» Find more unique treats around San Diego in Frozen Treats to Beat the Heat.
We don’t have to take a trip back in time to enjoy the luxury of true homemade ice cream. San Diego has plenty of parlors that boast of making their own ice cream on the parlor premises.
1025 Orange Ave., Coronado; 619-435-2422
1500 Orange Ave. (at the Hotel del Coronado), Coronado; 619-435-2383
Handcrafted ice cream made from scratch with new flavors available every day! Design your own delicious confection by selecting from a wide variety of mix-ins (fruit, nuts, candy, cookies, sprinkles and much more) and watch the staff smoosh and squish your ice cream on frozen granite counters. Choose a hand-rolled waffle cone, cup or chocolate dipped cone. MooTime also offers sherbet, frozen yogurt and sorbets.
Oasis Ice Cream Parlor
1832 Coronado Ave. Imperial Beach
Family owned and operated, Oasis Ice Cream Parlor has been making homemade ice cream since 1978. Owners Juan and Juanita Andrade still use old-fashioned methods to create their secret recipes. Along with American favorites, Oasis offers traditional Mexican-style ice cream that includes cucumber with chili flavor and rice pudding. Their current most popular flavor is pistachio. Great prices, generous portions and fantastic quality are all found here.
Cow-A-Bunga Micro Ice Creamery & Espresso
10 Evergreen Ave., Ste. E Imperial Beach
Chef Fabrice Gaunin came from France to San Diego, and instead of following his company when it moved, decided that San Diego would become his family’s home. With a baby on the way, Fabrice and wife Nelly wanted more free time and decided to buy a local ice cream shop that has been serving Imperial Beach goers for years.
The couple still makes their ice cream right in the shop, one bucket at a time. They also shop the farmer’s market for local ingredients, like raspberries that they use for special batches. Their most popular flavors are cookies and cream (with Oreo cookies) and peanut butter brownie. Cow-A-Bunga also features a full coffee menu for those chilly days on the beach or as a treat anytime!
The Daily Scoop
3004 Juniper St., South Park
This cozy neighborhood dessert parlor offers a bounty of locally made ice cream confections, baked goods, red velvet cupcakes and Hawaiian shaved ice. There’s even ice cream just for dogs! Leave your debit card at home; this parlor is “cash only.”
Mariposa Homemade Ice Cream
3450 Adams Ave., Normal Heights
“No gimmicks, no need for expensive mix-ins, just good old-fashioned ice cream, served by the people who make it.” Mariposa Ice Cream is surrounded by local shops that guarantee a great afternoon out, highlighted by Mariposa’s delicious ice cream. Their sherbets and dairy-free sorbets are also made in the shop. Mariposa ice cream can be found at the Oceanside Farmer’s Market, under the Oceanside pier and at special events throughout the county.
726 A Ave., National City
In 1948 Elmer Niederfrank opened his ice cream store in National City and his original factory is still going strong with new owners, Patti Finnegan and Mary Ellen Fought, who are dedicated to keeping Niederfrank’s ice cream true to its roots.
“They have a ton of flavors. I shared a triple scoop with ginger, chocolate peanut butter and Almond Joy,” says San Diego resident Allison Diamond of her recent visit. “They also have little tables where you can sit outside and feel the ocean breeze.”
The shop’s website brags, “We still make our ice cream by the most antique, inefficient, outdated and expensive process in the world. We think you will agree; the results are delicious!”
Want to try your hand at making your own ice cream? Gather the kids and try our Home Made Ice Cream.
Fascinating Facts about Ice Cream
• George Washington served ice cream to his guests
• In 1887 Carey W. Thompson, the proprietor of San Diego Pharmacy on Fifth and D Streets, and a few other gents, posed for a photo in front of the pharmacy’s large front doors announcing “Ice cream for sale.”
• First ice cream parlor opened in 1776 in New York
• Name comes from “Iced Cream”—later shortened
• Walk-away ice cream cone introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair
• America has the highest per capita consumption of ice cream
• Vanilla is the most popular flavor in the United States
Fun ideas with Ice Cream:
Hire an ice cream truck for your special event
Experiment with your own sauce recipes
Make ice cream in a bag
Make your own cone on a Panini maker
Laura Pardo is a freelance writer. She lives in South Park with her husband and three children.
Published: July 2012
Updated: June 2016