Philly food and drink scene

Where to get ice cream in Philly: Mapping soft serve, gelato, and scoop shops

Temperatures are rising. Here’s where to find your cup or cone of cool.

franklinfountain-icecream-green
Facebook / Franklin Fountain

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True fact: Ice cream is always great. Also true: It’s even better when it’s beautiful outside. As Philly hits that warm weather stride, here’s where to find cool scoops to refresh and rejuvenate.

Neighborhood Classics

The Franklin Fountain

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 custom sodas from the suspendered “jerks” behind the counter. 116 Market St.

Franklin Ice Cream Bar

What’s better than one ice cream shop in Old City? Two! The Berleys added a second storefront with a slate of unique offerings, including the namesake “Keystone Bar.” Fashioned to order, they’re dipped in chocolate made from beans roasted next door. Also on tap: soft-serve custard. 112 Market St.

A Keystone Bar at Franklin

A Keystone Bar at Franklin

Franklin Ice Cream

Scoop DeVille

It looked like this family-owned creamery would’ve been a goner when rents got too high at the Rittenhouse location, where it had held sugar-fueled court since 1989. But it successfully relaunched in Midtown Village, and now churns out banana splits and thick milkshakes on South Street and in the Bourse. Some added bonuses: Dairy-free options, vegan ice cream pie, and even macarons. 1109 Walnut St. ; 111 S. Independence Mall E.; 538 South St.

Weckerly’s

Owner Jen Satinsky is a former pastry chef, so no surprise her gourmet cookie-wrapped ice cream sandwiches are a hit. But the French-style cream inside is special too, made with organic milk from a pastured-cow dairy just 35 miles away. Expect flavors that change with the season, also available in pints, cups and cones. 9 W. Girard Ave.

Little Pop Shop

After this gourmet paletta shop closed its Rittenhouse Square outpost during the pandemic, its West Philly flagship location expanded to become a mecca of sweet treats — think creamy popsicles, aromatic ice cream scoops, and a rotating cast of ice cream sandwiches (the latter two courtesy of Weckerly’s). Ice cream flavors are on constant rotation, but you can count on a wide selection of pops, from a matcha concoction stuffed with bits of mochi to one patterned after mango sticky rice. 265 S. 44th St.

Five Sisters Ice Cream and Sweets

A selection of Bassetts ice cream is backed up by housemade sweets by the sisters who own this Front Street shop in Kensington specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine, which means baklava sundaes are definitely a thing. The kitchen also puts out savory dishes like shawarma and tabbouleh. 1949 N. Front St.

Chloe’s Corner

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.

Custard & Cakes Creamery

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.

Bredenbeck’s Bakery & Ice Cream Parlor

Founded 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.

El Pueblo Refresqueria

Along with regular ice cream, this Ninth Street Market storefront is one of the best 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.

Zsa’s Ice Cream

After starting at stands at farmers markets, this scratch-made frozen treat operation  landed in Mt. Airy with a brick-and-mortar store. Customers rave over the rich flavors and specialty ice cream sandwiches, and housemade sorbet is also on offer. 6616 Germantown Ave.

Somerset Splits

Part of the Port Richmond retail renaissance, this newcomer scoop shop serving Bassetts specializes in splits, sundaes and other creations. Don’t miss the house-dipped take on a Choco Taco, or the sandwiches made with fresh beignets from the cafe down the street. 2600 E. Somerset St.

Coco’s Cookies and Creamery

Consider Coco’s a mix between a nostalgia-ridden shoreside ice cream parlor and a carnival stand. Their menu is split between fudgy sundaes and picturesque soft serve swirls and fair snacks, like fried Oreos, funnel cakes, and — yes — corn dogs. 3632 Powelton Ave.

The Chilly Banana

This food truck-turned-storefront on the edge of Queen Village sells banana nicecream, which — we know — technically isn’t ice cream. Instead, it’s whipped banana topped with coconut whipped cream, making it the perfect base for a slew of vegan-friendly sundaes, like the PBB&J, which comes with raspberry compote, lots of peanut butter, and graham cracker crumbles. 932 E. Passyunk Ave.

