10 Must-Try Philly Ice Cream Shops

The unofficial start of summer has arrived and the weather is heating up! Dropping by an ice cream shop for the chilling deliciousness of an ice cream cone is the perfect way to get you in the spirit! However, it’s much more than just the cone… and those experiences are no further than in our own humble Philadelphia. From Philadelphia-style ice cream, to French custard, to Italian gelato, to trendy Asian treats, the choices are endless. Here are just a few of the extensive options Philly has to offer to get you started on a sweet, sweet adventure!


45 North 12th Street

Photo courtesy of Bassett’s

With 158 years of experience and counting, this Philly original has been churning up classics since 1861. Regarded as the oldest ice cream shop in America, they are still serving up phenomenal milkshakes, cups, and cones in Reading Terminal Market. In recent years, Bassett’s can be found being distributed to stores and restaurants all over, including New York, Florida, Washington D.C., and even in China and South Korea! With traditional favorites such as Mint Chocolate Chip and Butter Pecan, and specialties like Guatemalan Ripple and Pomegranate & Blueberry Crunch, everyone can enjoy a taste of Philly history!

Must try: A cone is the way to go with Bassett’s and I suggest their masterful salted caramel pretzel flavor.

(Vegan options available—only sorbets)

Scoop DeVille

1109 Walnut Street
111 S Independence Mall E

Photo courtesy of Scoop DeVille

It’s your very own brightly-colored, retro ice cream factory! Start from 15 different flavors of ice cream as your base and then go wild with almost 100 toppings and add-ins. With so many fruits, candies, cookies, syrups, nuts,and cereals (even bacon bits!) you can make your dream ice cream in a snap. Can’t make up your mind? They also have premade blends to die for!

Must try: A fun and popular flavor is the “PB Cookie Crunch”. It is made from cookies and cream ice cream which gets blended with chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter, and Cap’n Crunch cereal.

(Vegan options available)

C & C Creamery

5461 Ridge Ave

This ice cream shopalso known as Custard & Cakes Creameryhas been dishing out ice cream since 1955. As a long-time family owned establishment, C & C is perfect for when you want that quintessential childhood cone. With all the classic flavors you know and love, along with a few decadent others (such as Caramel Apple Pie), this creamery is sure to please every palate.

Tip!: This creamery is seasonal. So make sure you go before October!

Must try: I suggest the refreshing and tropical “Pineapple Dole Whip Soft Serve” to send your taste buds on a summer getaway.

(Vegan options available)

Big Gay Ice Cream

1351 South Street

Starting from an ice cream truck in New York, this quirky ice cream shop has since made its way to Philly! With its childlike flavor imagination and their adult humor, it truly is “both for kids and for those of us who are kids at heart.” It’s also the only shop on this list with its own theme song: Big Gay Ice Cream Song by Jane Wiedlin!

Must try: Of course, the cult classic “The Salty Pimp”. A vanilla soft serve injected with dulce de leche, encased in a slightly salty dark chocolate shell.

(Vegan options available—only fruit pops)

Little Baby’s

2311 Frankford Avenue
4903 Catharine Street
19 South 12th Street

Known for their uniquely inventive flavors and their hugely viral (and terrifying) debut commercial, this ice cream shop has been creating what I’d like to call “flavor art” since 2011. From imaginatively delectable (like Vanilla Coconut Clove and Shoo Fly Pie) to just plain strange (like Earl Grey Sriracha and Sushi), visiting the Little Baby’s shops is perfect for every level of adventure.

Must try: Their flavors rotate for each of their ice cream shops so you never know exactly what you’re going to get, but you will never be disappointed! Only for the truly adventurous, Pizza and Everything Bagel flavored ice creams are a once in a lifetime taste.

(Vegan options available)

Arctic Scoop

1812 East Passyunk Ave

Photo courtesy of Arctic Scoop

Inspired by their childhood and Asian street food, this ice cream shop takes their own spin on two East-Southeast Asian classics. Bite down on a warm Hong Kong-style egg waffle or eat out of a refreshing Thai-inspired coconut bowl. You’ll want to take a picture of these beauties before digging in!

