I have officially reached and probably exceeded my yearly quota of ice cream. San Francisco is an Ice Cream Mecca. I had no idea there are SO MANY amazing ice cream spots when I first decided to take on this ambitious mission. The amount of ice cream calories I consumed for this mission is…worth every count! My husband would agree, he was always delighted when I asked him to help me finish my cones.
If you are in San Francisco, THIS LIST IS ALL YOU NEED. These 30 golden spots will satisfy any ice cream cravings this summer (or year round, nobody is judging).
PART 1 has all the ice cream spots whereas PART 2 has all the gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt and soft-serve spots (some places sell more than one type). Confused by all the types? Here is a visual comparison of ice cream and gelato (sorbet is simply gelato without the dairy (replaced with water or soy/coconut milk).
Every single one has something special (flavor, texture, ingredients, toppings, etc.) that makes it popular and beloved by locals and tourists alike. To make it easy for your next visit, I have selected 1 or 2 flavors that you must not miss (at least ask for a sample when you are there) based on customer reviews, scooper recommendation and my taste buds of course =) Now, get your napkin ready for your drool, here is PART 1 of my ice cream adventure!
- O=Organic options
- V=Vegan options
- M=Multiple locations
1. Bi-Rite Creamery – Legendary ice cream. Each flavor is spot on delicious!
( 3692 18th St San Francisco, CA 94110 | 415-626-5600 ) M / V / O
Don’t miss: Salted Caramel (tad sweet, but burnt caramel flavor is spot on) & Balsamic Strawberry
2. Humphry Slocombe – Brilliant ice cream names like Jesus Juice and After School Special backed with brilliant taste!
( 2790A Harrison St San Francisco, CA 94110 | 415-550-6971 ) M / V / O
Don’t miss: Secret Breakfast (Vanilla based with caramelized cornflakes) & Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee
3. Mitchell’s Ice Cream – Tons of flavors, traditional or exotic, to satisfy any cravings.
( 688 San Jose Ave San Francisco, CA 94110 | 415-648-2300 ) M
Don’t miss: Ube & Grasshopper Pie
4. Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous – Ice cream with innovative flavors and wild textures.
( 699 22nd St San Francisco, CA 94107 | 415-970-0750 ) V / O
Don’t miss: Earl Grey & Pink Squirrel (Chinese Almond Cookie and Cherry Ice Cream)
5. Smitten Ice Cream – Made to order liquid nitrogen ice cream, 4 flavors per day
( 432 Octavia St Ste 1A San Francisco, CA 94102 | 415-863-1518 ) M / V / O
Don’t miss: Fresh Mint Chip & TCHO Chocolate
6. Polly Ann Ice Cream – Don’t know which of the 50 flavors to pick? Spin the wheel and let it decide. You might even win a free cone!
( 3138 Noriega St San Francisco, CA 94122 | 415-664-2472 )
Don’t miss: Red Bean & Jasmine Green Tea
7. The Ice Cream Bar – 1930s ice cream bar with nostalgic soda floats and milk shakes.
( 815 Cole St San Francisco, CA 94117 | 415-742-4932 ) O
Don’t miss: Banana Split with Cherry Ice Cream
8. Swensen’s Ice Cream – It may be a global franchise, but it started at this location!
( 1999 Hyde St San Francisco, CA 94109 | 415-775-6818 ) M
Don’t miss: Sticker Chewy Chocolate & Swiss Orange Chip
9. Joe’s Ice Cream – Old school ice cream beloved by locals in the Richmond district.
( 5420 Geary Blvd San Francisco, CA 94121 | 415-751-1950 )
Don’t miss: Blueberry Cheesecake & Cafferio (Coffee & Oreo)
10. Three Twins Ice Cream – Good things do come in pairs, not to mention 3!
( 254 Fillmore St San Francisco, CA 94117 | 415-487-8946 ) M / V / O
Don’t miss: Lemon Cookies & Mint Confetti
11. ShakeDown – Life’s like a visit to ShakeDown, you never know what you are going to get. Their flavors can change 2-3 times a day!
( 835 Geary St San Francisco, CA 94109 Tenderloin | 415-374-7523 ) V / O
Don’t miss: Pennsyl-Tucky (Walnut Chocolate Chip Pie Swirled into Bourbon Ice Cream) & Jacker Cracker (Popcorn Infused Ice Cream with Swirls of Dulce De Leche and Crushed Peanut Brittle) on Buckwheat Cone
12. DeLise Café – A dessert heaven. You will find jewel-like pastries and a wide variety of frozen treats.
( 327 Bay St San Francisco, CA94133 |415-399-9694 ) V / O
Don’t miss: Coconut Pandan Sorbet & Moon Cake Ice Cream
13. CREAM – Build to order sandwich ice cream with freshly baked cookies.
( 3106 16th St San Francisco, CA 94103 | 415- 400-4551 ) V
Don’t miss: Any Ice Cream Sandwiched in Warm Cookies!
14. Xanath Ice Cream – For all vanilla ice cream fans, this is it. Owner imports vanilla beans, they offer Madagascar, Tahitian and Mexican vanilla ice cream, Tahitian is my fav.
( 951 Valencia St San Francisco, CA 94110 | 415-648-8996 ) V / O
Don’t miss: Saffron Ginger & Tahitian Vanilla
15. Garden Creamery -Who says sorbet can’t be creamy? Their coconut milk based sorbet is out of this world!
( Truck location: Garden Creamery Locator | 808-224-6626 ) M / V / O
Don’t miss: Thai Iced Tea Sorbet & Genmaicha Ice Cream (Matcha & Toasted Rice)
That’s a wrap for PART 1, stay tuned for PART 2 with all the fro-yo, gelato and softserve! Keep in mind that some places almost always have a line out the door like Bi-Rite, Mitchell’s and Humphry Slocombe. But the lines move quickly, so do not despair.
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