Eat & Drink

10 Must-Try Charlotte Ice Cream Shops

Charlotte ice cream parlors offer happiness in a cone. Peruse our picks for must-try craft creameries.

Enjoying ice cream at the Confetti Hearts Wall in South End - Photography by Kate Magee

The warm weather brings promises of late nights catching lightning bugs and fireworks after the ball game. Each day brings a new opportunity to sample the myriad flavors of the quintessential treat to beat the heat: ice cream. From Cookie Monster to Birthday Cake, soft serve or hand dipped, Charlotte ice cream parlors offer happiness in a cone. Peruse our picks for must-try craft creameries in the Charlotte region.

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Golden Cow Creamery

Neighborhood: South End, SouthPark and Uptown

Taking craft ice cream to the next level, Golden Cow Creamery makes its seasonal flavors in small batches with local ingredients and offers an exclusive flavor to members of the pint-of-the-month club. This socially conscious ice cream shop donates a portion of its proceeds to a local charity each month as part of the “Queen’s Share” program.

Traveling Gypsy Mural by Sydney Duarte at Two Scoops Creamery - Photography by Cody Hughes

Two Scoops Creamery

Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood, South End and Mooresville

With multiple locations in the area, Two Scoops Creamery makes its crafted ice cream with a secret family recipe. Owned by three best friends, this ice cream parlor features unique, homemade flavors and selfie-ready artwork by local artists.

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Elizabeth Creamery

Neighborhood: Elizabeth

This neighborhood ice cream parlor is one of Charlotte's original ice cream shops. Take a ride on the streetcar before you select the flavor to top your homemade waffle cone at Elizabeth Creamery. All flavors are made fresh in the store.

Ninety's Ice Cream and Sandwiches - Photography by Robert Kisiah

Ninety's Ice Cream and Sandwiches

Neighborhood: University City

Sandwiched between macarons, brownies, cookies and more, Ninety’s Ice Cream and Sandwiches treats are served in monster or mini-monster sizes. This family-run establishment touts more than 30 years at The Shoppes at University Place. Add a cookie dough pop to your order and relax at the lakefront boardwalk while you eat your treats.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams - Photography by Kate Magee

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Neighborhood: Montford, South End and NoDa

Known for smooth, unique flavors with a buttercream base, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams puts a premium on high-quality ingredients and synthetic flavoring-free scoops. Their Charlotte shop in South End was the first in North Carolina and all the Charlotte locations have quickly become Instagram favorites.

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La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream

Neighborhood: South Charlotte, University City and Concord

Since 1942, La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream has been making its family's artisanal, all-natural handmade ice cream and frozen fruit bars in the traditional Tocumbo style. Stop by for a taste of these authentic Mexican treats.

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Carolina Cones

Area: Cornelius

Celebrating over 30 years in business, Carolina Cones is a local hangout. With a signature model train circling the ceiling and the seasonal garden center next door, this family-friendly ice cream parlor offers a dose of nostalgia. Employees are area teens, and many former employees now bring their children to Carolina Cones for a sundae and to enjoy the playground outside.

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Waxhaw Creamery

Area: Waxhaw

Main Street in Waxhaw provides a small-town feel and a small-town tasty treat. This craft creamery is adjacent to David G. Barnes Children's Park, and Waxhaw Skatepark is located behind the store. With a variety of seasonal flavors, you always have a reason to make a stop at Waxhaw Creamery.

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Cabarrus Creamery

Area: Concord

Nostalgia abounds along with generous portions at Cabarrus Creamery in Downtown Concord, which has been operating for more than 80 years. Stop in for the popular Moon Pie flavor, and sit awhile as you devour your cone.

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Tony's Ice Cream

Area: Gastonia

Making ice cream since 1915, this Gastonia ice cream parlor and restaurant creates its ice cream in the plant next door. Treats from Tony's Ice Cream are served in restaurants across the state, and they offer over 20 flavors of milkshakes.

Article originally written by Stephanie Lucas. Updates made in May 2021 by Kristen Moore.