Ice cream parlors, coffee shops and bakeries — these are the snack stops and pick-me-ups of a traveler's dreams. Whether you're downing Disney's famous Dole Whip, taste testing salty soft pretzels in Philadelphia, or getting a caffeine high with hipsters in Milwaukee's artsy Third Ward, there's no doubt that almost any day on the road includes one of these three pitstops. Here are TripSavvy's favorite quick service restaurants for 2018.
Dakine Hawaiian Ice: Albuquerque, N.M. — featured in Albuquerque Ice Cream Shops
With 310 days of sunshine and year-round mild and dry climate that never dips below freezing in the winter months, who wouldn’t want to savor a refreshing treat from Dakine Hawaiian Ice while in Albuquerque? Pick from classics like bubble gum, cherry, strawberry, and lemon-lime or go rogue and order pickle, red-hot cinnamon, horchata, or Tiger's Blood (red berries and coconut) Hawaiian ice. House-made syrups mix well with fresh purified water to make the shaved ice and you can add toppings like ice cream, Li Hing Mui powder or sour flavoring.
Parents can feel good about purchasing treats for their tots because there is no high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, gluten or fat. While the Hawaiian ice is the main reason to go, you can also order hoagie sandwiches, smoothies, and island imports like coffee, tea, and nuts. –Wendy Altschuler
Yolkin: London, England — featured in London's Most Instafamous Snacks
For Instaworthy ice cream, look no further than Yolkin, a tiny store in Chinatown that brings together two major food trends: ice cream sandwiches and macarons. It started life as a pop-up in Covent Garden but now has a permanent home on Rupert Street and attracts lines around the block when it opens between Thursday and Sunday. Inside it’s an Instadream of neon signs, metro tiles and a counter stocked with rainbow-colored ice cream treats with flavors like lychee and rose, apple crumble and Eton mess.
- Glace Artisan Ice Cream: Kansas City, Mo. — featured in Best Ice Cream in Kansas City
- Poppy's Ice Cream and Coffee House: Kansas City, Mo. — featured in Best Ice Cream in Kansas
- Purple Door Ice Cream: Milwaukee, Wis. — featured in Best Ice Cream in Milwaukee
- Sweet Action: Denver, Colo. — featured in Best Ice Cream in Denver
Little Man Ice Cream: Denver, Colo. — featured in Denver's Best Ice Cream
It’s easy to find Denver’s best ice cream: Look for the 28-foot-tall cream can smack-dab in the middle of the Highlands neighborhood. You’ll know you’re getting close when you spot a long line of people queued up for unique flavors like salted Oreo, banana pudding or Earl Grey and cookies. While ice cream is the main act here, there’s plenty of sideshows to keep the crowds entertained, including swing dancing lessons, live music, movie nights and the occasional hula-hooping contests. On busy summer nights, an express lane with popular flavors opens up to keep the lines moving along.
Craft beer lovers (this is Denver, after all) should circle March on the calendar. That’s when Little Man infuses ice cream with beer for flavors like a porter fudge. –Brittany Anas
- Sweet Cooie's: Denver, Colo. — featured in Best Ice Cream in Denver
- Ted Drewes: St. Louis, Mo. — featured in Most Famous Foods in St. Louis
- Shake's: Little Rock, Ark. — featured in Best Ice Cream in Little Rock
- Liks Ice Cream: Denver, Colo. — featured in Best Ice Cream in Denver
- Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop: Anaheim, Calif. — featured in The Best Ice Cream at Disneyland
Leon's Frozen Custard: Milwaukee, Wis. — featured in Best Ice Cream in Milwaukee
You can’t miss Leon’s. Just look for the neon sign on South 27th Street near West Oklahoma Avenue. Totally unchanged since its 1942 opening by then-proprietor Leon Schneider, this drive-in (with plenty of parking space, even if we’re no longer doing sock hops) is where to lick Milwaukee’s famed frozen custard, like ice cream but with eggs along with cream and sugar. A limited menu of three flavors—vanilla, chocolate and butter pecan; plus, a fourth on weekends—only means this “home of the world’s finest frozen custard” has nailed it.
