clock menu more-arrow no yes
An overhead photo of six ice cream cones cut in half to reveal ice cream and cake stuffed in the bottom.
Cake “cake” cones at Zsa’s Ice Cream in Mt. Airy.
Zsa’s Ice Cream

Philly's Essential Ice Cream Shops

The best scoops, soft serve, and gelato in town

View as Map
Cake “cake” cones at Zsa’s Ice Cream in Mt. Airy.
| Zsa’s Ice Cream

Philadelphia was once known as the nation's ice cream capital, so it's no surprise the city is home to several must-try ice cream shops — not that anyone needs a reason for cold ice cream on a hot summer day. Here are 16 ice cream destinations worth checking out, whether the goal is rich gelato, a Thai-style treat, an over-the-top sundae, or a simple scoop of vanilla.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Zsa's Ice Cream

Copy Link
6616 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19119

Zsa’s on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy is always bustling with families and friends looking for a cold treat on a hot summer day. If the rich, delicious ice cream flavors weren’t enough — think lemon buttermilk and a rich chocolate sorbet that’s vegan — Zsa’s has branched into cake cones. No, not the kind you’re thinking of. These are classic wafer-thin cake cones, but with actual cake baked into the bottom, like an ice cream cake just for you. (Conveniently, Zsa’s also makes ice cream cakes.)

2. Custard & Cakes Creamery

Copy Link
5461 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128
(215) 487-1920
Visit Website

Roxborough natives know it well, but any fan of cones piled high with twirls of soft serve should pencil in a stop next time they make their way northwest. The family-owned stand has been around since the mid-1950s and makes everything in-house, going way beyond custard. The shop also serves hard ice cream, ice cream cakes, and more. And like any ice cream shop worth its salt, you can order a soft pretzel on the side, too.

3. Somerset Splits

Copy Link
2600 E Somerset St
Philadelphia, PA 19134

Head to Port Richmond’s Somerset Splits for extravagant, indulgent sundaes that will make any summer night feel special. Try the Nutter Butter, made with marshmallow Fluff, Nutter Butter cookies, and peanut butter swirl ice cream; or the Positive Vibration, with pineapple sauce, coconut, bananas, whipped cream, and a cherry. Ice cream is also sold by the scoop and in milkshakes, but what’s the fun in that?

4. 1-900-ICE-CREAM (multiple locations)

Copy Link
1848 N Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19122

With a dedicated scoop shop in Ardmore, and two “drop shops” in Rittenhouse and Fishtown, 1-900-ICE-CREAM is never far from reach. And isn’t that a relief: the menu of rotating flavors is colorful, creative, and jam-packed with exciting ingredients (say, Italian rainbow cookies or Strawberry Nesquik). You can preorder from all three locations — and don’t forget the ice cream cake. They’re made by Mallory Valvano of Party Girl Bake Club.

5. Float Dreamery

Copy Link
1255 E Palmer St
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(267) 225-7618
Visit Website

The vegan ice cream scene is bigger than ever — and as more people are turned onto plant-based diets, Float Dreamery is an excellent choice for dairy-free gelato. Only available on Saturdays between 12 and 3 p.m. at the Castellino’s window in Fishtown, it’s no wonder Float Dreamery has a devoted following. With rotating flavors like Spring Fling (made with pecan baklava and strawberry jam “swirlies”) and the Incredible Hunk (brownie chunks, mint gelato, and marshmallow), preordering for Saturday pickup is well worth it.

6. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (multiple locations)

Copy Link
1322 Frankford Ave Unit 101
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 376-5727
Visit Website

When the news broke that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams — the beloved Ohio-based ice cream purveyor — was opening a scoop shop in Philly, Philadelphians couldn’t contain their excitement. There are now two Jeni’s shops in Philly (one in Fishtown and the other in Rittenhouse), where pints and cones of Jeni’s famous flavors are available daily.

