What makes the perfect sundae? Add a dusting of sprinkles, a dollop of whipped cream and douse it with hot fudge. Viola! Your taste buds will be grateful for the super-sweet expedition.
For delicious desserts, check out our list of the best ice cream shops in NYC for kids. No matter what you and the crew are craving, these destinations are nothing short of fabulous. From cones and cups to the more avant garde, these can't-miss venues serve up sweets for days.
Looking for more things to do with kids in NYC? We know a thing or two. Once you've finished your last licks at the best ice cream shops for kids in NYC, visit these family attractions, cool off at one of fun water playgrounds each borough has to offer or check out the best underrated museums in NYC.
Best ice cream shops in NYC for kids
CoolMess puts hungry customers in the driver's seat and lets them choose the basics that lead to a great sundae: the foundation, a vanilla, chocolate or strawberry sorbet, followed by a myriad of toppings. Play it safe with chocolate sprinkles and gummy bears or really amp things up with Reese's sauce, Oreo cookie crumbs or chocolate pretzels. This Instagram-worthy venue is the perfect spot to host a party, so keep it mind for your little one's upcoming birthday bash!
OK, OK, so this might be a cereal bar, but you have plenty of options to spice up the breakfast dish with a cone or cup of your favorite ice cream. If you so choose, we highly recommend trying a scoop of your favorite flavor and pairing it with your go-to cereal cereal (yep, unhealthy options like Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Puffs are among the options), adding a fun topping like chocolate chips or Teddy Grahams and rounding out the fun with a chocolate or strawberry caramel drizzle.
This popular artisanal chainlet got its start as a pair of roving trucks. Its second brick-and-mortar location, a sunny café in Boerum Hill, is outfitted with black-walnut tables, pendant lighting and a glass-paneled facade. Kiddos will definitely dig the vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint chip, and for more sophisticated palates (ahem, parents), there are also picks like Currants and Cream, Ceylon Cinnamon and Gianduja. For the first time this summer, the shop will debut soft-serve ice cream. Count us in!
This dessert paradise brings your kids' favorite treat to the next level with an ever-rotating menu of outrageous flavors crafted from the freshest ingredients. Figuring out what to order is the hard part—we suggest the Munchies, with pretzels, potato chips, Ritz crackers and mini M&Ms. You could order your ice cream in a plain ol' cup, but why would you when you can get it on a warm brownie? The location in Gowanus has booths and counter seating, but take your treats to the outdoor roof deck where you can take in stunning views of the Manhattan skyline frame by the Gowanus Canal below. The shop is also home to a huge production facility; little ones (and their parents) will love watching the ice cream being made. Feeling really inspired? Why not try an Ample Hills class?
When it’s time for a treat, this old-timey soda fountain shop offers a variety of different floats with soda made in-house and Adirondack Creamery ice cream. Kids will want to grab a stool at the counter and watch their sundae handcrafted on the spot (half sizes are available on most flavors, which is a solid option for tiny tummies). The Sir Twix-a-little features Farmacy’s shortcake crumbles topped with caramel and vanilla ice cream in a milk chocolate hard shell and sprinkled with fleur de sel. To keep from overdosing on sugar, the shop also serves more savory meals, including sandwiches, freshly baked biscuits and granola. Grab a seat in the back and enjoy your ice cream while playing games with the family!
The small-batch wares at this Brooklyn mini-chain are crafted on a Hudson Valley farm from organic dairy and sugar. Kids can top the cold stuff with all-natural, often locally harvested toppings, including honey, hot fudge, sea salt, Nunu chocolates or, for the daring, balsamic vinegar.
We're on the fence as to whether our favorite invention from Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi is her crack pie 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
You’ll never go back to artificially-flavored sugary popsicles after a taste from any of People’s Pops’ offerings. Seasonal flavors such as strawberry basil and blackberry pear ginger are handmade in Brooklyn using fruits bought at NYC greenmarkets, herbs and organic cane sugar. These options are certainly a notch up from what your kids get at camp!
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 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. Inspired by old-school soda fountains, Mason fills the lofty beige room with vintage accents, including a chalkboard menu, custom wooden stools and dangling schoolhouse lights. Steer kids to the maple bacon pecan, mango or aromatic strawberry lavender sorbet, or splurge for the to-die-for cornbread sundae, topped with blueberry compote, maple syrup and bacon-scented whipped cream, and nab a seat at the red-topped counter for house-made sodas and thick shakes spun from the daily offerings.
