Photo By: Katie Sigeti
In San Diego, we take our ice cream very seriously. Maybe it's our warm weather or our laid-back lifestyle, but nobody does ice cream quite like we do! From San Ysidro to Oceanside, you'll discover delicious homemade ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, shave ice, decadent milkshakes and even Hula Pie! Add a trip to one of our favorite frozen treat spots to your San Diego bucket list. Better yet, visit several!
An's Dry Cleaning
3017 Adams Avenue, North Park
1555 Camino Del Mar
Don't be fooled by the name or the clothes hangers in the window, this former dry-cleaning store turned gelato shop serves up some of the best ice cream in town. Paying homage to its former life as the neighborhood dry cleaning store, this scoop shop names it's unique flavors after freshly-washed fabrics you might've found waiting in line for pick up. We highly recommend this spot, but don't take our word for it, Forbes Magazine listed An's Dry Cleaning as one of their top 5 reasons to visit San Diego!
The Baked Bear
Pacific Beach, Petco Park, La Costa, Carmel Valley, Carmel Mountain
Is there anything better than custom-made ice cream sandwiches? At The Baked Bear, choose from freshly baked brownies, warm cookies or two delicious waffles for your sandwich (or mix and match). Ask for it "hot-pressed" if you like your sandwich extra gooey. Don't forget to add toppings like sprinkles or chopped nuts for that extra touch.
4425 Convoy St. #216
Bing Haus specializes in Thai-style "rolled ice cream" creations and fun, soft-serve flavors like Charcoal Vanilla and Thai Tea. Stop by during holidays like Halloween and Christmas for special limited-time flavors.
Boba Bar and Desserts
4619 Convoy St. F., Kearny Mesa
Your one-stop shop for sweet treats! Boba Bar offers ice cream, shaved snow, boba drinks and more. Make sure to try the ice cream puffle, an egg-shaped waffle filled with your choice of soft-serve ice cream.
Bobboi Natural Gelato
8008 Girard Ave., La Jolla
Kettner Blvd., Little Italy
Little Italy Food Hall
Bobbi Natural Gelato was voted #8 in Yelp's 100 Best-Reviewed Places to eat in America for a reason! Hundreds of online reviews don’t lie; Bobboi has top-notch gelato made daily with fresh, organic and local ingredients.
Duke's La Jolla
1216 Prospect St., La Jolla
Hidden within Duke's delicious menu is a prize in San Diego's dessert world: the Hula Pie, featuring macadamia nut ice cream, cookie crust and hot fudge. Stop by for a slice of this incredible Hawaiian dessert and enjoy a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and La Jolla Cove.
122 S Kalmia St, Escondido
If you're craving something a little lighter and creamier, head to Escondido's beloved gelato shop for unique flavors like Strawberry Balsamic and Spicy Mango or indulge in more traditional flavors like Rocky Road and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong!
918 Orange Ave.
Treat your tastebuds to handmade artisanal gelato made with old-world traditions and recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Don't forget to ask about the flavor of the month.
Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream
3077 University Ave., North Park
1418 Garnet Ave, Pacific Beach
3740 Sports Arena Blvd, Ste #6, Point Loma
Check out Hammond's for a flight of six mini ice cream cones - perfect for people who can't decide on just one or two flavors (and mini cones are a great size for kids)! Popular flavors include Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut, Kona Coffee and Pineapple Orange Guava Sorbet.
Hanna’s Creamery & Café
4485 La Jolla Village Dr. F-13
Get your sweet fix at Hanna’s Creamery & Café, a treat-filled wonderland snuggled in the heart of University Town Center. Enjoy the yummy goodness of homemade ice cream, try their irresistible, freshly-baked cookies or have some delicious Lavazza Coffee that will definitely perk up your day.
12843 El Camino Real, Ste. 108 Del Mar
2825 State St., Carlsbad
4475 Mission Blvd., Pacific Beach
207 Main St., Vista
Handel's Homemade Ice Cream has been serving scoops to happy customers since 1945. With locations in Del Mar, Carlsbad and Pacific Beach, Handel's is the perfect spot for a post-beach-day treat. Choose from sundaes, shakes, smoothies or a "Handel's Hurricane," a sort of "twist" on the Dairy Queen Blizzard or McDonald's McFlurry.