Icy Pop Candy Shop

This sweets purveyor specializes in whimsy — think gelati mixed with Swedish Fish, Fruity Pebbles-crusted fried Oreos, and oversized milkshakes. Nearly everything at the Black-owned shop is BYO (build your own, in this case), so sky’s the limit. 5926 Germantown Ave.

Arctic Scoop

Over on a bustling strip of East Passyunk Avenue, Arctic Scoop is best known for its pandan ice cream, flavored after a Southeast Asian plant with hints of vanilla and coconut. Other novelties include a slew of colorful cones treated to taste like red velvet cake or a creamsicle, and bubble waffles, which look like baked bubble wrap. 1812 E. Passyunk Ave.

Fairmount Flavors

Located down the block from Eastern State Penitentiary, this neighborhood favorite does double duty as an ice cream shop and water ice joint, with dozens of flavors of each. Craving an ice cream sammie, too? The cookies are homemade. 2004 Fairmount Ave.

Gelaterias

Alice

The Italy-connected team behind Gran Caffe L’Aquila (see below) branched out with this taglio-style pizza shop. As a complement to the scissors-cut, airy-crust slices, there’s a full assortment of rich Italian gelato made at the sister location. 235 S. 15th St.

Cafe Crema

Right next to to Geno’s Steaks, this Italian Market shop boasts an extensive menu of traditional Italian pastries and desserts, including biscotti, cream puffs, cassatelle, sfogliatella, and of course, gelato. Looking for a twist to the classic cone? Get your scoop with a cannoli (or inside of one). 1205 S. 9th St.

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Danya Henninger

Gran Caffe L’Aquila

After an earthquake destroyed the hometown of Italy’s best gelato maker (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.

Anthony’s Italian Chocolate and Coffee House 

Though you wouldn’t be able to tell from the name, this Italian Market favorite scoops gelato year round. Flavors range from staples like limoncello, stracciatella, and the ever-classic chocolate to more novel options, like pumpkin pie or peaches and cream. A bonus: For a sugar shock, stick a homemade cannoli in a gelato cup. You’re welcome. 903 S. 9th St.

National Brands

Bassetts Ice Cream

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.

Haagen Dazs

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.

Dairy Queen

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.

Ben & Jerry’s

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 the University City outpost. 218 S. 40th St.

Cold Stone Creamery

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.

Twistee Treat

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.

Van Leeuwen:

This NYC import-turned-dairy aisle juggernaut sells a mix of regular and vegan ice cream flavors at their two Philly scoop shops, all of which sound like they came from Ina Garten’s kitchen. A pair of scoops will cost nearly $8, so consider this the treat of all treats. Billy Penn-stamped recommendations include Honeycomb (basically just fancy caramel), Raspberry Layer Cake, and the Instagram-ready Planet Earth, which comes stuffed with chunks of matcha tea cake. 119 S. 13th St.; 115 S. 18th St.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Born in the Midwest (Columbus, Ohio, to be exact), Jeni’s burst into Philadelphia with two locations in Fishtown and Rittenhouse. Though you could grab a pint from the more artisanal side of the supermarket’s ice cream section, something about licking flavors like Brambleberry Crisp and Everything Bagel off a cone just hits different. 1332 Frankford Ave. Unit 101; 1901 Chestnut St.

Instagram-based

1-900-ICE-CREAM

The new age of ice cream isn’t signified by whether or not it is enjoyed in a cup, cone or pint, it’s distinguished by whether or not it is sold on Instagram stories. Ryan Fitzgerald, the chef behind the “underground” Boku Supper Club, sells innovative, indulgent mix-in pints by posting a selection of limited flavors on Instagram stories every Saturday. Customers can lock-in their pre-orders fast before Sunday night, and then they can pick up their online orders that Thursday or Friday at the secret Boku art gallery in Fairmount.

Want some more? Explore other Philly food and drink scene stories.

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Your money goes directly to the salaries of our newsroom staff, and we need to raise $23k by June 30 to make our budget. Will you consider making a donation to fund more stories like this?

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Your money goes directly to the salaries of our newsroom staff, and we need to raise $23k by June 30 to make our budget. Will you consider making a donation to fund more stories like this?

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Your money goes directly to the salaries of our newsroom staff, and we need to raise $23k by June 30 to make our budget. Will you consider making an extra donation to fund more stories like this?

Tagged

Maps, Food