11 Best Ice Cream Joints in the U.S.

There’s no other food that screams summer like ice cream. It’s unthinkable to travel and not try the creamy treats on vacation. So sit back and let your mouth water for these amazing ice cream parlors, trucks, shops, and creameries across the United States and dream about which one you’re going to try on your upcoming group trip.


1. Max & Mina’s - NYC

Okay, so let’s dive right into the sugary depths and discuss flavors. This small, kosher parlor in Flushing, New York mixes spiritually sanctioned ingredients with care and expertise into flavors like Cookie Monster, a big blue mess of yummy, Champagne, Fruity Pebbles, and more. Plus their website is covered in testimonials from celebrities like Rosie O’Donnell and Kevin James applauding their cones and cups.

2. Oddfellows - NYC

With their own in-house pasteurized ice cream base made from additive-free, no hormone dairy, Oddfellows is famous for health-conscious gourmet ice creams with an old school feel. Everything is homemade which may explain why it’s so delicious and inexplicably creamy. Flavors change daily but you might find scoops similar to Black Pepper Strawberry, Pecan Pie, Chorizo Caramel Swirl, or Yogurt Honey Hibiscus covering the faces of delighted patrons.

3. Blue Marble - NYC

Another organic, health-conscious parlor, Blue Marble offers only ice cream made from sustainable ingredients. That being said, you might not be able to tell the difference with flavors like Pistachio Almondine, Blackberry, and a traditional yet uber creamy Strawberry with chunks of fresh berries. Blue Marble has two brick and mortar locations in NYC and several hot spots where you can pick up a cone.

4. Sweet Action - Denver, CO

Sweet Action is simple. Fresh ingredients and natural dairy make great ice cream. Plus they have some excellent flavor choices like Green Apple, Colorado Apple Pie, Mango Chile, After Dinner Mint, and the oddly intriguing Fresh Basil flavor. Like most parlors, Sweet Action’s flavors change daily so you’ll have an impressive array of freshness which is something you don’t often find with ice cream, especially when you regular at Dairy Queen or similar.


5. Leopold’s Ice Cream - Savannah, GA

Like many establishments in Savannah, this shop is historic having opened its doors in 1919. Though their history is interesting, we’re here to talk about their scoops and flavors. Leopold has a lengthy list of regular flavors including Peppermint, Pistachio, Rum Raisin, and Tutti Frutti but don’t ignore the revolving, evolving flavors. You might find Frozen Hot Cocoa flavors in with Lavender, Orange Blossom, Rose Petal, and Sugar Plum Fairy. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to ice cream heaven.


6. Saffron & Rose - Los Angeles

This small, Persian parlor in LA’s Westwood district may look odd but you’ll forget all about that once you get a taste of Watermelon or White Rose and Pomegranate ice cream. Saffron & Rose are known for their intensely thick, creamy, gooey mixtures and simply wonderful flavors. Saffron Pistachio is a crowd-pleaser but the Almond, Jasmine, French Espresso, and Ginger ice creams are not to be ignored.


7. Sweet Rose Creamery - Los Angeles

Daily made at all three locations, Sweet Rose Creamery stands out for their toppings, mixtures, and frozen novelties like an ice cream lollipop dipped in frozen chocolate. Try the ultra-creamy Salted Caramel base with brownie bits, cocoa nibs, pecan brittle or other toppings. Take home a pint, grab a S’mores personal pie, or build your own sundae.


8. Creole Creamery - New Orleans

Their motto is “Eat ice cream. Be happy,” so you know they get it. Ice cream is happiness in a cone, especially when you have flavors like Banana & Brown Sugar Cheesecake, Cinnamon Basil, and Coconut Lemongrass. They also have an impressive and scrumptious array of sorbet/sherbet flavors like Blackberry Citrus, Blueberry Mojito, Nectar, Papaya, and Snow. I’m not sure what they make Snow taste like but I’m now craving a taste.


9. Annabelle’s - Portsmouth, NH

Down on the waterfront is where you’ll find this New England classic serving up kosher, additive-free, “super-premium” ice cream treats chock full of “stuff.” The “stuff” of which they speak is what makes them different. Annabelle fills their cream with chunks, chips, slivers, slices, and whatnot to make concoctions including Mint Summer Night’s Dream, Triple Chocolate, and Peachy Peach made with chunks of fresh peaches.


10. Salt & Straw - Portland, OR/ Los Angeles

With two locations on the West Coast, Salt & Straw is a prime ice cream destination for anyone in the area. Their flavors sound supremely strange with names like Kimchi and Rice, Goat’s Milk and Lingonberries, Papi’s Korean Fluffernutter, and Bratwursts and Mustard but they continuously draw in the crowds regardless. Street Food series flavors like these may scare you but there are always the classics like Roasted Strawberry, Toasted Coconut, and Almond Brittle to fall back on.


11. Humphry Slocombe - San Francisco

Is it odd that this ice cream parlor has a two headed calf mounted on the wall like a trophy? Nevertheless, calf or no, Humphry Slocombe is renowned for its repertoire of hundreds of unique flavors that draw in crowds like swarms of bees. Flavors rotate daily and may include anything from White Miso Peach to Elvis: The Fat Years (whatever that entails), Honey Thyme, Balsamic Caramel, or Chocolate Cabernet. Apparently people don’t mind the mount so much when they taste the ice cream.

Ice cream is a staple of both summer and vacation so if you travel during the summer, it’s a double must-do. So why not treat yourself with some of the absolute best ice cream concoctions that are available in the U.S. and try unique flavors you won’t be able to find back home? You know your group will love it; who wouldn’t?