Time to Indulge—San Francisco’s Top Ice Cream Shops
Despite the cold, foggy weather that San Franciscan’s are surrounded by, the city’s love for the creamy treat cannot be beat. Some of the top ice cream shops in the city are prone to lines around the block even on a rainy summer day; but once you get a taste of these unique ice creams, you will know exactly why. San Francisco’s take on ice cream is exactly how you would imagine it—one of a kind and unbeatable—so check out the list below for some of the best ice cream shops in the city.
San Francisco’s Top Ice Cream Shops:
Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop: A perfect destination to experience world-famous sundaes topped with original hot fudge sauce made fresh daily with melted Ghirardelli chocolate. Feeling extra indulgent? Try the Earthquake Sundae featuring eight scoops of ice cream, eight delicious toppings, fresh bananas, whipped cream, chopped almonds, decadent chocolate chips and cherries. Map
Humphry Slocombe: Not your typical ice cream parlor, this creative creamery located in the Mission district offers some of the most inventive flavors in town: bacon, peanut butter curry, milk chocolate tarragon,and the highly popular secret breakfast (bourbon and toasted cornflakes). Map
Bi-Rite Creamery: Another Mission favorite, this small batch creamery serves up organic ice cream to crowds of hungry San Franciscans. Flavors like salted caramel, roasted banana and honey lavender often draw lines that wrap around the block. Using only the best ingredients like organic milk, cream and eggs from the Straus Family Creamery, the ice cream is all made by hand and can be garnished with an assortment of homemade toppings made in their adjoining bakery. Try almond toffee, graham crackers or spiced pecans. Bi-Rite started originally as a bakery and also features a wide array of delicious baked goods. Map
Mitchell’s: A San Francisco institution, this shop first opened in 1953 and has remained in the same storefront ever since. Although some of the flavors have changed, the shop is still using the same recipes that they used back in the 50s. Popular favorites include Butterscotch Marble, Grasshopper Pie (peppermint ice cream with chocolate chips, oreo cookies and fudge swirls), and Halo-Halo (an assortment of fresh tropical fruits). Waffle cones highly recommended. Map
Smitten: These scoops are made to order using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ingredients while you watch. Many consider this the new age way to create the creamiest, most delicious ice cream around. Started in Hayes Valley, Smitten now also features shops in Oakland, Los Altos and Lafayette. Map
Three Twins: This Northern California staple has been producing some of the best ice cream around since 2005. Some popular flavors include Lemon Cookie, Mint Confetti, Mexican Chocolate, Dad’s Cardamom and Caramel Truffle.
The Ice Cream Bar: Take a trip back in time at this old-fashioned soda fountain serving burgers, soda, and uniquely flavored ice cream. Located in Cole Valley, this authentic 1930s shop features a Streamline Moderne interior, an authentic Depression Era soda fountain, and soda jerks in bow ties slinging up modern takes on classic fountain drinks like phosphates, lactates and egg creams. Some favorites include caramelized banana splits, root beer floats (with their homemade sassafras elixir), and vegan sorbets. Map
Cako Cupcakes & Ice Creamery: San Francisco's popular cupcakery and ice creamery. Three locations around Union Square; stop by this Metreon location and try the famous red velvet cupcakes and red velvet ice cream. Map