It’s hot out and the perfect time to treat yourself (and your kids) to ice cream! We talked to several local moms about their favorite neighborhood ice cream shops. These scoop shops have been taste-tested and are both kid and parent-approved. Below is our sweet guide to your favorite local ice cream shops in Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for shops that scoop all over the DMV. Yum!
Capital Candy Jar (Capitol Hill/H Street NE)
Come for a scoop or pint of ice cream from local favorite South Mountain Creamy, but be sure to try the chocolate covered Oreos and pretzel rods. The hand-crafted truffles are divine.
The Creamery at Union Market (Union Market/H Street NE)
The Creamery’s homemade ice cream is the stuff my children’s dreams are made of. The shop, located along the back wall inside Union Market, also offers grass-fed milk, pints of ice cream (non-dairy too!), and other dairy products. Snag a seat outside or on the roof of Union Market to enjoy your cone before it melts!
Larry’s Ice Cream (Dupont Circle)
Although known for their homemade ice cream, you’ll also find homemade cupcakes. They use imported, natural, and high-quality ingredients.
Lulabelle’s Sweet Shop (Petworth)
Here you’ll find unique gifts, housewares, and candy for all ages. Head to the back for Taharka Brothers ice cream by the scoop, espresso drinks made with locally roasted Lost Sock Coffee beans, and grab n’ go sandwiches and salads.
Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream (Mt. Pleasant)
Straight from our readers, you’ve got to try the unique flavors like Brigadeiro and Fresh Mint, but fear not — there is also cookies & cream and nutella for more picky littles. Food and Wine Magazine named MDIIC as one of America’s Top 25 ice cream parlors. Need I say more?
Southwest Soda Pop Shop (The Wharf)
Stroll down The Wharf with an ice cream scoop or soft serve from this family-owned shop. Or, better yet, try one of their delicious milkshakes or grab a specialty item, like a chip which, float, or banana split.
Thomas Sweet (Georgetown)
Locals, tourists, and sometimes former Presidents indulge at this mainstay Georgetown ice cream shop. Check out their fro-yo and famous “blend-ins” too.
Dairy Godmother (Del Ray)
The Dairy Godmother specializes in Wisconsin-style frozen custard. They have a monthly “flavor forecast” calendar on their website, but serve vanilla and chocolate custard daily. Also, home of the “puppy pops” for your furry friends.
A legendary DC frozen custard truck made with locally sourced dairy, Goodies opened in Arlington this summer in an appropriate building –an old Ice House. There’s outdoor bench seating and bowls of water for your pups.
La Moo Creamery (Arlington)
Watching the process at this Thai rolled ice cream shop is mesmerizing, and delicious. The ice cream is well-known for its great flavors in its rawest forms—no preservatives, thickeners, or stabilizers.
Lil City Creamery (Falls Church)
Lil City’s ice cream comes from the finest cows, specifically uber-pampered grass-fed cows, churning out the smoothest ice cream around.
SnoCream Company (Annandale)
Located in The Block Food Hall, this Taiwanese-inspired twist on traditional ice cream is literally what dreams are made of. SnoCream is a hybrid between ice cream and shaved ice—and loaded with toppings galore.
Sugar Mamas (Fairfax)
Sugar Mamas believes ice cream is necessary all the time, not just in warm weather—so they are open all year round. This family-owned shop also has a large variety of candy.
Peterson’s Ice Cream (Clifton)
A husband and wife owned shop serving homemade ice cream, gelato, shakes and malts, and deli sandwiches.
Serves sundaes, milkshakes, and cones in downtown Fairfax. Inside, the shop has locally inspired paintings and a spacious deck with outdoor seating.
Baked Bear (Bethesda)
Custom ice cream sandwiches, delicious ice cream between fresh-baked cookies. Enough said.
Hovermale’s Tastes Best (Fort Washington)
Home of the classics. Come for soft-serve and a topping, or treat yourself to an upside down banana split, fudge royale cake, strawberry short cake, or a dip top cone. Warning: Hovermale’s is cash only.
Rocky Point Creamery (Tuscarora)
A fun find on the country back roads of Maryland. Milking cows and a farm are right on sight, so you know you’re getting the freshest ice cream experience.
Sarah’s Handmade Ice Cream & Treats (Bethesda)
The mother-daughter duo behind Sarah’s is committed to serving small-batch, locally-sourced ice cream. They are also committed to serving the community, serving nearly 500 scoops at Sibley and Suburban hospitals as part of a “Scoops for Healthcare Workers” fundraiser during the pandemic.
Tropics Ice Cream (Silver Spring)
Tropical flavors like mango and pineapple make this place unique. Caribbean flavors are blended into delicious ice cream!
Multiple DMV Locations
520 Ice Cream (Mosaic District/Fairfax, Springfield, Bethesda, College Park, Rockville)
Handmade Thai-inspired rolled ice cream using natural ingredients. They have a variety of fruit and milk teas too.
Dolcezza (CityCenterDC, Dupont Circle, The Hirshorn, Mosaic District/Fairfax, Bethesda, and the Factory at Union Market)
After some publicly announced closured during the pandemic, Dolcezza is back! Dolcezza is a local handmade gelato shop sourcing their ingredients from local farms. They also have gourmet coffees.
Dolci Gelati (Shaw, Friendship Heights, Takoma Park, Alexandria, National Zoo, National’s Stadium)
This authentic gelato shop makes gelato (and pastries!) fresh daily with all natural ingredients. They have gobs of flavors and created by the chef. Also, you’ll find their signature flavor, Natitude, at Nat’s Stadium! Hosting an event? Hire their gelato carts too!
Ice Cream Jubilee (Navy Yard, Logan Circle/U Street, Ballston Quarter Market)
The Navy Yard location is on the waterfront next to a grassy area (and the amazing Navy Yard splash pool). This is a perfect spot to take the kids for a summer treat with outdoor seating.
Jeni’s Ice Cream (Capitol Hill, Yards Park, 14th St./Logan, Bethesda Row, Old Town Alexandria, McClean)
Originally from Ohio, Jeni’s is well-known for its unique flavors — and a patron who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
Moorenkos (Capitol Hill/Eastern Market, Silver Spring, Old Ellicott City, Towson, Frederick)
Moorenkos prides itself on hand-making ultra-premium ice creams in fun flavors like cinnamon cappuccino and honey lavender.
Nicecream (Clarendon, Old Town, Shaw, Adam’s Morgan)
Nicecream uses grass-fed cream and local ingredients from nearby farms. They then use liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream on the spot in front of guests.
Pitango Gelato (Penn Quarter, Adams Morgan, Reston, Bethesda, Fells Point)
The best of both worlds for kids and parents—coffee and ice cream (as well as vegan sorbets). They also cater (even weddings) and do birthday parties.
Did we miss your favorite ice cream shop? Let us know in the comments.