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A layered ice cream cone with different flavors and colors.
A Rainbow Cone is made of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla, cherry, walnuts), pistachio, and orange sherbet.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The 20 Essential Ice Cream Shops in Chicago

Cool down with a sweet, creamy treat

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A Rainbow Cone is made of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla, cherry, walnuts), pistachio, and orange sherbet.
| Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Almost everyone likes ice cream. If that weren't the case, why does dairy-free ice cream exist? From old fashioned ice cream and soft serve to custard and gelato and Thai rolled ice cream, there’s a wide variety of rich and indulgent options to try. These 20 spots provide the best scoops and cones around Chicago, no matter the season. New cool entries on the 2022 map are CTA-themed Sundae Stop (complete with replica train) near the Belmont Red Line station; Eli’s Ark in Wicker Park, which serves its scoops of gelato decorated to look like adorable animals; and newish dessert destination Banana Cream Ice Cream in Edgewater.

For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Banana Cream Ice Cream

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6305 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 293-6775

Edgewater’s newish dessert destination Banana Cream Ice Cream launched in late 2021 with a plethora of sugary treats. Stop in the lime green-painted space for indulgent milkshakes, banana splits, doughnut ice cream sandwiches, hot cinnamon waffle rolls, and more.

2. Lickity Split

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6056 N Broadway St, Chicago
IL, 60660
(773) 274-0830
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Decadent, rich custard powers Lickity Split’s sundaes and concretes, and the signature banana splits are sure to brighten anyone’s day. The shop has an additional outpost in West Ridge; in addition to custard, both sell a selection of unusual candy and other sugary treats.

3. Sundae Stop

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931 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 857-0432
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This Chicago Transit Authority-system themed scoop shop offers something for everyone, from dairy and vegan ice cream to specialty waffle cones (plain and ube) to crepes, sundaes, and banana splits. There’s also a shimmery replica CTA train for an extra serving of fun.

4. Scooter's Frozen Custard

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1658 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 244-6415
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Considered by many to be Chicago's finest custard, Scooter's brings the favorite dessert of America's Dairyland, aka Wisconsin, down south. Rotating flavors are made daily, and folks can customize their concretes and sundaes with an assortment of mix-ins.

5. Taiyaki Chicago

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2468 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 360-1785
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This Lincoln Park establishment is one of the few places in Chicago that serve this unique Japanese dessert that’s shaped like a fish. Customers start by choosing a filling (red bean, Nutella, or peanut butter) for their taiyaki cakes. Soft serve ice cream and toppings are then added in to complete the hot-and-cold, Instagram-friendly delights.

6. Pretty Cool Ice Cream

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2353 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 697-4140
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Dana Salls Cree, the former pastry chef of the Publican, joined forces with Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits owner Michael Ciapciak to open this charming Logan Square shop in 2018.

Instead of cones, Pretty Cool’s lineup consists mainly of ice cream bars on sticks. Items range from custard bars and vegan ice pops to icicle pie pops dipped in graham cracker shells. A second location is expected to open in Lincoln Park this summer.

7. Margie's Candies

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1960 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 384-1035
Visit Website

Bust out the letterman jackets because Margie's is straight out of the 1950s. Have a malt or turtle sundae and pretend to be Richie Cunningham waiting for the Fonz. Happy Days, indeed. For the daring, there’s a massive sundae featuring 15 scoops of ice cream, sauces, and toppings. A second Margie’s outpost is located near the CTA Montrose Brown Line station in Ravenswood.

8. The Freeze

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3967, 2815 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 384-5211

Take a trip back in time at this vintage ice cream stand. The Freeze, formerly known as Tastee-Freez, has been dishing out nostalgic desserts since the ‘50s. Snag dipped soft serve cones, sundaes, malts, milkshakes, and more from the walk-up window.

9. Eli’s Ark

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1843 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 687-9072

There are plenty of fun, colorful ice creams found around Chicago, but the menu items at Eli’s Ark are arguably the cutest of the bunch. A mom-and-pop gelato shop that opened in 2018, Eli’s squee-worthy scoops are shaped like animals — think, pigs with pink marshmallow snouts and pandas with miniature Oreo ears.