Must try: The gorgeous coconut bowl ice cream is a must! I suggest trying it with either matcha, taro, strawberry, or pandan flavors but you can choose whatever flavor you like.

(Vegan options available)

Sweet Charlie’s

711 Walnut Street
1921 Walnut Street

Beginning in Thailand around 2009, rolled ice cream has since gained popularity all around the worldeventually landing in Sweet Charlie’s by 2015. Rolled ice cream starts off with an ice cream base and mix-ins, which are then poured onto a subzero plate, frozen, then rolled into the most delicious cylinders you’ll ever see. As the nation’s largest ice cream brand, you just have to try every combination they’ve got!

Must try: The “Love Park” is a Philly signature made with chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzels for that perfect mix of sweet, salty, and nutty. The Rittenhouse Square location has also recently added “After Dark” which is a weekly alcoholic flavor served after 6pm.

(Vegan options available)


32 S 40th Street

Photo courtesy of Winterfell

With Game of Thrones coming to a close, what better way to celebrate than with a Game of Thrones themed ice cream shop! Only—it’s not exactly ice cream; Winterfell serves milky, creamy shaved ice! This dessert is called many things but in Taiwanese (its origin’s language) it goes by “xue hua bing” or “snow flower”. It is (optionally flavored) frozen condensed milk that is then shaved into fluffy ribbons and topped with various fruits, syrups, and candies. For an out-of-country experience in the comfort of Philadelphia, Winterfell is the place to be!

Must try: For GOT fans: the “Red Wedding” which is strawberry ice topped with strawberries, pocky sticks, chocolate chips, and whipped cream (plus a variety of other toppings you can pile on!). I also suggest the “Naruto” which is a Taiwanese classic: mango ice, mango pops, mangoes, coconut shavings, and whipped cream.

(Vegan options available)


9 W Girard Ave

Photo courtesy of Weckerly’s

This “micro-creamery” uses natural, local ingredients for their handmade, rich, French-style custard. They pride themselves on their freshness and unique flavor combinations, often involving hand-picked flowers, herbs, fruits, and more. It is truly a “from farm to scoop” experience.

Must try: Many of their flavors are seasonal sowhatever the season brings! A lovely June flavor to try is their Honeysuckle. They also offer amazingly unique ice cream sandwiches such as their Blueberry on Cardamom Grahams.

(Vegan options available—only sorbet)

The Franklin Fountain

116 Market Street

Photo courtesy of the Franklin Fountain

Very few ice cream shops do it like Franklin Fountain. With their turn-of-the-century building in the heart of Old City in Philadelphia, they’re giving the world a vintage ice cream parlor/soda shop experience. Old-timey uniforms, equipment, and decor will send you straight back to the good old days of 1901. From old-fashioned soda pop, to past candy classics, to good ol’ sundaes piled high, Franklin Fountain is a greatly needed blast from the past!   

Tip!: As of right now, they only accept cash.

Must try: While the wonderfully classic ice cream flavors they offer are great in their own right, there are two sundaes that are truly extraordinary. For the mint lovers: the “Franklin Mint” is a bowl full of vanilla bean and mint chip ice cream topped with marshmallow glaze, chocolate syrup, creme de menthe, whipped cream, and a mint chocolate coin. For the coffee lovers: the “Lightning Rod” is coffee ice cream surrounded by brownie pieces and topped with whipped cream, a shot of espresso, chocolate covered coffee beans, and a pretzel rod.

(Vegan options available)

In the city of brotherly love, there are so many restaurants and food options. However, nothing gets perhaps as much love as our dear ice cream. We hope this small list gets you ready for summer and inspired to explore every inch Philly has to offer.

Interested in trying ice cream internationally? Want to truly have a summer getaway? Contact us at info@chloejohnston.com to organize a personalized trip to Italy, Bali, and more!