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Photograph: Courtesy Wanderlust Creamery

The 20 best ice cream shops in Los Angeles

When L.A. gets hot, reach for local remedies: an ocean breeze, shady trees and, of course, the best ice cream in the city.

By Stephanie Breijo, Kate Wertheimer and Erin Kuschner
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Endless summers in Los Angeles mean nonstop cravings for the best ice cream around. Not key lime pie, not jelly doughnuts, maybe not even soft serve—we’re talking rich, creamy ice cream. When temperatures climb, treat yourself to the city’s tastiest frozen treats, some of which are built on fresh fruits, herbs and veggies from L.A.’s incredible farmers’ markets. Whether you’re looking for jam-swirled seasonal flavors, globally inspired scoops or straight-up classic combos done right, L.A. has it all.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in Los Angeles

L.A.’s best ice cream shops

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Photograph: Courtesy Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

1. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Los Feliz

The James Beard Award-winning writer and ice cream whiz Jeni Britton Bauer extended her Ohio roots to Los Angeles with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, now in Venice, Los Feliz, Larchmont and Calabasas. The scoop shops offer an ecclectic choice of more than 20 flavors, including options such whiskey and pecan; brambleberry crisp; cold brew with coconut cream; and riesling-poached–pear sorbet. Looking for something traditional-leaning? Even the Milkiest Chocolate in the World is killer. You truly can’t go wrong. If there isn’t something on the signature menu, the limited-edition menu will surely have options that catch your attention.

2. McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Downtown Historic Core
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Founded in Santa Barbara, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams has more than taken over L.A. with some of the silkiest scoops around. You can find its elegant and classic flavors in Grand Central Market, Studio City and the Palisades, and for that we are eternally grateful. Where else would you get a scoop of salted caramel so decadent it should be illegal? Where else could you get flavors like cardamom and Swedish gingersnaps? McConnell’s, you make us melt.

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3. Wanderlust Creamery

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Tarzana
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There are plenty of artisanal ice cream shops at our disposal in L.A., but this might be the first one that inspires us to hop on a plane. The flavors at Wanderlust Creamery in Tarzana, Atwater Village, Venice, Pasadena and Fairfax include options such as Thai iced tea, Vietnamese coffee, Australian pavlova, and a truly phenomenal (and vegan) sticky rice with mango—essentially, the vacation you’ve been meaning to take. Everything is made in-house, including flavored cones (we’re partial to the ube and green tea options). Make the trip for a couple scoops—you won’t even need your passport.

4. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Restaurants Trucks

This modern ice cream parlor doesn’t make only vegan ice cream, but it does make some of the best vegan flavors we’ve ever tasted. NYC’s Van Leeuwen infiltrated L.A. in a big way, with shops in the Arts District, Silver Lake, Culver City, Franklin Village and El Segundo, and trucks usually stationed in Venice and Miracle Mile. You can expect plenty of the usual suspects (strawberry, mint chip, chocolate fudge brownie, cookies and cream) plus Van Leeuwen classics such as the tea-scented Earl Grey; the vegan, blue-and-green blend of matcha and spirulina almond cake in Planet Earth; and the vegan cookie crumble strawberry jam. Vegan flavors—made with cashew, coconut, cocoa butter and sometimes oat milk—never feel icy or lacking in flavor, and the dairy options are creamy as ever.

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5. Salt & Straw

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Larchmont Village

With wild flavors found nowhere else, this Portland-founded craft creamery puts an artisanal churn on the standard scoop. Their extensive menu boasts options both sinful and curious—many of which feature ingredients exclusive to Southern California, reflecting the company’s “farm-to-cone” philosophy. The best part? You don’t have to choose just one: Guests can opt for an ice cream flight including your choice of four flavors from both classic and seasonal menus. The ice cream shop now has locations in the Arts District, Larchmont, West Hollywood, Venice, Pasadena, Studio City and down in Anaheim.

Lavender with Saffron and rosewater icecream at Mashti Malone's Ice Cream
Lavender with Saffron and rosewater icecream at Mashti Malone's Ice Cream
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

6. Mashti Malone’s

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Hollywood

Forget the vanilla: At Mashti Malone’s in Hollywood, you’ll find delicately perfumed Persian ice cream in rare and wholly original flavor combos, such as ginger and rose water; orange blossom with pistachio; Persian cucumber; date; Alfonso mango; and saffron rose water—all of which augment the rundown of straightforward stalwarts like cookies and cream, strawberry, and mint chip, so you can mix and match to your heart’s content. You can even get them blended into a shake or smooshed between two wafer cookies (a Mashti Malone’s classic).

