Philly Ice Cream Shops Not to Miss

There is an astounding amount of excellent ice cream in this city. Whether you’re looking for a simple scoop of vanilla, a unique flavor combination, or an over-the-top sundae, there’s something that will fit the bill. These are our picks for shops that serve some of the best ice cream in Philadelphia.

Zsa’s

Hand holding a cone in front of sign for "Zsa's Ice Cream."

Zsa’s rose to popularity selling its excellent frozen treats at farmers markets. Thankfully, their permanent, cute storefront in Mt. Airy makes it easy to find them whenever you have a craving.

The ingredients in Zsa’s ice cream are locally sourced, and many flavors include home-made baked goods like their stand out Cookie Jar that features four types of cookies. Flavors rotate seasonally, and some of our favorites include Black Magic (coffee and brownie), peppermint bark, and strawberries and cream.

Zsa’s offers ice cream sandwiches, pints, or scoops (with a colorful cone from Brooklyn bakery The Konery, if you choose). There are also occasional treats like hot chocolate floats or specials based on collaborations with other businesses like the outstanding ice cream sandwich made with The Biscuit Lady’s cinnamon sugar biscuit. Order at the back door and pick up at the side window.

Weckerly’s

Cup of ice cream in front of a storefront  with a sign for "Weckerly's Ice Cream."

Although Weckerly’s recently changed hands after over a decade, they continue to churn out the same delicious ice cream and outstanding ice cream sandwiches using the original recipes. The cute shop makes French-style ice cream using local ingredients, including organic milk from a dairy just 35 miles away. From pasteurizing their own milk and making their ice cream base to perfecting the flavors and mix-ins, no detail is overlooked here. It’s no wonder it’s a Fishtown favorite.

Flavors are seasonal and include delicious options like chocolate peanut butter pretzel and eggnog. German chocolate cake and whole bean vanilla are the hits in our house.

Franklin Fountain

Ice cream cone in a street scene.

It’s not unusual for the line at this tiny shop with an old fashioned soda fountain vibe to stretch around the block on summer weekends, proving that Franklin Fountain is one of the best ice cream shops in Philly.

The menu here is extensive—2 dozen traditional and exotic flavors are available. You’ll find standards like vanilla bean and Hydrox cookie as well as flavors like black sesame, peppermint stick, and more that are added seasonally. Many flavors have an historic or local tie, such as their apple butter ice cream that includes local apples and apple butter from a Pennsylvania company founded in 1892. Our favorites include fudge brownie and the root beer float that includes house-made root beer.

Ice cream sandwiches, shakes, and sundaes with house-made toppings are available along with some baked goods and seasonal specialties like hot chocolate. The products here are premium priced but worth it.

Bassetts

Exterior of building with takeout window and "Bassetts" sign.

With its prime location in Reading Terminal Market, Bassetts is many people’s introduction to ice cream in the city. And what a fabulous introduction it is. Any of their over 35 flavors of ice cream and sorbet is a good bet from classic mint chocolate chip to English toffee crunch.

Bassetts history dates to 1861, making it the oldest ice cream company in the US. It’s been around so long that it’s easy to forget just how good the ice cream here is. Scoops, pints, and quarts are available at the Reading Terminal Market location. Bassetts is also widely available at grocery stores across the area, and it is featured in scoop shops such as the Chestnut Hill staple Bredenbeck’s Ice Cream Parlor.

Somerset Splits

Butterfinger ice cream sundae topped with whipped cream in a cup on a table in front of a door labeled "Somerset Splits."

Somerset Splits produces some of the most decadent ice cream treats around. Using Bassetts ice cream, they pile on just about anything you could think of to make unusual and delicious combinations at their store in Port Richmond.

The classic Somerset Split is always popular with three scoops, a banana, three sauces, whipped cream, and a cherry. From there, things get creative with toppings including Nutella, cereal, cake, potato chips, and cotton candy sprinkles. The specials are super creative, or you can make your own sundae from your favorite ingredients. They typically have two vegan flavors available. Check their Instagram for featured items (and truly quirky posts).

Scoop DeVille

Scoop DeVille food stand with signage and posted menus.

