Adventuring is fun in and of itself, right? But let me tell you a little secret…it’s more fun with ice cream. I am pleasantly impressed with the crazy amount of ice cream shops we have in and around the Twin Cities metro. Whether we’re headed north, south, east or west, my family always manages to find a top-notch spot to serve our kids a dish of ice cold happiness! We love them all – some shiny and new, some tried and true – plain and simple or concocted with unique flavors and sprinkled with strange toppings.
The map and robust list below is meant to serve as your one-stop-snapshot for all the fabulous ice cream options available to us Minnesotans who are just trying to survive a sweltering summer with our kids and our sanity.
NEW: We are also offering a downloadable and printable Ice Cream Bucket List for your kiddos (or you…no judgment). You can download that HERE.
Be sure to keep on adventuring this summer…but don’t forget the secret ingredient: ICE CREAM!
Here they are – the best of the best, from the greatest plain vanilla to the oddest concoction of cereals, sprinkles and candy – ice cream is always a win! Enjoy our list of metro favorites, and beyond.
Reminiscent of a 50’s Ice Cream Shop, the Dairy Delite serves Soft Service Ice Cream Malts, Shakes, and Frozen Treats. Dairy Delight also specializes in Tasty Hamburgers & Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs & Chili Dogs, Chicken Sandwiches and Chicken Fingers, and of course French Fries and Onion Rings. Check out their Weekly Lunch Specials.
2 Scoops Ice Cream Eatery, located on Selby Ave in St. Paul, serves an array of at least 18 different delicious ice cream choices at any given time! They also serve hot food menu is nothing too sneeze at either! All are welcome!!!
Founded in 1923...yes 1923!!!...Nelson's Ice Cream is widely considered to be one of Minnesota's greatest ice cream parlors. It's won several awards for its incredible ice cream and never seems to disappoint. It currently has two locations, its historic first home in Stillwater, Minnesota and a newer but just as great location in St. Paul since 2014. With more than 20+ flavors to choose from, you'll never have a problem finding something to try. Plus Nelson's is famous for overloading your cone or cup, so much so you might leave wondering how they make any money.
A local landmark ice cream institution since 2000, Izzy's is definitely a family favorite. With more than 30 flavors at both their downtown Minneapolis location, you'll easily find one to suit your taste. I highly suggest experimenting with new flavors with their complimentary "Izzy", a small golf-ball sized scoop on top of your regular order. Brilliant.
Serving up small batches of homemade ice cream for more than 30 years, Sebastian Joe's is a Twin Cities staple. Made by hand daily with flavors that rotate every day, you'll want to visit this local Minnesota legend again and again. I highly suggest visiting their Linden Hills location, grabbing a cone, and strolling a few blocks down to Lake Harriet to take in the sights or heading to Wild Rumpus bookstore with the kiddos. It doesn't get much better than that.
This shop in downtown Anoka was opened in 2010 by founders Rick and Cherie Ritter after they noticed a lack of quality ice cream in the area. Serving classic Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, you will be pleased with their selections and service.
A relative newcomer on the Minnesota ice cream scene (founded in 2016), MN Nice Cream sure knows how to play to the Instagram and social media crowd. Launched by Katie Romanski, the store serves up over-the-top soft-serve ice cream with an abundant of toppings. We're talking glitter, sprinkles, donut-holes, and even popcorn. You get three free toppings per order so make them count.
Winner of City Pages Best Ice Cream for 2019, Sweet Science uses founder Ashlee Old's science background to its advantage, serving up unique small-batch ice cream flavors using only organic and locally sourced ingredients. (Try the rhubarb cinnamon almond!)
If you're looking for plain vanilla or chocolate ice cream, Milkjam is most definitely NOT the place for you. Sporting incredibly unique flavors such as orange coriander milk w/ candied fruity pebbles, Orea milk w/ Oreo chunks and salted peanut butter, hibiscus lemonade Italian ice, and honey lavender with white chocolate, Milkjam is a current leader in the innovative ice cream market.
