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10 Best Ice Cream Shops in America

I scream, you scream — these are the 10 best cities for ice cream.

By Kayla Walden on June 10, 2021


With the arrival of hot summer days, you may find yourself daydreaming about heaping bowls of ice cream more often than usual. Don’t worry because you’re not alone. The International Dairy Foods Association estimates the average American consumes more than 20 pounds of ice cream per year. That’s a whole lot of dessert, but we’re convinced there’s no better way to celebrate the season.

If you’re a big fan of the tasty treat and want to know where to get the crème de la crème, so to speak, look no further than our list of the top ice cream shops across America.

1. Churn

Phoenix, AZ

Thanks to the clever invention of an ice cream trail, you can enjoy mouthwatering desserts throughout the entire state of Arizona. But one of the premier ice cream shops is located in the bustling city of Phoenix. Churn serves old-fashioned treats made with simple ingredients right on the premises. Sure, you can order classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate. But you can also enjoy a scoop of carrot cake or Mexican chocolate. Or get a little more creative with a goat cheese, honey and pistachio blend.

2. The Bent Spoon

Princeton, NJ

Artisan ice cream lovers in New Jersey are smitten with The Bent Spoon. This shop may be small, but it has created quite a stir among the people of Princeton. Everything is made from scratch and utilizes seasonal ingredients from local producers, which means nobody leaves disappointed. And if you feel like branching out from your usual waffle cone order, you can always splurge on some European-style hot chocolate topped with their decadent homemade marshmallows or one of their unique scoops of the day.

3. Wild Scoops

Anchorage, AK

If you want to up your ice cream game, check out Wild Scoops in Anchorage. This micro-creamery regularly invents new and adventurous flavors using seasonal Alaskan ingredients.

Enjoy malted milk and cookies, snowberry, strawberry honey balsamic and white chocolate, Thai tea or Yukon gold. They even have a black cup coffee flavor and buttermilk blueberry featuring some of the state’s best wild blueberry jam.

4. Rococo Ice Cream

Kennebunkport, ME

Adventurous dessert connoisseurs are guaranteed to go bananas for the handcrafted flavors available at Rococo Ice Cream in Kennebunkport. Sure, you can stick to your average vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. But why not venture into something a little bolder like rhubarb sage, sweet avocado cayenne or goat cheese blackberry Chambord? They even offer a garam masala flavor for those who really want to taste something outside the box.

5. Sweet Peaks

Whitefish, MT

Whitefish is known for its proximity to Glacier National Park, but it’s also home to Sweet Peaks. This nationally recognized creamery has been voted best ice cream for six years in a row, which means you know it’s going to be good. They have a mouthwatering collection of flavors, but they also do a fantastic job of sourcing local ingredients for their menu.

They use fresh huckleberries from the nearby mountains, mint extract from a local farm, honey from an apiary outside of Missoula and more. They’ve even collaborated with a local distillery to create Cabin Fever, a chocolate chip ice cream with pecan pieces and whiskey spiked marshmallows.

6. Jeni’s Ice Cream

Columbus, OH

Jeni’s Ice Cream is headquartered in Columbus, OH, but has gained notoriety across the country for its delicious and creative ice cream flavors and clever marketing. Jeni’s has shops in cities all around the United States, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tampa, Austin and more. From brambleberry crisp and raspberry rose jelly donut to skillet cinnamon roll and sweet cream biscuits and peach jam, you really can’t go wrong with any flavor you choose.

7. The STIL

Boise, ID

Known as a modern ice cream shop, The STIL has a long list of diverse offerings for anyone and everyone in your group. From vegan and alcohol-infused to beer and wine pairings (yes, you read that correctly), this downtown ice cream shop is an absolute must if you find yourself in Boise. You’re bound to enjoy anything you order, but we’ve heard that the honey bourbon flavor is top-notch.

8. Crank and Boom Ice Cream Lounge

Lexington, KY

Who wouldn’t want to spend an afternoon at an ice cream lounge? Crank and Boom, based in Lexington, is another creamery invested in sourcing the best local ingredients available. Everything from their milk and blackberry jam to honey and strawberries comes from Kentucky producers. If that isn’t cool enough, check out their flavors: coffee stout, bourbon ball, blueberry lime cheesecake and Kentucky blackberry and buttermilk all sound stellar to us.

9. Sweetaly Gelato

Salt Lake City, UT

Gelato may not technically be ice cream, but it’s close enough. Besides, Sweetaly Gelato in Salt Lake City was a must for this list. From coconut and coffee to Nutella and mango passion fruit, you can find just about anything here. You might want to stick around after devouring your gelato, too, because they have a wide range of coffees and baked desserts like tiramisu and cake.

10. Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery

St. Louis, MO

If you’re on a quest for the best ice cream in St. Louis, you need to pop into Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery. This playful ice cream shop has a menu that is full to the brim with excellent flavors, including some award-winning options.

The “nice” section of their menu includes fan favorites like Italian butter cookie, honey lavender and front porch mint chip. The “naughty” side includes a long and creative list of booze-infused treats such as fig and bourbon, old fashioned and pink champagne sorbet.

This list first appeared on our sister site, FarmFlavor.com.

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