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Best Ice Cream Shops in the Bay Area

Best Ice Cream Shops in the Bay Area

Get through the hot California days with these excellent ice cream shops in the Bay Area. Team


6 min read

April 19, 2023

As ice cream lovers, we believe any time is a good time for ice cream.  Of course, there are few better times than a California summer, when ice-cold creamy goodness provides a welcome reprieve to San Fran’s hottest summer days. Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner in the Bay Area, which means pretty soon it will be time for sunny days at the boardwalk, lounging in the park, going hiking with friends, and, yes, eating lots of delicious ice cream. As the national leader in the dairy industry, California is full of deluxe ice cream parlors, and San Francisco is no exception. Let’s check out the best ice cream in the Bay Area so you know exactly where to go for the dog days of summer.  

San Francisco 

Enjoy a classic banana split at Mitchell’s Ice Cream, a classic ice cream parlor in San Francisco, California.

Polly Ann Ice Cream 

3138 Noriega Street, San Francisco, CA 94122 

One of the coolest parlors for gelato in San Francisco, Polly Ann Ice Cream has become a fixture of the Sunset District thanks to its ultimate sundaes and original flavors. The parlor is a humble corner store, but it is chock full of sweet treats, including cakes, cookies, and delectable ice cream. 

Aside from deliciously quirky flavors such as Pumpkin Pie, Azuki Red Bean, Thai Tea, and Turkish Coffee, Polly Ann specializes in monster-sized milkshakes and vintage-style soda floats. If you’re feeling creating, we recommend also trying their deluxe range of toppings for the best gelato in San Francisco, including organic nuts of all kinds and multiple syrups and chocolate sauces. If you really like Polly Ann’s flavorful offerings, you can take a pint home for just $9 and have the ultimate home dessert.  

Mitchell’s Ice Cream 

688 San Jose Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110

You go to Mitchell's when you want the best in classic ice cream scoops from a local San Francisco establishment. As a family-owned business, Mitchell’s has been going strong for over sixty-five years, offering some of the best ice creams in San Francisco from their beautiful location in Noe Valley. 

This vintage-themed ice cream venue features a range of affordable ice cream delights, including classic cones and sundaes, banana splits, ice cream cakes, and one of the best selections of vegan ice cream in San Francisco. If you love fresh fruit, you’ll also love Mitchell’s refreshing strawberry and mango sorbets, perfect for warm summer’s day in the City by the Bay.   

Polly Ann Ice Cream is famous for their ultimate sundaes complete with original flavors such as Azuki Red Bean, and Turkish Coffee.

Humphry Slocombe 

One Ferry Building #8, San Francisco, CA 94111 

As a wildly popular ice cream chain in the Bay Area, Humphry Slocombe has made a name for itself by thinking outside the box. And when we say their flavors are unconventional, that’s no exaggeration. If you want cheese-flavored ice cream, you can get it at any Humphy Slocombe location. If that sounds a bit too risque, you can also go for their tamer yet innovative reimagining of popular flavors, including Tahitian V*n!ll@ and Secret Breakfast. 

We recommend going to the Ferry Building location in downtown San Francisco so you can get the proper City by the Bay experience. There’s nothing quite like enjoying an exquisitely unusual ice cream cone and strolling through one of San Francisco’s most historic places. If time permits, we recommend sticking around and exploring the great range of boutique stores and gourmet restaurants that also call the iconic Ferry Building home. 

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North Bay 

Sweet Scoops Homemade Ice Cream 

408 1st Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476

We highly recommend stopping by this cozy Latinx woman-owned ice cream parlor during your next trip to North Bay. The cool thing about this Sonoma ice cream shop is that its flavors change all the time, sometimes even on the same day. Although Sweet Scoops always has a few main flavors, such as chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate chip, their other offerings change based on supplies and what is most popular. 

You might come in one day and have had the super-cholately Alotachocolata with strawberry, and the next day the shop will feature Butter Bricle or Dulce de Leche. This means every visit to Sweet Scoops is a chance to explore something different and exciting, and either way, you’ll be enjoying some of the best California brand ice cream in the Bay Area. 

