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18 San Diego Spots for Indulgent Ice Cream and Tasty Frozen Treats

From gelato to soft-serve ice cream, check out these sweet local spots

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As we head towards summer and the weather begins to warm up in San Diego, it’s officially ice cream season. But really, when isn’t it a good time to treat yourself to a scoop or two? There’s no shortage of frosty treats to be found around town, from creatively-flavored small-batch ice cream to Mexican paletas and creamy gelato, so cool down with a sweet frozen dessert at one of these local spots.

Note: map points are listed geographically

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

JoJo's Creamery

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Lick into a scoop of artisanal ice cream at this family-run shop in Encinitas’ Lumberyard Shopping Center and get a free regular or gluten-free mini cookie with each ice cream purchase. There, everything — from the caramel to the cookie dough — is made from scratch using organic, local ingredients. Vegan options with coconut and cashew milk are also available, plus gluten-free waffle cones. Peep the shop’s Facebook or Instagram for details on new flavors like summer favorite lemon berry shortbread.

An's Hatmakers

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Handmade gelato named after fabrics? It’s a yes from An’s, where flavors include Cashmere (goat cheese and honey) and vegan Burgundy (sorbet with blueberries and chardonnay jam). Now, the dry cleaners-inspired shop on Adams Avenue operates a new location in Del Mar called An’s Hatmakers, only this time, with an aesthetic that takes you back to a 1920s art deco hat shop. 

Three cups of gelato. Kimberly Motos

Salt & Straw

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Unlimited ice cream samples are back at this Portland-based ice cream chain, making each experience at the Little Italy and Del Mar Heights locations a fun and tasty one. While the classic menu and house-made waffle cones are available year-round, keep your eyes peeled for seasonal flavors like the flower power series with flavors like saffron and honey with real flower petals. For summer, a picnic series is expected in June — think cheeseboards, fruits and chocolate.

Kula Ice Cream

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Woman-owned, Kula is known for its vegan and gluten-free delights sold at its Mira Mesa shop and at the Pacific Beach farmer’s market on Tuesdays. Make-your-own ice cream sandwiches along with sample trays where you can try multiple flavors are on the menu and, lo and behold, dog-friendly ice cream, too. For the summer months, Kula will collaborate with Influx Cafes to bring vegan ice cream “Kula nights at Influx” every Saturday and Sunday.

A pint of chocolate lava cake ice cream. Kula

Somi Somi

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For a swirl of creamy soft-serve ice cream in a fish-shaped waffle cone, visit the Convoy, Mira Mesa or La Jolla UTC (coming soon) locations where picture-worthy ice cream is guaranteed. Each ah-boong or Korean waffle cone comes with a choice of filling, including red bean and Nutella, that is topped off with soft-serve flavors ranging from ube and black sesame to milk tea. 

Bing Haus

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Home to a unique Thai-style rolled ice cream, this Convoy spot makes made-to-order frozen treats that are whipped up before your eyes. Flavors like strawberry, green tea, cookies and cream, passion fruit and Thai tea rolls headline the menu alongside soft-serve ice cream and bingsoo, a shaved ice concoction served with red beans and medley of fruits with condensed milk. If somehow that isn’t enough, finish your sugar rush with the new mochi donuts with flavors like honey jasmine, fruity pebbles and chocolate oreo.

Soft-serve ice cream with watermelon balls. Bing Haus

Yogurt Mill

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This cash-only yogurt mill has been standing in El Cajon for over 40 years, serving frozen yogurt in massive sizes like a “yogurt pie” with four flavors and three toppings for cheap. The flavors change daily and are posted on Instagram, keeping five classic ones and rotating five unique ones like Dole pomegranate, cheesecake and mountain blackberry. Toppings include an assortment of chocolates, fruits, candies, nuts and more.

Mariposa Ice Cream

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A beloved family-run shop in Adams Avenue, Mariposa holds a slew of awards and accolades earned in the last 20 years for its homemade ice cream with no eggs. Several rotating seasonal flavors — lemon, watermelon sorbet, and peach during summer — are found alongside a long list of classics, coconut almond fudge and Mexican chocolate to name a few.

Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream

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Purveyors of premium Tropical Dreams ice cream, Hammond’s offers more than 100 flavors on rotation across its two shops found in North Park and Point Loma. You won’t want to miss its ice cream flight concept — their mini cone flights which range from a 6- to a mega 32-flavor option. This summer, you can expect new milkshakes, a cookie skillet and fun flavors like Snickers Cheesecake and Silk Road (matcha and white chocolate).

Mr. Trustee Creamery

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Nestled behind a walkup window next to Cardellino in Mission Hills, is a small ice cream shop — the Trust Group’s venture into the frozen treat, if you will. Led by Executive Pastry Chef Jeremy Harville, the shop serves chef-centric flavors like peanut butter lovers, honey vanilla, chamango mango sorbet, carrot cake, Captain Crunch or malted milk soft serve.

Pints of ice cream
Mr. Trustee Creamery

Gelati & Peccati

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Gelati & Peccati: where Roman-style pizza and gelato meet in North Park. Helmed by the Buona Forchetta Family of restaurants, this shop serves nearly 20 flavors of gelato. For a combination of carbs and cream, order the GOLA: gelato stuffed into a pizza crust with whipped cream and hazelnuts.

Cup of gelato
Gelati & Peccati

Stella Jean's Ice Cream Point Loma

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University Heights’ small-batch parlor has expanded to Point Loma and now, a South Park location for 2023 is in the works, making mouths water with signature flavors like earl grey, citrus tea cake and ube pandesal toffee. Plant-based ice cream with coconut milk options are also available, including passion fruit and strawberry crunch. Request sprinkles if you want, they’re free.

Mutual Friend Ice Cream

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Mai Marche and consulting chef Spencer Hue co-author the recipes behind the mouthwatering flavors at this charming ice cream parlor in Golden Hill (closed for remodel) and now in South Park. The menu rotates monthly, but current summertime vegan and gluten-free offerings include Haupia Haole Pie, Guava Sorbet and Lavender Lemonade Sorbet.

Tocumbo Ice Cream

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No need to go all the way to Mexico for Michoacan-style ice cream. Instead, go to Tocumbo on Market, in Chula Vista or Barrio Logan to fulfill your craving. Flavors range from the basics such as strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and Oreo to Mexican favorites like guayaba, gansito and rompope. For a sweeter treat, try the canastita michoacana or the Michoacan Basket, Tocumbo’s version of a sundae featuring ice cream of your choice, fresh fruit and whipped cream served in a waffle bowl.

Gelato Love

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The Carlsbad-based gelateria also operates an outpost inside the East Village’s RoVino The Foodery, where it scoops up an array of flavors that include Carlsbad strawberry, organic lemon, and tiramisu all sweetened with allulose, a lower-calorie sugar derived from fruits like kiwis and figs, and also specializes in custom-made gelato cakes.

Tucked inside the Kababayan Bakery in Spring Valley, Snoice serves pandesal ice cream sandwiches filled with flavors like iconic ube (yam) and buko pandan (coconut, screwpine leaves), enclosed by two slices of the popular Filipino bread rolll. Shaved snow and Filipino favorite dessert halo halo can also be savored here.

Niederfrank's Ice Cream

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National City’s answer to the old school ice cream parlor is Niederfrank’s, San Diego’s oldest ice cream manufacturer. The shop has served its small batch ice cream since its establishment in 1948. Go here for avocado, macadamia nut toffee, cinnamon and Kahlua krunch. Custom-made ice cream pies are also made here.

Niederfrank’s Ice Cream

Sadie's Hand Crafted Mexican Ice Cream

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Named after his 10-year-old daughter, San Diego restaurateur Emilio Tamez’s new Bonita shop recently opened its doors to share nostalgic Mexican flavors like café de olla (coffee with cinnamon and piloncillo) and horchata. Using Randy’s Donuts, Sadies makes ice cream sandwiches with nieves de garrafa — ice cream made in wooden tubs — with flavors like Beso de Angel (nuts and fruit) and Mexican staple hot chocolate, Chocolate Abuelita.

