You people must really like ice cream (who can blame you?) New Yorkers’ appetite for icy treats has inspired frozen goodness in all shapes, flavors and forms, and new shops just keep coming! From the finest gelato outside of Italy to small-batch artisanal shops, creations as Instagrammable as they are delicious and others made right before your eyes — the Big Apple’s cone runneth over with options. Read on for the scoop on NYC’s best ice cream shops for kids!
For an Instagram Fave Instagram: Soft Swerve
From the red cinnamon or black chocolate cones, to the ube purple yam ice cream (yes, it really is purple), this place has desserts of technicolor proportions. It’s these very colorful creations that are also creating quite the internet sensation, and making kids of all ages want to head downtown to try these delectable treats.
85B Allen St.
Lower East Side
To Eat Ice Cream Inspired by 80s Icons: Mikey Likes It Ice Cream
Mikey Likes It Ice Cream in the East Village likes to say it's "spreading happiness, one scoop at a time." Friendly service and free tastes will have you and the kids smiling long before you take your first licks at this tiny shop. Mikey Likes It features a menu of ice creams with pop culture-inspired names like Pretty in Pink (strawberry), and Killer Bee (banana ice cream with cubed banana, honey swirls and chocolate covered peanuts) to Brady Bunch (Banana pudding, Vienna Fingers, and crushed vanilla wafers met ice cream. ) and Pink Floyd (strawberry and cheesecake). Take a walk down memory lane/feel old by schooling the kids on movies, music and more. FYI: The store is tiny with just a few stools, but the scoops are huge; one scoop will get you two flavors or mix it up and try one of Mikey’s waffle ice cream sandwiches.
For Egg-free Philly Style: Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream
With fifteen varieties of vanilla, chocolate, coffee and caramel, there’s something for everyone at this Lower East side “new American” ice cream parlor in classic black and white design. Morgenstern’s ice cream is egg-free - think Philly style - so the pure rich flavor of the cream really comes through. Grab a stool at the counter and order up one of the classics or experiment with flavor mash ups like cardamom lemon jam, salt and pepper pinenut or banana curry. Kids will love their own menu with special cup and cone sizes and sundaes that are sure to please like the Butterscotch Banger - vanilla ice cream with caramel and cream.
For the Best Gelato This Side of Italy: Grom
Some of the richest, most flavorful gelato can be found in the West Village at this shop which originated in Italy. Without colorings, unnatural flavors and preservatives, maybe that’s the key to making a sweet treat that makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. With rich flavors like Pistachio and Hazelnut, this shop will please kids and adults alike. Close your eyes, pretend you’re on vacation and take a bite, we promise you won’t regret it.
233 Bleeker St.
For Organic Ice Cream and Good Will: Blue Marble Ice Cream
Blue Marble, the first certified organic artisanal ice cream maker in New York, serves sweet-tasting treats with minimal added sugar and maximum goodness provided by Mother Nature herself. Featuring classics like strawberry and cookies and cream made from farm-fresh New York State dairy, its flavors are straightforward and pure. Blue marble operates two shops in Brooklyn and pop-up carts around town. The roomier Prospect Heights location has a kid's playspace and outdoor garden, and is steps from Prospect Park, and while the shop in Cobble Hill has closed, a fresh spot recently debuted at Sunset Park's Industry City. (They're also scooping Blue Marble at Barclays Center, and you can now find the ice cream in supermarket freezers around town.)
Take note: With each scoop you buy, you and your family are supporting Blue Marble’s not-for-profit organization, Blue Marble Dreams, the mission of which is to use ice cream to inspire joy, spur economic growth and employ and empower women in places like Rwanda and Haiti. (Now you have a reason to eat ice cream every day of the year!)
Blue Marble Ice Cream
186 Underhill Ave.
220 36th St.
For Those with Allergies: A La Mode
We can’t get enough of A La Mode, a place that has changed the lives of many allergy-prone kids and adults alike. All of the ice cream at this fun store/party space/ice cream shop is nut-free, sesame-free and egg-free. And with flavors like Partly Cloudy (blue cotton candy with marshmallows) and Pink Sprinkle (pink vanilla with rainbow sprinkles) for the kids and Wired (coffee with chocolate chips) for adults, everyone at A La Mode has something to smile about. More good news: the shop just launched its online business so now you can order the stuff from the comfort of your couch — pints, bars and cups can be delivered right to your door. Yum.
A La Mode
360 East 55th St.
Upper East Side
For Flavors with a Cult Following: Ample Hills Creamery
Fans of Ample Hills Creamery are a lucky bunch: regardless of where you are in NYC, there's probably an Ample Hills near you.
