Between Seattle’s super hot summer and the start of National Ice Cream month, we couldn’t think of better reasons to treat yourself and the kids to an ice cream scoop (or two!) at one of our favorite Seattle ice cream or gelato shops. From new spots you gotta try to old faves that can’t be beat, here’s where to score the best frozen treats in Seattle and beyond.
The Pastry Project
Although eating ice cream is always good, doing good while eating ice cream isn't a guarantee. Enter the new collab between The Pastry Project (a sweet social enterprise that helps future bakers and pastry chefs overcome barriers to education and jobs) and Molly Moon's. Just swing by The Pastry Project Dutch door to order a soft serve in a cone or cup. For now, this brand-spanking new enterprise is focusing on classic flavors (chocolate, vanilla or a swirl) paired with homemade crumbles, dips and hot sauces. Doesn't a soft serve twist with sticky toffee sauce and rainbow peanut crunch sound like something you need in your life?
165 S. Main St.
Hours: Thurs. & Fri., 4-8 p.m.
As parents it's hard not to love this place just based on the name alone. And we're pretty sure after you've had a taste of their scrumptious soft serve you'll be "milk drunk" too, just like your sweet newborn. They serve up irresistible flavors like lime leaf and ginger pineapple that can be enjoyed as single flavors or twisted together for an unexpected treat. Flavors rotate often... guess that means you have to go a lot this summer!
2805 Beacon Ave. S.
Hours: Tues.-Sun., noon-10 p.m.
Sure you can make your own popsicles at home, or you can just head to Wallingford to score the best pops in town. These handmade frozen treats are inspired by Mexican pelatas and they are either fruit or milk based. You can find fruity flavors like zesty lime, lilikoi and banana mango all the time, alongside creamy flavors like chocolate fudge and coconut cream. But the way to go with these pops is to soup them up with fancy drizzles, toppings and dips. Trust us on this one!
Good to know: You can also find Seattle Pops at local farmers markets and in grocery stores.
1401 N. 45th St.
Hours: Weds.-Sun., 1-9 p.m.
If light and creative ice cream flavors are what you're craving, look no further than this local small batch pop-up. Indulge in a pint of Dirty Matcha, Melon Mint or Orange Thai Basil while you can. These pints are only available until they sell out, so order yours while you can!
Good to know: These fabu pints are available as a pop-up pick-up at Musangtino's at Fair Isle Brewing in Ballard on the second and fourth Tuesdays. Or grab scoops at Communion Restaurant & Bar, Musang Seattle, Taste of the Carribean or Sugarhill.
You used to have to drive to Wallingford to wait in an around-the-corner line for Seattle’s best ice cream. That was so 2009. Now, almost every pocket of the city can stake a claim to a Molly Moon’s, including Madrona, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, University Village, Wallingford and 19th & Mercer downtown. C’mon, Ms. Molly Moon Neitzel: here's hoping for new stores to start selling scoops of salted caramel and scout mint in Beacon Hill and West Seattle.
Locations in Wallingford, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Madrona, U Village, Columbia City, Redmond and Bellevue.
When it comes to small-batch, made-from-scratch ice cream, it doesn't get any better than Sweet Alchemy. This delish spot hit the ice cream scene back in 2016 and owner Lois Ko has been crushing it ever since. You'll find inventive flavors like London Fog, Persian Rose and Thai Iced Tea, alongside flavors your kids know and love like Strawberry, Sweet Cream and Cookie Explosion. Get yours in a waffle bowl to make it extra special.
Good to know: In addition to its three retail shops, Sweet Alchemy has pint pick-up locations around the city.
Locations in the U District, Ballard and Capitol Hill.
Frankie & Jo's
If you're looking for plant-based ice cream, look no further than this vegan option. At Frankie & Jo's, families can count on intriguing ice cream and sorbet flavors like Salty Caramel Ash and Golden Milk to tempt their vegan tastebuds, served alongside seasonal flavors that rotate. Have yours scooped into a cone with Frankie & Jo's signature Moon Goo and you won't be disappointed.