7. Dre's Water Ice and Ice Cream (Mobile Truck)

Copy Link
5700 Vine St
Philadelphia, PA 19139
(484) 381-0689
Visit Website

Dre’s is known for its excellent sweet potato pie and banana pudding ice creams, but don’t forget to order Andre Andrew’s water ice, too. They come in all the classic flavors, and then some. Catch Dre’s truck at any number of festivals and events in the Philadelphia area (and beyond) — follow his social media to see where his carts pop up next.

8. Bassetts Ice Cream

Copy Link
45 N 12th St, Philadelphia
PA, 19107
(215) 925-4315
Visit Website

With a history dating back to 1861, Bassetts is billed as the country's oldest ice cream company. Its prime Reading Terminal Market location makes it a tourist destination Philly can really get behind. Step up to the marble bar to revel in simple vanilla scoops, nostalgic staples like butter pecan or rum raisin, more experimental rotating flavors, or soda shop classics like root beer floats and banana splits.

9. Weckerly's Ice Cream (multiple locations)

Copy Link
265 S 44th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 222-5829
Visit Website

Weckerly’s specializes in French-style ice cream made with local, seasonal ingredients, and it’s superb either by the cup or in one of the ice cream sandwiches. The company built a fanbase around town before opening its shop in Fishtown, though you can still find the ice cream at other stores.

10. Gran Caffe L'Aquila

Copy Link
1716 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 568-5600
Visit Website

This multi-faceted Italian coffee shop, wine bar, gelateria, and restaurant immediately made a name for itself through its exemplary gelato. Courtesy of co-owner and award-winning gelatiere Stefano Biasini, Gran Caffe L'Aquila turns out sweet, savory, and alcohol-spiked flavors that many have deemed the best in town. Try the gelato flight with several bite-size spoonfuls served in a row.

11. Franklin Fountain

Copy Link
116 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-1899
Visit Website

Ice cream is a part of Philadelphia history and few spots do justice to nostalgic soda shop vibes like Franklin Fountain, an ice cream destination in Old City from brothers Ryan and Eric Berley. The shop only dates back to 2004, but sits in a lovingly renovated and restored turn-of-the-century building. Go for one of the decadent sundaes, like the Stock Market Crunch with rocky road ice cream (invented in 1929), peanut butter sauce, salted pretzels, and whipped cream. During the summer, Franklin Fountain also sets up shop in Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River waterfront.

12. Sweet Charlie's

Copy Link
711 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(267) 417-7267
Visit Website

As soon as Philly’s first Thai-style hand-rolled ice cream shop opened, lines formed daily down Walnut Street. How it works: An ice cream base (including a non-dairy option) and mix-ins are poured onto a freezing surface that’s under 20 degrees, then scraped and smoothed into a rolled form. It looks pretty and tastes good.

13. Fiore Fine Foods

Copy Link
757 S Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 339-0509
Visit Website

The gelato pints at Fiore Fine Foods in Queen village — in fun flavor combos like lemon blueberry shortbread — are signed and dated by the pastry chef who created the blend. Follow along on Instagram to see which flavors are up for grabs each day. You can also order for pickup in advance.

14. The Chilly Banana

Copy Link
932 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Ice cream purists would say that ice cream must be made with milk, even if that milk is of the plant-based variety. But purists be damned. Chilly Banana’s vegan whipped banana ice cream has no dairy and no added sugar and is delicious at that. There is a storefront on E. Passyunk but the banana ice cream truck bops around to different events in town. Check social media to see where they end up next.

15. La Guerrerense

Copy Link
1143 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 639-9817
Visit Website

A staple of the Italian Market, La Guerrerense draws crowds for its more than 60 flavors of ice cream made with a recipe from Guerrero, Mexico. Many of the flavors in this brightly colored shop are unusual for Philly, like eggnog, cheese, and “Angel’s Kiss,” a combo of cherry ice cream with marshmallows, dried fruit, and granola pieces.

