Food & Drink

Cool Down With These San Diego Ice Cream Shops

In San Diego, ice cream season never stops.

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. Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging through the county, ice cream shops are navigating through uncharted waters, trying to maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe while still brightening our quarantine-weary souls with scream-worthy delights. Obviously, delivery isn’t the optimal choice for getting an unmelted ice cream cone to its destination, so for the most part, take out is the best option. We’ve done the leg work for you though, so check out our list of favorite places to indulge in summertime’s tastiest treats.

SomiSomi

Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa
You’ve probably seen Insta-photos of SomiSomi’s gorgeous ah-boong -- Korean fish-shaped waffle cones filled with nutella, custard, red bean, or taro and 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 Japanese filled, fish-shaped pancakes. 
How to order: Takeout only

Stella Jean’s Ice Cream

University Heights
Stella Jean’s small batches deliver with signature flavors like salty caramel corn, Earl Grey citrus tea cake, and ube pandesal toffee. Plus, there is a thoughtful selection of plant-based items, including mango sticky rice, strawberry oat crumble, and mango enchilado. Available by the pint.
How to order: Takeout only

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 mini-cone flights, all available for takeout. Almost as many flavors are available for delivery and are available by the pint, along with optional mini and regular cones, sprinkles, crumbles and nuts. The Pacific Beach location is temporarily closed. 
How to order: Takeout or order delivery through Grubhub

Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream

Multiple locations
Mariposa has been making all of its sorbets and ice creams at its Normal Heights location for the last 20 years. Stop by any of its venues 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: Takeout only

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 quarantine snack break. Try the chocolate covered strawberry flavor with one of its addictive brownies on the side, or the classic ice cream shop sundaes, shakes, malts or floats in any one of 16 flavors, including a couple of dairy-free sorbets.
How to order: Takeout only

The Baked Bear

Multiple locations
Mix or match two freshly baked cookies or brownies for the outsides 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: Takeout, order online for delivery through Grubhub, or get it shipped through Goldbelly

MooTime Creamery

Coronado
Mootime Creamery is a Coronado institution, and once you try its 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, ice cream tacos. The Liberty Public Market location is temporarily closed.
How to order: Takeout only

Cow-A-Bunga Ice Cream and Coffee

Imperial Beach
Ideally located 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. You can also try huge shave ice treats, delicious coffee drinks, and smoothies.
How to order: Takeout only

Lighthouse Ice Cream

Ocean Beach
An OB favorite for more than 30 years, Lighthouse Ice Cream is famous for its hot waffle ice cream sandwiches, and now, hot pancake ice cream sandwiches, too. There are premium and ultra-premium flavors, non-dairy and sugar-free options, soft serve, and 30 different toppings. Bonus points for displaying daily flavors on the storefront window so you can make up your mind while you’re still in the (socially distanced) line.
How to order: Takeout only

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.