Eat & Drink

15 Must-Try Charlotte Ice Cream Shops

When things are warming up in the Queen City, nothing beats the heat like a sweet treat. Cool down with a cup or cone at these 15 must-try ice cream shops around Charlotte.

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Cabarrus Creamery

Area: Concord

With more than 80 years of experience, Cabarrus Creamery is a staple of Downtown Concord. Stop in for unique flavors like Moon Pie and Strawberry Cheesecake at this nostalgic 1950s style creamery.

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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 unique experience. Grab a doggie ice cream dish for your furry friend, and enjoy a sundae at the playground next door.

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Dairy Queen

Neighborhood: West Charlotte

Craving a blizzard or orange julius? Check out this historic spot on Wilkinson Blvd for all your favorite Dairy Queen treats. Built in 1947, this iconic Queen’s City landmark has been serving ice cream for 75 years and counting.

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Day and Night Exotic Cereal Bar

Neighborhood: Uptown

Elevate your milkshake experience at Day and Night Exotic Cereal Bar, an innovative take on classic cereal. With unique menu items like the Unicorn Breath, these cereal infused shakes are certainly an Instagram worthy treat.

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Elizabeth Creamery

Neighborhood: Elizabeth

This neighborhood favorite is sure to please the whole family. Take a ride on the trolley before you sample Elizabeth Creamery’s dozens of homemade flavors and fresh baked waffle cones. While you enjoy your treat, consider taking a stroll at nearby Independence Park.

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Golden Cow Creamery

Neighborhood: South End, SouthPark, 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 also donates a portion of its proceeds to a local charity each month as part of the “Queen’s Share” program.

Honeysuckle Gelato - Courtesy of Kate Magee Photography

Honeysuckle Gelato

Neighborhood: Uptown

For more delicious ice cream with a cause, consider Honeysuckle Gelato in Optimist Hall. This award winning gelateria donates 5% of profits to Feeding America, with more than 600,000 meals and counting. Treat yourself to a scoop of lemon raspberry crumble, and then explore the rest that Optimist Hall has to offer.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams - Courtesy of Kate Magee Photography

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Neighborhood: Montford, South End, NoDa

Visit one of Charlotte’s three Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams locations for an artisan ice cream experience. Known for smooth, unique flavors with a buttercream base, Jeni's puts a premium on high-quality ingredients and synthetic-flavoring-free scoops. Don’t forget to snap a pic at this Instagram-favorite creamery.

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La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream

Neighborhood: South Charlotte, University City, Concord

Taste tradition at this Mexican-inspired ice cream shop. Since 1942, La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream has been sharing their authentic treats. Try one of their all-natural handmade paletas, artisanal ice cream bars made with delicious fruit, nut and chocolate inclusions.

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Ninety's Milkshake Bar

Neighborhood: University City

A classic milkshake joint with a modern twist, this family-run establishment is sure to tug on those nostalgic heartstrings. With more than 30 years at The Shoppes at University Place, Ninety’s offers some of the most unique desserts in Charlotte. Try one of their seasonal shakes or create your own custom drink with a variety of flavors, toppings and drizzles.

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Popbar

Neighborhood: Camp North End, NoDa

Grab a refreshing customizable gelato pop on a stick at one of Charlotte’s two Popbar locations. As you enjoy your treat, browse the shops at Camp North End or NoDa to pick up a few goodies to take home.

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The Local Scoop

Area: Ballantyne

The Local Scoop offers a back to basics approach to ice cream, made daily through a simple, clean process. With only fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, you’re sure to taste the difference. Don’t forget to check out one of their eight non-dairy options.

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Two Scoops Creamery

Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood, South End, Mooresville, Rock Hill

With over 30 handcrafted flavors year round as well as seasonal specials, you’re sure to find something you’ll love at Two Scoops Creamery. Owned by three best friends, this ice cream parlor features unique treats and selfie-ready murals by local artists at each of its four locations.

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Waxhaw Creamery

Area: Waxhaw

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

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Whit’s Frozen Custard

Area: Huntersville

Taste a ‘smile in a cup’ at Whit’s Frozen Custard, where everything is made fresh all day, every day. Whether you're looking for a sundae, milkshake, or just a simple scoop, you’re sure to find something you’ll love at Whit’s.