16. Arctic Scoop

Copy Link
1812 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

East Passyunk’s Arctic Scoop takes its cues from Asian street snacks to create some of the most photogenic desserts in town. Choose a warm Hong Kong-style egg waffle or a Thai-inspired coconut bowl, an ice cream flavor like pandan, and colorful toppings including fresh fruit, Fruity Pebbles, and strawberry drizzle.

1. Zsa's Ice Cream

6616 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19119

Zsa’s on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy is always bustling with families and friends looking for a cold treat on a hot summer day. If the rich, delicious ice cream flavors weren’t enough — think lemon buttermilk and a rich chocolate sorbet that’s vegan — Zsa’s has branched into cake cones. No, not the kind you’re thinking of. These are classic wafer-thin cake cones, but with actual cake baked into the bottom, like an ice cream cake just for you. (Conveniently, Zsa’s also makes ice cream cakes.)

6616 Germantown Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19119

2. Custard & Cakes Creamery

5461 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19128

Roxborough natives know it well, but any fan of cones piled high with twirls of soft serve should pencil in a stop next time they make their way northwest. The family-owned stand has been around since the mid-1950s and makes everything in-house, going way beyond custard. The shop also serves hard ice cream, ice cream cakes, and more. And like any ice cream shop worth its salt, you can order a soft pretzel on the side, too.

5461 Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19128

3. Somerset Splits

2600 E Somerset St, Philadelphia, PA 19134

Head to Port Richmond’s Somerset Splits for extravagant, indulgent sundaes that will make any summer night feel special. Try the Nutter Butter, made with marshmallow Fluff, Nutter Butter cookies, and peanut butter swirl ice cream; or the Positive Vibration, with pineapple sauce, coconut, bananas, whipped cream, and a cherry. Ice cream is also sold by the scoop and in milkshakes, but what’s the fun in that?

2600 E Somerset St
Philadelphia, PA 19134

4. 1-900-ICE-CREAM (multiple locations)

1848 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122

With a dedicated scoop shop in Ardmore, and two “drop shops” in Rittenhouse and Fishtown, 1-900-ICE-CREAM is never far from reach. And isn’t that a relief: the menu of rotating flavors is colorful, creative, and jam-packed with exciting ingredients (say, Italian rainbow cookies or Strawberry Nesquik). You can preorder from all three locations — and don’t forget the ice cream cake. They’re made by Mallory Valvano of Party Girl Bake Club.

1848 N Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19122

5. Float Dreamery

1255 E Palmer St, Philadelphia, PA 19125

The vegan ice cream scene is bigger than ever — and as more people are turned onto plant-based diets, Float Dreamery is an excellent choice for dairy-free gelato. Only available on Saturdays between 12 and 3 p.m. at the Castellino’s window in Fishtown, it’s no wonder Float Dreamery has a devoted following. With rotating flavors like Spring Fling (made with pecan baklava and strawberry jam “swirlies”) and the Incredible Hunk (brownie chunks, mint gelato, and marshmallow), preordering for Saturday pickup is well worth it.

1255 E Palmer St
Philadelphia, PA 19125

6. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (multiple locations)

1322 Frankford Ave Unit 101, Philadelphia, PA 19125

When the news broke that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams — the beloved Ohio-based ice cream purveyor — was opening a scoop shop in Philly, Philadelphians couldn’t contain their excitement. There are now two Jeni’s shops in Philly (one in Fishtown and the other in Rittenhouse), where pints and cones of Jeni’s famous flavors are available daily.

1322 Frankford Ave Unit 101
Philadelphia, PA 19125

7. Dre's Water Ice and Ice Cream (Mobile Truck)

5700 Vine St, Philadelphia, PA 19139

Dre’s is known for its excellent sweet potato pie and banana pudding ice creams, but don’t forget to order Andre Andrew’s water ice, too. They come in all the classic flavors, and then some. Catch Dre’s truck at any number of festivals and events in the Philadelphia area (and beyond) — follow his social media to see where his carts pop up next.

