The 16 Best Ice Cream Shops in Boston

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The Best Ice Cream Shops in Boston

We New Englanders know our ice cream—after all, we do have Friendly’s and Ben & Jerry’s in our blood. So when it comes to the best ice cream in Boston, we set the bar high. Many spots throughout the city strive to satisfy adventurous eaters with their gourmet concoctions and bold ingredients, while other parlors are still cranking out the classics for the traditionalists. Not a fan of frozen treats? You can still get your sugar fix at the best bakeries and the best dessert spots and best places for pie in Boston.

1. Toscanini’s

Open since 1981, Toscanini’s continues to push the flavor boundaries, with intriguingly satisfying combinations like its beloved B3 (brownies, brown sugar and brown butter) and amazing burnt caramel, which was created by complete accident. With two locations in Cambridge, you’ll never run out of options. Flavors are updated regularly, so if you’re craving something specific, check the daily menu before heading over.

2. New City Microcreamery

This Central Square shop, which also has locations in Hudson and Sudbury, lures in ice cream lovers with unique, New England-inspired scoops. While its cases include the usual fan favorites like cookie dough, birthday cake batter and coffee, it’s this spot’s list of original concoctions that make it a must. Among its nostalgic, locally influenced flavors: salted cookies and cream, peanut butter banana Fluff and malted milk ball. The shop also offers a handful of vegan options with a coconut milk base, if you don’t do dairy.

3. Gracie’s Ice Cream

This cherished ice cream shop, which has locations in Somerville’s Union Square and Cambridge’s Kendall Square, pleases the masses with its specialty small batches. Unique homemade flavors include Guinness and honey cornbread, with new creations regularly coming into the rotation. Top your scoop with the house-made version of Magic Shell and definitely go for the toasted Fluff cone. Drop by the Binney Street location for an ice cream-laced cocktail at its inhouse bar, Earnest Drinks.

4. Honeycomb Creamery

Most of our favorites on this list are doing inventive and unique flavors, and Porter Square‘s Honeycomb Creamery is no exception with its delicious creations. Its craft ice cream is perfect for people seeking out-of-the-box creations. With options like malted vanilla, bay leaf and lemon curd, and even a gin and tonic sorbet, you may just find a new go-to summer flavor.

5. FoMu

These days, you need at least one solid vegan ice cream option and, fortunately for our dairy-eschewing friends and family, the good people at FoMu whip up shockingly creamy treats with a coconut milk base. Fun flavors include avocado, bourbon maple walnut, mango habanero and the summer-only almond raspberry crumble. The shop’s locations in Allston, Fenway and South End also create ice cream cakes for plant-based celebrations.

6. Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream

Established in 1983, Christina’s has been lauded as the one thing you have to eat when visiting the Commonwealth. With an ever-rotating list of seasonal flavors, Christina’s offers untraditional scoops sure to please every palate. A few favorites include Bailey’s Irish and burnt sugar ice creams, as well as Arnold Palmer sorbet.

7. Picco

This South End establishment not only has perfected the art of making pizza, but it also happens to churn out some of the best homemade ice cream in town. Not convinced? Just look at the steady stream of families stopping by the restaurant for a sweet treat, taking their scoops to go. Picco sources its dairy from local farms and uses only natural ingredients to make its ice cream. You’ll find traditional flavors, along with seasonal specials, and you can grab them in a cup, cone or hand-packed pint.

8. J.P. Licks

Since its start in Jamaica Plain over 40 years ago, this local ice cream institution has spread throughout the city, now boasting 17 locations. Always a good time, the lively atmosphere and creative scoops keep ice cream lovers coming through the door. During the summer, expect a wait—which really only gives you more time to decide between classics flavors (like brownie batter) and innovative seasonal favorites, like peanut butter and chili made with sriracha. Don’t skip the thick and delicious frappes, if you prefer drinking your ice cream.

9. Emack & Bolio’s

Founded in Boston in 1975, this shop is the result of the city’s bars closing early. (Bob Rook, an entertainment attorney, originally opened Emack & Bolio’s in a Coolidge Corner basement to give bands a place to hang out when clubs closed at midnight). These days, the shop sits on Newbury Street and is known for ice cream in funky flavors, like bananas foster and grasshopper pie, as well as a selection of frozen yogurts, sorbets and small-batch vegan scoops. Ever the innovator, this place also pioneered the flavored cone, which can be covered either in marshmallow or chocolate, then sprinkled with toppings like crushed Oreos and shaved coconut.

When it comes to ice cream, Boston has no shortage of amazing options to choose from. Whether you’re a fan of classic flavors or adventurous combinations, these ice cream shops are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. So go ahead, indulge in a scoop or two and discover your new favorite flavor.

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