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Don't skip the Helados Pops ice cream this weekend.
Don't skip the Helados Pops ice cream this weekend.
Photograph: Michael Juliano

7. POPS Artisanal Creamery

Restaurants Ice cream parlors San Fernando Valley

The artists formerly known as Helados Pops now go by POPS Artisanal Creamery, but a scoop of hibiscus tea sorbet is just as sweet by any other name. The generational family operation whips up some of the best ice cream and sorbets in the Valley, drawing on the varying ripeness of fresh fruits to inform each batch—whose recipes get tweaked accordingly. Flavors here are bright and always rotating, so you might find spiced cucumber one week and cashew fruit the next, with a handful of flavors almost always in the mix (thankfully the tamarind, young coconut, and vegan chocolate are almost always on offer).

Antico Italian ice cream Los Angeles
Antico Italian ice cream Los Angeles
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

8. Antico

Restaurants Italian Koreatown

We could wax poetic about Chad Colby’s rustic Italian pastas and beyond-artful charcuterie, but when it comes to desserts, Antico’s pastry chef and chef de cuisine, Brad Ray, steals the spotlight. Within less than a year of opening, Ray made Antico sweets the stuff of legend, in no small part due to the restaurant’s freshly made, freshly spun ice cream. The machine—imported from Italy—spins the ice cream so quickly that the finished product feels airier and smoother than your average affair, and can come ribboned with orange cookies, dotted with pistachios, and creamy with Harry’s Berries strawberries, depending on the day’s flavors. You’ll find fewer flavors than you would at a traditional ice cream parlor, but you can buy it by the pint in whatever’s available.

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9. Sweet Rose Creamery

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Santa Monica
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Farm-fresh Sweet Rose Creamery keeps the Westside cooler with an outpost in Santa Monica as well as one in the Brentwood Country Mart. Seasonal flavors are big here, where visitors can choose from flavors packed with produce and herbs from the nearby Santa Monica Farmers Market. Don’t be surprised to find basil, sweet corn, and ginger with caramel ripple on offer alongside classic options such as vanilla, salted caramel and fresh mint, all available à la carte or in creations like their artisanal sundaes. If customization is your thing, try adding one of Sweet Rose Creamery’s house-made toppings, like pecan crumble or cacao nibs.

Photograph: Jolie Ruben

10. Coolhaus

Restaurants Trucks Culver City

This popular ice cream truck with a Culver City outpost takes its name from famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas—fitting, as you can build some great creations here. Famed for customizable ice cream sandwiches, you can construct your own “cool house” with tasty, creative ice cream flavors such as fried chicken and waffles or cherry cheesecake, sandwiched between a variety of house-made cookies. Locals and nearby families stop in for a post-dinner icy treat or sit down to Blue Bottle–spiked hot chocolate beverages.

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11. Fosselman’s Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Alhambra
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This Alhambra institution is like a leap back in time: Fosselman’s opened in 1919, and though it moved to its current location more recently (‘74, to be exact), it still provides all the old-timey charm of an old-school ice cream parlor. The flavors are almost all straightforward and classic, while the operation is run by third-generation Fosselman’s who offer half-gallons, choose-your-flavors ice cream cakes, and six-packs of ice cream sandwiches featuring chocolate cookies. Be on the lookout for specials, such as their popular Thin Mint ice cream.

Mochi ice cream at Mikawaya
Mochi ice cream at Mikawaya
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

12. Mikawaya

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Little Tokyo

This traditional Japanese mochi shop is a century-plus staple in Los Angeles, though not always at this location. Currently Mikawaya is tucked into Japanese Village Plaza, where it offers a few imported cookies, drinks and crackers in its retail section, but it’s best known for its famous mochi ice cream, packing a rainbow of creamy ice cream into sweet rice dough and available in flavors from the more expected—such as mango or green tea—to the more whimsical, such as plum wine or Kona coffee.

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Cafe de la Plage ice cream in Malibu
Cafe de la Plage ice cream in Malibu
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

13. Le Cafe de la Plage

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Malibu

Organic ingredients and hyper-seasonal flavors are the name of the game at this Malibu ice cream parlor, which also serves as a coffee bar with pastries and a limited menu of salads and sandwiches, too. While the quiches and croissants and lattes are a draw in and of themselves, the real reason to visit Le Cafe is the small-batch ice cream, available in cups or cones or milkshakes or macaron sandwiches and in flavors such as lemon, ginger and mint; caramelized almond and salted butter; anise; blueberry with banana; and all the classics—with a number of vegan options, too.