4230 Bonita Rd., Ste. B, Bonita
2040 India St., Little Italy
Inspired by the traditional treats of Michoacan, Mexico, Holy Paleta's handcrafted paletas (ice cream bars) are made with all-natural, premium ingredients with tons of tasty toppings for guests to create one-of-a-kind treats. Vegan flavors also available.
4609 Convoy Ste B, Kearny Mesa
Iceskimo specializes in Taiwanese shaved snow, a tasty hybrid between traditional American ice cream and Hawaiian shaved ice. Each snow is shaved fresh to order.
Mariposa Ice Cream
3450 Adams Ave., San Diego
With 20 years under their belt, Mariposa knows how to make small-batch ice cream. The mom-and-pop ice cream shop in Normal Heights prides itself on inexpensive, old-fashioned ice cream served by the people who make it. Plus, if you're a Beatles fan you'll love the eclectic mix of paraphernalia and posters covering the walls from floor to ceiling!
1470 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach
Mr. Frostie is San Diego's gem for incredible soft-serve bliss. Its variety of treat options and reasonable prices make the long summer lines worth the wait.
811 25th St., San Diego
Small-batch handcrafted ice cream with unique flavors like Grandpa Badger's Citrus and Coconut Spiced Chai. Can't decide on one flavor? Indulge in a flight of four generous scoops to share with family or friends.
1602 State St., Little Italy
3650 5th Ave., Hillcrest
12925 El Camino Real, Del Mar Highlands
4202 Adams Avenue, Kensington
Pappalecco is an Italian eatery that offers more than just delicious dining and great service. Rich with flavor, creamy and dense, Pappalecco's gelato definitely ranks as some of the best in San Diego.
Rockie’s Frozen Yogurt
7612 Linda Vista Rd., Linda Vista
(corner of Mesa College Dr. and Linda Vista Rd.)
Tucked in the corner of a strip mall across the street from Kearny High School is a local treasure: Rockie’s Frozen Yogurt. With its reasonable prices and friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Rockie’s has been a neighborhood favorite for many years.
Salt & Straw
1670 India St., Little Italy
3705 Caminito Court, Ste. 0580, Carmel Valley
This beloved Portland-based ice cream shop boasts inventive flavors such as Honey Lavender and Meyer Lemon Meringue Pie. San Diego-inspired flavors include James Coffee and Bourbon, Avocado and Oaxacan Chocolate Fudge and more. An extensive vegan menu offers dairy-free customers a range of delicious flavors to choose from. Check back for new and rotating flavors. Plan to wait in line (it's worth the wait!).
Snowpops San Diego
1005 E. Plaza Blvd. #101, National City
This family-owned shop features snowballs made with fluffy shaved ice and delicious popsicles (with your choice of toppings). Yum!
Photo By: Katie Sigeti
4620 Convoy St., Kearny Mesa
9168 Mira Mesa Blvd.
4577 La Jolla Village Dr.
This one-of-a-kind soft-serve spot offers delectable ice cream creations in a fish-shaped waffle cone. The special dessert is popular in both Japan and Korea where it is known as "Taiyaki" and "Ah-Boong" respectively. Choose a unique flavor like ube, black sesame or matcha. Then pick from a variety of toppings like Fruity Pebbles, sprinkles, Oreo crumbs and more.
Wahine Kai Shave Ice
10545 Scripps Poway Pkwy., Scripps Ranch
Locals from Hawaii rave that Wahine Kai is the best and closest thing to authentic Hawaiian shave ice with creations such as The Sandy Jewel and the Kona Luau. You can order one of their suggested combos or create your own.
935 Broadway, El Cajon
The Yogurt Mill has been a local favorite for more than 35 years. Popular flavors include Coconut, Oreo & Cream and Red Velvet. Stop by between 10 a.m.–2 p.m. to avoid the crowd, or make new friends while waiting in the line that forms after 3 p.m.
Adrienne Sigeti is the Editorial Assistant at San Diego Family. A self-proclaimed ice cream connoisseur, she loves discovering new frozen treat spots to share with families across San Diego County.
Updated: June 2022