Locations in U Village, Capitol Hill and Ballard.
Shug’s Soda Fountain & Ice Cream
This Pike Place Market favorite is an old-school soda fountain, complete with novelty ice cream sundaes and egg creams. The interiors are preciously pastel and modern, with a row of stools to perch and enjoy your Mighty-O Donut topped with Lopez Island vanilla and a dollop of hot fudge. Make a day of it and enjoy a walk around the market or trip to the aquarium after.
1525 1st Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Thurs.-Sun., 1-8 p.m.
Salt & Straw
This family owned business, which has gained a cult-like following since its first opening in 2011, is known for conjuring up wildly imaginative, city-specific flavors made with in-season organic and sustainable ingredients sourced from local businesses. Produced in small batches, Salt & Straw’s ice creams combine unique flavors you can’t (and won't!) find anywhere else.
Their menu has two parts: “classics” which are permanent menu fixtures that are so beloved they remain year-round and monthly flavors that rotate. Tempt your tastebuds with classics that include Pear & Blue Cheese, Honey Lavender and Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons. Psst... they've got two classic vegan flavors too, if plant-based is your jam. The rotating flavors always delight and usually tie in with a theme (this month it's Rad Readers, as in books).
Locations in Ballard, Capitol Hill and Totem Lake, but they also ship nationwide.
Top It Yogurt Shoppe
Located in historic Snohomish, Top It Yogurt Shoppe gives the old school ice shop a modern twist with a dozen different flavors offered each day. Flavors change weekly, but you’ll usually find the old standbys of Cake Batter, County Vanilla and Pomegranate Raspberry on the daily menu. You’ll also find a huge selection of toppings to pile on as well, including fresh fruit, nuts, syrups and candy pieces. The prices here are pretty sweet as well.
801 1st St., Ste. 203
Snohomish WA 98290
Rachel's Ginger Beer
So while this may not be your first place in mind for ice cream, think again. Rachel’s offers a mean ginger beer float. Ginger beer has a more aggressive flavor than root beer, but ice cream is the perfect way to temper it for a more kid-friendly palate. Choose your ginger beer flavor—original is awesome, but the seasonal varieties like blueberry, white peach and blood orange are both gorgeously colored and extremely flavorful—and add ice cream in vanilla, strawberry or vegan coconut flavors. Psst.. they're doing pop-ups at the Spheres every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
1530 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101
1610 12th Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
4626 26th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
The creative geniuses behind Seattle's delicious cupcakes have brought their bakeshop favorites to ice cream, so you can have your cake and your ice cream too. Enjoy flavors like Red Velvet, Salted Caramel or Triple Vanilla, made with fresh, natural, local ingredients, or try the newest flavors in the Royale Creamery’s Elevated Soda Fountain Classic series (think: Banana Split and Salted Cookie Dough ice creams and Retro Cherry Cola sorbet). Go ahead and order a double scoop. We won't tell!
Locations in Capitol Hill, Ballard, Downtown, West Seattle, Madrona.
Snoqualmie Ice Cream
This ice creamery is a bit of a drive for Seattle families, however it’s worth it! Snoqualmie churns sorbet, ice cream and frozen custard (our favorite is the Lemon Custard) with no artificial flavors or colors and is sweetened with non-GMO cane sugar. They also churn a line of Snoqualmie Organic flavors (try their salty caramel - it's to die for!) and 22 gluten-free flavors. In addition, their shop (Snoqualmie Ice Cream & Fountain) hosts parties, so you can take your next big bash there. It’s also a perfect place to end a trip to Flower World or even Woodinville. And you can also buy pints at local markets if Snohomish isn’t on your "to-do” list or find it at several restaurants around Seattle, including Ivar's on the waterfront.
Good to Know: Order pints from their website and have them delivered right to your doorstep. It doesn't get any sweeter than that!
21106 86th Ave. S.E.
Snohomish, WA 98296
Hours: Daily, noon-8 p.m.