A woman holds a waffle cone with two scoops of ice cream. Kimberly Motos

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JoJo's Creamery

Lick into a scoop of artisanal ice cream at this family-run shop in Encinitas’ Lumberyard Shopping Center and get a free regular or gluten-free mini cookie with each ice cream purchase. There, everything — from the caramel to the cookie dough — is made from scratch using organic, local ingredients. Vegan options with coconut and cashew milk are also available, plus gluten-free waffle cones. Peep the shop’s Facebook or Instagram for details on new flavors like summer favorite lemon berry shortbread.

An's Hatmakers

Three cups of gelato. Kimberly Motos

Handmade gelato named after fabrics? It’s a yes from An’s, where flavors include Cashmere (goat cheese and honey) and vegan Burgundy (sorbet with blueberries and chardonnay jam). Now, the dry cleaners-inspired shop on Adams Avenue operates a new location in Del Mar called An’s Hatmakers, only this time, with an aesthetic that takes you back to a 1920s art deco hat shop. 

Three cups of gelato. Kimberly Motos

Salt & Straw

Unlimited ice cream samples are back at this Portland-based ice cream chain, making each experience at the Little Italy and Del Mar Heights locations a fun and tasty one. While the classic menu and house-made waffle cones are available year-round, keep your eyes peeled for seasonal flavors like the flower power series with flavors like saffron and honey with real flower petals. For summer, a picnic series is expected in June — think cheeseboards, fruits and chocolate.

Kula Ice Cream

A pint of chocolate lava cake ice cream. Kula

Woman-owned, Kula is known for its vegan and gluten-free delights sold at its Mira Mesa shop and at the Pacific Beach farmer’s market on Tuesdays. Make-your-own ice cream sandwiches along with sample trays where you can try multiple flavors are on the menu and, lo and behold, dog-friendly ice cream, too. For the summer months, Kula will collaborate with Influx Cafes to bring vegan ice cream “Kula nights at Influx” every Saturday and Sunday.

A pint of chocolate lava cake ice cream. Kula

Somi Somi

For a swirl of creamy soft-serve ice cream in a fish-shaped waffle cone, visit the Convoy, Mira Mesa or La Jolla UTC (coming soon) locations where picture-worthy ice cream is guaranteed. Each ah-boong or Korean waffle cone comes with a choice of filling, including red bean and Nutella, that is topped off with soft-serve flavors ranging from ube and black sesame to milk tea. 

Bing Haus

Soft-serve ice cream with watermelon balls. Bing Haus

Home to a unique Thai-style rolled ice cream, this Convoy spot makes made-to-order frozen treats that are whipped up before your eyes. Flavors like strawberry, green tea, cookies and cream, passion fruit and Thai tea rolls headline the menu alongside soft-serve ice cream and bingsoo, a shaved ice concoction served with red beans and medley of fruits with condensed milk. If somehow that isn’t enough, finish your sugar rush with the new mochi donuts with flavors like honey jasmine, fruity pebbles and chocolate oreo.

Soft-serve ice cream with watermelon balls. Bing Haus

Yogurt Mill

This cash-only yogurt mill has been standing in El Cajon for over 40 years, serving frozen yogurt in massive sizes like a “yogurt pie” with four flavors and three toppings for cheap. The flavors change daily and are posted on Instagram, keeping five classic ones and rotating five unique ones like Dole pomegranate, cheesecake and mountain blackberry. Toppings include an assortment of chocolates, fruits, candies, nuts and more.

Mariposa Ice Cream

A beloved family-run shop in Adams Avenue, Mariposa holds a slew of awards and accolades earned in the last 20 years for its homemade ice cream with no eggs. Several rotating seasonal flavors — lemon, watermelon sorbet, and peach during summer — are found alongside a long list of classics, coconut almond fudge and Mexican chocolate to name a few.

Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream

Purveyors of premium Tropical Dreams ice cream, Hammond’s offers more than 100 flavors on rotation across its two shops found in North Park and Point Loma. You won’t want to miss its ice cream flight concept — their mini cone flights which range from a 6- to a mega 32-flavor option. This summer, you can expect new milkshakes, a cookie skillet and fun flavors like Snickers Cheesecake and Silk Road (matcha and white chocolate).

