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The 10 best ice cream shops in Chicago

Cool down with ice cream cones, frozen yogurt, custard and other treats at Chicago's best ice cream shops

George's Ice Cream & Sweets is one of the best ice cream shops in Chicago.

Whether it's ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt that strikes your fancy, Chicago has ice cream shops serving up a perfect version. We're crazy about the custard from Scooter's, the towering, colorful cone from Original Rainbow Cone and the inventive flavors served up at Jeni's. And that doesn't even count the best ice cream sandwiches, like versions made from doughnuts

Chicago's best ice cream shops

Black Dog Gelato

After peddling her gelato all over town to the city's best chefs and markets, Jessica Oloroso found a fitting home for her first storefront—the Ukrainian Village space that previously housed gelato shop Piccolo. There, she lures folks with boundary-pushing scoops of gelato such as avocado-cinnamon and sesame-fig-chocolate chip. The mish-mash of tattooed bike-peddlers and stroller-pushing locals tends to sample plenty before settling, giving you more time to decide between a simple cup or a cone with a refreshing iced Turkish coffee on the side. Also check out Black Dog's Roscoe Village location.

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Ukrainian Village

Bobtail Ice Cream Company

What would a soda fountain be without an outdoor spot from which to watch the world go by? Late-night hours (till 11pm weekdays, midnight weekends) mean you can take in nocturnal antics while sipping a caffeinated “cream express” milkshake (vanilla and espresso). Or go earlier in the evening, grab a scoop of the Lakeview Barhopper (chocolate ice cream with Jack Daniel’s), and get a jump on the night’s festivities.

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George’s Ice Cream & Sweets

Sweet Occasions fans can stop their mourning: The ice-cream slinger that took over this space is practically identical to the previous tenant—only upgraded. The walls are decked out in grays and dark blues, and the food menu now includes hot panini, crêpes and waffles. Most important, the ice cream is the same (Chocolate Shoppe from Madison, Wisconsin). The scoops are now offered in over-the-top sundaes, but save the cash and the sugar overload—this ice cream holds up well enough on its own.

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Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

When Ohio-based Jeni's moved into Southport Corridor it immediately upped Chicago's ice cream scene. Sweet corn ice cream with black raspberry swirls? It's got that. The richest, darkest chocolate ice cream you'll ever have? It's got that, too. When you factor in toppings like salted caramel sauce, the decision about what to order is that much harder. Luckily, Jeni's workers will provide you with as many samples as you want.

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Southport Corridor

Lickity Split

The Edgewater shop turns out custard that's rich and creamy, and which you can get whipped into sundaes and concretes like the aptly named OMG (chocolate or vanilla custard dotted with peanut-butter fudge brownie pieces and a shot of hot fudge). Cupcakes from Flirty Cupcakes and cookies from Celestial Kitchens round out the sweet offerings.

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Margie’s Candies

It’s nostalgia that draws people in droves to this kitschy diner/ice-cream parlor. Fancy silver trays, paper doilies and saucers filled with chocolate and caramel sauces bring back fond memories for many who’ve made this place a tradition since it opened in 1921. Equally reminiscent of the good old days are the display shelves, which are crowded with memorabilia from the Beatles, who just had to have some Margie’s ice cream after they played Comiskey.

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Original Rainbow Cone

For more than 80 years, the awning-covered picnic tables of this Far South Side ice-cream shop have been packed with locals indulging their sweet tooth. The signature five-flavor Rainbow Cone features scoops of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with cherries and walnuts), pistachio and orange sherbet stacked one on top of the other for an unbeatable classic.

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Aromas of fresh waffles pervade the air of this Bridgeport parlor, evidence of the signature, housemade waffle cones. Dipped in chocolate and adorned with various brightly colored candies, these deep cones are indulgent carriers for both types of chocolate ice cream on offer (though our preference is for the darker variety). Should the ice cream be too rich, you’re in luck: Like all good Italians, these guys focus on espresso, the perfect antidote to your forthcoming sugar crash.

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Scooter’s Frozen Custard

Walk into Scooter’s and disregard the hot dogs, Italian ice and anything else that doesn’t contain the words frozen and custard. Order a Boston shake, and quiver in awe as the towering milkshake topped with hot fudge and whipped cream is handed over. As you taste how dense, thick, buttery and rich the custard is, you’ll soon be on your way to a full stomach and an ice-cream headache. And it’ll be worth it.

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West Lakeview

Yoberri Gourmet

The simple frozen yogurt and ice cream spot focuses on just a few flavors, but they're well done and a welcome departure from the glut of chain frozen yogurt spots. Opt for a pint to go or top your yogurt with nuts, berries and more.

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Best ice cream shops in America