In its 30+ years of serving creamy concoctions, Scoop DeVille has become an ice cream institution for their variety and friendly service.

The offerings of Scoop DeVille are unique because customers get to make their own custom blends. Whether you want Junior Mints, strawberries, or brownie bits, you’ll find your choice among the nearly 100 options that get mixed into over a dozen ice cream flavors. If that’s too many options, there are suggested blends, too (we’re partial to the Oreo Mudslide with plenty of hot fudge). In addition to the blends, traditional ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, milkshakes, sundaes, and more are available.

D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats

Cup of gelati in front of a sign: "D'Emilio's Old World Ice Treats. Est. 2013. Pennsylvania, USA."

As an expert in artisanal water ice and the best soft serve we’ve ever had, D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats is the perfect dessert spot in any season. Using his grandmother’s sorbetto recipe, Chris D’Emilio makes numerous creative water ice flavors using fresh, mostly local ingredients.

It’s possible to buy water ice only here, but with soft serve like this, you’d be missing out. Add some soft serve to water ice for a gelati (pro tip: birch beer and vanilla tastes like a root beer float), or go all-in on the soft serve alone. D’Emilio’s makes amazing sundaes with fanciful names like Love Ya to Reeses packed with peanut butter flavor, the Unicorn Sundae featuring the colors of the rainbow, and the Pooh Bear sundae complete with clover honey. The menu is posted daily on Instagram.

Arctic Scoop

Ice cream wrapped in a bubble waffle.

Arctic Scoop serves some of the most Instagram-worthy ice cream desserts in town. This East Passyunk shop offers Hong Kong-style egg waffles as the vehicles for their treats (cones and cups are available, too). Customers then choose from traditional ice cream flavors like strawberry or more unexpected offerings like lychee, rose, or black sesame. Add a condensed milk drizzle and toppings ranging from fresh fruit to Fruity Pebbles and you have your custom creation. We’ve never had anything here that was less than exceptional.

Milk Jawn

Hand holding a chocolate ice cream cone.

What started as a hobby for the founders of Milk Jawn turned into a business designed to share their creations with other “ice cream-obsessed Philadelphians.” Today, the small-batch, super-premium creations are available at their storefront in East Passyunk as well as seasonal farmers markets and select local grocery stores.

The Philly-style (no eggs) ice cream is packed with flavor and comes in fabulous combinations like Lemon Curd with Blueberry Basil Swirl. We’re also partial to Caramel Apple Pie, Dark Chocolate Orange, and Mint Stracciatella. Lines can be long in the summer as people queue for the delicious concoctions, but they move quickly, and the wait is worth it.

Dre’s Homemade Water Ice & Ice Cream

Cup of ice cream on a stainless steel counter.

At pop-ups and festivals all around town, Dre’s Homemade Water Ice & Ice Cream offers a variety of flavors not to be missed. There are more traditional options like chocolate chip brownie and surprises like the slightly more unusual (and addictive) sweet potato pie. Follow their social media to find their truck and carts.

1-900-Ice-Cream

Hand holding ice cream cone in front of a wall covered with stickers

Using local dairy and an unlimited variety of mix-ins, 1-900-Ice-Cream prides itself on (almost) never making the same flavor twice. They’ve created over 500 options so far. The rich ice cream in every flavor under the sun is packed with swirls and mix-ins ranging from rainbow chocolate chips and amarena cherries to carrot cake and pop-tarts.

The Fishtown location offers pints and soft serve. The location in Rittenhouse also adds scoops. Follow on social for current offerings and shipping promotions. Lines can be long.

Gran Caffe L’Aquila

Cup of gelato on a counter next to a napkin that reads "Gran Caffe L'Aquila Philadelphia"

While it doesn’t qualify as ice cream, any list of the best creamy frozen treats in the city would be incomplete without a mention of Gran Caffe L’Aquila. This Italian café and specialty shop makes outstanding gelato in a broad range of flavors with top-quality ingredients. You know gelato is good when the mix-ins are visible and the colors are natural (no electric green or bizarre pink here. We usually go with classics like hazelnut or tiramisu.

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