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Where to Find the Most Refreshing Wooder Ice in Philly

For days when you really need to cool off, these 16 shops specialize in Philly’s favorite warm-weather treat

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Not quite water, not quite ice, water ice is an intrinsically Philly treat — like the Mummers, the word jawn, and Gritty, water ice defies conventions and is universally beloved. Any Philadelphian worth her salt has eaten a cup of water ice and a soft pretzel instead of a balanced meal at least once.

Legend has it that ancient Roman emperors sent fast runners into the mountains to bring back snow they would mix with fruit and honey. The best water ice today sticks closely to that original recipe: just fruit, sugar, and water. The texture — looser than Italian ice and smoother than shaved ice — is unique to producers in the Philadelphia area. Chunks of fruit often signal a good product. And the pronunciation is always “wooder ice.”

When you order a water ice and it comes served in either a retro teal-and-purple paper cup or a flimsy frosted plastic one, that’s how you know you’re in the right place. Don’t forget to dip your soft pretzel!

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Yardley Ice House

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Farther afield from Philly, Yardley Ice House is nonetheless a popular destination for city residents. The 45-minute drive from Philly for an ice cold treat in a variety of rotating flavors — like banana cream pie, cherry Bordeaux, and peach mango — is worth the road trip to cool off. It’s so good, in fact, that Yardley Ice House has won Philly Mag’s Best of Philly award several times, even though it’s not even in the city.

Tranzilli Real Italian Water

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Open since 1969, Germantown’s Tranzilli’s is the local destination for fresh water ice with flavors like black cherry, tangerine, and kiwi-strawberry. Tranzilli’s has an extensive wholesale operation, too, so if you’re looking to take a lot of water ice home, this is the place.

Rose's Water Ice

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With its bright yellow signage decked out with green lemons, Rose’s water ice is easy to find. The shop serves up traditional fruity water ice, including lemon, strawberry, and pineapple that are all perfect for a hot day. Are you an early bird? Rose’s is also known for its breakfast sandwiches, which you can order for delivery on Grubhub.

Philly’s Famous Italian Ices

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Since 1965, Famous Italian Ices has been serving its classic and creative flavors — like Swedish Fish, salted caramel, and Sour Patch mango — to the Kensington neighborhood. The shop also sells ice cream and funnel cake.

Mama Maria's Homemade Italian Ice

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One of the fresher shops in town (at least compared to the decades-old stalwarts), Mama Maria’s makes fruit-studded water ice in Port Richmond. Custard and soft pretzels are also available.

King’s Water Ice

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There is often a line at this water ice spot right off of Fairmount Park, but for its pizza-topped soft pretzels and vibrant water ice flavors, its worth the wait. There’s another location in Overbrook if you happen to be on that side of town, too. Note: It’s cash only.

Morrone's Water Ice

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Open daily, Morrone’s Water Ice on N. 63rd in West Philly is the spot for a number of different water ice and ice creams, and the divine combination thereof in the form of multi-layered gelatis. Expect standard boardwalk-style fare, too, like funnel cake, hot dogs, and pretzels topped in cheese.

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

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You’ll likely be drawn to Dre’s for the excellent sweet potato pie and banana pudding ice creams, but Andre Andrew’s rotating water ice flavors sold from roving carts and trucks offer something for every taste. CBD-infused mango and strawberry-lemonade water ice can be ordered online for delivery to a range of neighborhoods in the city. Follow Dre’s social media to see where his carts pop up next.

Siddiq’s Real Fruit Water Ice

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Siddiq Moore started selling water ice on Temple University’s campus in 1995. He gained a loyal following for his creative flavors like white grape, strawberry coconut, and kiwi, and then launched a small fleet of mobile carts before opening a permanent shop in West Philly to sell fruity water ice and gelati. There’s a second location outside the city, at 720 W. Ninth Street in Chester, with a drive-through and lunch options.

The company that introduced the rest of the country to water ice has been going strong since 1984. The chain, which started in Bensalem, now has more than 500 locations across the country. While the menu has grown significantly, traditional water ice or a gelati (a water ice plus custard) is still the best choice. The Swedish Fish flavor is a customer favorite.

Fred's Water Ice

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In Southwest Philly, Fred’s scores points for its water ice flavor variety, with options like pistachio and watermelon. Enjoy it in the shade of the stand’s canopy and order a pizza pretzel (a soft pretzel topped with cheese, sauce, and pepperoni) too.

John's Water Ice

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Not far from the Italian Market, John’s has been using the simplest of water ice recipes — fruit, water, and sugar — since 1945. Lemon, cherry, chocolate, and pineapple are always on the menu, plus one or two rotating flavors, like peach and mango. John’s also has a roving water ice truck now, so keep an eye out.

D'Emilio's Old World Ice Treats

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Despite its name, D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats is a relative newcomer to the scene. Open since 2013 as a cart that popped up around town, the sweet treat maker now has a shop on East Passyunk Avenue to sell water ice made with organic fruit juice and soft serve ice cream. Pints can be taken to go.

Lucio Mancuso & Son

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From inside this small East Passyunk Avenue store, an Italian food paradise beckons. The old-school shop is full of imported cheese, baked goods, and other specialties — plus house-made water ice. Those who like chunks of fruit in their frozen treat will especially enjoy this version, which comes in just three flavors: lemon, cherry, and chocolate. Might as well pick up some fresh mozz to go too.

Chucks Homemade Water Ice

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At Chuck’s on Snyder Avenue, all the requisite water ice offerings are available and they’re all excellent at that. From soft pretzels to fresh-baked cookies to gelatis, and of course about a dozen flavors of water ice, any option you choose will satisfy those summer water ice cravings.