Sundaes and Cones: New York, N.Y. — featured in NYC's Best Ice Cream Shops
Ever had wasabi — as an ice cream? While there’s no wrong flavor to choose at this charming East Village scoop shop, their true specialties lie in Asian-inspired ingredients: Thai tea, toasted black sesame, taro — and even more unusual creations, like avocado ice cream and corn ice cream. Ask for a few tastes before making your final decision — and don’t be surprised if pistachio and lavender, say, turn out to be an excellent duo. –Carey Jones
Tiki Juice Bar: Disneyland, Calif. — featured in The Best Ice Cream in Disneyland
You could get juice at Disneyland’s famed Tiki Juice Bar, specifically pineapple juice, but that’s not the primary reason hordes of visitors jam the small stand. They are clamoring for pineapple Dole Whip, the addictive soft-serve delicacy that has become a park staple. No visit to Disneyland is complete without a heaping helping of the creamy concoction. Truth be told, Dole Whip is available at plenty of places beyond Mickey’s home, but somehow it never tastes as good as what cast members dish out at the Adventureland spot in front of the Enchanted Tiki Room.
For a special treat, try a Dole Whip float made with pineapple juice. –Arthur Levine
- The Able Baker: Maplewood, N.J. — featured in The Best North Jersey Coffee Shops
- Mia's Bakery: Brooklyn, N.Y. — featured in Brooklyn's Best Bakeries
- Center City Soft Pretzel: Philadelphia, Penn.— featured in Philly's Best Pretzel Bakeries
- Pint Size Bakery: St. Louis, Mo. — featured in The Best Bakeries in St. Louis
- La Calavera Bakery: Atlanta, Ga. — featured in Atlanta's Top Bakeries
- Piroshky Piroshky: Seattle, Wash. — featured in The Top Snacks to Try in Seattle
- Federhofer's Bakery: St. Louis, Mo. — featured in The Best Bakeries in St. Louis
Levain Bakery: New York, N.Y. — featured in The Best Bakeries in NYC
There are chocolate chip cookies, and then there are Levain chocolate chip cookies. Six ounces in weight, crammed with walnuts and chocolate, super soft in the middle, they’re the most indulgent treats imaginable — and since they’re always baked fresh, the scent emanating from the bakery is downright irresistible. Levain’s other cookies, and other baked goods, are all tasty in their own right. But it’s the chocolate chip that is a rightful legend. Expect a line at the charming Upper West Side bakery, but trust that it’s worth every moment.
If you don't have time to wait, consider checking out the other location a couple blocks away on Amsterdam Avenue between 76th and 77th streets. –Carey Jones
- Pushkin's Bakery: Sacramento, Calif. — featured in Gluten Free Restaurants in Sacramento
- Simma's Bakery: Milwaukee, Wis. — featured in The Best Bakeries in Milwaukee
- Sun Street Breads: Minneapolis, Minn. — featured in Where to Eat on Eat Street
- Les Madeleines: Salt Lake City, Utah — featured in Salt Lake City's Best Bakeries
- Tasty Twisters: Philadelphia, Penn.— featured in Philly's Best Pretzel Bakeries
- Banbury Cross Donuts: Salt Lake City, Utah — featured in Salt Lake City's Best Bakeries
Two Little Red Hens: New York, N.Y. — featured in The Best Bakeries in NYC
Whatever dessert you need for a special occasion -- a many-layered cake for a birthday party, apple cake for Rosh Hashanah, pecan pie for Thanksgiving -- it’s worth a pilgrimage to Two Little Red Hens. An Upper East Side favorite since 1992, it’s without a doubt one of the most acclaimed bakeries in the city. Nothing overwrought, nor overly modern; the charming spot specializes in all-American desserts done right. Call ahead for a fully customized layer cake, or just wander in and settle down with a slice of their rich, buttery-crusted cheesecake, enough to create a special occasion in itself.