10. Vaca’s Creamery

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1436 W Blackhawk St
Chicago, IL 60642

Chicago’s first all-vegan ice cream parlor arrived in 2021 in West Town. Vaca’s Creamery features soft serve, sundaes, and milkshakes made without dairy. Guests can top their orders with extras like confetti cookie dough, Mexican cinnamon cookie crumble, and toasted marshmallows. Egg-free waffle cones are also available.

11. Black Dog Gelato

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859 N Damen Ave, Chicago
IL, 60622
(773) 235-3116
Visit Website

Black Dog puts gourmet touches on a childhood treat. How else would one explain a Turkish coffee float or a strawberry lemonade gelato pie? There are locations in Ukrainian Village, the West Loop, and Logan Square.

12. BomboBar

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832 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 492-7775
Visit Website

Instagram-famous dessert spot BomboBar, the walk-up window in the West Loop outside Bar Siena, has revamped its facade and menu, but still features a dozen varieties of gelato and gelato shakes alongside bomboloni — traditional hole-less Italian doughnuts — in six flavors including peanut butter and jelly, cookies and cream, and lemon pistachio. In an Earth-friendly move, the team has ditched the plastic mini squeeze bottles of filling that used come with the bomboloni, and cut back on the over-the-top decorations and garnishes.

13. Cone Gourmet Ice Cream

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1051 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 666-5111
Visit Website

There's an obsession in preserving childhood for adults, and Cone does this with Irish-inspired creations. The “Banshee” sundae features ice cream covered in Lucky Charms. It’s magically delicious.

14. Kurimu

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1159 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 877-5227
Visit Website

Get ready for cones in surprising colors, edible gold or silver leaves, boba ice cream bars, melon pan buns stuffed with ice cream, and soft serve flavors like taro at Japanese-style spot Kurimu in Little Italy. There’s a second location open in Wicker Park, and a suburban outpost coming in June to Schaumburg.

A hand holds up a red cone with a swirl of pink soft serve inside.
In 2022, Kurimu is leaning into pop-up collaborations with pop-culture icons like Care Bears.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

15. La Michoacana Premium

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1855 S Blue Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 226-9600
Visit Website

For a seemingly endless array of options, Pilsen’s Mexican creamery can’t be beat. Ice creams run the gamut from cucumber to Mexican Twinkie while the vibrant paleta selection is even more eclectic, boasting dozens and dozens of flavors. It can be an overwhelming experience but don’t fret; just jump right in and then come back (again and again) to try more things.

16. Legend Tasty House

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2016, 2242 S Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-8869
Visit Website

This Chinatown spot was among the first in Chicago to offer Thai ice cream. Workers roll the ice cream by hand in front of customers and finish it off with mix-ins such as fresh fruits, Oreos, and chocolate chip cookies.

17. Scoops Ice Cream

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608 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 842-3300
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Waffles are ice cream's best friend, and Scoops knows this. Its waffle cones and bowls are made in house and come in a number of different flavors. The candy toppings are top-notch as well.

18. Shawn Michelle's

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46 E 47th St
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 615-3238
Visit Website

Taste a variety of homemade flavors at this shop in Bronzeville’s historic Rosenwald Courts Apartments. Inspired by his memories as a kid, owner Yahya Muhammad has been perfecting recipes since college and moved his business back to the South Side after previously scooping cones in Lakeview. The inventive selection includes Muhammad’s signature honey cinnamon graham cracker, Jamaican rum raisin, and butter cookie, as well as a vegan menu. The ice creams can be enjoyed with freshly baked cobblers too. There’s a second outpost inside Time Out Market Chicago in Fulton Market.

19. Original Rainbow Cone

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9233 S Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60643
(773) 238-7075
Visit Website

Rainbow Cone fans will come find anyone who says anything negative about their favorite iconic treat. For more than nine decades, the South Side institution has been stacking up colorful slices of orange sherbet, chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with walnuts and cherries), and pistachio ice creams. It’s a must-try for locals and visitors alike. Additional outposts can be found at Navy Pier, Lombard, Darien, and, in a truly historic recent move, Skokie, the first-ever Rainbow Cone location north of downtown.

