When it comes to summer in Los Angeles, there’s nothing quite like an icy, sweet treat on a hot day. With school out for summer break, heading to a unique ice cream shop is a great way to break up the day and keep the kids cool. And we’re in luck, because L.A. is full of incredible ice cream parlors, creameries and gelaterias. Here are some of our favorite spots to consider for your summer ice cream tour.
Wanderlust Creamery takes a special approach to its menu: every ice cream flavor is inspired by a different country and its traditional desserts, making it a perfect stop for anyone looking for an interesting and perhaps new-to-them flavor. Innovative options include mango and sticky rice from Thailand, passionfruit cacao from Brazil and honeycomb from New Zealand.
Locations in Atwater Village, Sawtelle Japantown, Fairfax, Tarzana and Venice
Salt and Straw
Originally founded in Portland, Ore., Salt and Straw is quickly becoming one of the most popular and beloved ice cream brands around. Locally sourced ingredients and a community-based philosophy help the company stand out from the crowd, as do some of its flavors. In addition to more classic choices, Salt and Straw offers artisanal scoops such as Arbequina olive oil, pear and blue cheese and cinnamon snickerdoodle.
Locations in Larchmont Village, Abbot Kinney, the Arts District and Studio City
Dear Bella Creamery
This one’s for all of our vegan friends out there. Dear Bella Creamery’s mission is to serve vegan, all-natural ice cream that’s just as rich, creamy and tasty as its traditional counterparts. Some flavors on the summer 2023 menu include matcha mango, pineapple dream cake, strawberry fields and Vietnamese coffee.
Locations in Hollywood and Costa Mesa
The Dolly Llama Waffle Master
There’s really nothing quite like The Dolly Llama Waffle Master, which specializes in dessert waffles and, specifically, over-the-top waffle ice-cream sundaes. These unique, delectable treats include a signature bubble waffle plus ice cream and a variety of toppings. Expect combinations like Sugar n’ Spice (horchata ice cream, speculoos cookies, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and caramel sauce) and the Party Animal (salted caramel ice cream, Kinder chocolate bar, circus animal cookies and chocolate sauce).
Locations in downtown, Koreatown and Sherman Oaks
If you’re hungry for classic soft serve with a twist, look no further than Magpies Softserve. This local brand has the best of both worlds: traditionally creamy soft serve consistency with creative and innovative flavors like Thai tea, strawberry lemonade and corn almond. Plus, the menu includes vegan options. Magpies also has soft serve pies, which are a fabulous dessert option to bring to a summer gathering.
Locations in Silver Lake, Highland Park and Tarzana
Somi Somi Soft Serve and Taiyaki
An additional incredible L.A. summer ice cream destination is Somi Somi Soft Serve and Taiyaki. Somi Somi specializes in a Korean dessert called ah-boong. Here, that consists of a fish-shaped cone with filling inside, placed on top of ice cream. Ice cream flavors include matcha, ube and black sesame, plus classic flavors, and filling options include custard, Nutella, red bean, cream cheese and taro.
Locations in Little Tokyo, Sawtelle Japantown and Koreatown
In addition to American soft serve and Asian- and South American-inspired flavors, L.A.’s ice cream options include European-style spots such as Fatamorgana Gelato, where the fresh homemade Italian gelato will make you feel like you’re living la dolce vita. Founded by Maria Agnese Spagnuolo with the vision of creating allergy-friendly, homemade gelato, Fatamorgana Gelato is a family business, and its gelato is all-natural and free of chemicals and additives. For adults interested in gelato with a kick, check out their limited edition collaboration with Nosotros Tequila.
Locations in Studio City and Beverly Hills
Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars
Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars is another amazing ice cream spot inspired by its founder’s cultural roots. The wonderful flavors of its paletas, or fruit bars, nod to Priciliano Mateo’s childhood in Oaxaca, Mex., with options including mango with chile, black sapote, hibiscus and soursop. Mateo’s also serves sandwiches, making it a great pick if you need lunch followed by a sweet treat.
Locations in Mid City, Pico-Union, Culver City and Sawtelle Japantown
Fosselman’s Ice Cream Co.
Fosselman’s Ice Cream Co., located in Alhambra, has been in business for more than 100 years. It’s an old-time soda fountain with banana splits, floats and malts on the menu. The shop sells a wide variety of ice cream and sorbet flavors, too, as well as monthly seasonal flavors. In August, try pecan praline, or visit in September for black walnut ice cream.
Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream
Last but certainly not least, our final ice cream recommendation is Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream, which specializes in desserts that blend traditional Iranian cuisine and ice cream. There’s a baklava special (a scoop of ice cream with a piece of baklava), the Mashti special (an ice-cream sandwich with wafers) and the Malone special (a honey and rosewater pastry with ice cream on top). Mashti Malone’s also features gorgeous flavors like saffron rosewater, Persian cucumber and pomegranate sorbet.
Locations in Hollywood, Westwood and Silver Lake