It seems there’s never a bad time for ice cream. Thankfully, there are plenty of choices around New York to satisfy your taste buds for something cold, creamy and delicious!

Below is a list of our top 10 favorite New York ice cream spots (in no particular order)!

1) Melt Bakery

Image of Melt Bakery creamwiches Melt Bakery specializes in the aptly-titled “creamwich,” which combines an ice cream filling and cookie bun

Down in the historical Lower East Side you’ll find a sustainable bakery specializing in one unique treat: the creamwich. For the uninitiated, creamwiches combine a cookie bun with an ice cream patty. Co-owners Julian Plyter and Kareem Hamady began Melt Bakery at a street fair in 2010 before opening their Orchard Street store two years later. Regularly sized creamwiches will set you back $5, while miniature sized treats cost $3. The inside of the store is quite small and without seating, so think of the establishment as, essentially, a take-out spot; the signage is easy to miss, so pay attention as you pass by the shops on that branch of Orchard Street. The Melt bakers use local ingredients and dictate their menu based on the season – in other words, there’s always a new flavor (as of June 2014, there are six) for you to try! Why not spring for the “Classic,” a delicious combination of chocolate chip walnut cookies and vanilla ice cream? Or if you love red velvet, the “Lovelet” should hit the spot – melt-in-your-mouth cookies with a cream cheese filling.

Located at 123 Orchard Street, the bakery is open every day of the week, Sundays through Thursdays from noon to 8pm and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 10pm. Melt Bakery is easily accessed via subway: the Delancey-Essex Street station is only a few blocks away and served by the F and J lines. While you’re there, take a spin around the Lower East Side with our handy guide.

2) Coolhaus

Image of Coolhaus creamwich Coolhaus' sculpted creamwiches are inspired by architecture and design

Creamwich fanatic? After you’ve visited Melt Bakery, stop at a Coolhaus truck. Co-creators Natasha Case and Freya Estreller formed the brand in 2008, inspired by the connection between architectural design and food. The creamwiches’ popularity led to an expanded fleet of 11 trucks across the country (including 3 in New York) and deliveries to certain retailers. Given the mobile trucks, locations change daily – check the Coolhaus Twitter feed for updates. Prices average around $6 per snack, but are worth it for customization – patrons can request combinations of cookies and ice cream. Coolhaus also emphasizes sustainability, with organic ingredients and handmade quality taking priority in their craft. Seasonal specialties make Coolhaus a must – summer is filled with citrus flavors, while autumn is marked by pumpkin and deep spices – and regular menu staples are as enticing as you’d expect.

3) Chinatown Ice Cream Factory 

Image of Chinatown Ice Cream Chinatown Ice Cream delights guests with its unique flavors and cultural pride

Looking for ice cream with a surprise? Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, run by the Seid family for over 30 years, combines America’s love of creamy scoops with a Chinese twist. “Regular” flavors include Chinese egg custard, green tea, and pineapple; “exotic” flavors include chocolate chip, pistachio, and rocky road – not your usual menu classifications! Chinatown Ice Cream is constantly producing new tastes and their ice cream cakes are great for parties or take-out. One scoop is roughly $4, but with all of these unique flavors, you may want to spend the extra cash for a bigger cone.

Located at 65 Bayard Street, the heart of Chinatown, this factory is open every day of the week from 11am to 10pm and can be accessed by the Canal Street subway station. Keep in mind that lines may be long (depending on the hour and day), that the inside is too small for sitting or standing about, and the Chinatown Ice Cream is cash only. Chinatown is a wonderful and culturally rich neighborhood — our video guide of the Chinese district will help you discover all is has to offer.

4) Sundaes and Cones

Another specialty spot, Sundaes and Cones in the East Village, offers a wide variety of choices: from the classics (strawberry), to the exotic (pink grapefruit), to the downright odd (corn – which does, in fact, taste like the vegetable). One scoop roughly costs $4.50, but if you’re worried about spending the cash on an unsatisfying flavor, never fear – the friendly staff will let you try multiple samples before you buy.