An ice cream cone composed of five layered flavors.
Rainbow Cone is a summer staple in Chicago.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

20. Richard's Super Premium Ice Cream

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11033 S Langley Ave
Chicago, IL 60628
(773) 614-8999
Visit Website

Located in Pullman, Richard’s produces quality flavors by the pint. Enjoy intriguing options like banana pudding, peach cobbler, pineapple vodka, sweet potato pie, Key lime pie, and more. The ice creams are also available in sundaes.

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1. Banana Cream Ice Cream

6305 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660

Edgewater’s newish dessert destination Banana Cream Ice Cream launched in late 2021 with a plethora of sugary treats. Stop in the lime green-painted space for indulgent milkshakes, banana splits, doughnut ice cream sandwiches, hot cinnamon waffle rolls, and more.

6305 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60660

2. Lickity Split

6056 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL, 60660

Decadent, rich custard powers Lickity Split’s sundaes and concretes, and the signature banana splits are sure to brighten anyone’s day. The shop has an additional outpost in West Ridge; in addition to custard, both sell a selection of unusual candy and other sugary treats.

6056 N Broadway St, Chicago
IL, 60660

3. Sundae Stop

931 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

This Chicago Transit Authority-system themed scoop shop offers something for everyone, from dairy and vegan ice cream to specialty waffle cones (plain and ube) to crepes, sundaes, and banana splits. There’s also a shimmery replica CTA train for an extra serving of fun.

931 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

4. Scooter's Frozen Custard

1658 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

Considered by many to be Chicago's finest custard, Scooter's brings the favorite dessert of America's Dairyland, aka Wisconsin, down south. Rotating flavors are made daily, and folks can customize their concretes and sundaes with an assortment of mix-ins.

1658 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

5. Taiyaki Chicago

2468 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

This Lincoln Park establishment is one of the few places in Chicago that serve this unique Japanese dessert that’s shaped like a fish. Customers start by choosing a filling (red bean, Nutella, or peanut butter) for their taiyaki cakes. Soft serve ice cream and toppings are then added in to complete the hot-and-cold, Instagram-friendly delights.

2468 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614

6. Pretty Cool Ice Cream

2353 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Dana Salls Cree, the former pastry chef of the Publican, joined forces with Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits owner Michael Ciapciak to open this charming Logan Square shop in 2018.

Instead of cones, Pretty Cool’s lineup consists mainly of ice cream bars on sticks. Items range from custard bars and vegan ice pops to icicle pie pops dipped in graham cracker shells. A second location is expected to open in Lincoln Park this summer.

2353 N California Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

7. Margie's Candies

1960 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Bust out the letterman jackets because Margie's is straight out of the 1950s. Have a malt or turtle sundae and pretend to be Richie Cunningham waiting for the Fonz. Happy Days, indeed. For the daring, there’s a massive sundae featuring 15 scoops of ice cream, sauces, and toppings. A second Margie’s outpost is located near the CTA Montrose Brown Line station in Ravenswood.

1960 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

8. The Freeze

3967, 2815 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Take a trip back in time at this vintage ice cream stand. The Freeze, formerly known as Tastee-Freez, has been dishing out nostalgic desserts since the ‘50s. Snag dipped soft serve cones, sundaes, malts, milkshakes, and more from the walk-up window.

3967, 2815 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

9. Eli’s Ark

1843 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

There are plenty of fun, colorful ice creams found around Chicago, but the menu items at Eli’s Ark are arguably the cutest of the bunch. A mom-and-pop gelato shop that opened in 2018, Eli’s squee-worthy scoops are shaped like animals — think, pigs with pink marshmallow snouts and pandas with miniature Oreo ears.

1843 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

10. Vaca’s Creamery

1436 W Blackhawk St, Chicago, IL 60642

Chicago’s first all-vegan ice cream parlor arrived in 2021 in West Town. Vaca’s Creamery features soft serve, sundaes, and milkshakes made without dairy. Guests can top their orders with extras like confetti cookie dough, Mexican cinnamon cookie crumble, and toasted marshmallows. Egg-free waffle cones are also available.

1436 W Blackhawk St
Chicago, IL 60642

11. Black Dog Gelato

859 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL, 60622

Black Dog puts gourmet touches on a childhood treat. How else would one explain a Turkish coffee float or a strawberry lemonade gelato pie? There are locations in Ukrainian Village, the West Loop, and Logan Square.