- Peter Sciortino Bakery: Milwaukee, Wis. — featured in The Best Bakeries in Milwaukee
- RubySnap: Salt Lake City, Utah — featured in Salt Lake City's Best Bakeries
- Arcade Bakery: New York, N.Y. — featured in The Best Bakeries in NYC
- Bova's Bakery: Boston, Mass. — featured in 24-Hour Boston Restaurants
- Breads Bakery: New York, N.Y. — featured in The Best Bakeries in NYC
Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery: New York, N.Y. — featured in The Best Bakeries in NYC
When former investment baker Umber Ahmad finally brought her cult-favorite online bakery to a sleek brick-and-mortar spot in the West Village—complete with Chef Tom Colicchio's seal of approval—New Yorkers got unlimited access to her fluffy brioche doughnuts, cream-filled choux, and light-as-air cheesecake. Since its opening in 2016 it has become a neighborhood staple, especially on summer days when the soft serve machine is churning. If the front room seems too loud, head to the back for a quieter hideout (there's even free wi-fi available.) –Devorah Lev-Tov
- Amélie's French Bakery: Charlotte, N.C. — featured in Late-Night Food in Charlotte
- Flour Bakery: Boston, Mass. — featured in The Top Restaurants in the Boston Seaport
- Le Reve Patisserie & Cafe: Milwaukee, Wis. — featured in The Best Bakeries in Milwaukee
- Panaderia Don Nico: San Juan, Puerto Rico — featured in Puerto Rico's Best Bakeries
- Mazzola Bakery: Brooklyn, N.Y. — featured in Brooklyn's Best Bakeries
- Acme Bread Company: San Francisco, Calif. — featured in San Francisco's Best Sourdough Bakeries
- Sullivan Street Bakery: New York, N.Y. — featured in The Best NYC Stores for Food Lovers
- Presti Bakery: Cleveland, Ohio — featured in The Best Food Markets in Northeast Ohio
- Batches: Milwaukee, Wis. — featured in The Best Bakeries in Milwaukee
- Missouri Baking Company: St. Louis, Mo. — featured in The Best Bakeries in St. Louis
- Bordertown Coffee: Minneapolis, Minn. — featured in Family-Friendly Coffee Shops in Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters: San Francisco, Calif. — featured in The Top San Francisco Coffee Shops
- Highland Coffee: Louisville, Ky. — featured in The Best Coffee Shops in Louisville
- Caffe Amouri: Washington, D.C. — featured in The Best Coffee Shops in D.C.
- Hub Coffee Roasters: Reno, Nev. — featured in The Best Coffee Houses in Reno-Tahoe
- Kaffeine Coffee Internet & Office Cafe: Houston, Texas — featured in The Best Coffee Shops in Houston
- Saint Frank Coffee: San Francisco, Calif. — featured in The Top San Francisco Coffee Shops
Songbird Coffee & Tea House: Phoenix, Ariz. — featured in Restaurants & Bars in Phoenix
Phoenix is wrongly assumed to be a new-build city but a visit to Songbird Coffee & Tea House — tucked into a downtown historic 1904 bungalow with tall tie-back curtains and a resident cat — proves there’s tons of historical character in Arizona’s largest city. Located on Roosevelt Row, the multi-room coffee shop is near art galleries and the front yard is filled with a mix of picnic tables and Adirondack chairs to help you chill with your cappuccino. Vegan pastries from nearby Treehouse Bakery are served here, too.
Similarly, Tempe’s Cortez Coffee Roasters’ beans are used to craft drinks while Maya Tea Company’s tea from Tucson rounds out the menu. –Kristine Hansen
- Valentine Coffee Roasters: Milwaukee, Wis.— featured in The Hottest Indie Coffee Shops in Milwaukee
- Porto Rico Importing: New York, N.Y. — featured in The Best Food Gifts From NYC
- The Purple Bean: Reno, Nev. — featured in The Best Coffee Houses in Reno-Tahoe
- Sovereign Grounds: Minneapolis, Minn. — featured in Family-Friendly Coffee Shops in Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Coffee Break: Hackensack, N.J. — featured in North Jersey Coffee Shops
Kickapoo Coffee Roasters: Milwaukee, Wis. — featured in The Hottest Indie Coffee Shops in Milwaukee
An offshoot of this Driftless Region roaster—which also has a café in Viroqua—Kickapoo's modern-minimalist interior fits right into its artsy Third Ward digs. Since 2016, it’s been across the street from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Sunlight pours in through walls of windows and air plants decorate one wall, with a bunch of retail items (from cool mugs to logo tees) tempting java sippers. Like most on-trend cafes, coffee can be ordered drip or pour-over. Whether sourced directly from the farm or through a co-op with its eye on supporting sustainably producers, coffee is a mix of single-origin selections as well as custom blends.
- Gold Bar Espresso: Phoenix, Ariz. — featured in Phoenix Coffee Houses With Live Music
- Peace Coffee Shop: Minneapolis, Minn. — featured in Family-Friendly Coffee Shops in Minneapolis-St. Paul
- Starbucks Roastery: Seattle, Wash. — featured in The Top Things to Do in Seattle