Best Ice Cream Shops in New York City

Cool off in the Big Apple with refreshing ice cream, gelato, or sorbet

There's nothing better than strolling down a New York City street unless you're doing it with some gourmet ice cream in hand. These New York City ice cream shops offer some of the city's best ice cream, gelato, and sorbet, from flavors that range from basic chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry to lychee, ginger, and wine-flavored variations.

  • 01 of 08
    Laboratorio del Gelato
    ••• Laboratorio del Gelato.

    The owner of this Lower East Side shop is dedicated to bringing "the world's finest ice cream to the world's finest city." "The Lab," as it's known, offers a unique spin on the traditional Italian method of making artisanal ice cream. Small batches are prepared using top-quality ingredients. Choose from each day's rotating assortment of 48 flavors served up by staff in lab coats in this small cafe. Look through the large window to view the open kitchen where the ice cream is handmade. 

  • 02 of 08
    Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
    ••• Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Heather Cross

    Since 1978, visitors to Chinatown have enjoyed the tasty flavors of ice cream and sorbet offered at the family-run Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Favorite flavors include green tea, red bean, black sesame, ginger, and lychee. You'll also find "exotic" flavors like chocolate, coffee, rocky road, and vanilla fudge. Ice cream cakes are made daily with three layers of homemade ice cream in combinations of three flavors each. 

  • 03 of 08

    The view of the Manhattan skyline alone is worth a visit to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Enjoy your ice cream while you watch the ships in the harbor, then work off the calories with a sunset walk across the nearby Brooklyn Bridge. Flavors include chocolate chunk, peaches & cream, butter pecan, and coffee. There's a second location in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

  • 04 of 08

    This Brooklyn-based ice cream shop offers ice cream prepared with certified organic dairy products from New York family farms with a focus on sustainability. There are no hormones, antibiotics, or artificial additives used in the company's products. The flavors are classic, and sugar is added sparingly. You can find Blue Marble ice cream at the company's shop in Cobble Hill and at a separate retail location near the production facility in Sunset Park in Brooklyn.

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  • 05 of 08

    Van Leeuwen ice cream got its start out of a yellow truck on the streets of New York. All the company's ice cream is handmade with fresh milk and cream, cane sugar, and egg yolks. They make vegan flavors with ingredients like cashew milk, coconut milk, cocoa butter, and carob beans. In addition to five locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, you can also enjoy their ice cream served from one of their trucks by following them @VLAIC on Twitter.

  • 06 of 08

    This ice cream chain is known for creative, sometimes outrageous, flavor combinations. A new product is introduced each week to update the list of more than 100 flavors. Non-fat frozen yogurt is available in unusual flavors like grasshopper pie and black raspberry chip. The shop claims to have invented the flavored cone back in 1980, and there's a large selection to choose from, such as chocolate-dipped waffle cones and marshmallow-covered cones with rice krispies, fruit loops, or ​Oreos. There are two locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.

  • 07 of 08

    From its humble beginnings in 2009 with a seasonal ice cream truck to four locations in Lower Manhattan, Big Gay Ice Cream specializes in unusual flavors of soft-serve ice cream but also dishes up the usual standards. Salty Pimp, a favorite, is vanilla with salty dark chocolate chunks and swirls of dulce de leche. The Bea Arthur Cone has vanilla soft-serve injected with dulce de leche and covered with crushed Nilla Wafers. Some unusual ice cream toppings include wasabi pea dust, key lime curd, and cayenne pepper.

  • 08 of 08

    Founder Nicholas Morgenstern focuses on creating unusual small-batch ice cream and sorbet flavors for an original and contemporary ice cream experience. Customers can choose from cups, cones, and sundaes, and there's even a kids' menu with a mini version of the classic Morgenstern salted caramel sundae. Special ice cream flavors include licorice, green tea pistachio, and black coconut ash. Even the standards are special, including five flavors of vanilla, three caramels, and three strawberries.