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Here’s the Scoop: 22 Amazing Ice Cream Shops

There’s nothing like a big scoop of ice cream on a hot day, but with so many options all around us, how do you know where you’ll get the most bang for your buck? We’ve gotten rid of the guesswork by offering up this list of the ultimate scoop spots around the Bay Area.

Have your own favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

photo courtesy of Bi-Rite Creamery’s Facebook

San Francisco

Mitchell’s Ice Cream
688 San Jose Ave., open every day from 11:00 am – 11:00 pm.
This long-established Mission favorite has been serving delicious specialty ice cream, sorbet, and sundaes for over 50 years. There’s some indoor seating if you like to relax as you indulge.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: mitchellsicecream.com

Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop
3692 18th St., open Sunday thru Thursday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm.
The ever-popular Bi-Rite Creamery uses mostly organic, local milk products to make its sweet treats. They serve popsicles, sorbet, sundaes, soft serve, and ice cream sandwiches, as well as cupcakes and cookies.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: biritecreamery.com

Swensen’s Ice Cream
1999 Hyde St., open Tuesday thru Thursday and Sunday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm.
This tiny retro-style store in Russian Hill is known for its rich, creamy, flavorful ice cream. The sticky chewy chocolate is one of their best sellers. Counter service only. Parking is tricky, so plan accordingly. Give the kids an extra thrill and hop on the 45 from Union Street and let the bus carry you to the top of the hill.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: swensensicecream.com

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
699 22nd St., open Wednesday thru Saturday 11:30 am – 6:00 pm, and Sunday 11:30 am – 5:00 pm.
This newcomer to the cream scene popped up in Dogpatch a few years ago. It gets our nod for big scoops of inventive flavors (think blueberry cobbler and earl grey tea), as well as an industrial-chic decor that makes standing in line less of a chore.
Price: Moderate
Online: Read our review from when it first opened.

Smitten
432 Octavia St., open Sunday thru Thursday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 10:30 pm.
This hot spot is a high-tech wonder—proprietor Robyn Sue Goldman developed the Kelvin, which uses liquid nitrogen to make ice cream in 60 seconds. That means kids can watch it go from a liquid to a solid while they wait for their scoop of fresh strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, whatever they please.
Price: Moderate
Online: smittenicecream.com

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream
2790 A Harrison St., open Monday thru Thursday 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Friday thru Sunday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
Head to Humphry Slocombe for some inventive and unexpected flavors. From exotic adult tastes like chèvre fig to more kid friendly delights like Wexler’s root beer, everyone will be satisfied with this spot.
Price: Moderate
Online: humphryslocombe.com

photo courtesy of Fentons Creamery’s Facebook

East Bay

Fenton’s Creamery
4226 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, open Monday thru Thursday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 9:00 am to midnight, Sunday 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.
With over 30 flavors of ice cream and sherbet, you’ll have plenty of choices at this super-popular (it was even featured in Pixar’s Up) sit-down ice cream parlor. Try one of their yummy mix-and-match sundaes.
Price: Moderate
Online: fentonscreamery.com

Gelateria Naia
2106 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, open Sunday thru Thursday noon to 11:00 pm, Friday and Saturday noon to midnight.
You’ll love the vast array of scrumptious hand-made all-natural Italian gelati and sorbetti served here. The gelati is made only with rBGH-free milk, and the sorbetti with fresh, ripe, local, seasonal fruit.
Price: Moderate
Online: gelaterianaia.com

Ici
2948 College Ave., Berkeley, open Monday thru Thursday 12:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Friday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm.
Ici is owned by none other than Chez Panisse’s former pastry chef Mary Canales. Needless to say their ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet are all fit for a prince (or princess!). Ingredients are all organic, local, and sustainably-raised, plus everything is either compostable or recyclable.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.ici-icecream.com

Scream Sorbet
5030 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, open Sunday thru Thursday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm.
Bakesale Betty’s new neighbor keeps up the culinary tradition establishing this part of Temescal along Telegraph as Oakland’s “gourmet ghetto south.” The seasonal flavors change weekly, but pineapple-guava and anything with coconut are sure winners.
Price: Moderate
Online: screamsorbet.com

IScream
1819 Solano Ave., Berkeley, open Monday thru Thursday and Sunday 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
North Berkeley’s newest scoop shop has been getting rave reviews for its high quality artisan Mexican chocolate and mocha almond ice cream flavors, as well as its lemon sorbet.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: Not yet!

