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Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City

Now that summer's in full swing, take your family to one of the best ice cream shops for kids in New York City for a cool, fun-to-eat treat.

In New York City, going out for ice cream is one of our personal favorite things to do in the summer. We don't often end up with a naked scoop on a sugar cone, and that's because we expect the works—and no, we’re not just talking sprinkles. Options at the best ice cream shops for kids in New York City range from the whimsical (think gelato in the shape of a flower) and the obsessively pure (locally sourced milk pasteurized and infused on-site) to the just plain bananas (care for some Sriracha on your sundae?). On our quest for the best desserts in the city, we rounded up these concoctions and more at the kookiest, craziest and, ultimately, the best ice cream shops for kids in New York City—perfect for an afternoon of melty decadence on your way to or from the city's best family attractions.


Click the right arrow on the image below to see the city's best ice cream shops.


RECOMMENDED: National Ice Cream Day coverage


  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

    The fact that inspiration for this new ice cream shop came from its pregnant co-owner’s midnight food cravings explains a lot: Here, you’ll find kooky combos like chorizo caramel swirl (you’ll swear you just ate Brazilian) and a spicy lime tarragon sorbet made the old-fashioned way. Milk, which is locally sourced and pasteurized in-house, is infused with flavor even before the freezing process begins—just the way pastry chef Sam Mason (formerly of wd~50) likes it. Steer kids to the maple bacon pecan, mango or aromatic strawberry lavender sorbet, or splurge for the to-die-for cornbread sundae (pictured), topped with blueberry compote, maple syrup and bacon-scented whipped cream. Cornbread sundae $8. 175 Kent Ave between North 3rd and North 4th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-599-0556, oddfellowsnyc.com).

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: je & jo

    Owners Jennifer Welser and Jonathan Baker tapped into something nostalgic—and, by the same token, quintessentially kid-friendly—when they decided to package their homemade ice cream in simple paper cups, each with its own wooden spoon. But the signature ingredient of the pair's extremely creamy ice cream is cookie dough: All flavors here have an egg-free layer of it in the middle whose flavor perfectly complements the variety of ice cream it's paired with: chocolate with Guittard chocolate chocolate-chip cookie dough, vanilla bean ice cream with chocolate-chip cookie dough, and Nutella with hazelnut shortbread cookie dough are three kid magnets. (Gluten-free—that is, cookie-dough-free—options are available.) More adventurous eaters can try cardamom with Snickdoodle dough or fresh mint ice cream with lemon lavender shortbread cookie dough, while parents may which to go for the Affogato, vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso. Cups $4.50–$5.50, Affogato $5.25. 515 W 47th between Ninth and Tenth Aves (212-967-4856, jeandjo.com).

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: Victory Garden

    If you're trying to keep on top of your family's daily fat allowance but are overcome with a need for the comfort of creamy, house-made ice cream, head to the West Village's Victory Garden, a shop that feels like it belongs in the countryside. Its soft-serve, made from local goats' milk and other farm-fresh ingredients, is inspired by Anatolian dondurma, a supersmooth yet toothsome ice cream frequently flavored with herbal treats like lavender or mastic, a Mediterranean plant resin. Owner Sophia Brittan, who chose goat milk over cows' for its lower fat content, easy digestibility and flavor, offers several flavors year-round—among them kid favorites salty caramel and chocolate, which can be swirled together in a cone or cup (pictured), plus our personal favorite, Tangy Goat Milk (technically, this one's a frozen yogurt but don't tell the kids). Soft-serve $4–$6 (large size comes with a complimentary topping). 31 Carmine St between Bedford and Bleecker Sts (212-206-7273, victoriangardennyc.com).

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: Ample Hills Creamery

    Making just about every top-ten list in NYC is the lauded Ample Hills in Prospect Heights, whose lines are as legendary as its small-batch ice cream, made on-site from farm-fresh whole milk, cream and eggs. The shop, one of the few in the city that makes its own ice cream base from scratch, offers something for everyone, from hard to soft-serve varieties, simple (cookies and cream, chocolate malted) to complex (a flavor called Walt in the Sky with Diamonds—a.k.a. tutti frutti, plus decadent mega-sundaes). Among the most kid-approved flavors: salty caramel, cotton candy and a soft-serve called Breakfast Trash (pictured), an ode to Momofuku Milk Bar's Cereal Milk. Scoops: $2.75–$5.75. 623 Vanderbilt Ave at St. Marks Pl, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (347-240-3926, amplehills.com).

