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Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream King Kong Banana Split
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The 14 best ice cream shops in NYC

NYC is packed with acclaimed new ice cream parlors and old frozen favorites

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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We love ice cream in all its forms—and all year round. Though we’ll happily partake any time, ice cream—like music festivals, picnics and outdoor diningis a joyful harbinger of warmer weather. Just try to be grumpy with a great big ice cream cone on a sunny day—you cannot! New York City has an abundance of options for when you can’t catch the Mister Softee truck. These are our favorite classic, offbeat, unique and traditional ice cream offerings this season.

Time Out Market New York
  • Time Out Market
  • DUMBO

Sugar Hill Creamery owners Nick Larsen and Petrushka Bazin Larsen’s seasonal ice cream flavors are often inspired by their Midwestern and Caribbean backgrounds as well as their longtime home of Harlem. The husband-and-wife team has been crafting distinct ingredient combinations out of their Central Harlem store since 2017, and devoted fans hungry for frozen treats that you won’t find in the supermarket led the pair to open a second location in Hamilton Heights just a few years later. Stop by often—there’s always an innovative new flavor to try.

Best ice cream in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Chinatown
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A family-run Chinatown institution for more than 40 years, this popular scoop shop sells durian, pandan, red bean and other lesser-seen ice cream varieties. The place is compact, so plan on taking this perfect treat for a walk through the neighborhood. The same team also operates a Lower East Side offshoot at Essex Market.

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Forest Hills

If you want a real trip down memory lane, Eddie's Sweet Shop paved the road with sugar and cream. The Forrest Hills staple's been scooping frozen treats for more than 100 years. Its simple homemade ice cream and malted milkshakes make it look easy to withstand the test of time.

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Gowanus
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Though it now has 11 locations in NYC, we fancy this one's rooftop. Across its spots, Ample Hills churns out ever-changing, off-the-wall flavors that will please inner and actual kids alike. Snap! Mallow! Pop!, a marshmallow number studded with crunchy, toasted rice-cereal, is as comforting as a bake-sale Rice Krispies Treat. Ooey Gooey offers the ultimate indulgent scoop swirling chunks of St. Louis-style butter cake in creamy vanilla ice cream.

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Soho
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Nick Morgenstern’s flagship Greenwich Village parlor just introduced 40 brand new flavors for ice cream season, 2022. It might take until the fall to sample all the additions like olive oil chocolate eggplant, tahini and jelly, pineapple salted egg yolk, cardamom lemon jam and toasted rice yuzu swirl, but anything is possible with a little commitment. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

Although it first came to fame as a fairly precious artisinal local ice cream truck, then chain, Van Leeuwen's more recent and geographically wider renown is for its successful stunts like a "limited edition" mac and cheese flavor. But it still offers options like chocolate, honeycomb and Sicilian pistachio, all churned with hormone-free milk sourced from upstate cows, plus an array of vegan options. 

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Williamsburg
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The circus-striped ice cream spot has expanded into multiple locations, including Williamsburg's Domino Park. Chef-owner and wd~50 alum Sam Mason whips up unique flavors like lemon thyme shortbread and matcha rocky road.

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Carroll Gardens
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If you're searching for proof that New Yorkers love to pantomime simpler times, this old-timey soda fountain is the pudding. The antique-y spot evokes a Rockwellian universe, where sweethearts dip straws into a single egg cream and scrappy dogs lap up milk shake spills. Plus, there's an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients—just like in the old days.

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • East Village

Ice cream maestro Michael "Mikey" Cole's eponymous spot now has three locations: Harlem, midtown and the East Village. Dip into them all for a taste of creations like the Ice Ice Mikey ("Not just your traditional vanilla"), produce-based Incredible Hulk ("Not sure if it’ll give you the ability to hulk smash but it’s delicious!") and the Southern Hospitality ("If you love butter pecan, this is for you!")

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • West Village
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Ice cream truckers Doug Quint and Bryan Petroff offer their quirky soft-serve creations in a cute West Village shop, emblazoned with a giant rainbow-swirled cone. Crowd favorites like the Dorothy (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and crushed Nilla wafers) will make you feel like a golden girl.

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  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • Lower East Side
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This modern, industrial tasting room offers 40 flavors at a time, plucked from a 200-strong repertoire that includes wasabi, vanilla-saffron, avocado and a range of chocolate flavors, plus dozens of fruit sorbets. Can't decide? See what's being made in the glass-walled production room, visible from the street.

  • Restaurants
  • Ice cream parlors
  • East Village
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This colorful East Village shop is the brainchild of graphic-designer-turned-dessert-maven David Yoo, who's churning out all-natural sweet cream-based parlor classics like salted caramel and roasted pistachio, along with oodles of toppings. If it's one of those days where one scoop just won't cut it, go straight for the peanut butter pie milkshake—a blend of French vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and an entire slice of peanut butter pie.

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