Take the 4 or 6 train to Astor Place and walk the few blocks to the eatery. Sundaes and Cones is open daily, from 11am to 11pm (with hours extended to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). There is limited seating, and $5 minimum for credit cards – have cash if you plan on getting a small order. And why not eat your ice cream while touring the East Village? We’ve got you covered with our guide to the East Village.

5) Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Image of Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory at twilight Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory has spectacular treats – and Manhattan views

Think Manhattan has a monopoly on the best ice cream? Think again. Brooklyn – increasingly the hippest borough of New York – has plenty of options to tease your palate. The first, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, is worth the hike from Manhattan for two reasons: one is its unparalleled view at the original location in DUMBO (Greenpoint is the home an additional factory). The second is, naturally, the dessert: although Brooklyn Ice Cream’s menu is not as extensive as others of its kind, it makes up for it in quality. Scoops range from $4 to $7 in price; sundaes, milkshakes, and banana splits are a little extra – and like Chinatown Ice Cream, it is cash only. Inside seating is limited, but with panoramas of Manhattan at your footsteps, why stay inside?

Take the A or C trains to High Street or the F train to York Street for the DUMBO location (open daily from noon to 10pm), and the G train to Greenpoint Avenue for the Greenpoint location (open Wednesdays through Sundays from 1pm to 9pm). If you’re looking for some exercise, walk from lower Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge to the DUMBO establishment – the scenery is truly remarkable. As for the main attraction? The vanilla chocolate chunk and the chocolate chocolate chunk come highly recommended.

6) Ample Hills Creamery

Image of an ice cream dish Ample Hills Creamery, like many others, does not shy away from experimenting with its ice cream flavors

Continue your Brooklyn expedition to Prospect Heights, where Ample Hills Creamery serves its tasty treats. A regularly rotating menu of 16 flavors each day adds an element of surprise as patrons walk through their doors. Lines can be long, but the bright décor (and the promise of delicious ice cream) should occupy your mind instead. Single scoops round out at $4.35, doubles at $5.75 and pints at $8.25.

Open daily from noon to 11pm (with hours stretched to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays) but get there as early as you can: supplies are limited, and the most popular flavors will run out by late afternoon. The original 623 Vanderbilt Avenue locale is easily accessed by a number of subway lines, including the A, B, Q, and 4. Many consider the salted crack caramel to be Ample Hills’s finest, but don’t take their word for it – try it out yourself!

7) Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Image of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream bring environmental awareness to their delicacies

With several stores and trucks spread around New York, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream makes its specialty readily accessible across the city. Using all natural ingredients and an environmentalist perspective, Van Leeuwen began in 2008 and has only grown since. It comes as no surprise, then, that herbs control the menu – earl grey tea, mint chip, hazelnut and palm sugar flavors are standard fare alongside your typical vanilla and chocolate. Trucks can usually be found in the West Village, Soho and Williamsburg, while permanent storefronts dot the streets of the East Village, Greenpoint and Boerum Hill – an equal balance of spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Regular size is $5.50 and $7.50 for large; both can accommodate two scoops, so feel free to select two different flavors to get the most from your money. Seating differs from place to place, but the East Village location is roomier than most with plenty of tables for reading, snacking, and socializing.

Every Van Leeuwen site is easy to get to with the subway and some walking: take the G train to arrive near the Greenpoint setting, or the 4, F, or N to the East Village setting. An added bonus: Van Leeuwen produces vegan flavors in vanilla and chocolate and offers its trucks for wedding rentals!