Noble Folk Ice Cream & Pie Bar 

539 4th Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

No visit to sunny Santa Rosa would be complete without a stopover at this high-end LGBT-owned ice cream bar that celebrates diversity and inclusion by producing some of the best ice cream in the Bay Area. Noble Folk Ice Cream & Pie bar is in historic downtown Santa Rosa, CA, in the beautiful Hall-Maugg Building. Noble Folk is a charming local spot to drink coffee, enjoy a divine pie or cupcake, and get fantastic ice cream. 

Browse Noble Folk’s wide selection of dairy free ice cream and classic quality flavors to find exactly what suits your fancy. Noble Folk offers everything from conventional flavors, such as vanilla bean and swiss chocolate to more out-there flavors, like Thai Iced Tea and Rasberry Blood Orange. Ask about their seasonal flavors if you’re in the mood for something off-menu. 

South Bay 

There’s nothing better than a refreshing fruit-flavored ice cream scoop on a hot San Jose day.

Yumi Yogurt 

3787 Stevens Creek Boulevard STE 102, Santa Clara, CA 95051

If you’re looking for the best ice cream in San Jose, this is the place for you. Yumi Yoghurt is a chain of places around south bay, but all of their shops are in the San Jose area, and they all come with a classic neon diner style complete with cozy outdoor seating. Yumi Yogurt is a favorite for South Bay locals thanks to its generous portions and its oh-so-special flavors, including chocolate malt, butterscotch, and pistachio. 

As the name implies, Yumi Yogurt specializes in frozen yogurt products, although they also have regular ice cream by the scoop. You can also get a range of wonderful smoothies and tall milkshakes here, and like all great frozen yogurt joints, there’s no shortage of toppings at Yumi Yogurt. This allows you to combine your flavor burst ice cream with any number of quality toppings from nuts to M&M's, allowing you to enjoy the best ice cream in the Bay Area just the way you like it.  

SomiSomi Soft Serve & Taiyaki

1477 Berryessa Road Suite 20, San Jose, CA 95133

SomiSomi Soft Serve brings a sweet Korean tradition to the streets of San Jose. This special Korean dessert is known as “Ah-Boong” and consists of a fish-shaped waffle cone filled with any filling you desire and topped with soft serve ice cream and your choice of toppings. This is one of the best places to get ice cream in San Jose both for the novelty and the quality. 

Each of SomiSomi’s beautiful modern parlors offers a range of compelling fillings, including Nutella, Red Bean, and even Taro. For the soft serve flavor, you’ll be happy to know that SomiSomi doesn't disappoint with gourmet options such as Matcha, Ube, and Black Sesame. What better way to top off this mountain of deliciousness than with something fresh and sweet, like some strawberries or perhaps even Oreo crumbs. The choice is yours at this unique San Jose ice creamery.    

East Bay 

Enjoy quality ice cream in a classic diner setting at Fentons Creamery in Oakland, or head to Solano Avenue in Berkeley to snap up some treats.

Fentons Creamery

4226 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

For a slice of glorious Americana, it doesn’t get much better than Fentons ice cream in Oakland. This restaurant features a classic 1960s diner aesthetic and menu. All this to say, Fentons is a great place for a quick lunch like an old-fashioned burger or a grilled cheese sandwich, but save some room for dessert. Fentons Creamery lives up to its name with huge sundaes and massive milkshakes that will leave nobody unsatisfied. 

We recommend trying their jumbo sundae with your choice of ice cream and garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It may be a standard choice, but this Oakland ice cream shop has plenty of fabulous flavors to keep things interesting, like Mocha Almond Fudge, Pistachio Raspberry, and Blueberry Cheesecake.  


1819 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707 

Situated on bustling Solano Avenue, iScream is the perfect go-to spot for ice cream in Berkeley after a great dinner at a local artisanal pizza parlor. This quirky vintage ice cream shop has made a name for itself by making some of the best ice cream in the bay area. Their selection features a diverse creative range of flavors, including Thai Tea and Oreo, all served in heavenly fresh waffle cones and topped with steaming hot chocolate sauce. If that sounds like a good time, then come on down and enjoy this artisanal ice cream in Berkeley, California.   

Disclaimer: does not receive any kind of compensation for reviewing any of the products or services mentioned in this article.

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