The 14 Best Ice Cream Shops in Philadelphia
Sundaes, scoops, and soft serve.
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, from 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.
Taking inspiration from ice cream vendors of Thailand, Arctic Scoop mingles classic flavors with less common ingredients and serving techniques. Flavors include vanilla bean, taro, and pandan and can be served in coconut bowls and honeycomb egg waffle cones. The sky is pretty much the limit here.
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.
C&C is a haven for line-inducing frozen treats. From hand-dipped, homemade ice cream in no less than 25 flavors to water ice and pineapple dole whip soft serve, C&C has it all. Take some time to consider the menu and 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!
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 serves less common flavors without the bloated pricing. Be on the lookout for options like cheese, avocado, guava, and more, plus the popsicle shop featuring 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.
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 literal international gelato champion, for some stand-out flavors including pistachio, Italian dark chocolate, espresso, amaretto, and more.
Fishtown, Graduate Hospital
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.
Midtown Village, The Bourse
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.
Fishtown, Spruce Hill
Weckerly’s Ice Cream is a true local spot, where all products are made with locally sourced organic milk and cream. Too-good ice cream sandwiches, creative scoops, pints, and pops make Weckerly’s a favorite around town. The ice cream sandwiches come in four flavors like black & white and strawberry shortcake, and scoops range from classic whole bean vanilla to rosemary chocolate chip and honeybunch with honey and crunchy almond clusters.
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.