859 N Damen Ave, Chicago
IL, 60622

12. BomboBar

832 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Instagram-famous dessert spot BomboBar, the walk-up window in the West Loop outside Bar Siena, has revamped its facade and menu, but still features a dozen varieties of gelato and gelato shakes alongside bomboloni — traditional hole-less Italian doughnuts — in six flavors including peanut butter and jelly, cookies and cream, and lemon pistachio. In an Earth-friendly move, the team has ditched the plastic mini squeeze bottles of filling that used come with the bomboloni, and cut back on the over-the-top decorations and garnishes.

832 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

13. Cone Gourmet Ice Cream

1051 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607

There's an obsession in preserving childhood for adults, and Cone does this with Irish-inspired creations. The “Banshee” sundae features ice cream covered in Lucky Charms. It’s magically delicious.

1051 W Madison St
Chicago, IL 60607

14. Kurimu

1159 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607
A hand holds up a red cone with a swirl of pink soft serve inside.
In 2022, Kurimu is leaning into pop-up collaborations with pop-culture icons like Care Bears.
Kim Kovacik/Eater Chicago

Get ready for cones in surprising colors, edible gold or silver leaves, boba ice cream bars, melon pan buns stuffed with ice cream, and soft serve flavors like taro at Japanese-style spot Kurimu in Little Italy. There’s a second location open in Wicker Park, and a suburban outpost coming in June to Schaumburg.

1159 W Taylor St
Chicago, IL 60607

15. La Michoacana Premium

1855 S Blue Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

For a seemingly endless array of options, Pilsen’s Mexican creamery can’t be beat. Ice creams run the gamut from cucumber to Mexican Twinkie while the vibrant paleta selection is even more eclectic, boasting dozens and dozens of flavors. It can be an overwhelming experience but don’t fret; just jump right in and then come back (again and again) to try more things.

1855 S Blue Island Ave
Chicago, IL 60608

Related Maps

16. Legend Tasty House

2016, 2242 S Wentworth Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

This Chinatown spot was among the first in Chicago to offer Thai ice cream. Workers roll the ice cream by hand in front of customers and finish it off with mix-ins such as fresh fruits, Oreos, and chocolate chip cookies.

2016, 2242 S Wentworth Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

17. Scoops Ice Cream

608 W 31st St, Chicago, IL 60616

Waffles are ice cream's best friend, and Scoops knows this. Its waffle cones and bowls are made in house and come in a number of different flavors. The candy toppings are top-notch as well.

608 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616

18. Shawn Michelle's

46 E 47th St, Chicago, IL 60653

Taste a variety of homemade flavors at this shop in Bronzeville’s historic Rosenwald Courts Apartments. Inspired by his memories as a kid, owner Yahya Muhammad has been perfecting recipes since college and moved his business back to the South Side after previously scooping cones in Lakeview. The inventive selection includes Muhammad’s signature honey cinnamon graham cracker, Jamaican rum raisin, and butter cookie, as well as a vegan menu. The ice creams can be enjoyed with freshly baked cobblers too. There’s a second outpost inside Time Out Market Chicago in Fulton Market.

46 E 47th St
Chicago, IL 60653

19. Original Rainbow Cone

9233 S Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60643
An ice cream cone composed of five layered flavors.
Rainbow Cone is a summer staple in Chicago.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Rainbow Cone fans will come find anyone who says anything negative about their favorite iconic treat. For more than nine decades, the South Side institution has been stacking up colorful slices of orange sherbet, chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with walnuts and cherries), and pistachio ice creams. It’s a must-try for locals and visitors alike. Additional outposts can be found at Navy Pier, Lombard, Darien, and, in a truly historic recent move, Skokie, the first-ever Rainbow Cone location north of downtown.

9233 S Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60643

20. Richard's Super Premium Ice Cream

11033 S Langley Ave, Chicago, IL 60628

Located in Pullman, Richard’s produces quality flavors by the pint. Enjoy intriguing options like banana pudding, peach cobbler, pineapple vodka, sweet potato pie, Key lime pie, and more. The ice creams are also available in sundaes.

11033 S Langley Ave
Chicago, IL 60628

Related Maps