Whether we have kids or are just kids at heart, when the temperature creeps up we’re all on the hunt for something cold and sweet. Here’s our 2018 roundup of where to find the best ice cream in Charlotte:
CLASSIC CHARLOTTE SCOOPS
Va Da Vie
4203 Park Rd Charlotte, NC 28209
Nestled into Park Road Shopping Center is a spot where you can get authentic gelato made the Italian way. Gelato is typically thought to have more flavor than traditional ice cream, and at Va Da Vie there’s no shortage of flavor. And from Lemon Ricotta to Cannoli, you can feel good about your gelato treat as the folks here use no extracts or artificial flavorings and colorings. Just pure, clean, jam-packed flavor. All milk and cream comes from a small, family owned North Carolina dairy farm, and ingredients can even be found on their website. Can’t make a decision? Don’t worry, you can sample a few before making the major commitment.
1601 Elizabeth Ave.
Tucked in between some of Charlotte’s favorite fine dining restaurants and along the trolley line is the family-run Elizabeth Creamery. The husband and wife duo makes each flavor and waffle cone with natural, fresh ingredients. Grab a classic flavor or try something different like Green Tea or Ginger. In addition to old-fashioned scoops, you can try a shake or sundae.
Golden Cow Creamery
170 West Summit Avenue and 720 Governor Morrison St.
This popular creamery, which recently expanded into SouthPark offers six classic flavors: Rich Chocolate, Creamy Vanilla, Fresh Strawberry, Mint Chocolate Chip, Salted Oreo and Dunkaroos along with 3-4 new and rotating options. They even always have one non-dairy, vegan option. Each recipe is made from real cream with no artificial syrups, fillers, preservatives or colorings.
King of Pops
What started as a used ice cream pushcart has become one of Charlotte’s most sought-after treats on warm days. Find King of Pops stands across the city offering a selection of their almost 500 popsicle flavors, made with fruit and dairy from local farms.
2914 Mt Holly-Huntersville Rd.
For some good old-fashioned family fun, head to X-tra Ball. This part ice cream shop, part pinball parlor offers hand-dipped ice cream, hand-spun milkshakes and authentic pinball.
3123 North Davidson Street, Suite B
Mix it up at Popbar to create a pop made just to your liking. Choose from the freshest natural ingredients (think coconut, chocolate, pistachio and more) to dip your popgelato, popsorbetto, yogurtpop or popwich, a gelato sandwich on a stick.
Sticks and Cones Ice Cream Truck
Traveling the QC
Remember when you used to wait for the ice cream truck to turn down your street, waiting for its tune to fill the summer air? Sticks and Stones is bringing it all back with their old-fashioned ice cream on wheels. Enjoy soft serve, floats, cones, popsicles and sundaes wherever they’re parked that day. Follow them on Twitter to keep up with where they’ll be next.
The Local Scoop
5355 Ballantyne Commons, Suite 100
In Ballantyne, The Local Scoop Charlotte (wait what???!!) offers ice cream and soft-serve gelato made onsite from locally-sourced dairy from Jackson Farms and Homeland Creamery. Browse their current flavors. They also have eight non-dairy options and ice cream paninis and milkshakes.
Mr K’s Soft Ice Cream
2107 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203
This family-run, no frills spot on South Boulevard is serving up soft serve worthy of an after dinner family outing. Operating in the same location as the day it opened in 1967, this mom and pop shop that has expanded its menu to burgers and hot dogs originally opened as an ice cream stand and despite the additions, has stayed true to its roots. The dessert menu is never-ending, and has everything from a simple ice cream sandwich to a “frostbite”, a blend of soft serve and Italian ice. Other favorites are their milkshakes in flavors like butterscotch, peanut butter and dark chocolate and hand-dipped banana splits. Enjoy your treats inside for a trip down Panther’s memory lane with memorabilia lining every wall.
4009 South Blvd., Charlotte
There’s a reason why old-fashioned never really goes out of style, and Zack’s is living proof. Serving up no-fuss hamburgers and sides, Zack’s made sure no one forgot about dessert. Grab a soft serve vanilla cone or one of their classic flavor shakes, which are so thick and creamy they can be a meal in itselves (we promise we won’t tell).
Two Scoops Creamery
913 Central Avenue and 1616 Camden Road, Charlotte
119 Landings Drive, Suite 104, Mooresville
This playful ice cream shop owned by three best friends has expanded to three area locations. Expect 32 homemade and fresh-churned flavors year-round and seasonal specials. Visits are made extra sweet with hand-painted murals by local artist Miriam Yumet.
Jolly Rolls Ice Cream
Charlotte, Matthews, Pineville, Indian Land
Looking for ice cream with a twist? Try rolled ice cream, available at Jolly Rolls’ four locations. Try unique mixes of different flavors and watch your creation being made before your eyes.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (Coming soon!)
Design Center of the Carolinas
Coming soon to South End, Jeni’s will offer best-selling flavors and scoops made without synthetic flavorings, dyes or off-the-shelf mixes. Crowd favorites include Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks, Salty Caramel and Brambleberry Crisp.
4905 Ashley Park Ln.
222 S Caldwell St.
Enjoy a cold treat with a view at Fahrenheit, where their “flavors of summer” are sure to please. Homemade flavors, created and crafted by Pastry Chef Anika Rucker, include Lavender lemon sorbet, strawberry key lime sorbet, buttermilk plum ice cream, and roasted peach ice cream.
Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop
1930 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203
Longing for the good old days when your biggest worry was choosing a milkshake flavor? This old-school soda shop is a must try. While the atmosphere may be old-fashioned (they have a milkshake maker dating back to 1930!), this Charlotte hot spot consistently gains big time attention, whether as the setting for the movie Shallow Hal, on the lists of NC’s best ice cream parlors or from raving Charlotteans. At Pike’s you can count on finding milkshakes made with the freshest ingredients and seasonal fruits like peaches and strawberries in the summer, or get a distinctly North Carolina taste with an add-in like Cheerwine. Everyone in the family will love choosing from their huge selection of classic and innovative malts, shakes, sundaes and splits.
1605 E Woodlawn Rd
Shake Shack may be known for it’s burgers and crinkle-cut fries, but it’s also worth braving the long lines for their frozen custard concretes. Try these creations at the Park Road location:
- Pie Oh My: vanilla custard and slice of Suarez Bakery seasonal pie
- Shack Attack: chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, Mast Brothers Shake Shack dark chocolate chunks, topped with chocolate sprinkles
- Cookie Butter Blender: vanilla custard, cookie butter, chocolate toffee and chocolate sprinkles
1710 Kenilworth Ave.
This Dilworth favorite offers a number of sweet treats to top off your Italian meal. Try the Vin Santo: Vin Santo dessert wine over Pannacotta gelato, with fresh mixed berries, topped with whipped cream.
7822 Fairview Rd.
At Barrington’s, opt for the Duck Rabbit stour ice cream sandwich, made with pretzel chocolate chunk cookies, caramel and chocolate sauce, caramel foam and pop rocks.
1601 Elizabeth Ave.
After indulging in a menu of handcrafted small plates, fresh pasta and more, be sure to save room for a scoop of their house-made ie cream. Flavors vary daily.
Good Food on Montford
1701 Montford Dr.
Don’t leave your coveted table at Good Food without trying their banana pudding ice cream sandwich, made with Nilla cookie and warm white chocolate foam.
222 E Bland St.
After slurping up a bowl of Futo Buta’s ramen, top off your meal with their rotating selection of homemade ice creams. Flavors have included mango, pear, black sesame and more.
715 Providence Rd.
At Stagioni, don’t forget to look at the dessert menu, where you’ll find the Banana Pie Gelato Sandwich: graham macaron cookie, banana gelato and toasted marshmallow fluff.
NORTH OF CLT
20801 N. Main St., Cornelius
Over the past thirty years, the family behind Carolina Cones has been churning out new flavors to keep Cornelius families coming back for more. The variety of flavors may make your choice difficult, but the friendly faces behind the counter are more than wiling to help. Try their two most recent flavor additions: Vanilla Chunky Fudge and Carmel Chocolate Nut.
Ninety’s Sandwiches & Ice Cream
9009 J M Keynes Dr # 4, Charlotte, NC 28262
This quaint spot in University known for it’s daily lunch specials and charming atmosphere keeps diners for the whole meal with their hand scooped ice cream selection. Choose from one of their 16 homemade flavors or really indulge with a bang split (pictured below). If you can control your cravings, follow them on Instagram (@ninetysicecream) for the latest flavors and menu items.
Whit’s Frozen Custard
428 S. Main Street, Davidson
In Davidson, head to Whit’s for extra creamy ice cream with tons of flavor. They like to keep it simple, offering Vanilla, Chocolate, and Whit’s Special Weekly Flavor with fruit toppings, nuts, and candies that can be blended into custard for their famous Whitser™. You can also get hand-dipped waffle cones and take home some goodness with weekly flavors stocked in their Grab & Go Freezer.
21 Union Street S., Concord
In Concord, don’t miss Cabarrus Creamery, which Our State agreed was one of the top 25 picks in NC. Try an ice cream float, a sundae or something recently posted on their Facebook page: their mint chocolate chip ice cream and double chocolate cookie sandwich (below). On the hunt for a summer treat that fits you? Cabarrus Creamery has something for you, from nondairy and low fat, protein smoothies to no sugar added options. They even have “pupcicles” for your four-legged friends!
Jack the Dipper Ice Cream
124-A Argus Lane, Mooresville
This old fashioned ice cream destination offers cones, sundaes, shakes, malts, banana splits, ice cream cakes and their made-to-order warm waffle cones in vanilla or cinnamon.
SOUTH OF CLT
201 W South Main St, Waxhaw, North Carolina 28173
This Waxhaw family-run ice cream shop has been a favorite for years (and also got a mention from Our State). Visitors can enjoy homemade ice cream and italian ices made in store every day. Want to mix it up? Waxhaw Creamery also serves up sundaes, shakes, cups and cones. As for flavors, there is always something new and fresh with their seasonal flavor options. This summer stop in and try their peach ice cream made with real peaches and raspberry lemonade, lemon ice cream with raspberry purÃ©e.
Scoop n’ Swirl Homemade Ice Cream
753 Crossroads Plaza, Fort Mill
Scoop n’ Swirl, formally Maggie Moo’s, offers 24 flavors daily so there’s always something to satisfy your sweet tooth! You can also opt for create-your-own shakes, custom or traditional sundaes or smoothies.