Only open seasonally, Conny's Creamy Cone is an iconic St. Paul landmark serving up more than 24 flavors of soft-serve ice cream, along with summer fare like burgers and cheese curds. They've been at it for more than 30 years now and there's a reason you'll often find lines of people waiting to place their order at the window; it's timeless and delicious.
Opened in June 2018 by immigrants from Michoacán, Mexico, this unique ice cream shop aims to offer a completely authentic and traditional Mexican experience. In addition to ice cream, the menu offers Popsicles, Agua Frescas, Yogurts, and even "Taco in a Bag."
Located in Uptown since 1993, La La Homemade Ice Cream offers 16-18 flavors of homemade goodness at any given time, from simpler pleasures kids love like vanilla and chocolate, to "fancier" options like sweet basil vanilla and mango pineapple ginger. You'll also find other goodies including ice cream cake, a wide variety of housemade sodas, and other baked goods.
Sota Hot and Cold is the brain child of owner Pheng Vang, who was inspired to open this Thai Rolled ice cream shoppe in 2017 after visiting Thailand. Offering 12 "signature rolls" and countless options if you choose to Build Your Own, this area newcomer makes all its creations in front of you with all natural ingredients and using a custom homemade recipe developed by Pheng himself. See a nice behind the scenes video about their story by clicking here.
A Minneapolis staple since 1945, Sonny's Ice Cream serves up more than 20 flavors of award-winning ice cream, sorbet, and gelato. Everything here is organic and made from scratch, which results in some truly tasty treats. You'll also find a full espresso bar, a full wine list, and tap beer...making Sonny's a great date night spot.
A St. Paul institution since 1984, this is Minnesota's first and longest standing premium gourmet ice cream shop. It's also a personal favorite of mine – I'm a frequent visitor. One step inside the store and you'll fall in love with the smell of both the ice cream and the fresh homemade waffle cones. Insider tip...share an amazing calzone from the pizza side of the shop and top it off with one of their 25+ ice cream flavors. You won't regret it.
With the distinct feel of an old-school ice cream parlor, Cold Front sells Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, a family-owned business making super-premium ice cream out of Madison, WI. In addition to ice cream, they serve traditional house-made sodas that you can get as floats or flights.
Honey & Mackie's creates all homemade, small batch ice cream right at their Plymouth store. They are constantly experimenting and have more than 100 rotating recipes, with 24 options always available, including two dairy-free sorbets. If the ice cream isn't enough, they also make fresh cut gluten-free fries on site daily (similar in style to what you'd find at the Minnesota State Fair). Insider tip...we like to pick up ice cream from Honey & Mackie's during Christmas time before we head out into the area to scope out the plethora of area Christmas light displays.
Started in 2003 by Barb Zapzalka, Pumphouse Creamery hand makes all of their ice cream using only natural, organic, and locally-sourced ingredients. Dubbed "Farm-to-Frozen", you'll find 20 rotating choices of delicious flavors, including dairy-free and sorbet options.
Selma's Ice Cream Parlour is an old-school, small town ice cream shoppe located in historic Afton. It is Minnesota's oldest ice cream shoppe, dishing out ice cream since the early 1900s! Selma's is yet again another store that sells Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream made locally in Madison, Wisconsin, and they have more than 30 flavors available at any given time.
Opened in 2010, Santa Lucia's Ice Cream in Princeton, Minnesota is a family-run business started by Cathy Santa Lucia. She wanted to create a space for families to connect and thought, "what better way than through ice cream?" Give this shoppe a whirl by tasting one of their 15+ flavors and do Cathy proud by engaging in great conversation with whoever you're with.
Open since July 2005, Dar's Double Scoop is a local neighborhood shoppe that offers up very generous scoops of ice cream at an affordable price. They have more than 20 flavors and encourage guests to experiment and mix up their creations to create their own masterpieces.
