Hot Spots for Philly Ice Cream
Need a sweet treat? Philly is full of great ice cream.
Let’s face it: we all love ice cream, in any season. But in the summertime, it’s even better. The Philly ice cream scene is top-notch, from old school parlors to new wave flavors. Here’s a list of must-try local places.
Whether you’re in East Kensington or West Philly, Little Baby’s Ice Cream has two locations for you to try their amazing ice cream. With a lovely lightly colored interior to their shops, you’ll feel right at home (especially in the air conditioning.) They’ve plenty of zany flavors to choose from, and even non-dairy and vegan ice creams to keep everyone fed — like they say, “Ice cream is for everyone.”
So, you’re headed over and don’t know what to try out? Try the summer seasonal options! Cherry Hibiscus is just the right flavor to leave your taste buds soaring. And maybe you want to get a little adventurous — try their Mint Julep flavor for a bit of a buzz with your treat. If you really want to try something new, perhaps as a family, they have pizza ice cream. Yep, pizza.
Custard and Cakes Creamery
For an old school flair from a company that’s been family-owned since 1955, Custard and Cakes Creamery in Roxborough is a fabulous choice for a delectable treat. While they pride themselves on their traditional menu, it’s by no means limited. They have custards, hard ice creams, water ice, sundaes, shakes, ice cream cakes, and non-sugar options.
The sundaes are a particular favorite of frequent-goers, but above all the hard ice cream Minty Cookies and Cream is their ultimate winner. A tour-de-force of taste that is a bit unexpected, it gives a nice twist on mint chocolate chip or your basic cookies and cream. Custard and Cakes is also a great source for ice cream cakes — order in advance or pick a small one up at the store.
For years, Weckerly’s ice cream sandwiches were something you had to hunt down. But the company recently opened a brick-and-mortar store, making its decadent ice cream and scrumptious sandwiches available all the time. Trust us: It’s worth the trip.
Sweet Freedom Bakery
Sweet Freedom Bakery is one of our absolute favorites. Everything in the shop is totally allergen free — no gluten, no dairy, no egg, no soy, no refined sugar. Basically, you get your delicious dessert treats without all the worry! If you have young children with allergies, Sweet Freedom will be able to give them the sweets they’re craving.
For the summertime we recommend going with any fruit-based item. The blueberry oat crumble is a personal favorite of Sweet Freedom’s owner, Allison Lubert, and the Lemon and Lemon Blueberry/Raspberry cupcakes are a MUST. If you’re looking for an ice cream dupe, the cookie cakes are amazing! It’s a bit of a twist on an ice cream sandwich. If you buy a few, pop ‘em in the freezer and eat them while they’re cold!
Capogiro Gelato Artisans
Creamy, decadent, amazing. Gelato feels much more guilty-pleasure than ice cream, but there’s nothing guilty about it. Eat. It. Up! And if you’re going to have yourself some gelato this summer season, look no further than Capogiro. They’ve four convenient locations to hop on over to, and they make their products fresh every morning for their customers.
They have 27 flavors made fresh daily, and flavors change seasonally and by location. You can go for a fruity flavor, a simple chocolate, stay true to your roots with XOXO Philly Cheesecake. You can eat it in a cup, on a waffle cone, any way you like. But if it’s a recommendation you’re looking for, the Fior Di Latte is amazing. It’s milk gelato made from grass fed cow’s milk from an Amish family’s hormone-free herd. It’s a must-try.
Philly authenticity, Philly love, Philly life, Philly flavor. That’s what’s in store for you when you enter any of the Philly Flavors locations. Cakes, ice cream, wet and dry topping selections, custards, sundaes galore, and more! There are no frills, no special aesthetically pleasing additives to the food … other than deliciousness. From plastic bowls to a dizzying waffle cone selection, you can house your ice cream, frozen yogurt, or custard whatever way you’d like.
With so many options to choose from, how could we possibly recommend just one? Well, truth it, we really can’t. But a consumer could not go wrong with their traditional banana split. You can have it any way you like, with a choice of three hard ice creams or yogurts. It’s a pleasure to share with your little ones with laughter and fun.
Big Gay Ice Cream
What makes people happier than ice cream? Not much, really. This brightly colored space has enormous, heaping servings of ice cream that will certainly make you smile. The punny names for their ice cream might just too, and we can personally vouch their taste factor: amazing! From shakes to cones, Big Gay Ice Cream has come to Philly full force (they have locations in NYC), feeding the masses and doing so with a huge smile on their face.
So what’s the most delicious item on the menu? A definite contender is the Monday Sundae. A mixture of salty and sweet, nutty and creamy, this treat is a winner in our book. Three words: Nutella-lined waffle cone. Need we say more?
If you’re looking for top of the line with a laid back attitude, Igloo Desserts is the way to go. They prioritize the health of their product as highly as they do the taste, importing their toppings from Italy and removing excess milk fat from their menu options.
Their frozen yogurt is unbeatable. They always have their peanut butter yogurt available as it’s a massive favorite of customers. We recommend getting yourself some peanut butter frozen yogurt and then indulging in chocolate toppings for a healthy twist on a peanut butter cup. Go on — enjoy yourself!
Tubby Robot Ice Cream Factory
This newcomer opened this spring along Main Street, and is already packing in crowds for homemade flavors like Mexican chocolate and sea salted caramel. This is another made-from-scratch place, with decadent sundaes and free games of “Street Fighter” to keep the kids occupied.
This throwback ice cream parlor is a huge hit with kids. Adults will love the phosphate sodas and egg creams, and almost everything is made in-house. Plus, you can keep the sugar rush going by visiting Shane Confectionery next door, a true Philly classic.
Bassetts Ice Cream
For generations of Philadelphians, a scoop of Bassetts is as familiar in summertime as humidity. Score your fix at the iconic Reading Terminal Market counter, or find it at shops and stores around the region, including Bredenbeck’s in Chestnut Hill.
Photograph by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.