Cool Down With These 14 San Diego Ice Cream Shops

In San Diego, it’s always ice cream season.

It’s summer in San Diego, and so naturally our thoughts turn to cold, creamy refreshments, big scoops piled into freshly baked waffle cones, swirls of soft serve topped with sprinkles and crumbled cookies, thick shakes and malts, and tangy, refreshing sherbets and sorbets. Best of all, there’s no advance planning required, just hop in the car, on the trolley, or, if you’re really lucky, walk down the block to your favorite neighborhood place. In fact, the most difficult part is deciding which of San Diego's amazing ice creameries to visit. We’ve done the leg work for you though, so check out our list of favorite places to indulge in summertime’s tastiest treats.

An’s Dry Cleaning

Normal Heights
No, they can’t help you with your laundry, but An’s Dry Cleaning will satisfy your cravings for a smooth, chilly treat that’s not your typical scoop shop offering. Quirky names and inventive combos like Cypress, an intense chocolate that’s like eating a gelato brownie; Polyester, a maple syrup gelato swirled with crushed roasted pecan; or Burlap, a vegan option made of coconut milk, peanut butter, and chocolate bits.
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.

Mr. Trustee ice cream
Courtesy of Mr. Trustee Instagram

Mr. Trustee

Mission Hills
It’s a bold move, opening a new business in the midst of a pandemic, but Trust Restaurant Group and their Executive Pastry Chef Jeremy Harville did just that, launching Mr. Trustee, an ice creamery with a street-side, walk up window adjacent to Cardellino in Mission Hills. Mr. Trustee offers rotating, seasonal flavors of soft serve and handcrafted ice cream available in cups or house-made waffle cones, and by the pint. Scoops include Cookies and Cream, Malted Chocolate Brownie, Honey-Vanilla, Berry Sorbet, and more, with soft serve options in Captain Crunch, Malted Milk, and the like. Indulge in some self care and feed your inner child with a big cone, and don’t forget the sprinkles. 
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.

Gelati & Peccati
Courtesy of Gelati & Peccati

Gelati & Peccati

North Park
At Gelati & Peccati, you’ll have to walk past an eye-popping array of Roman-style pizza, sold a taglio, “by the cut,” to reach the bins of gelati in the back, but isn’t eating dessert first one of the pleasures of adulthood? Eighteen different rotating signature and seasonal flavors, including vegan and sorbet options, are bursting with roasted pistachios, sweet cherry, and chocolate, or boozy, earthy Makers Mark 46. Don’t worry if you’re too full for pizza afterwards; you can always take a few slices home for a late night snack. 
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.

Metl Bar & Restaurant

Gaslamp Quarter, North Park
Both Metl locations boast 38 rotating flavors of liquored-up ice creams like Birthday Bitch (rainbow cake flavored vodka, birthday cake, and blue raspberry pop rocks in white chocolate) or Slam Diego (Templeton rye, peanuts, Cracker Jack, and pretzels) available in scoops, cones, and pints, along with ice cream sandwiches and cocktail lickers (push pops). Boozy scoops are 21+, but there are non-alcoholic options as well. 
How to: Gaslamp Quarter: seating is on a first-come basis. Reservations can be made for large groups by calling 619-546-6424. North Park: Reservations can be made online via TableAgent, and walk-ins are accepted if seating is available. Both locations offer takeout.

SomiSomi
SomiSomi

SomiSomi

Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa
You’ve probably seen Insta-photos of SomiSomi’s gorgeous ah-boong—Korean fish-shaped waffle cones stuffed with nutella, custard, red bean or taro, topped with soft-serve in flavors like ube, black sesame, matcha or milk tea, and showered in crumbles or sprinkles. Also popular are taiyaki, aka warm Japanese fish-shaped pancakes filled with your choice of taro, custard, red beans, and more
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.

Stella Jean’s Ice Cream
Stella Jean’s Ice Cream

Stella Jean’s Ice Cream

University Heights
Stella Jean’s small batches deliver with signature flavors like salty caramel corn, brown butter pecan, and ube pandesal toffee, along with a thoughtful selection of plant-based choices, including mango sticky rice, strawberry oat crumble and matcha pistachio. Available by the pint, along with house-made waffle cones. Hint: stop by their sister restaurant next door, Pop Pie Co., for a delicious pie a la mode experience. A second location for the duo is slated to open later this summer on Voltaire Street in Point Loma.  
How to order: Takeout only.

Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream
Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream

Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream

North Park, Point Loma
At Hammond’s, you can choose from dozens of flavors of Hawaii’s Tropical Dreams premium ice creams and sorbets, including their mini-cone flights, all available for takeout. Almost as many flavors are available by the pint, along with optional mini and regular cones, sprinkles, crumbles and nuts. Note: The Pacific Beach location is permanently closed. 
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis

Bing Haus

Linda Vista
Bing Haus specializes in Thai-style rolled ice cream—a custardy base is thinly spread on a frozen metal plate, then scraped with a metal spatula into thin, coiled cigars, stacked on end and topped with fruit, cereal, cookie crumbles, and sauces. For a spectacular shareable dessert, try the melon bingsu—shave ice and red beans under a mountain of watermelon or honeydew balls, all doused in condensed milk and served up in the melon’s shell. Soft serve aficionados will love the intensely colored flavors like charcoal vanilla and watermelon coconut sorbet; the flavors change monthly and can be found on their Instagram.
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.

Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream
Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream

Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream

Normal Heights, Temecula
Mariposa has been making all of its sorbets and ice creams at its Normal Heights location for the last 20 years. Stop by for favorites like Mexican chocolate or white chocolate raspberry ripple, or summery specialties that include watermelon sorbet and lime or lemon sherbet. 
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.  

Moosie's Ice Cream
Moosie's Ice Cream

Moosie’s Ice Cream

Kensington
Handmade waffle cones and Fosselman’s famous premium ice cream make Moosie’s Ice Cream a must-stop for your snack break. Try the chocolate-covered strawberry flavor with one of their addictive brownies on the side, or their classic ice cream shop sundaes, shakes, malts, or floats in any one of 16 flavors. Easy brunch cheat—add one of their fresh sorbets (passionfruit is our favorite) to a glass of bubbly for an instant mimosa. 
How to order: Takeout only. 

The Baked Bear
The Baked Bear

The Baked Bear

Pacific Beach, Carmel Mountain
Mix or match two freshly baked cookies or brownies on the outside and a huge scoop of decadent ice cream inside for the perfect hand-held treat at The Baked Bear. Whatever combo you choose, have it hot-pressed, drizzled with sauce, rolled in sprinkles, mini M&Ms, or Fruity Pebbles, topped with whipped cream, or all three.
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.  

MooTime Creamery
MooTime Creamery

MooTime Creamery

Coronado
Mootime Creamery is a Coronado institution, and once you try their handcrafted ice creams, yogurts and sorbets, you’ll understand why there’s a line out the door most days. Choose your ice cream and whatever mix-ins you want to add, then watch while they smoosh it together and pile it into a cone or cup. Novelties include chocolate-covered ice cream bon bons, Moopies with a scoop smashed between waffles, cookies or cereal bars, or Moo tacos. Yes, they have ice cream tacos. Note: The Liberty Public Market location is permanently closed.
How to order: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.  

Cow-A-Bunga Ice Cream and Coffee

Imperial Beach
Conveniently located right at the entrance to the Imperial Beach Pier, Cow-A Bunga Ice Cream has been serving its handcrafted ice cream to locals since 2000. Grab a cone, ice cream sandwich, or sundae and go for a stroll on the pier or along the beach. They also serve huge shave ice treats, delicious coffee drinks, and smoothies.
How to: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.  

Lighthouse Ice Cream
Lighthouse Ice Cream

Lighthouse Ice Cream

Ocean Beach
Lighthouse Ice Cream, an OB favorite for more than 30 years, is famous for its hot waffle and pancake ice cream sandwiches and sundaes. They’ve got a full complement of Cascade Glacier and Double Rainbow premium and ultra-premium flavors, non-dairy and sugar-free options, soft serve and 30 different toppings. Bonus points for displaying their daily flavors on the storefront window so you can make up your mind while you’re still in the (socially distanced) line.
How to: Limited seating is available on a first-come basis.

Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer by way of Chicago and Los Angeles. Her hobbies include yoga, pickling and fermenting stuff, reading cookbooks, and drinking fabulous gin. Keep up with her experiments @MaryBeth_Abate.