The Staten Island go-to—which first came into existence in 1932, but has since changed locations—has been satisfying families everywhere with hand-made ice cream cakes, classic candies you can no longer find in the stores and events such as open mics and workshops that the whole gang will love.
What started as an ice cream truck in 2009 expanded into a brick-and-mortar shop in the East Village in 2011. Today, their refreshing treats can also be found in the West Village and Philadelphia’s Center City. Beat the heat with rich flavors like the Rocky Roadhouse Cone, chocolate ice cream with toasted almonds, melted chocolate chunks and mini marshmallows. If you’d rather savor their desserts slowly and over the course of several days—if you can resist devouring it all in one sitting—ice cream pints in seven flavors can be ordered order online or through retailers across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
More fun for kids
Most of our early years were fortified with sugary cereals from the Kellogg’s family: Corn Pops, Cocoa Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran, on and on. So when the brand opened up a store near Times Square in 2016, they made all our childhood dreams come true with our favorite flavors and “Kid at Heart Boosts” like chocolate sauce, cookie dough, graham crackers and Pop Tart crumble. Mix your own bowl or select one of their own, such as Birthday Cake (Frosted Flakes, yellow cake mix, vanilla syrup and rainbow sprinkles) or Life in Color (Fruit Loops, lime zest, marshmallows and passion fruit jam). Recipes were developed by Milk Bar’s own cereal milk genius Christina Tosi so you know it’s going to taste better than you remember.
A new addition to the budding cereal bar craze, this Little Italy cafe dishes out 18 types of cereals, including faves like Trix, Lucky Charms and Honey Nut Cheerios. Top your pick with drizzles or any of 18 toppings, which include other cereal to mix into your bowl. Pick from a menu of specials that include The Big Apple Pie, a blend of Apple Jacks, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and granola topped with apple and caramel drizzle. Or just convert your cereal bowl cravings into a taste for cereal ice cream or milkshake instead.
When street gear and sneaker store Kith opened up shop in Prospect Heights, it added a cereal bar to the mix. Kith Treats Cereal Bar offers 23 different cereals, including classics like Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, 21 toppings and four milk options. Not only can you make custom cereal combos, but other cereal-based goodies like cereal ice cream swirls and cereal milkshakes are also on the menu. The Brooklyn shop features a menu of special mixes created by celebs and friends of the brand while their newest location, Nike x Kith Shop in Lower Manhattan, is a partnership that combines the sneaker brand’s iconic elements with Kith’s rise in cereal expertise.
Momofuku’s sister dessert shop has been driving the masses crazy with its cereal milk, which tastes like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of cornflakes. You can drink Milk Bar’s cereal milk straight up (there’s even a DIY cereal milk mix) or in a cup of soft serve ice cream made with the special milk, cornflakes, brown sugar and salt.
The cross between ice cream and shaved ice has made a tasty impact on the NYC dessert scene, largely thanks to success of Snowdays. The company puts an unconvential twist on typical ice cream parlours with its shaved cream offerings—ranging in flavors from chocolate and mint oreo to roasted black sesame and sweet milk. Speaking of milk, what goes better with the dairy product than cereal? Choose a flavor as the base of your dessert, add a breakfast vibe with Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms or Cap'n Crunch and don't forget to sweeten things up with marshmallows, wafers, M&Ms, fruit and drizzles of honey, fruit puree and more. These dessert-breakfast hybrids are welcome at any point during the day!
From acai bowls and breakfast burritos to smoothies and muffins, The Bean is the ideal place to make a pitstop first thing in the morning. Whether you're craving something sweet or healthy, you're bound to find a new favorite order. Kids will swoon over the cereal bars—made from Rice Krispie Treats, Fruity Peebles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch respectively. Plus, the shop's version of PopTarts make for a super sweet start to the morning. You'll probably have a difficult time making a selection, so we recommend the acai bowls during the week and sweet and savory treats to summon those weekend vibes.
When a banana split won't cut it, spice up your dessert with a visit to Sam's Fried Ice Cream. The Chinatown staple is well-known for its atypical take on ice cream—a crunchy exterior and cool, creamy interior that begs you to take a bite. Customers can opt for a breakfast twist on their selections with treats such as the vanilla Fruity Pebbles milkshake, Fruity Pebbles crust, strawberry ice cream with cornflakes and much more.