Along with a delicious variety of neighborhoods to explore, San Francisco offers some of the best ice cream in the country in an array of classic and unique flavors. Here is a list of some of the coolest spots in the city to indulge a sweet tooth.
The Ice Cream Bar, 815 Cole Street, http://theicecreambarsf.com/
Harken back to the days of the soda fountain and delicious memories of childhood will come back to you. The Ice Cream Bar is a full service 1930s style soda fountain and classic lunch counter, serving house-made ice cream and sodas. On top of this, they serve “remedies” for the 21 and up crowd. What’s popular: New Orleans Hangover (non-alcoholic). What you should get: Sassy Granny Sutton (Alcoholic).
Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, 900 North Point Street, http://www.ghirardelli.com/sites/default/files/locationsevents/MenuRevGlass.pdf
Ghirardelli is a San Francisco institution that has been around since 1852, when they started making the chocolate that we all know and love. Today, Ghirardelli is home to some of the most decadent ice cream sundaes in the city. What’s popular: Ghirardelli Square (Hot Fudge Sundae). What you should get: Treasure Island (Warm Brownie Sundae).
Three Twins Ice Cream, 254 Fillmore Street, http://www.threetwinsicecream.com/
An all-organic ice cream, their unique flavors and creamy texture make it impossible to have just one bite. What’s popular: Lemon Cookie. What you should get: Mint Confetti (extra points for the awesome name).
Over the Moon, 2144 Chestnut Street, http://overthemoonsf.com/index.htm
Inspired by Grandma, Over the Moon is a creamery with a retro bent. The combination of rich creamy ice cream and warm, gooey, fresh-baked cookies will hit the spot every time. What’s popular: Honey Lavender. What you should get: Coffee Caramel Crunch (with cookies).
Bi-Rite Creamery, 3692 18th Street and 550 Divisadero Street, http://biritecreamery.com/
A local favorite, there will always be a line out in front of Bi-Rite Creamery, especially if the sun is peeking out behind the clouds. What’s popular: Salted Caramel. What you should get: Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodle cookie pieces).
Mitchell’s Ice Cream, 688 San Jose Avenue, http://mitchellsicecream.com/
Before there were lines out the door or inventive flavors with the word secret in them, there was Mitchell’s. Established in 1953, Mitchell’s has been making ice cream in small batches that people keep coming back to time and time again. What’s popular: Stracciatella. What you should get: Grasshopper Pie.
Gelateria Naia, 1520 Columbus Street, http://gelaterianaia.com/
After realizing there was not one decent scoop of gelato in the Bay Area, the owners decided to make their own. After traveling to Italy and meeting with master artisans, they started making their small-batch gelato by hand. What’s popular: Ube (Peruvian). What you should get: Zabajone and Nocciola.
Joe’s Ice Cream, 5420 Geary Boulevard, http://www.joesicecream.com/
Want a traditional scoop of ice cream in the Richmond? Joe’s is the place. The family-run ice cream shop has been serving its award-winning homemade ice cream flavors to locals and visitors alike since 1959. What’s popular: Blueberry Cheesecake. What you should get: Coffee Crunch and a Joe’s It.
Swensen’s, 1999 Hyde Street, http://www.swensensicecream.com/
What is a global franchise today actually started in 1948 on Union Street and Hyde. Over the years, Swensen’s has modified their offerings to match the ever-changing American palette, but the three things they have never sacrificed are quality, quantity and value for your money. What’s popular: Sticky Chewy Chocolate. What you should get: Swiss Orange Chip.
Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream & Polly Ann Ice Cream, 1447 Taraval Street (Marco Polo) and 3138 Noriega Street (Polly Ann)
Marco Polo and Polly Ann are two ice cream shops that offer delicious flavors such as black sesame, arcobaleno and green tea. What’s popular: Durian. What you should get: Lychee.