Mr. Trustee Creamery

Pints of ice cream
Mr. Trustee Creamery

Nestled behind a walkup window next to Cardellino in Mission Hills, is a small ice cream shop — the Trust Group’s venture into the frozen treat, if you will. Led by Executive Pastry Chef Jeremy Harville, the shop serves chef-centric flavors like peanut butter lovers, honey vanilla, chamango mango sorbet, carrot cake, Captain Crunch or malted milk soft serve.

Pints of ice cream
Mr. Trustee Creamery

Gelati & Peccati

Cup of gelato
Gelati & Peccati

Gelati & Peccati: where Roman-style pizza and gelato meet in North Park. Helmed by the Buona Forchetta Family of restaurants, this shop serves nearly 20 flavors of gelato. For a combination of carbs and cream, order the GOLA: gelato stuffed into a pizza crust with whipped cream and hazelnuts.

Cup of gelato
Gelati & Peccati

Stella Jean's Ice Cream Point Loma

University Heights’ small-batch parlor has expanded to Point Loma and now, a South Park location for 2023 is in the works, making mouths water with signature flavors like earl grey, citrus tea cake and ube pandesal toffee. Plant-based ice cream with coconut milk options are also available, including passion fruit and strawberry crunch. Request sprinkles if you want, they’re free.

Mutual Friend Ice Cream

Mai Marche and consulting chef Spencer Hue co-author the recipes behind the mouthwatering flavors at this charming ice cream parlor in Golden Hill (closed for remodel) and now in South Park. The menu rotates monthly, but current summertime vegan and gluten-free offerings include Haupia Haole Pie, Guava Sorbet and Lavender Lemonade Sorbet.

Tocumbo Ice Cream

No need to go all the way to Mexico for Michoacan-style ice cream. Instead, go to Tocumbo on Market, in Chula Vista or Barrio Logan to fulfill your craving. Flavors range from the basics such as strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and Oreo to Mexican favorites like guayaba, gansito and rompope. For a sweeter treat, try the canastita michoacana or the Michoacan Basket, Tocumbo’s version of a sundae featuring ice cream of your choice, fresh fruit and whipped cream served in a waffle bowl.

Gelato Love

The Carlsbad-based gelateria also operates an outpost inside the East Village’s RoVino The Foodery, where it scoops up an array of flavors that include Carlsbad strawberry, organic lemon, and tiramisu all sweetened with allulose, a lower-calorie sugar derived from fruits like kiwis and figs, and also specializes in custom-made gelato cakes.

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Snoice

Tucked inside the Kababayan Bakery in Spring Valley, Snoice serves pandesal ice cream sandwiches filled with flavors like iconic ube (yam) and buko pandan (coconut, screwpine leaves), enclosed by two slices of the popular Filipino bread rolll. Shaved snow and Filipino favorite dessert halo halo can also be savored here.

Niederfrank's Ice Cream

Niederfrank’s Ice Cream

National City’s answer to the old school ice cream parlor is Niederfrank’s, San Diego’s oldest ice cream manufacturer. The shop has served its small batch ice cream since its establishment in 1948. Go here for avocado, macadamia nut toffee, cinnamon and Kahlua krunch. Custom-made ice cream pies are also made here.

Niederfrank’s Ice Cream

Sadie's Hand Crafted Mexican Ice Cream

A woman holds a waffle cone with two scoops of ice cream. Kimberly Motos

Named after his 10-year-old daughter, San Diego restaurateur Emilio Tamez’s new Bonita shop recently opened its doors to share nostalgic Mexican flavors like café de olla (coffee with cinnamon and piloncillo) and horchata. Using Randy’s Donuts, Sadies makes ice cream sandwiches with nieves de garrafa — ice cream made in wooden tubs — with flavors like Beso de Angel (nuts and fruit) and Mexican staple hot chocolate, Chocolate Abuelita.

A woman holds a waffle cone with two scoops of ice cream. Kimberly Motos

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