Grandpa's Ice Cream creates artisan homemade premium ice cream on site at their Fridley location. Always striving to have unique flavors, you'll find ones such as Lime Basil Sorbet, Maple Nut, Maple Bacon, and Horchata. For the traditionalist, they also have classics like Vanilla, Strawberry, and Mint Chocolate Chip.
Lost Lake Creamery is a family-owned, old-fashioned ice cream parlor located in Mound, Minnesota. They have 24 flavors on site, in addition to shakes, malts, and even special treats for the dog in your life. Conveniently located right off the Dakota bike trail, it makes a perfect pit-stop when you need a break or a well-timed energy pick-me-up.
Open since 2014, The Social Ice Cream Parlor location in Victoria, Minnesota was opened up by Brandon and Ashley Wallis as a way to bring people together. Offering a robust 32 flavors including all the classics with a more rotating batch of experimental flavors, this local shoppe is one you can easily return to again and again and never get bored. Located along the Lake Minnetonka regional bike trail, it's a great place to take a break and recharge while out on a ride.
Sweet Chow in Minneapolis has an Asian, street-food-inspired menu that takes a modern approach on the dishes from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Korea. As for ice cream, you'll find over 10 totally unique ice cream flavors made in house from scratch. Flavors such as Blueberry Crisp, Ginger Macha, Thai Tea, and Thai Basil Mint & Birds Eye Chili. Sweet Chow also has "Ice Cream Social Happy Hours", where they'll make you a boozy ice cream treat like Summit Dark Infusion with vanilla ice cream or Angostura with peanut butter ice cream.
The Big Dipper Creamery, which has two locations in Blaine and North Oaks, truly has something for everyone. All their ice cream is handcrafted in the shoppe, and they have 52 flavors to choose from at their Blaine store and 32 at North Oaks. Variety is the spice of life, and the Big Dipper Creamery takes that to heart.
Licks Unlimited is located a block away from Lake Minnetonka and Excelsior Bay, and makes a great addition to any stroll around the lake. Another local store that serves Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream from Madison, Wisconsin, they keep on hand nearly 40 different flavors and lines move quickly.
Cup and Cone is definitely not the new kid on the ice cream block, but this third-generation soft-serve store has more than 45 years experience serving up delicious ice cream just a few blocks from White Bear Lake. They cater to a wide audience as well with gluten and lactose-free options in addition to all the classics. Find their flavor of the day on Twitter (@CupandConewbl).
Edina Creamery is nothing if not bold, stating on their website that they have the "Best Homemade Ice Cream in America." I'm not 100% sure about that claim, but who am I to say? Judge for yourself someday at this local shoppe located in the 50th and France area of Edina.
Located in Excelsior, Minnesota, Adele's Frozen Custard has been serving up deliciousness to customers for more than 35 years now. They offer 80+ flavors made with fresh ingredients, but only make a few each day so be sure to their online calendar. Just steps from the water in Excelsior, Adele's makes for a great take-and-walk choice for those hot summer days (or any day).
Fletcher's Ice Cream in Northeast Minneapolis is home to handcrafted ice cream sourced from local ingredients. They also make homemade waffles, and maybe you could combine the two? This warm and inviting shoppe is also dog-friendly, so feel free to let Fido in on the fun with some of their puppy ice creams.
LUV Ice Cream in North Saint Paul is unique on the ice cream scene in that they make quality, all-natural ice cream WITHOUT the sugar. They only use all-natural ingredients and organic whenever possible, making LUV ice cream most likely the healthiest ice cream you'll ever try. They also make their own sugar-free dark chocolate which – how do they pull that off? LUV is passionate and serious about what they do and it shows in every carefully crafted flavor.
Minnehaha Scoop is a small ice cream shoppe serving up Chocolate Shoppe Premium Ice Cream that is made in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition they offer soy-based ice creams as a vegan option and Rosati Italian Ice (certified to be produced in a nut-free facility) for those with allergy issues. And they didn't forget Fido either – they have "doggie sundaes" for your furry friend.
