It’s hot out in Chicago, which means there’s one thing you must always have: ice cream! So, in honor of the sweltering heat, we’re compiling the best ice cream in Chicago to help keep you cool this summer. Our list has everything from La Michoacana’s refreshing paletas to Black Dog Gelato’s outrageously cool flavors. So, when you’re looking for a new spot or a routine staple, these are all the incredible shops you need to check out!
1. Vacas Creamery, Various Locations
The vegan soft serve spot has gained a cult following by serving creamy oat-milk-based treats. As Chicago’s first vegan ice cream shop, this place is absolutely delicious. Our favorite order is the Candy Bar in a gluten-free waffle cone—the combination of miso caramel drizzle, chocolate shell, and peanuts is sensational. Customers can also expect extra treats like their brand-new ice cream pies and a new selection of daily baked goods at the Lincoln Square store!
2. BomboBar, Fulton Market
Summer’s coming in hot this year, and so is Bombobar! The fast-casual eatery by MasterChef’s Fabio Viviani has recently reopened its walk-up window in the West Loop with a brand new seasonal menu that will shake your summer right up with mouthwatering cups of Frozé, irresistible gelato shakes, and Italian ice slushies. The bar even has a vegan, summer version of their famous hot chocolates that looks so amazing it’s no wonder they call it “The Choc of the Town.” Yum!
Address: 832 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
3. Jeni’s Ice Cream, Various Locations
While Jeni’s was founded in Ohio, it has since migrated to Chicago and now can be found all over the city. Their scent of fresh waffle cones made daily is so prevalent when you walk by; it’s bound to make you come in at some time. And if that doesn’t, their homemade flavors, such as brambleberry crips or salty caramel, will.
Address: All the Chicago locations
4. La Michoacana Premium, Various Locations
This Mexican ice cream shop and its colorful paletas are a total must-try. La Michoacana’s extensive options, ranging all the way from tangy Michelada to creamy strawberry, will have you coming back and back again for more! The shop also sells tangy Mangonadas with blended mango sorbet, diced fresh fruit, lime juice, and Tajin chili powder, another incredible option for cooling down in the hot summer weather!
Address: 1855 S Blue Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60608
Address: 2150 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60608
5. Lickity Split, Various Locations
At Lickity Split, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing frozen custard whipped into dreamy retro treats like concretes and sundaes. Those with a special sweet tooth should know the shop also offers cookies, cupcakes, and chocolates aside from frozen treats. The star of the show? Their banana split, of course!
Address: 6056 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60660
Address: 7000 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60645
6. Legend Tasty House, Chinatown
If you’re a fan of hand-rolled ice cream, then you should check out Legend Tasty House. At this Chinatown ice cream shop, employees hand roll the ice cream in front of you and finish it with mix-ins such as fresh fruit, oreo cookies, taro, and other amazing toppings!
Address: 2242 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
7. Pretty Cool Ice Cream, Various Locations
Peanut butter potato chip? Banana horchata? This place has some pretty cool flavors, so cool you could say they’re ice cold! At Pretty Cool Ice Cream, you’ll find an option for anyone, from chocolate-dipped ice cream bars in classic flavors to fruit and buttermilk bars and plant-based and dairy-free options.
Address: 2353 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Address: 709 W Belden Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
8. The Original Rainbow Cone, Various Locations
This ice cream shop and its stacks of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with walnuts plus cherries), pistachio, and orange sherbet have been a total staple of summer in Chicago for more than 80 years now. The Original Rainbow Cone is spreading some love all across Chicago with its brand-spanking-new van, complete with an ice cream paint job, so make sure to follow the rainbow (van)!
Address: 162 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611
Address: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
9. Scooter’s Frozen Custard, Lake View
Suppose you’re a big fan of frozen custard. In that case, you should also check out Scooter’s Frozen custard, where you can grab totally amazing concrete and sundaes custom-made just for you using top-notch ingredients from America’s Dairyland, a.k.a Wisconsin, and awesome mix-ins like graham crackers, hot fudge, and peanut butter cups!
Address: 1658 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
10. Sugar Shack, Bridgeport
Looking to go all out for your ice cream? Sugar Shack’s treats are the stuff of which the sweetest dreams are made. Take a seat at one of Sugar Shack’s patio tables and enjoy their funnel cake sundaes, ice cream tacos, and other frozen treats for the ultimate sugar rush!
Address: 630 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60616
11. Black Dog Gelato, Ukrainian Village
Each month, this Ukrainian Village gelato shop stocks its cases with its incredible array of gourmet signature and specialty flavors. At Black Dog, you’ll be able to enjoy intriguing, boundary-pushing flavors such as sweet corn and goat cheese cashew caramel. These are perfect if you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to expand the boundaries of your gelato connoisseurship!
Address: 859 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
12. Taiyaki Chicago, Lincoln Park
We’ve saved one of the best for last because when you try Taiyaki, there’s no going back. First, the gooey, warm, rich Japanese cake cone is so delicious you’ll be going back seconds right there. All of their ice cream is made from scratch using coconut oil rather than milk to offer a healthy yet palatable non-dairy alternative. From the staples like Chocolate and Vanilla to Milk Tea and Matcha, this is there best ice cream in Chicago that melts in your mouth.
Address: 2618 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614