5700 Vine St
Philadelphia, PA 19139

8. Bassetts Ice Cream

45 N 12th St, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

With a history dating back to 1861, Bassetts is billed as the country's oldest ice cream company. Its prime Reading Terminal Market location makes it a tourist destination Philly can really get behind. Step up to the marble bar to revel in simple vanilla scoops, nostalgic staples like butter pecan or rum raisin, more experimental rotating flavors, or soda shop classics like root beer floats and banana splits.

45 N 12th St, Philadelphia
PA, 19107

9. Weckerly's Ice Cream (multiple locations)

265 S 44th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Weckerly’s specializes in French-style ice cream made with local, seasonal ingredients, and it’s superb either by the cup or in one of the ice cream sandwiches. The company built a fanbase around town before opening its shop in Fishtown, though you can still find the ice cream at other stores.

265 S 44th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

10. Gran Caffe L'Aquila

1716 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103

This multi-faceted Italian coffee shop, wine bar, gelateria, and restaurant immediately made a name for itself through its exemplary gelato. Courtesy of co-owner and award-winning gelatiere Stefano Biasini, Gran Caffe L'Aquila turns out sweet, savory, and alcohol-spiked flavors that many have deemed the best in town. Try the gelato flight with several bite-size spoonfuls served in a row.

1716 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

11. Franklin Fountain

116 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Ice cream is a part of Philadelphia history and few spots do justice to nostalgic soda shop vibes like Franklin Fountain, an ice cream destination in Old City from brothers Ryan and Eric Berley. The shop only dates back to 2004, but sits in a lovingly renovated and restored turn-of-the-century building. Go for one of the decadent sundaes, like the Stock Market Crunch with rocky road ice cream (invented in 1929), peanut butter sauce, salted pretzels, and whipped cream. During the summer, Franklin Fountain also sets up shop in Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware River waterfront.

116 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

12. Sweet Charlie's

711 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

As soon as Philly’s first Thai-style hand-rolled ice cream shop opened, lines formed daily down Walnut Street. How it works: An ice cream base (including a non-dairy option) and mix-ins are poured onto a freezing surface that’s under 20 degrees, then scraped and smoothed into a rolled form. It looks pretty and tastes good.

711 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

13. Fiore Fine Foods

757 S Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

The gelato pints at Fiore Fine Foods in Queen village — in fun flavor combos like lemon blueberry shortbread — are signed and dated by the pastry chef who created the blend. Follow along on Instagram to see which flavors are up for grabs each day. You can also order for pickup in advance.

757 S Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

14. The Chilly Banana

932 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Ice cream purists would say that ice cream must be made with milk, even if that milk is of the plant-based variety. But purists be damned. Chilly Banana’s vegan whipped banana ice cream has no dairy and no added sugar and is delicious at that. There is a storefront on E. Passyunk but the banana ice cream truck bops around to different events in town. Check social media to see where they end up next.

932 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

15. La Guerrerense

1143 S 9th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

A staple of the Italian Market, La Guerrerense draws crowds for its more than 60 flavors of ice cream made with a recipe from Guerrero, Mexico. Many of the flavors in this brightly colored shop are unusual for Philly, like eggnog, cheese, and “Angel’s Kiss,” a combo of cherry ice cream with marshmallows, dried fruit, and granola pieces.

1143 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Related Maps

16. Arctic Scoop

1812 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148

East Passyunk’s Arctic Scoop takes its cues from Asian street snacks to create some of the most photogenic desserts in town. Choose a warm Hong Kong-style egg waffle or a Thai-inspired coconut bowl, an ice cream flavor like pandan, and colorful toppings including fresh fruit, Fruity Pebbles, and strawberry drizzle.

1812 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Related Maps