Get the Scoop: The 37 Best Ice Cream Spots in the Bay

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Stay cool on your days out with a sweet treat from one of these amazing Bay Area ice cream spots. From cones shaped like a fish, fresh flavors made-to-order or a delicious non-dairy alternative, there is something for everyone. Get the real scoop this summer with our guide to the best ice creams in the Bay!

San Francisco

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The Baked Bear

This Fisherman's Wharf ice cream shop is dishing up our favorite scoops sandwiched between two deliciously-fresh cookies and we are down for it. With cookie options like snickerdoodle, funfetti and red velvet, you may just have a hard time deciding. Get your sandwich pressed for that warm-from-the-oven goodness. 

2824 Jones St.
303 Columbus Ave. 
San Francisco, CA
Online: thebakedbear.com

Polly Ann Ice Cream

Polly Ann’s has been a celebrated fixture in the Outer Sunset for over 60 years. Overwhelmed by all the choices? Spin the flavor wheel and leave it up to fate. You may just get lucky and win a free cone! Get your scoop and head on down to Ocean Beach for some ice cream, sand and surf with the kids.

3138 Noriega St.
San Francisco, CA
Online:pollyann.com

Bi-Rite Creamery

Bi-Rite Creamery, a San Francisco institution, is just steps away from another SF destination-must, Dolores Park; ice cream after a romp in the kids’ playground makes for a grand outing. There’s almost always a line out the door, so if your brood is getting impatient, try the soft-serve line: it’s usually shorter, and you can score ice cream sandwiches and popsicles from there as well.

3639 18th St. and 550 Divisidero St.
San Francisco, CA
Onlinebiritecreamery.com

photo: Gott’s Roadside

Gott’s Roadside

Looking for a dairy and nut-free (but still delicious) ice cream? Gott’s has your back with their oat milk-based soft serve from their Ferry Building location. Choose from a chocolate, vanilla or chocolate-vanilla swirl.

Ferry Building Marketplace, 1 Ferry Building #6 , San Francisco, CA
Online:gotts.com

Humphry Slocombe

Head to Humphry Slocombe for the ultimate in wacky and unexpected flavors. Although they’re most famous for their exotic inventions like chèvre fig and Szechaun strawberry, you’ll still be able to find more kid friendly delights like Wexler’s root beer and malted milk chocolate.

2790A Harrison St. and 1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA

2335 Broadway
Oakland, CA
Onlinehumphryslocombe.com

Ice Cream Bar

Ice Cream Bar is the coolest and not just because of the ice cream. It’s a full service 1930s-style soda fountain, down to the servers in bow ties and paper hats. The bar at the back of the shop serves genuine old fashioned concoctions like tinctures and phosphates.

815 Cole St.
San Francisco, CA
Onlinetheicecreambarsf.com

Mitchells Ice Cream

This long-running Outer Mission favorite has been serving delicious specialty ice cream, sorbet and sundaes for over 50 years. They serve up all the classics, as well as their signature tropical flavors; we love Ube-Macapuno, purple yam blended with young coconut. They also sell pre-packed half gallons if you want to stockpile a supply at home—or make the kids really happy.

688 San Jose Ave.
San Francisco, CA
Onlinemitchellsicecream.com

Ghiradelli Chocolate

If you are hanging near Fisherman’s Wharf, there are two places to score classic scoops complete with a killer view. Dating back to 1864, the Original Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory in the Clock Tower Building serves up World Famous Ghirardelli Hot Fudge Sundaes, plus it has a bustling chocolate shop and original chocolate manufacturing equipment on display. At a second location in the West Plaza, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace also serves legendary sundaes and features a live chocolate master creating handcrafted chocolates.

900 North Point St.
San Francisco, CA
Onlineghirardelli.com

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous

The most tongue-twistingly named ice cream shop in San Francisco, this Dogpatch shop is worth the visit even if you keep mispronouncing the name. Their flavors are smooth, clean and inventive without being over the top: try Pink Squirrel (a mix of almond and chocolate flavors) or candied violet, while the kiddies will love the milk and cookies flavor.

