationally. Batches are produced daily by Stefano Biasini, a legit international gelato champion, for some stand-out flavors including pistachio, Italian dark chocolate, espresso, amaretto, and more.
For some ice cream alternatives, The Igloo serves high-quality fro-yo, custard, sorbet, espresso shakes, and gelato—some of which can be ordered in a churro cone. Just don’t forget to add a scoop of Nutella for the road (or fruit, if you’re into that).
La Guerrerense is modeled after a traditional Mexican ice cream shop, using recipes common in Guerrero, Mexico. You can expect more than 60 flavors, including piña colada, tamarind, and cheese, also available are aguas frescas and horchata.
Whether you’re wanting a banana split, brownie sundae, or build-your-own chipwich, Scoop DeVille has any ice cream creation you can possibly imagine—even if you need it to be dairy-free. They also have a tasty selection of ice cream cakes you can order for pickup or delivery.
Head to Somerset Splits for ice cream, shakes, floats, sundaes, mochi, and, of course, splits. The menu has some seriously out-there creations that make this spot a neighborhood favorite, and with nearly a dozen specialty sundaes on the menu, this scoop shop has plenty of ways to settle your sweet tooth.
Weckerly's Ice Cream
Zsa's Ice Cream
Zsa’s Ice Cream offers ice cream scoops, sandwiches, and sundaes made from scratch, each using local dairy and mix-ins that are also almost exclusively made from scratch. The result is extra fresh and satisfying creations, whether you’re dreaming of a ruby chocolate waffle cone or a frozen hot chocolate shake.