Photograph: Courtesy Scoops

14. Scoops

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Highland Park

Founder Tai Kim—graduate of both art school and cooking school—combined both studies to flex his creative muscles and came up with some of the most unexpected flavor combinations in town: Guinness chocolate, brown bread, strawberry balsamic, banana Oreo, and bacon caramel, just to name a few. It gets better: There’s also a rotating list of creamy, non-dairy flavors—varieties change daily and staff are always happy to let you try them, be it in Chinatown, Highland Park or Torrance.

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15. Humphry Slocombe

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Venice
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One of San Francisco’s most inclusive and creative ice cream brands finally landed in L.A., sliding into a sunny space on Abbott Kinney with delicious and even cheeky flavors. Look for options such as Hong Kong milk tea, Elvis (The Fat Years), and a Lucky Charms-topped Get Lucky sundae. They also host collabs with the likes of Blue Bottle Coffee and Ugly Produce, not to mention fundraising flavors and events that celebrate and benefit the LGBTQ+ community.

Carmela
Carmela
Photograph: Courtesy Carmela

16. Carmela Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Altadena

This is elegance in frozen-food form. The ever-popular Carmela—which is also sold in a few specialty food shops around L.A.—rides the locavore trend by incorporating fresh herbs and seasonal fruit into flavors like rose petal or spiced strawberry sorbet. The Pasadena location and its roving ice cream truck (most always parked at farmers’ markets) both offer sweet-toothed Angelenos the chance to sample a few favorites before choosing a flavor or two to be placed atop a cone or wedged between two cookies for an ice cream sandwich. 

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Mother Moo Creamery
Mother Moo Creamery
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

17. Mother Moo

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Sierra Madre

Sierra Madre locals stop in for root beer floats, milkshakes and ice cream in flavors like chocolate that’s made with three types of chocolate; roasted fig leaf; salted buttercream; rhubarb crumble; and triple milk, which combines buttermilk, cream and non-fat milk. Karen Klemens handcrafts her ice cream using local, seasonal produce and organic dairy, and rounds out the menu with homestyle pies and cakes, too. Stop by and you can even recreate Reese Witherspoon’s iconic ice cream throw from Big Little Lies—but honestly, who would want to waste ice cream this good?

Pumpkin chocolate chip macaron ice cream sandwich at MILK
Pumpkin chocolate chip macaron ice cream sandwich at MILK
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

18. Milk

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Fairfax District

If ever there was a place to satisfy all our guilty pleasures at once, it’s this hot spot in both Fairfax and Silver Lake. Milk’s bold, playful lettering and milk-bottle iconography carry over to the menu with tongue-staining milky treats such as scoops of watermelon, birthday cake, Thai tea, and blueberry crumble pie; strawberry tres leches milkshakes; fresh-baked cookies; hefty wedges of blue velvet cake; and Fruity Pebbles-encrusted macaron ice cream sandwiches.

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19. Sprinkles Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Beverly Hills

The immaculate, all-white shop gets as creative with its ice cream flavors as its sibling cupcake bakery, which sits right next door (you know, by the cupcake ATM machine). A rotating list of flavors is offered, with red velvet, Cap’n Crunch and salty caramel ranking as some of the most popular flavors. Just show up ready to wait in line—and keep your eye out for celebs who swear by the famed ice cream shop.

Afters Ice Cream
Afters Ice Cream
Photograph: Courtesy Afters Ice Cream

20. Afters Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Pasadena

On hot days, Afters Ice Cream may have lines around the block at each of their stores, but for good reason: Their milky buns filled with ice cream and sprinkled with crazy toppings are as craveable as they are delicious. Choose from handcrafted ice cream flavors such as cookie monster, banana walnut fudge and jasmine milk tea. (Pssssst—hey, vegans: There are vegan buns and ice cream flavors here, too.)

See the best ice cream shops in America

Sweet Republic
Photograph: Debby Wolvos

The 21 best ice cream shops in America

Restaurants Ice cream parlors

Whether you like oddball flavors or your taste is more vanilla, get your frozen fix at these top ice cream shops, from classic parlors to new-wave purveyors

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