With dozens of unbelievable ice cream shops in New York City, there’s truly no excuse for not regularly indulging in a cone or cup of frozen goodness this summer. Whether you’re a classic mint-chip gal or into more adventurous flavors like Malt Maitake Peanut, the Big Apple has something for everyone. Below are 12 of this city’s finest ice cream establishments, and since summer is approximately 12 weeks long, that means you can/should/must patronize at least one shop a week, brain freezes be damned.
1. OddFellows Ice Cream Co.
Williamsburg-based OddFellows slays the ice cream game. Not only are its scoops super high quality and creamy, but its flavors are some of the most inventive out there. Case in point: Ants on a Log, a celery sorbet streaked with peanut butter and studded with raisins. It shouldn’t work as a frozen treat, but it does. If you’re feeling extra hungry, stop by the OddFellows Sandwich Shop in the East Village for an “OddPocket,” an ice cream and toppings stuffed brioche bun heated on a panini press.
175 Kent Ave., Brooklyn and 75 E. 4th St., New York; oddfellowsnyc.com
2. Il Laboratorio del Gelato
Sorbet fans, this is where you want to get your fix. Il Laboratorio del Gelato, located on the Lower East Side, boasts a growing list of over 200 gelato and sorbet flavors, including tarragon pink pepper, sour cream, and five different types of apple. The ingredients used are sourced from all over the world, and purchased locally and organically when possible.
188 Ludlow St., New York; laboratoriodelgelato.com
3. Sundaes and Cones
Sundaes and Cones is known for yummy exotic flavors like wasabi, ginger, corn, and black sesame. Although it’s only been open at its East Village location since 2006, Sundaes and Cones was actually established in 1991 in Brooklyn, making it one of the longest-standing spots on this list.
95 E. 10th St., New York; sundaesandcones.com
4. Davey’s Ice Cream
If you’re in need of a late night dairy fix, Davey's is the place to go. This crowd favorite, which has locations in Williamsburg and the East Village, is open until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until midnight Friday and Saturday. Made with local dairy from Battenkill Valley Creamery in Salem, N.Y., Davey’s ice cream comes in classic flavors like Cookies & Cream and Strawberry Swirl, and unique scoops like Speculoos and Guava Gingersnap Galore. Ask for it served between two homemade cookies, if you know what’s good for you.
137 1st Ave., New York and 201 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn; daveysicecream.com
5. Big Gay Ice Cream
Big Gay Ice Cream began as a humble truck in 2009, serving an updated take on classic soft-serve to folks all over Manhattan (think: swirly vanilla cones drizzled with olive oil and sea salt). In 2011, founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff launched a more permanent operation in the East Village, followed by a second location in the West Village. Besides having an epic name, Big Gay Ice Cream is famous for its wacky soft-serve creations, like the Salty Pimp—a vanilla base covered in dulce de leche, chocolate dip, and sea salt—and the Mermaid Sundae, consisting of vanilla soft serve, key lime curd, crushed graham crackers, and whipped cream.
61 Grove St., New York and 125 E. 7th St., New York; biggayicecream.com
Eggloo, located in Chinatown, is serving up fluffy, Hong Kong style waffles stuffed with ice cream and an array of colorful toppings. This is the perfect treat for those who can’t decide between ice cream and a baked good—and for anyone looking to rack up those Instagram likes.
60 Mulberry St., New York; no website
7. Mikey Likes It
Mikey Likes It, “the world's first pop culture inspired premium ice cream brand,” is known for its cheeky original flavors like Brady Bunch (banana pudding, Vienna Fingers, and crushed vanilla wafers), Truffle Shuffle (milk chocolate ice cream with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and mini chocolate covered marshmallows), and Pink Floyd (double strawberry and cheesecake). Ask for it scooped onto a homemade red velvet waffle, which you can smell cooking from down the block.
199 Avenue A, New York; mikeylikesiticecream.com
8. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
Opened in 2014, Morgenstern's—a “new American ice cream parlor,” as the website states—is beloved by locals and visitors alike. The Lower East Side location provides patrons with old-fashioned aesthetics and a wide range of creamy (egg free!) offerings, like Green Tea Pistachio, Vietnamese Coffee, and Burnt Honey Vanilla. Morgenstern’s also features a rotation of flavor collaborations created with celebrated chefs (Jessica Koslow of popular L.A. eatery Sqirl is responsible for “Ode to Quaker,” a smoked oat ice cream with brown sugar crisps and sherried raisins) and a handful epic floats, shakes, and splits.
2 Rivington St., New York; morgensternsnyc.com
10Below has completely flipped the idea of an ice cream “scoop” on its head. The shop employs the classic Thai technique of rolling the frozen treat using an advanced cold plate that reaches temperatures below -10°F (hence the name). The process produces smaller ice molecules, which yields a super smooth and creamy dessert. Try the torched marshmallow topping, or a healthy drizzle of chocolate sauce.
10 Mott St., New York and 136-17 39th Ave., Flushing; 10belowicecream.com
10. Ample Hills
With flavors like Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Salted Crack Caramel, and Snap Mallow Pop (basically a deconstructed Rice Krispie Treat), it’s no wonder that Ample Hills is one of the most popular ice creameries in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. Plus, the ingredients are actually (sort of) good for you: the shop uses hormone-free milk and cream from grass-fed cows, organic cane sugar, and makes almost all of the mix-ins in-house.
623 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn; 305 Nevins St., Brooklyn; and 600 11th Ave., New York; amplehills.com
11. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory’s name isn’t lying: the family-run business has been serving up homemade ice cream in the heart of Chinatown for over 30 years. Expect unusual, Asian-inspired flavors like Pandan (a Malaysian leaf), Don Tot (Chinese egg custard), and Zen Butter (peanut butter ice cream with toasted sesame seeds).
65 Bayard St., New York; chinatownicecreamfactory.com
12. Ice & Vice
Ice & Vice describes itself as an “experimental” ice cream shop, which makes sense given its innovative rotation of flavors like Devour Power (DogFish IPA, toasted blue corn, and Old Bay "lobster" croutons) and Coffee & Champagne (almond, champagne marshmallow fluff and coffee chocolate espresso "beans"). Lobster croutons not your thing? Don’t worry, Ice & Vice also offers its own take on the basics, like Milk Money, which is made with toasted milk, sea salt, and chocolate ganache.
221 E. Broadway, New York; iceandvice.com