699 22nd St.
San Francisco, CA
Onlinefacebook.com

photo: San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery

San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery

This Inner Sunset spot is run by two brothers with a passion for ice cream and the neighborhood. Their wildy creative, house-made flavor combinations include strawberry balsamic, honey berry breakfast and peanut butter chocolate fudge. Hometown Creamery currently is the only ice cream shop in San Francisco that makes their ice creams completely from scratch in-house.

1290 9th Ave.
San Francisco, CA
Onlinesfhometowncreamery.com

Smitten

What started as a svelte shipping container serving up no more than three flavors a day has turned into a local household name, in no small part to the high-tech show that comes with a visit: Proprietor Robyn Sue Fisher developed the Brrr machine, which uses liquid nitrogen to make ice cream in 60 seconds. The original Hayes Valley location still serves a limited menu, but their newer, bigger outposts offer more choices. Bonus: they also ship nationwide! 

432 Octavia St.
2404 California St.
904 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA

5800 College Ave.
Oakland, CA

3055 Olin Ave. Suite 1055
San Jose, CA
Onlinesmittenicecream.com

Swensen’s Ice Cream

This wonderfully retro-style ice cream parlor in Russian Hill is known for its rich, creamy, flavorful ice cream. Parking is tricky, so plan accordingly. Give the kids an extra thrill and hop on the Hyde Street cable car (or the 45 bus from Union Street) and let someone else take the wheel. But don’t spend all your quarters—this place is cash only.

1999 Hyde St.
San Francsico, CA
Onlineswensens.com

photo: Salt and Straw

Salt and Straw

The Portland favorite made it down to the Bay Area and we are thrilled! They specialize in unique, interesting flavors, like brown butter rice gelato and olive oil with lemon custard, but the most popular items are sea salt caramel ribbon and toasted strawberry tres leches. Bonus: you can order in advance for local pickup. You can also have your pints delivered or shipped nationwide! 

2201 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA

586 Hayes St.
San Francisco, CA

250 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA

1309 Burlingame Ave.
Burlingame, CA

Westfield Valley Fair
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd.
San Jose, CA
Online: saltandstraw.com

Twirl and Dip

Twirl and Dip is the sweetest food truck in Golden Gate Park. Stationed near the California Academy of Sciences, their signature offering is an organic vanilla bean soft serve dipped in TCHO dark chocolate and sprinkled with Maldon sea salt that has grownups and kids alike queuing up for a cone.

335 Martin Luther King Jr Dr. (near California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park)San Francisco, CA
Onlinetwirlanddip.com

Garden Creamery

Super unique and decadent flavors with a punch. Huge ice cream selection made from the best local ingredients and one of the most extensive vegan menus in the city. 

COVID-19 Update: You can pre-order on Thursday at 7 p.m. for pick up on Friday or Saturday. 

3566 20th St.
San Francisco, CA
Online: gardencreamery.com

East Bay

Fenton’s Creamery

This spot is seriously old-school—the original Fenton’s opened in 1894, when they delivered fresh milk by horse-drawn wagon. They seem to have ignored the crazy flavor fad—dark chocolate raspberry swirl or green tea is as wild as it gets—but they have truly mastered the more than 30 classic flavors they still mix up by hand. Movie trivia: Fenton’s classic ice cream parlor was even featured in Pixar’s Up.

4226 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA
Online: fentonscreamery.com

Curbside Creamery

This sweet little creamery in the Temescal neighborhood serves up scoops, ice cream sandwiches and fresh-made waffle cones. For treats on the go, track down their cooler-equipped trike on the weekends at the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market, Bites at the Lake and Bites off Broadway.

COVID-19 Update: You can pre-order for pickup or have your ice cream delivered via Caviar. 

482 49th St.
Oakland, CA
Online: curbsideoakland.com

YERSEN Gelato Cakes

Blink and you'll miss this tiny shop in a Danville shopping center. Gelato fans rave about all the amazing flavors that are made in house by the owner himself. Need to impress someone for their next birthday? Yersen's Gelato Cakes are almost too good to eat (we said ALMOST).

