True fact: Ice cream is always great. Also true: It’s even better when it’s beautiful outside. As Philly hits its warm weather stride, here’s where to find cool scoops and shakes to refresh and rejuvenate.
This Old City shop is proof that sometimes, the old fashioned way is the best way. Brothers Eric and Ryan Berley’s historically accurate parlor serves handmade Philadelphia-style cream in flavors both traditional and exotic. Don’t miss the cooling custom sodas from the suspendered “jerks” behind the counter. 116 Market St.
A few years back, it looked like this decades-old family-owned creamery was gone from the city for good when rents got too high at the Rittenhouse location, but it relaunched at Walnut and Juniper. Look for candy, frozen yogurt and pastries along with the scoops. 1315 Walnut St.
Find one of three outposts of this locally-bred spot by its recognizable blue-and-white striped awning emblazoned with a bright red logo. Inside, find hard and soft cones, plus hefty ice cream cookie sandwiches piled in the grab-and-go freezer. 343 S. 13th St., 2004 Fairmount Ave., 1928 E. Passyunk Ave. (FYI: The 19th Street location is closed for good)
After building a following for her rich, handmade ice cream as delivered to various boutiques and farmers markets around the city, pastry chef Jen Satinsky launched a Fishtown retail shop at the end of last year. Don’t miss the top-notch ice cream sandwiches made with local farm goods. 9 W. Girard Ave.
A selection of Bassetts ice cream is backed up by housemade sweets by the sisters who own this Kensington shop, which means baklava sundaes are definitely a thing. There’s also a full menu of Middle Eastern food like shawarma and tabbouleh. 1949 N. Front St.
“Ice cream, it’s a feeling.” So goes the famous viral YouTube ad for this unorthodox parlor, which embraces weirdness as much as fresh, local ingredients. Plenty of dairy-free and/or vegan flavors on the menu, plus creative toppings like crushed speculoos cookies. “World HQ” is in Kensington, and there’s also an outpost in Cedar Park. 2311 Frankford Ave., 4903 Catharine St.
This fourth-generation Roxborough scoop shop is famous for its party ice cream cakes, but the over-the-counter service also has tons of options. Everything from hard ice cream to nonfat to soft-serve to froyo, plus plenty of toppings, sundaes and shakes. 5461 Ridge Ave.
Founded in NoLibs way back in 1889, this sweets shop expanded through Philly, eventually opening in Chestnut Hill in 1983. Baked goods make up the bulk of the business, but there’s a whole parlor side of the shop serving scoops of around two dozen Bassetts flavors. 8126 Germantown Ave.
Along with regular ice cream, this Ninth Street Market storefront is one of the only places in the city to score Mexican raspados. The frozen slushies, also known as chamoyadas, are made with real fruit — mangonada has mango, lime and chili powder — and they’re ultra refreshing. 1142 S. 9th St.
This seasonal walk-up shack with plenty of outdoor seating is a Manayunk favorite for ice cream, frozen yogurt, water ice and shakes. Bring the pooch — dog-friendly “pup cups” topped with Milkbones are a specialty. 4162 Main St.
This four-year-old parlor is perfect for Old City tourists in search of a Bassetts cone — but made-to-order waffle sundaes provide a compelling local draw. Visit 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday to score a free extra scoop. 105 S. 2nd St.
It’s a candy store designed to make you feel like a kid, with self-serve canisters just waiting for you to dive in, but this Queen Village corner stop also does scoops of Bassetts ice cream. Coming soon: Coffee and espresso from ReAnimator. 630 S. 4th St.
A Gayborhood staple for nearly 40 years, this parlor is also a full-service restaurant with sit-down tables. On the ice cream side, scoops and cups are served over the counter, alongside an assortment of house-baked sweets. 1119 Locust St.(Closed September 2018)
After an earthquake destroyed the hometown of Italy’s best gelato-maker (really, Stefano Biasini has won the Gelato World Cup), he transferred his talents to Philly. Order at the counter that fronts this Rittenhouse restaurant, cafe and wine bar, and be amazed at the creamy texture. 1716 Chestnut St.
It’s been called the best ice cream in the world by Nat Geo, but even if you don’t care for listicles, there’s no arguing the gelato at this multi-location, family-run shop is at the top of its game. All flavors are made with real fruit or other ingredients (yes, beer gelato is a thing), sourced locally whenever possible. Coffee and espresso are also on point. 119 S. 13th St., 117 S. 20th St., 3925 Walnut St., 1625 E. Passyunk Ave., 233 Chestnut St.
(Closed December 2018)
Of course America’s oldest ice cream company originated in Philly. The stand inside Reading Terminal Market has been there since 1892, and still turns out giant cups and cones under the purview of fifth-generation owners. There’s usually a line, but it moves impressively quickly. 45 N. 12th St.
The soft-serve at this NYC transplant is just better than the rest — the recipe was honed over several years as owners Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff saw their little truck gain national acclaim. Dipped cones and fun sundae creations are the signature of the rainbow-clad shop, or go for an ultra-thick milkshake topped with acres of whipped cream. 521 S. Broad St.
When on South Street, this classic is a good alternative to the Rita’s across the street, with lines that aren’t as long and a cool interior in which to wait. Cones, cups, sundaes, this ’80s classic has it all. 242 South St.
From Blizzards to candy-shell dipped cones, nothing’s a surprise at the Old City outpost of this 75-year-old brand, but sometimes that’s just what you need. 609 Chestnut St.
Turns out loaded flavors like Chunky Monkey and New York Super Fudge Chunk taste even better scooped fresh than they do out of a supermarket pint, and you can score them at outposts in both Rittenhouse and University City. 1726 Sansom St., 218 S. 40th St.
A national brand, yes, but all ice cream at this Port Richmond parlor is made in-store daily. Choose your flavor base and mix-ins, and watch as the blend is melded together in front of your eyes. 2530 Aramingo Ave.
Look for the bright pink cap on the seasonal stand in Mayfair — that’s where to roll up to the window and cop a soft-serve or sundae to brighten a hot day in the Northeast. 3401 Longshore Ave.
Rolled Ice Cream
Arguably Philly’s most popular rolled ice cream purveyor — where liquid cream is frozen and mixed with flavors to order atop frozen metal pans, then shaved off in cylindrical spirals that can be topped with additional goodies — is always busy, with lines that stretch down the block. A Rittenhouse location is opening soon. 711 Walnut St.
Rittenhouse already has the trendy rolled cream at this spot, which offers a pre-set list of flavors (instead of a free-form build-your-own). Bonus for all-you-want toppings, plus vegan options, which customers say is just as creamy as the original. 25 S. 19th St.
Four frozen pans make for less of a line at this six-month-old East Passyunk shop, where you can opt to get your rolled frozen treat inside a waffle cone for an ice cream taco of sorts. Also serves Joe Coffee espresso and nitro ice coffee on tap. 1647 E. Passyunk Ave.
Yes it’s an NYC import, but it was basically the pioneer of bringing rolled ice cream here from Thailand — there are now 250 outposts across Southeast Asia — so it gets a bit of a pass. Get ready to experiment with flavors like taro, mango sticky rice and black sesame. 1016 Race St. (Chinatown Square)
The first Thai rolled ice cream spot to launch in Philly, this Chinatown shop also offers shaved “snow ice,” which can be topped just as decadently as the creamy rolls. 224 N. 10th St.
Royal Tea Truck proprietor Stephen Ngo got into the rolled ice cream game relatively early, and his one-year-old Chinatown parlor offers seating and also a whole menu of freshly-brewed bubble tea. 227 N. 10th St.