Home to the best name of this list (and I'm not just saying that because my only daughter's name is Mabel), Mabel's Ice Cream in Bayport, Minnesota serves a rotating 24 flavors of Cedar Crest brand ice cream. The store has a nice outdoor area to enjoy your treats and the prices are incredibly reasonable. In addition to the outdoor space, Mabel's has a new party space for parties, reunions, etc...as well as they are now mobile and can bring 4 flavors of ice cream to you. Sounds like a plan to me.
With stores in both Coon Rapids and Champlin, Cullens serves 48 flavors of ice cream including vegan and dairy-free options. While the vegan and dairy-free is homemade, the dairy ice cream is from Cedar Crest, a well-known small batch ice cream made in Wisconsin. Beyond just ice cream, Cullens has tons of vintage candy that you can't find at your local gas station. You'll also find a large collection of glass bottle soda and gourmet popcorn made fresh in the store. Opened in 2014, Cullens is a seasonal business closed for the winter and open March through October.
Cone Brothers (like the Coen Brothers...get it?) is a 1950s-inspired shoppe found in Richfield that sports some vintage decor and comic book memorabilia. Another shoppe on the list that serves Chocolate Shoppe premium ice cream, Cone Brothers has more than 20 flavors on-hand in addition to classic sodas and all-fruit smoothies.
Known for their delicious homemade gourmet popcorn, Peterson's in Inver Grove Heights also dishes up homemade ice cream. I suggest you try a little of both from this family-run operation as the popcorn is easily some of the cheesiest you'll find and the ice cream does not disappoint.
Started in 1994, Scoops Ice Cream in Bloomington was created by owners Mark and Heidi Wavinak to fill a gap they saw in their area. Not able to find any quality ice cream shoppes nearby, they decided to open their own. They have ice cream from Kemps, Edy's, Cedar Crest, Chocolate Shoppe, and Sebastian Joe's as well as malts, shakes, smoothies, slushies, 1919 Draft Root Beer, and other various ice cream novelties.
Crepe and Spoon is a vegan ice cream shoppe that uses primarily coconut milk, cashew cream, and almond milk instead of dairy. With innovative flavors that rotate frequently, you're sure to always find something new and tasty. Oh, and they have incredible crepes too – mmmmmm.
Previously "The General Scoop", Nita Mae's in Marine on St. Croix features 24 flavors made by Cedar Crest Ice Cream from Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Also on the menu you'll find safe-to-eat cookie dough that's been made with heat-treated flour and no eggs. You have my permission to indulge.
The Peppermint Twist Drive In might not serve a lot of ice cream per se, but I included them on this list for their delicious, old-school shakes. Family-owned and operated since 1982, this place in Delano not only serves shakes, but a wide assortment of food such as burgers, corn dogs, chicken sandwiches and other classic American fare. They also sport a large gathering area outside with some play equipment which is perfect for kids while you wait for the hand-crafted food to arrive.
Located in charming downtown Buffalo, Minnesota, What's The Scoop opened its doors in 2017 and serves 40 different flavors of Cedar Crest ice cream. They also have shakes, malts, soda floats and more...along with a few different hot dog food options.
Chill Ice Cream Studio in Farmington serves 20 super-premium flavors from Chocolate Shoppe (made in Madison, Wisconsin), keeping a set of 8-10 constant while rotating the others. What really makes this place unique though is that they have a back room full of 9 classic arcade games from the 80’s like Pacman, Donkey Kong and Joust. So grab a cone and see if you still have a high score in you.
Opened in 2009 in Hastings, Schoolhouse Scoop has been scooping up 32 flavors of premium Cedar Crest ice cream year round for 10 years. A perfect stop while road-tripping down the Mississippi River, Schoolhouse scoop also makes homemade gourmet popcorn.