9000 Crow Canyon Rd
Ste N
Danville, CA
Online: yersengelato.com

 

Little Giant Ice Cream

Little Giant has made a giant impression on the Oakland ice cream scene—their ice cream is sweet, smooth and made on-site. Kids will love peeking into the back kitchen where the ice cream is made. Chances are they’ll also love the robot-themed décor with vintage robots hung on the walls.

COVID-19 Update: Pre-order for pickup or delivery. 

1951 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA
Onlinelittlegianticecream.com

Tucker’s Supercreamed Ice Cream

Tucker’s is THE place for ice cream in Alameda—they set up shop in 1941 and have been here ever since. They serve over 30 flavors of ice cream, sorbet and sherbet in their charming, old-fashioned parlor, all extra-whipped in order to live up to that “supercreamed” title.

1349 Park St.
Alameda, CA
Onlinetuckersicecream.com

Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery

Ice cream that's 100% vegan, dairy and gluten free? Mr Dewie's Cashew Creamery has done it with their cashew milk-based gelato. The brothers who founded Mr Dewie's were inspired to create the concoction when they found out they were both lactose intolerant. If you're a cashew fan, go for their roasted cashew flavor, otherwise they have a full menu of classic and updated flavors from chocolate orange chip to green tea. 

1116 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA

5959 Shellmound St.(inside the Emeryville Public Market)
Emeryville, CA

4184 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611
Onlinemrdewies.com

Uji Time Dessert

Impress your little ice cream lovers with this Japanese soft ice cream treat. Their eyes will triple size when they get to hold their taiyaki, an oversized cone made out of pancake batter, shaped like a fish (symbol of good luck in Japanese culture). Taiyaki means "baked sea bream" and it is perhaps the cutest Bay Area trend when it comes to noshing soft-serve in style.

2575 Telegraph Ave.
Berkeley, CA

22 Peace Plaza Suite 440 (inside the Japantown East Mall)
San Francisco, CA

2705 Stoneridge Drive, Unit H, Pleasanton

106S. B Street, San Mateo, CA 94401
Onlineujitimedessert.square.site

Cookiebar Creamery

Cookies and ice cream together sound like every little kid's dream come true. Add in some decidedly kid-tempting ice cream flavors like Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch and this is a must-stop if you're in the neighborhood with the littles. You can get just ice cream, just cookies, or get them together as an ice cream sandwich—we know what our choice would be.

647 Central Ave.
Alameda, CA

517 8th St.
Oakland, CA
Online: cookiebarcreamery.com

Yogurtland

Yogurtland is now available on all major platforms (Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, Ubereats) along with in-store pickup offering a peachy treat right at your doorstep—even contactless. Bonus: they just debuted their new Plant-Based Piña Colada flavor and it's just the vacation-substitute we all need right now. 

Online: yogurt-land.com

Peninsula

It’s-It Ice Cream

It’s-It ice cream sandwiches are a bit of Bay Area history: they used to be sold only at San Francisco’s iconic Playland-at-the-Beach before the park was demolished. Fortunately, It’s-It lives on. Yes, you can find It’s-It in grocery stores around the Bay Area, but it’s worth a stop by their factory store, as they carry some hard-to-find, rare flavors like pumpkin and strawberry.

865 Burlway Rd.
Burlingame, CA
Onlineitsiticecream.com

Palo Alto Creamery

Palo Alto locals used to flock here for the 15-cent milkshakes. Sure, that was 1923, but besides the price, not too much has changed since then. Come here for the ultimate old-timey diner experience, with breakfast served all day, burgers, fries and ice cream sundaes, of course.

566 Emerson St.
Palo Alto, CA
Onlinepaloaltocreamery.com

Rick’s Rather Rich Ice Cream

This ice cream shop is tucked away in an unassuming shopping center, but offers up a “rather rich” experience. They carry 48 flavors of ice cream, all hand-made in small batches, as well as their version of a popsicle, called "frozen ice." Take a hint from Rich’s store motto: “Eat Ice Cream for Daily Happiness”.