This West Seattle icon is where everyone heads for cups, cones and milkshakes. The family owned shop has been making its ice cream for over 75 years! In addition to classic flavors, Husky Deli makes an array of gourmet flavors, but it's their Husky Flake, French Orange and Dollar Mint that keeps locals coming back. Pick up a few scoops, sandwiches and drinks, head to Alki and voila! A perfect day with the kids.
4721 California Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98116
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
The closest ice cream will ever get to being considered punk rock, Full Tilt serves sweet treats in colorful shops featuring pinball machines that hearken back to when we were kiddos. In addition to dairy flavors like mexican chocolate and green tea chip, vegan families can bite into scoops of crusty punkin or mint chocolate.
Locations in Ballard, Columbia City, White Center and the U District.
Scoop Du Jour Ice Creamery
Grab some of Scoop Du Jour’s delicious ice cream in a waffle cone and walk down to the park or waterfront in Madison Park. No frills and around forever, Scoop Du Jour is an unpretentious, beloved Seattle tradition. Don’t miss out on their kid-approved burgers or grilled cheese, either.
4029 E. Madison St.
Seattle, WA 98112
Bluebird Ice Cream
Bluebird is as much a destination for kiddos as it is for adults: Little ones love bowls of ice cream infused with the likes of pink-iced animal crackers or floats made with Rachel’s ginger beer or small batch root beer, and grown-ups can fill take-home growlers of Chocolate Milk Stout at the Greenwood store from Bluebird’s nanobrewery. Plus Bluebird is now doing home delivery of your favorite pints to customers in Fremont, Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Maple Leaf, Crown Hill, Queen Anne and Wallingford on Fridays.
7415 Greenwood Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
Hours: Tues.-Fri., 2-9 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., noon-9 p.m.
Nutty Squirrel Gelato
The smell of fresh-made waffle cones hits you from a block down Greenwood from this adorable little café. Who could resist? The gelato here is rich and ultra-flavorful; even the "small" can be made with two flavors, so try multiple flavors like the sea salt caramel or nutty pistachio (or go fruity with the dairy-free sorbettos). There’s no need to rush, as there are tables and a felt play wall at the back perfect to keep littles entertained.
7212 Greenwood Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98103
2425 33rd Ave. W.
Seattle, WA 98199
Hours: Daily, noon-9 p.m.
Wish you were in Italy? This is where you can get your gelato fix. Bottega Italiana’s ingredients are fresh and creative, and the menu includes vegan and non-dairy options. With 60% less fat than ice cream, you’ll be saying “grazi!” alongside the kids.
Pike Place Market
1425 1st Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
Fainting Goat Gelato
With two Seattle locations, this small family business serves up delicious handcrafted gelato and sorbetto in a variety of flavors. In addition to local seasonal berries, Fainting Goat also uses only organic milk and sugar, making the shop a popular family destination. Plus with flavors that rotate daily, you can expect to find a new fave (or two!) every day of the week.
1903 N. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
3415 Fremont Ave. N., A
During the warm summer months, families line up outside to get a huge scoop of this delicious premium gelato, handcrafted one pan at a time from an old-fashioned Italian recipe. Indulge in one of their many flavors including amaretto, cappuccino, chocolate, strawberry, mango, lemon or coconut or go for a pan dolce gelato “popsicle” or one of the many frozen sandwiches heaped with the Italian treat.
109 Park Ln.
Kirkland, WA 98033
960 Harris Ave.
Bellingham, WA 98225
A San Fernando Valley, California chain with a slew of local stores, it’s hard to say no to Menchie’s self-serve froyo since it averages about 20 to 40 calories per ounce. When your kids add gummy worms, cookie dough chunks and peanut butter sauce that good-for-you dessert might cross the line into junk food territory, but you can always stick with fresh fruit toppings...and maybe a drizzle of hot chocolate.
Many area locations
—Allison Sutcliffe, Jeffery Totey, Kristina Moy, Chelsea Lin & Sara Billups
feature image: iStock