It just makes sense that ‘America’s Finest City’ loves its ice cream, a truly fine American dessert.
Though a few cities report slightly higher total consumption and sales of frozen treats, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and nearby Long Beach, San Diego is no slouch.
It makes sense: the city has great scenery and plenty of warm days, which are two essential ingredients that make it easy to want to go get something cool, sweet and refreshing that the whole family can enjoy.
Even better, the city has some enjoyable places to go get ice cream, which can be part of the experience too. Although there are certainly various national chain ice cream shops that offer the same flavors wherever you go, there are several unique San Diego stops that are worth checking out, whether you’ve lived in the region for
and see different years or are only here visiting for a few days.
Maybe you’ll find one you’ll enjoy returning to over and over and trying different flavor and topping combos. Or maybe it can be fun to visit different shops parts of the community.
Some local favorites include:
- Bing Haus. American ice cream enthusiasts are just beginning to experience what’s called rolled ice cream, a style that was developed in Thailand. Here, a skilled server is able to combine ice cream, cone, and other pieces into one skinny roll. Though the taste is the same, it’s fun to try it in a different size or adjacent to other flavor rolls. Here, you can get favorite traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla plus more exotic choices like green tea and more.
- Mariposa Ice Cream. This shop has been part of the community culture of Normal Heights for more than 20 years. The owners use recipes handed down through generations including from ancestors who ran a dairy farm. But at the same time customers also enjoy coming in regularly because there are always new flavors. The owners are also proud that the ice cream doesn’t include eggs, plus less sugar and less air than ice cream found in stores.
- Stella Jean’s. This fun location is proud of being able to adapt to COVID restrictions, and makes it easy for people to bring home just a cone or big containers home, from either the Costa Mesa or San Diego location. The small-batch focus means that every time you come in, there will likely be a menu of different flavors to enjoy. It’s part of the business than owns Pop Pie Co., so it knows its sweets! For those who ‘don’t do’ dairy, there are oat or coconut milk options.
- Dixie Pops. For those who like their ice cream portable but also want something locally made, these pops are perfect. But you can also get ice cream, milkshakes, pastries and more. The menu always includes 12 rotating flavors, and at least one is gluten-free. The shop prides itself on using real fruits, nuts and other healthy ingredients.
- Lighthouse Ice Cream. How cool is the idea of ice cream for breakfast? Very cool if it’s this tasty ice cream combined with favorite morning items like pancakes or waffles. The store’s success means that plenty of people have enjoyed combos like the famous Hot Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich. The location at Ocean Beach has made it a must-stop for area beachgoers.