3946 Middlefield Rd.
Palo Alto, CA
Onlinericksicecream.com

Scoop Microcreamery

Scoop is indeed a micro-sized store, but it’s hard to miss when you’re walking down University Avenue—there’s always the amazing scent of fresh waffle cones wafting out the door. Scoop’s ice cream is made with liquid nitrogen, although not to order; available flavors are displayed already made in the case.

203 University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA
Onlinescoopmicrocreamery.com

Tin Pot Creamery

This sweet spot was started by a former dessert chef at Facebook, and today its “likes” are off the charts. No wonder, with it’s fabulously rich, smooth ice cream and a constantly rotating menu of flavors like Orange Dreamsicle and Roasted Banana Fudge Ripple. Tin Pot has kept tech-connected by partnering with Postmates and Door Dash, so you can get ice cream delivered to your front door. They've now expanded to four locations in the South Bay and Peninsula.

855 El Camino Real, #121
Palo Alto, CA

170 State Street Los Altos, CA

1875 South Bascom Ave. #370
Campbell, CA

3081 South Delaware St. Suite B
San Mateo, CA
Online: tinpotcreamery.com

 

South Bay

Campbell Creamery

With something for everyone, stop by and sample Campbell Creamery’s menu of ever-changing flavors. Kids will love a scoop of the bright blue Cookie Monster, while adults might want to check out the delicious frozen custard or frozen yogurt.

267 E Campbell Ave Ste A, Campbell, CA
Online: campbellcreameryca.com

Cauldron Ice Cream

This Orange County favorite has made its way north to San Jose and we couldn't be more thrilled. The puffle cone topped with liquid nitrogen-churned ice cream shaped like a flower is an Instagram favorite and a kid favorite, too. Choose from traditional flavors like double chocolate or opt for Earl Grey lavender for a more exotic flavor.

1088 E Brokaw Rd
Ste 60
San Jose, CA
Online: cauldronicecream.com

Dolce Spazio

If you’re dreaming of the Italian Riviera, visit Dolce Spazio for traditional gelato—a dense, creamy dessert in a variety of rich flavors. Relax in the shady courtyard with your family and enjoy the laid-back Los Gatos vibe.

221 North Santa Cruz Avenue, Los Gatos, CA
Online: dolcesapazio.com

Icicles Cream Roll

Skip the scoop and rock the roll instead! Locals are lining up around the block to try this hand-made Thai treat at Icicles Cream Roll. Cream, milk, eggs and sugar—that’s all you’ll get at Icicles where top-notch ingredients are the only way to roll.

1275 Lincoln Ave. Suite 1
San Jose, CA

Other locations in San Mateo, San Francisco, Newark, Cupertino, Pleasanton and Mountain View
Online: iciclescreamroll.com

CREAM

Fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies with a scoop of your favorite ice cream sandwiched in the middle is what makes CREAM a Bay Area favorite. You can also get your ice cream in a taco (YES!) or go for a float on a hot, hot day. Cakes, pints and other baked goodies are the perfect option to take home with you. 

COVID-19 Update: Grab pints or the ice cream sandwich kit for delivery.

1275 Lincoln Ave. Suite 1
San Jose, CA 95125

Other locations: Palo Alto, Concord, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Alameda and Berkeley
Online: creamnation.com

Marin

Pizzeria Picco

Sure, this is a pizza joint (and a fantastic one at that), but those in the know come for the Strauss soft serve ice cream. The first choice is simple: chocolate, vanilla or swirl. But then things get interesting. Try topping it with olive oil and sea salt, or getting it dipped in a Scharffenberger chocolate “magic shell.” Our go-to combo? Chocolate soft serve topped with warm caramel and sea salt. What pizza??

316 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA
Online: pizzeriapicco.com

Posie Ice Cream

Started by Kyle Caporicci, a local dad and former pastry chef, Posie offers an artisanal array of ice cream and even to-go pints. All of the ingredients are locally sourced, and you’ll often spot Kyle at local farmer's markets gathering whatever’s in season. As a bonus, Posie also has dairy-free options and all of their cones are gluten-free, so ordering for your whole family is easy.

250 B Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur, CA
Online: posie.com

—Sarah McDonald & Anita Chu

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