Are you an ice cream lover? If so, plan your next sweet escape to one of these 10 ice cream shops around the United States.
Back in college, my English composition professor posed our class a deep, thought-provoking question — What makes life worth living?
Along with my classmates, I pondered. Eventually I came up with this short (and sweet) list: the feeling of butterflies in my stomach when I have a crush, the twang of a strummed guitar, and strawberry ice cream.
If you agree that ice cream is a reason life is worth living, you are going to love this list. In 2016, I mostly traveled within the United States, and one thing we Americans do oh so well is ice cream.
It probably won’t surprise you that Wisconsin (and the Midwest in general) is well represented on this list. But, will America’s Dairlyand come out on top? You’ll have to read on to find out!
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10. Door County Ice Cream Factory & Sandwich Shoppe | Sister Bay, Wisconsin
While eating and drinking my way around Door County, I indulged in this classic chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream sundae topped with hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry. This Sister Bay ice cream shop makes all 45 flavors in house, and you’re likely to find more than 25 flavors available when you visit.
Hours: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Daily
Stay Nearby: Country House Resort (2.2 miles)
9. Oscar’s Gelato Micro-Creamery | Minneapolis, Minnesota
With Twin Cities Food Tours, I stopped into Wilde Cafe & Spirits for this creamy little taste of Oscar’s salted caramel gelato. All the gelato flavors are made in house by the dessert chef. I recommend taking your gelato to go for a stroll through the riverfront neighborhood.
Location: Wilde Cafe & Spirits, 65 Main Street SE, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hours: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday
Stay Nearby: Graduate Minneapolis (2.1 miles)
8. Blank Slate Creamery | Ann Arbor, Michigan
The bitter and sweet combination of Blank Slate Creamery’s Salty Caramel Coffee ice cream reminded me of a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino®. The chocolate peanut butter scoop beneath it was utterly delicious, too. This family-owned creamery makes its ice creams from all-natural ingredients, including milk and cream from the Detroit area’s Guernsey Dairy, and is known for its unique flavors. You’ll also find non-dairy flavors and sorbet.
Location: 300 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Hours: 3 – 9 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 3 – 10 p.m. Friday, 2 – 10 p.m. Saturday, 2 – 9 p.m. Sunday
7. Batch | San Luis Obispo, California
Ice cream rolled in rainbow sprinkles and sandwiched by chocolate chip cookies is the stuff of childhood fantasies. To build your own dreamy ice cream sandwich, you’ll select your cookies, ice cream flavor, and if you’d like your sandwich rolled in sprinkles or chocolate chips.
Hours: Temporarily closed due to COVID-19 | Normal Hours: 12 – 9 p.m. Daily in Summer, 3 – 9 p.m. Thursday – Sunday in Winter
Stay Nearby: Granada Hotel & Bistro (.3 miles)
6. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop | Disney Springs™ – Lake Buena Vista, Florida
At Disney Springs™, the best place to eat dessert is the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop. When I visited, I chose the Ocean Beach Sea Salt Caramel Sundae of vanilla ice cream covered in hot fudge, caramel, and sea salt. The over-the-top sundae is topped with whipped cream, a creamy caramel swirl, a Ghirardelli® SQUARES milk chocolate square, and a sprinkle of sea salt. So incredibly indulgent!
Location: Disney Springs™ (Marketplace), 1710 E Buena Vista Dr, Marketplace, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Daily
Stay Nearby: B Resort & Spa (1 mile)
5. Purple Door Ice Cream | Milwaukee, Wisconsin
In 2016, I clearly had a mini-affair with salted caramel ice creams, and none were smoother than Purple Door’s. This Milwaukee ice cream shop is a Wisconsin favorite that makes more than 200 flavors including vegan options such as vegan cookies & cream.
Location: 205 S 2nd St, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hours: 12 – 9 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 12 – 10 p.m. Friday – Sunday
Stay Nearby: The Iron Horse Hotel (.3 miles)
4. Kopp’s Frozen Custard | Greenfield, Wisconsin
It may be the most nondescript on this list, but frozen custard is delightfully rich, smooth, and creamy. America’s Dairyland is known for this delectable frozen treat, so I had to stop for a scoop at Kopp’s Frozen Custard, a local chain in the Milwaukee suburbs. Cones and dishes are available in vanilla, Swiss chocolate, and the flavor of the day. Plus, the menu features malts, shakes, floats, and sundaes all made with frozen custard!
Location: 7631 W Layton Ave, Greenfield, Wisconsin
Hours: 10:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. Daily
Stay Nearby: Fairfield Inn & Suites Milwaukee West (5.7 miles)
3. Ghirardelli On-The-Go at Ghirardelli Square | San Francisco, California
A classic hot fudge sundae completely hits the spot. This “world famous” one is creamy vanilla ice cream smothered in Ghirardelli® homemade hot fudge and garnished with whipped cream, chopped almonds, and a cherry.
Location: 8801 Beach Street, San Francisco, California
Hours: 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Stay Nearby: Argonaut Hotel, a Noble House Hotel (.2 miles)
2. Browndog Treats, Drinks, & Eats | Northville, Michigan
I visited Browndog Treats, Drinks, & Eats to taste the Metro Detroit creamery’s intriguing ice cream flavors, and they all sounded so interesting that I couldn’t choose just one. My waffle cone trio included Sweet & Sassy, a sweet strawberry scoop with black pepper and a rich balsamic reduction; Cookie Monster, a blue cookie dough ice cream churned with chunks of cookie dough, cookies n cream, and house-made chocolate chip cookies; and Salty Dog, a salted caramel ice cream swirled with salted caramel sauce, pecans, and brownies.
Hours: 4 – 9 p.m. Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday – Sunday
Stay Nearby: The Inn at St. John’s (3 miles)
1. Door County Creamery | Sister Bay, Wisconsin
Taking the cake, Door County Creamery’s goat-milk gelato charmed me just as much the destination did. Seriously, I fell hard for Door County, and this roasted almond fig gelato was certainly part of that. In addition to an assortment of gelato flavors, the creamery specializes in artisanal cheeses and sandwiches. That is why I recommend stopping here for lunch and gelato as a must-have culinary activity in Door County!
Hours: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday – Monday, Closed Tuesdays
Stay Nearby: Country House Resort (.8 miles)
Plan Your Sweet Escape To One Of These 10 Ice Cream Shops In The United States
As you can see, Wisconsin lives up to its nickname as America’s Dairyland, but tasty ice creams can be found all across the United States. To map your route to these 10 ice cream shops, check out the interactive Google map below!
Are you an ice cream lover, too? Save this post to your food travel or ice cream boards on Pinterest for future reference!
You want an ice cream sundae now, right? Go ahead, indulge a bit.
Think you’ve eaten the best ice cream in the world?
Tell me about it the comment section below!
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