Famous for irresistible combinations like Snap Mallow, Pop, (marshmallow ice cream with toasted Rice Krispie clusters ), Salted Crack Caramel (salted butter caramel ice cream with chocolate covered homemade saltine crackers) and The Munchies (pretzel infused ice cream with clusters of potato chips, pretzels, Ritz crackers, and mini M&Ms), this is an ice cream lovers paradise. Its original corner shop on Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights has been renovated with more space to sit and chill, and the newer Gowanus location on Nevins Street is an industrial space turned ice cream factory and parlor (as well as a certified dairy plant). So you can be sure: Ample Hills' ice cream is high quality and as fresh as it gets. The Gowanus location also features a rooftop deck, as well as an indoor party space, complete with an Ample Hills ice cream churning bicycle. The brand also operates two seasonal locations, one at Brooklyn Bridge Park and the other at the Jacob Riis Beach Bazaar.
623 Vanderbilt Ave.
(347) 240 - 3926
305 Nevins St.
600 11th Ave.
Gotham Market West
Bubby's High Line
73 Gansevoort St.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Jacob Riis Beach
157 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
For Small Batch Peruvian Ice Cream and 21 and Over Flavors: Creme & Sugar
As if it weren’t enough to give your kids a sweet treat, this Ridgewood ice cream and coffee shop stocks games like Connect Four and UNO to keep kids busy and there’s also something special for the grown ups: wine ice cream. (No joke: it's 5 percent alcohol and for those 21 and older only. You can even get a "flight" of boozy ice cream.) Don't worry, Creme & Sugar also sells traditional flavors and Peruvian favorites, such as passionfruit, mango and strawberry. P.S. you can also get a rainbow bagel here.
58-42a Catalpa Ave.
For Thai Rolls and Fresh Add-ins: 10Below
Ice cold Thai-inspired ice cream rolls are being served up in Chinatown and Flushing. Using a cold plate that reaches temperatures well below -10°F, the ice cream produces smaller ice molecules to make it naturally smoother and creamier, turning liquid cream to ice cream in under two minutes. Without needing additional fat, you still get the same rich, creamy texture for delicious ice cream, so it’s a win-win for both parents and kids. With flavors like Key Lime Pie and Monkey Business (bananas and Nutella) this is not your basic ice cream store, but if original flavors without artificial fats is what you’re looking for, head here.
10 Mott St.
136-17 39th Ave.
For Cutting Edge Flavors and Delectable Ice Cream Sandwiches: Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.
Brought to you buy a gastro-molecular pastry chef (the guy behind Empire Mayonnaise) and a husband and wife team that admired said chefs skills , this ice cream shop features super fresh flavors in way outside-the-box combinations. The kids are guaranteed to love vanilla-based Sprinkles but we bet Burnt Marshmallow and Oatmeal Cookie Dough could becomes the new favorites. (Parents, FYI: popsicles infused with booze are now available, in flavors like Rosé and Grapefruit Campari.)
All the ice cream is made in-house, using locally sourced, hormone- and additive-free dairy. Be sure to check out Odd Fellows' Facebook page for flavor updates before you go. Odd Fellows can be found in two city spots: Williamsburg, where’s there’s room sit down for a cone, or throw a birthday party, and a smaller outpost in the East Village near Tompkins Square Park. You'll also find the shop scooping in Midtown at food hall Urbanspace Vanderbilt.
If your brood prefers its ice cream between two wafers, take note: the East Village shop was rebranded as The Sandwich Shop, and now features a variety of ice cream sandwiches, including The OddPocket — a warm, toasted brioche sandwich filled with ice cream and crunchy/gooey toppings. Other highlights include the Cornbread OddPocket: cornbread ice cream with cornflake crunch and blueberry compote inside a toasted brioche sandwich. Swoon.
Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co.
175 Kent Ave.
75 East 4th St.
For Deliciousness with a Side of Kitsch: Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
Big Gay is going local. They’ve teamed up with Ronnybook Farms and developed a proprietary base for their famous soft serve creations. And if the graham crackers and lemon curd toppings taste more homemade, that’s because they’re now made in-house. Among the creative confections are the Bea Arthur (vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche topped with finely-crushed Nilla wafers) and American Globs (vanilla with sea salt and pretzels dipped in a chocolate shell), but for more adventurous palates, the shop offers everything from elderflower syrup to key lime curd to top the cones. Shakes, ice cream sandwiches, great coffee and more are also always available.
Take advantage of the shop's after school Sugar Rush promo: $ 2 mini chocolate or vanilla cones from 2-5 p.m. And keep your eyes open for the BGIC truck roaming the city streets adorned with its signature rainbow cone.
Big Gay Ice Cream
125 East 7th St.
61 Grove St.
For Novel Wintry Refreshment in Summer: Snowdays
OK, shaved ice treat shop Snowdays does not technically serve ice cream, but its derivative of Taiwanese and Korean shaved ices, which is fluffy (like snow), is actually creamy and tastes like ice cream. Pretty cool, right? The business has operated shops in both the East and West Villages for years, and it recently debuted a Queens outpost in Flushing. Flavors can be as exotic as Roasted Black Sesame or as basic as Sweet Milk, and they have great toppings from the classics like Oreos and M&Ms to a cereal-lovers dream with Fruity Pebbles and Cap’n Crunch (and many more!)