8) Big Gay Ice Cream

Image of Big Gay Ice Cream Big Gay Ice Cream is known for its tongue-in-cheek spirit and delicious ice cream

Between its cheeky name and its flamboyantly titled treats, Big Gay Ice Cream delights guests with flair. Come taste irresistible combinations, from the Salty Pimp (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, and chocolate dip) to the Bea Arthur (vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, and crushed vanilla wafers). Hours run from noon to 10pm every day except for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays when the shops – one in the West Village, the other in the East Village – stay open until 12:30am. Cones cost anywhere from $5 to $7, and are protected by plastic covers to catch melting ice cream – a handy feature! The interiors are small but colorful to keep your mind off of the waiting time.

Take the 4 train to Astor Place or the F train to 2nd Avenue for the East Village shop, and the 1 train to Christopher Street or the A train to West 4th Street for the West Village shop. While you’re there, be sure to pick up a Big Gay T-shirt to commemorate your visit!

Want to sample New York’s best ice cream year round? Why not look into our roommate shares in New York or furnished rentals? Or what about a New York vacation rental for a shorter stay? Either way, New York Habitat has you covered!

9) L’Arte del Gelato

Craving a taste of Italy in New York? The brainchild of Sicilian immigrants, L’Arte del Gelato brings the Italian dessert to the Big Apple with authentic ingredients and craftsmanship. Visitors have their choice of gelati alla crema (rice pudding, butterscotch, and licorice are some options), gelati alla frutta (think banana and chocolate with orange), or sorbetto (mixed berries, kiwi and grape, among other flavors). L’Arte’s flagship is situated at the Chelsea Market and is open from 11am to 10pm daily except Sundays, whereupon the gelaterie closes an hour early. (Seasonal locations at Lincoln Center and the High Line are in operation during the warmer months.) A small sampling of two flavors will set you back $4.50, but are worth it in quality – and the opportunity to tour Chelsea. Seating is abundant throughout the marketplace, and the inside is warm and inviting.

Take the A, C, or E to the 14th Street subway station and enjoy your gelato – buon appetito!

10) OddFellows Ice Cream Company

For a distinctive menu and a touch of old-fashioned Americana, look no further than OddFellows Ice Cream Company. It is possibly the only place you will find beet pistachio honey goat cheese and miso butterscotch cherry ice cream, not to mention a PB&J with toast flavor (a little different than Mom used to make!) If you are feeling a bit adventurous, why not test the sorbet – cinnamon blackberry and pink lemonade are just two of the rotating flavors (eight to ten ice cream and two to four offerings are presented each day). OddFellows charges approximately $7 for two scoops in their handmade waffle cone, an absolute must treat.

Open from 1pm to 11pm on weekdays, with slight hourly changes on weekends, this Williamsburg eatery – just a few blocks away from the L station at Bedford Avenue — satisfies your sweet tooth late into the evening.

Bonus creameries: Vegans rejoice! Alchemy Creamery in Williamsburg and the eatery formerly known as Lula’s Sweet Apothecary (now under a different name) in Alphabet City specialize in serving delicious and dairy-free confections to their clientele. In addition, customers love Williamsburg Creamery for its popcorn and wine-infused flavors.

Need a supplemental beverage for your ice cream travels? Take a look at our favorite coffee shops in New York! What are your favorite New York ice cream spots, readers?

Related apartment rental posts from New York Habitat:
  1. Top 10 Bagel Spots in New York
  2. Top 10 Pizza Spots in New York City
  3. Top 5 Spots to Watch the Sunset in New York
  4. Top 5 Shopping Spots in New York City
  5. Top 10 Brunch Spots in NYC


2 Responses to “Top 10 Ice Cream Spots in New York”

  1. Julian Plyter Says:

    Hello there! I am the owner of Melt Bakery – and delighted by this profile! I just served a group of French guests who found me through the site. Thanks so much!

    One small correction, if I may, our address is 132 Orchard Street; not 123 Orchard as listed here.

    Many thanks!

  2. New York Habitat Says:

    Thanks Julian, glad you liked the article! We’ll make the correction for the address :)

Leave a Reply

Submit Comment

Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam wordTo prove you are a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.