Tucker’s Supercreamed Ice Cream
1349 Park St., Alameda, open Monday 12:00 pm – 9:30 pm Tuesday thru Thursday 11:00 am – 9:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, and Sunday 12:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
Tucker’s set up shop in 1941 and has been here ever since. They serve over 30 flavors of ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet. Their ‘Tornado Machine’ will custom-blend frozen yogurt flavors – try one in a freshly-baked waffle cone.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: tuckersicecream.com

Loard’s Ice Cream
3080 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito, open Monday thru Thursday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 9:30 pm, Sunday 11:30 am – 8:00 pm
Loard’s ice cream parlors have been a Bay Area favorite since the first one opened in 1950. They’re a small chain but feel more like a mom-and-pop store, and serve over 40 flavors of rich and creamy ice cream, as well as sorbet, sherbet, and a ‘lite’ version of their ice cream. Check out their website for a full listing of northern California stores, with a few now open in the Peninsula.
Price: Moderate
Online: loards.com

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream
3173 College Ave., Berkeley, open daily 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Tara’s is a must for any adventurous dessert lover. Mingle with the college students as you try black sesame or banana ice cream–just make sure your kids are up to sample something new and different!
Price: Moderate
Online: tarasorganic.com

Photo courtesy of Powell’s Sweet Shoppe’s Facebook

Peninsula

Romolo’s Cannoli and Spumoni Factory
81 37th Ave., San Mateo, open Wednesday thru Saturday 11:00 am – 6:30 pm, Sunday 11:00 am – 4:30 pm.
If you love all-natural, authentic Italian desserts, this is the place. Try their famous ice-cream-filled cannoli, or opt for a fresh fruit sorbet or granita with a couple of cucidati (sugar cookies).
Price: Inexpensive
Online: romolosfactory.com

Rick’s Rather Rich Ice Cream
3946 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, open Sunday and Monday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Tuesday thru Thursday 11:00 am – 9:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm.
This gourmet micro-creamery offers no less than 48 flavors of hand-made ice cream, as well as their version of a popsicle, called ‘frozen ice.’ Try a lavender honey or fudge marble cone. They also make yummy sorbet, floats, and sundaes.
Price: Moderate
Online: ricksicecream.com

Preston’s Candy and Ice Cream
1170 Broadway, Burlingame. Open Monday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Tuesday-Thursday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
Love to support local old-timey businesses? Then Preston’s is the place for you! They organize annual contests like “guess how many jelly beans in the cookie jar” with cool prizes, and are always a hit with kids.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: prestonscandy.com

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
1166 Howard Ave., Burlingame, open Sunday thru Thursday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm.
Yes, it’s a bit gimmicky, but your kids will explore the place with wide-eyed wonder at the candy piled to the ceiling. Grab a scoop of gelato and hit the row of movie seats to view some of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. P.S. There are also Powell’s locations in Los Gatos, Novato, Berkeley, and Lafayette.
Price: Moderate
Online: powellsss.com

Cowabunga Creamery
784 Laurel St., San Carlos, open Sunday thru Thursday 12:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm.
This surf-themed spot is a San Carlos gem. The friendly family owners make it a welcoming environment and there are even vegan soy options to choose from. The ice cream pies and cakes are the perfect choice for your next birthday party, too!
Price: Inexpensive
Online: cowabungacreamery.com

Marin

Three Twins Ice Cream
641 Del Ganado Road, Terra Linda, north San Rafael, open Monday thru Thursday 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 12:00 pm – 9:30 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
You can’t go wrong no matter what you order here – it’s all absolutely delish. Everything is organic, and their cups and spoons are compostable. Sit inside, or out on the patio on warm days, or order a pint of ice cream or sorbet to go.
Price: Moderate
Online: threetwinsicecream.com

Fairfax Scoop
63 Broadway Boulevard, Fairfax, open every day from noon to 10:00 pm, cash only.
This tiny place always seems to have a line outside. It serves scrumptious, all-organic ice cream, soy ice cream, and sorbet, and makes its own waffle cones.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: Not yet!

Noci
17 E. Blithdale Ave., Mill Valley, open Sunday thru Thursday 11:30 am – 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm.
Okay, we know it’s gelato, but it’s so rich, delectable, and creamy (love the chocolate) that we had to include this artisanal scoop shop. They cater to people with nut and gluten allergies, too!
Price: Moderate
Online: nocigelato.com

Admittedly, our list is massive, but hey, we love ice cream! Let us know if we’ve missed your favorite place to grab a scoop. And, while you’re at it, let us know what you order (we’re partial to the salted caramel at Bi-Rite). 

—Annie Sheldon

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