20 Must-Try Charlotte Ice Cream Shops
When the weather warms up in the Queen City, nothing beats the heat like a sweet treat.
by Wyndham Merrill Jun 26, 2023
With 100 years of experience, Cabarrus Creamery is a staple of downtown Concord. Stop in for signature flavors like Moon Pie and Strawberry Cheesecake at this nostalgic 1950s-style creamery.
Celebrating over 40 years in business, Carolina Cones is a local hangout. With a signature model train circling the ceiling, this family-friendly ice cream parlor can keep little ones amused before and after their sweet treat. Grab a doggie ice cream dish for your furry friend and enjoy a sundae at the nearby playground.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Cold Hearted Gelato uses locally sourced ingredients to create intriguing gelato flavors. Indulge in options like the frozen hot chocolate, chocolate honey and banana caramel, blueberry jasmine sorbet and more. Scoops are served in your choice of a bowl or house-made brown butter waffle cone.
Neighborhood: West Charlotte
Craving a blizzard or Orange Julius? Check out this historic Dairy Queen on Wilkinson Boulevard for all your favorite DQ treats. Built in 1947, this iconic location is the only remaining vintage Dairy Queen in the Queen City.
Elevate your cereal experience at Day and Night Exotic Cereal Bar, an innovative take on the breakfast staple. With cereal-infused milkshake options like the Unicorn Breath, with Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles to turn your milk pink, you’ll have the perfect, Instagram-worthy treat.
This neighborhood favorite is sure to please the whole family. Hop on the CityLynx Gold Line to sample Elizabeth Creamery’s homemade flavors and fresh-baked waffle cones. While you enjoy your treat, consider taking a stroll at nearby Independence Park.
Taking craft ice cream to the next level, Golden Cow Creamery makes its seasonal flavors in small batches with local ingredients. 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.
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 650,000 meals and counting. Treat yourself to a scoop of lemon raspberry crumble, then explore the rest that Optimist Hall has to offer.
Visit one of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ locations in Charlotte 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.
Taste tradition at this Mexican-inspired ice cream shop. Since 1942, La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream has been sharing authentic treats. Try one of the all-natural, handmade paletas which are frozen bars made with delicious fruit, nut and chocolate inclusions.
A classic milkshake joint with a modern twist, this family-run establishment is sure to tug on those nostalgic heartstrings. Ninety’s offers some of the most unique desserts in Charlotte. Try a seasonal shake or create your own custom drink with a variety of flavors, toppings and drizzles.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
If you want to try a different type of frozen treat, check out Ocha Time’s rolled ice cream. These Instagram-worthy desserts come in flavors like s’mores, Oreo frenzy and strawberry shortcake. For a twist on a classic cone, order your scoops in a bubble waffle cone.
Grab a refreshing, customizable gelato pop on a stick at one of Charlotte’s two Popbar locations. Popbar’s gelato on a stick is customizable, allowing you to choose from a creamy base or fruity sorbet. All gelato pops are made in-house with natural ingredients.
Seemingly Overzealous is churning out egg- and dairy-free flavors, perfect for ice cream lovers with dietary restrictions. Even the waffle chips and cones are egg, dairy and gluten free. Order a classic scoop or a more adventurous flavor, like lemon blueberry cheesecake, and you won’t even realize it’s not traditional ice cream.
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 the dairy-free flavors.
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 Charlotte-area locations.
Neighborhood: South End
In Italian, the word “tutti” means everyone, which is fitting because this shop has flavors for everyone. Enjoy classic, authentic flavors such as coffee, hazelnut and pistachio, as well as unique offerings like strawberry cheesecake. Tutti features over a dozen flavors, including dairy-free sorbet, as well as Italian coffee.
Neighborhood: South End
Urban Sweets specializes any an array of confections, but it all started with ice cream. Take your pick from more than 25 rotating flavors, like Queen City Cream that takes vanilla to the next level. Stop by the South End location or catch Urban Sweets’ mobile ice cream carts around the city.
Explore Main Street in Waxhaw for a small-town feel and a homemade treat. This craft creamery features an ever-changing variety of seasonal flavors. With proximity to David G. Barnes Children's Park and Waxhaw Skatepark, you always have a reason to make a stop at Waxhaw Creamery.