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: Amorino

    As luck would have it, the first and so far only United States branch of the French gelato chain landed on University Place in Greenwich Village. The whole-milk gelato base itself is flown in regularly from France, and comes in such delectable flavors as Amorino chocolate, bourbon vanilla, pistachio and our hands-down favorite, L'Inimitabile ("the inimitable"), a blend of hazelnut and chocolate. The spacious shop, which feels something like a Parisian café, boasts that it will serve you as many gelato flavors as you wish, no matter what size you're getting (we don't recommend asking for too many, as you won't be able to taste them). Our favorite thing about Amorino is the Cornetto: a flower made of gelato "petals," blooming from a waffle cone in the size of your choice (pictured). Cornettos: $5.25–$8. Amorino, 60 University Pl at 10th St (212-253-5599, amorino.com)

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: Big Gay Ice Cream

    Extras at the new, West Side outpost of the (East) Village mainstay are about as diverse as the shop’s rainbow interior. Here, kids can top their chocolate or vanilla soft-serve with “awesome sauce” (spicy chocolate), Trix cereal and even Sriracha, or go for a Nutella-and-peanut-butter-lined cone. And that’s not including those massive sundaes that the shop is famous for, like the Salty Pimp or the autumn-themed Gobbler. But co-owner Doug Quint says the heart of the shop isn’t in its decadent desserts but in the kid-approved classics: “We wouldn’t have a business if we didn’t have rainbow sprinkles!” So crucial are the colorful additions that they’re included in the price of a regular cone and are even dumped into the bottom beforehand. Ask for the Merlin (pictured) and get chocolate dipping that looks like a wizard’s hat. Ice cream cone with sprinkles and dip $3.75. 61 Grove St at Seventh Ave South (biggayicecream.com, 212-533-9333). •125 E 7th St between First Ave and Ave A.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: Sundaes and Cones

    Located on a sleepy block of East 10th Street is Sundaes and Cones, an old-fashioned ice-cream shop with wrought-iron chairs, tiled floors and flavors with an East Asian flair. In addition to tried-and-true varieties like cookies n' cream or rocky road, you'll find a variety of unusual flavors, such as corn, green tea and the intense but irresistible black sesame (pictured)—a trio that's as tasty (separately, that is) as it is photogenic. We can attest to their stellar milk shakes too, which sometimes make an even better cool-me-down than ice cream itself. Scoops: $4–$7. 95 E 10th St between Third and Fourth Aves (212-979-9398, sundaescones.com).

  • Photograph: Jennifer Arnow

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: Momofuku Milk Bar

    We're on the fence as to whether our favorite invention from Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi is her crack pie, which we've written about on these pages, or the ice cream version of her silly-brilliant, much-copied dessert invention, the Cereal Milk shake. Like the addictive drink after which it's named, the ice cream base is made by steeping toasted Corn Flakes in organic whole milk to give it its familiar yet decadent, trademark flavor and adding a bit of salt and sugar; then it's poured whipped in the soft-serve machine. Have your cone garnished with toasted Corn Flake crunch, which adds both flavor and bite to the creamy indulgence. Soft-serve cone with crunch topping $5.25, milk shake $6. 561 Columbus Ave at 87th St (347-577-9504, milkbarstore.com). See website for other locations around the city.

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: Il Laboratorio del Gelato

    The philosophy behind the former Wall Street exec’s LES gelato shop is simple: Make the purest flavors possible and leave the triple-caramel swirling and the chocolate-fudge chunking to those hippies up in Vermont. One peek into the hospital-clean space gives customers the impression they’re subjects in a (very tasty) science experiment, and with a choice of 48 flavors (there are 250 in all), kids get to design their own laboratory creation. Cautious eaters can rest assured there are plenty of recognizable flavors, like banana, coconut or dulce de leche, but encourage their more adventurous sibs to try the rose petal, cheddar cheese or dark-chocolate cinnamon gelato. Small cup $4.25. 188 Ludlow St at E Houston St (212-343-9922, laboratoriodelgelato.com).
     

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: Melt Bakery

    Perfect for little ones who just can’t decide between a soft baked cookie and a cold summery treat, the crafty Melt Bakery serves up a delicious dose of both. As the only shop in the city that sells ice cream sandwiches exclusively, you might expect business to lag behind other, more traditional shops, but owner Julian Plyter is confident in two things: “They’re perfect for kids because they aren’t messy at all. Parents love that!”—plus, he swears he makes the only (correct) Snickerdoodle in Manhattan. Kid favorites here include the Lovelet, a red velvet whoopee pie with cream cheese ice cream, the Thick Mint (a much heartier helping than the Girl Scout variety) and the devilish Morticia, a crackly chocolate cookie with malted chocolate–rum ice cream. Most sandwiches also come in mini sizes—we like the adorable pink-and-white Sweet Pea. Sandwich $4, mini size $2.50. 132 Orchard St between Delancey and Rivington Sts (646-535-6358, meltbakery.com).
     

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Best ice cream shops for kids in New York City: OddFellows Ice Cream Co.

The fact that inspiration for this new ice cream shop came from its pregnant co-owner’s midnight food cravings explains a lot: Here, you’ll find kooky combos like chorizo caramel swirl (you’ll swear you just ate Brazilian) and a spicy lime tarragon sorbet made the old-fashioned way. Milk, which is locally sourced and pasteurized in-house, is infused with flavor even before the freezing process begins—just the way pastry chef Sam Mason (formerly of wd~50) likes it. Steer kids to the maple bacon pecan, mango or aromatic strawberry lavender sorbet, or splurge for the to-die-for cornbread sundae (pictured), topped with blueberry compote, maple syrup and bacon-scented whipped cream. Cornbread sundae $8. 175 Kent Ave between North 3rd and North 4th Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-599-0556, oddfellowsnyc.com).


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