241 East 10th St.
167 7th Ave. South
37-20 Prince St, Ste 1C
photo: via Snowdays Facebook page
For Small-Time, Family-Owned Ice Cream Fun on the Upper East Side: The Sweet Shop NYC
You might have heard of The Sweet Shop, an Upper East Side throwback of sweet treats. But here, you’ll find more than just candy. This retro shop has OddFellows’ ice cream, and Il Laboratorio gelato and sorbet, so you don’t have to head downtown for great ice cream. In the summer, their cold options include handmade shaved ices they call "New York City Snow Balls" that come in 12 flavors, and their artisanal ice cream sandwiches are amazing.
404 East 73rd St.
Upper East Side
For a Few Dozen Gelato Flavors: Il Laboratorio del Gelato
Now in its 13th year, this shop is still our favorite for hand-crafted traditional Italian gelato and sorbet. Tucked inconspicuously next to the Lower East Side’s famous Tenement Museum, the atmosphere at Il Laboratorio del Gelato is spare and industrial, but don’t let that fool you. On any given day customers can choose from 48 artisanal and vibrant flavors like kid-friendly banana chocolate chip, and concord grape, alongside more unusual offerings like rose petal, tarragon pink pepper and Guinness. Everything at Il Laboratorio is fresh and made at the shop, and the kids will love watching the ice cream makers hard at work in the “lab” through the glass windows on Ludlow Street.
For Fish-shaped Cones and Interesting Options: Taiyaki NYC
Taiyaki is a kind of fish in Japan, but don’t let that confuse you. Taiyaki NYC sells fish-shaped waffle cones filled with soft serve, and it’s creating quite the sensation. Yet another treat filling up Instagram feeds everywhere, this unusual dessert is pretty, delicious, and causing lines out the door of its Little Italy outpost. And the cones aren’t just filled with ice cream — they also have custard or red bean paste in them — alongside unusual ice cream flavors like matcha or black sesame. For those traditionalists looking to try this, no worries, you can get the cone and the custard or bean paste with chocolate or vanilla, too.
119 Baxter St.
For a Vibe That’s as Cool as The Desserts: Ice & Vice
Check out this urban oasis of cold confections if adventure is what you seek. From the basic flavors (Shade is Smoked Dark Chocolate, Caramelized White and Chocolate Ganache) to the seasonal (Spoon U has Fireball Whiskey, Flaming Hot Cheetos Ramen and Ramen Spice Brittle) this is not the place for your standard vanilla (hey, we’re not judging). Previous flavors are as unique as they are creative, and not all are alcohol infused or for the 21 and over set. All flavors are made in small batches, using ingredients of the best quality, which means no matter what, you’re getting a great product that was carefully curated. Go for an adventure, stay for the shock when you discover you actually like it.
Ice & Vice
221 East Broadway
Lower East Side
For Ice Cream That's Really Cool:-321 Ice Cream
If you’re looking for something a little different, head over the Brooklyn to see ice cream being created before your very eyes. A blast of liquid nitrogen is infused in their “fresh mix of premium ingredients” and once the mixture gets to -321 degrees, your sweet concoction is ready to go. With seasonal flavors as well as basic ones (not vanilla and chocolate, more like peanut butter crunch and mint chip), this stuff is as fresh as it gets. And they are coming soon to Manhattan and Queens.
-321 Ice Cream
288 Grand Street
photo: -321 Ice Cream
For a Classic Banana Split: Eddie's Sweet Shop
This old-school soda fountain and candy shop, founded decades before most of its hipster competitors, doesn’t put on airs or stuff its homemade flavors full of bric-a-brac that would make Ben & Jerry blush. Here, you can find familiar favorites like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry (along with a few other classics like rum raisin, butter pecan and coffee almond chip) served up in metal footed ice cream dishes and drowned in thick hot fudge, caramel sauce, home made whipped cream and nuts. The kids will also love the old fashioned register, cast iron swivel stools and retro storefront. Head to Eddie's for a nostalgic taste of a bygone era, but take note: it's closed Mondays and cash only.
When Just Ice Cream Isn’t Enough of a Treat: Holey Cream
Yes, you can get donut ice cream sandwiches, at Holey Cream in Hell’s Kitchen. They have specialty sundaes and milk shakes, but for the ultimate indulgence get an ice cream donut sandwich. You can order online and they deliver or you can go to their shop and try the best selling Fat Free Chocolate Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip. Do you really need anything besides Donuts and ice cream? 796 Ninth Ave. Upper West Side (212) 247-8400 Online: holeycreamnyc.com
Where does your family go for a frozen treat? Tell us in the comments!
— Kim Sunshine