Jimmy's Water Ice

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In deep South Philly, Jimmy’s makes a variety of water ice flavors each day, with chocolate, cherry, and mango always on the menu. The stand also sells soft serve, pretzels, and frozen bananas.

Pop's Homemade Water Ice

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Ever since Filippo "Pop" Italiano started selling water ice from a pushcart in the summer of 1932, Pop’s ice has been a favorite local treat. The Oregon Avenue shop sells several fruit flavors, including blueberry, orange dream, and watermelon, plus some more indulgent options like amaretto and dark chocolate chip.

Yardley Ice House

Farther afield from Philly, Yardley Ice House is nonetheless a popular destination for city residents. The 45-minute drive from Philly for an ice cold treat in a variety of rotating flavors — like banana cream pie, cherry Bordeaux, and peach mango — is worth the road trip to cool off. It’s so good, in fact, that Yardley Ice House has won Philly Mag’s Best of Philly award several times, even though it’s not even in the city.

Tranzilli Real Italian Water

Open since 1969, Germantown’s Tranzilli’s is the local destination for fresh water ice with flavors like black cherry, tangerine, and kiwi-strawberry. Tranzilli’s has an extensive wholesale operation, too, so if you’re looking to take a lot of water ice home, this is the place.

Rose's Water Ice

With its bright yellow signage decked out with green lemons, Rose’s water ice is easy to find. The shop serves up traditional fruity water ice, including lemon, strawberry, and pineapple that are all perfect for a hot day. Are you an early bird? Rose’s is also known for its breakfast sandwiches, which you can order for delivery on Grubhub.

Philly’s Famous Italian Ices

Since 1965, Famous Italian Ices has been serving its classic and creative flavors — like Swedish Fish, salted caramel, and Sour Patch mango — to the Kensington neighborhood. The shop also sells ice cream and funnel cake.

Mama Maria's Homemade Italian Ice

One of the fresher shops in town (at least compared to the decades-old stalwarts), Mama Maria’s makes fruit-studded water ice in Port Richmond. Custard and soft pretzels are also available.

King’s Water Ice

There is often a line at this water ice spot right off of Fairmount Park, but for its pizza-topped soft pretzels and vibrant water ice flavors, its worth the wait. There’s another location in Overbrook if you happen to be on that side of town, too. Note: It’s cash only.

Morrone's Water Ice

Open daily, Morrone’s Water Ice on N. 63rd in West Philly is the spot for a number of different water ice and ice creams, and the divine combination thereof in the form of multi-layered gelatis. Expect standard boardwalk-style fare, too, like funnel cake, hot dogs, and pretzels topped in cheese.

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

You’ll likely be drawn to Dre’s for the excellent sweet potato pie and banana pudding ice creams, but Andre Andrew’s rotating water ice flavors sold from roving carts and trucks offer something for every taste. CBD-infused mango and strawberry-lemonade water ice can be ordered online for delivery to a range of neighborhoods in the city. Follow Dre’s social media to see where his carts pop up next.

Siddiq’s Real Fruit Water Ice

Siddiq Moore started selling water ice on Temple University’s campus in 1995. He gained a loyal following for his creative flavors like white grape, strawberry coconut, and kiwi, and then launched a small fleet of mobile carts before opening a permanent shop in West Philly to sell fruity water ice and gelati. There’s a second location outside the city, at 720 W. Ninth Street in Chester, with a drive-through and lunch options.

Rita's

The company that introduced the rest of the country to water ice has been going strong since 1984. The chain, which started in Bensalem, now has more than 500 locations across the country. While the menu has grown significantly, traditional water ice or a gelati (a water ice plus custard) is still the best choice. The Swedish Fish flavor is a customer favorite.

Fred's Water Ice

In Southwest Philly, Fred’s scores points for its water ice flavor variety, with options like pistachio and watermelon. Enjoy it in the shade of the stand’s canopy and order a pizza pretzel (a soft pretzel topped with cheese, sauce, and pepperoni) too.

John's Water Ice

Not far from the Italian Market, John’s has been using the simplest of water ice recipes — fruit, water, and sugar — since 1945. Lemon, cherry, chocolate, and pineapple are always on the menu, plus one or two rotating flavors, like peach and mango. John’s also has a roving water ice truck now, so keep an eye out.

D'Emilio's Old World Ice Treats

Despite its name, D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats is a relative newcomer to the scene. Open since 2013 as a cart that popped up around town, the sweet treat maker now has a shop on East Passyunk Avenue to sell water ice made with organic fruit juice and soft serve ice cream. Pints can be taken to go.

Lucio Mancuso & Son

From inside this small East Passyunk Avenue store, an Italian food paradise beckons. The old-school shop is full of imported cheese, baked goods, and other specialties — plus house-made water ice. Those who like chunks of fruit in their frozen treat will especially enjoy this version, which comes in just three flavors: lemon, cherry, and chocolate. Might as well pick up some fresh mozz to go too.

Chucks Homemade Water Ice

At Chuck’s on Snyder Avenue, all the requisite water ice offerings are available and they’re all excellent at that. From soft pretzels to fresh-baked cookies to gelatis, and of course about a dozen flavors of water ice, any option you choose will satisfy those summer water ice cravings.

Related Maps

Jimmy's Water Ice

In deep South Philly, Jimmy’s makes a variety of water ice flavors each day, with chocolate, cherry, and mango always on the menu. The stand also sells soft serve, pretzels, and frozen bananas.

Pop's Homemade Water Ice

Ever since Filippo "Pop" Italiano started selling water ice from a pushcart in the summer of 1932, Pop’s ice has been a favorite local treat. The Oregon Avenue shop sells several fruit flavors, including blueberry, orange dream, and watermelon, plus some more indulgent options like amaretto and dark chocolate chip.

Related Maps