Washington, D.C.

5 Best Ice Cream Shops in Washington DC

The DC summer heat gets a little bit more bearable with a big ole scoop of cold, rich ice cream. But don’t settle for just any spoonful. These five ice cream shops dish up homemade flavors worth every calorie of a guilty pleasure. (If you’re really concerned, the milk-based gelato options are a bit lighter.)

1. Max’s Best Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop

The beloved Glover Park parlor has been serving up homemade scoops for over 20 years. The flavor options stay mostly within the customary dessert-based realm, with regulars raving about the Mexican Vanilla (spiked with cinnamon) and the Honey Graham. You’ll have to hurry in, though—a lease dispute with the landlord means that Max’s may close shop on June 30.

2416 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007 (202-333-3111) (no website)

Photo: All rights reserved by samthegirl

 2. Larry’s Homemade Cupcakes and Ice Cream in Dupont Circle

Don’t let the name make you think the ice cream takes second fiddle. With flavors like Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Dough, Cleopatra (spiced ice cream swirled with dates and coconut), the booze-infused Fred and Ginger (a vanilla base mixed with peaches, brandy, and ginger) and Jack on the Rocks (dark chocolate with a splash of Jack Daniels), it’s clear that Larry takes his ice cream seriously. (Another sign: His brusque demeanor, which has earned him the moniker, “the Scoop Nazi.”)

1633 Connecticut Ave, Washington, DC 20009 (202-234-2690)


Photo: All rights reserved by The Travelin Man

3. Orange Cow Food Truck

For its combo of value and freshness, Orange Cow can’t be beat—that is, if you can find it. (Hint: They have a Twitter page.) The traditional-leaning flavors, such as Peanut Butter Cup, Vanilla Bean and Coffee Oreo, are simply delicious, served up in generous portions starting at $3.50 for a single scoop. But get there early (wherever “there” is)—the lines get long and once a flavor’s gone, it’s gone, at least until the next day.

Orange Cow Facebook page

Photo: All rights reserved by lacafferata 

4. Pitango Gelato

The founders of Pitango aren’t kidding when they describe themselves as “control freaks.” They regulate their ingredients down to earning a special certification that allows them to pasteurize raw milk (this is so they only have to do it once, as each time milk is heated its quality is compromised). Imported Italian Piedmont hazelnuts flavor the Gianduja (chocolate hazelnut), and the espresso in the Caffe Espresso is brewed by hand, by the shot. You can get a taste of perfectionism at three locations in DC plus two others (in Reston, VA and Baltimore).

Penn Quarter: 413 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004 (202-885-9607)

Logan Circle: 1451 P Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 (202-332-8877)

Capital Hill: 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003 (202-701-6222)


Photo: All rights reserved by bajidc 

5. Dolcezza Gelato

The artisanal flavors at Dolcezza are seasonally inspired by the goods at local farmers’ markets, where Dolcezza sells its wares, in addition to its four area stores in DC, Virginia and Maryland. Currently in rotation: Chocolate-Mint Stracciatella (chocolate chip) and Blackberries and Cream. Also not to be missed—especially by the lactose-intolerant—are the creative sorbets, including Cucumber Tarragon Gin and Blueberry Lemon Thyme.

Georgetown: 1560 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007 (202-333-4646)

Dupont Circle: 1704 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009 (202-299-9116)


Photo: All rights reserved by kathyylchan

For another taste of Italian desserts, learn how to make tiramisu, panna cotta, and cannoli from scratch on this SideTour.

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