Photo: Viva Pops 

Are you all screaming for ice cream? No need for a brain freeze, because we’ve got the 10 best places in town to cool down with frozen treats. From Hawaiian shaved ice and Mexican popsicles to churro ice cream sandwiches and Taiwanese “snow,” there’s a super chill dessert for everyone. So read on to see where to raise your spoons for a ‘going out for ice cream’ experience like never before!


Photo: Viva Pops

Viva Pops
This Normal Heights frozen pop shop features a rotating menu of gourmet, organic popsicles. Styled after Mexican “paletas,” you’ll find more than the run-of-the-mill strawberry or grape pops here. Favorites include Lavender Lemonade, Blood Orange and Vietnamese Coffee. You can also find Viva Pops at the Little Italy Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.

Viva Pops
3330 Adams Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92116
619-795-1 080
Online: ilovevivapops.com

Photo courtesy of Kona Ice

Kona Ice
This popular food truck can be found all over San Diego, serving up traditional Hawaiian shaved ice with a wide array of syrup flavors. Fan favorites include Wild Watermelon, Blue Raspberry and Tiger’s Blood. The best part is that the syrups are customer-accessible so you can use as much or as little as you want in any combination. Blue Tiger Watermelon? Why not?

Kona Ice
Use the online locator to find a truck near you: kona-ice.com

Photo: C.P. via Yelp

TREET Ice Cream Sandwich Company
This new spot in Point Loma offers up not just ice cream, but deluxe ice cream sandwiches. Think apple fritters with dulce de leche, churros with cinnamon ice cream, or cronuts with strawberry ice cream. Not your thing? You can still get ice cream in a cone, including the ever-popular Oreo cookie dough.

TREET Ice Cream Sandwiches
3960 W. Point Loma Blvd.
San Diego, Ca 92110
619-501-5320
Online: treetdesserts.com

Photo: Creamistry

Creamistry
Dessert and a science lesson? Creamistry uses liquid nitrogen to freeze their ice cream, resulting in an exceptionally creamy product. They offer over 70 flavors and toppings so let your future Nobel laureates indulge with options such as Captain’s Breakfast which is topped with Cap’n Crunch cereal. Read more about how they use liquid nitrogen to make ice cream here.

Creamistry
7420 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., #108
San Diego, Ca 92111
858-874-6407
Online: creamistry.com

Photo: ICMonster 

ICMonster
This Mira Mesa shop is putting the “novelty” in frozen novelties with their rolled ice cream creations. Rolled ice cream is a popular street food in Thailand and now you don’t need a passport to sample it. Favorite items include Strawberry Shorty with berries and graham crackers and Open Sesame with sesame seeds and condensed milk. Read more about how they make rolled ice cream here.

ICMonster
8945 Mira Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, Ca 92126
858-860-5998
Online: facebook.com

Photo: Iceskimo

Iceskimo
Not all shaved ice is created equally. Taiwanese “snow” is shaved off large cylinders in ribbons so pretty they resemble peonies. Flavor choices include lychee, coffee and matcha and toppings include everything from mochi and cookie crumbles to grass jelly and mango “pop” beads. Adding a sprinkle of Fruity Pebbles is a must!

Iceskimo
4609 Convoy St., #B
San Diego, Ca 92111
858-216-1111
Online: facebook.com

Photo: Huy T. via Yelp

iDessert
The brainchild of famed pastry chef Jean-Philippe, this dessert spot will dazzles your eyes while also satiating your sweet tooth. Ordering from an iPad, customers choose from many levels of customization—a meringue base, ice cream, a cake layer, toppings—which are then quickly assembled by a staffer. If that’s not beautiful enough for you, order it “Las Vegas” style and it arrives in a mist of dry ice!

iDessert
1608 India St., #104
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-544-1033
Online: idessert.com

Photo: Terri R. via Yelp

Niederfrank’s Ice Cream
When you’re craving nostalgia along with your butter pecan, head down to this beloved National City ice cream parlor. Their website proudly proclaims they make ice cream in the same outdated, inefficient manner they did when they opened in the 1940s: in freezers. But you’ll still get modern flavors like Black Walnut, Coconut Almond Joy and Acai.

Niederfrank’s Ice Cream
726 A Ave.
National City, Ca 91950
619-477-0828
Online: niederfranksicecreams.com

Photo: Sub Zero Ice Cream via Yelp

Sub Zero Ice Cream
This North County outpost of the national chain also uses liquid nitrogen to freeze your dessert right before your eyes, ensuring it will be extra creamy and super fresh. In addition to your own completely customizable desserts—called “sensations”—they also offer store favorites like the Birthday Cake Capacitor with cake batter ice cream, fudge and sprinkles.

Sub Zero Ice Cream
201 Oak Ave.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
760-453-7246
Online: subzeroicecream.com

Photo: Joe P. via Yelp

Moo Time
Handcrafted ice cream and hand-rolled waffle cones that even Elvis would love (check out his statue in front of the store). This Coronado favorite serves up the usual offerings of ice cream and sundaes, including a traditional tin roof sundae with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and peanuts. Looking for a treat the whole family can share? Try the dessert nachos with waffle cones pieces, ice cream, fudge, caramel and marshmallow cream.

Moo Time
1025 Orange Ave.
Coronado, Ca 92118
619-435-2422
Online: mootime.com

Insider’s Tip: Remember, wherever your ice cream travels take you, most of these shops don’t open until noon. Make sure you call ahead or look online for hours of operation.

Where’s your favorite shop for frozen treats? Share in the comments.

—Michelle Franklin