From the West Coast to the East and everything in between, ice cream shops are proving more ambitious and creative than ever before — serving flavors that reach far beyond your basic mint chip and strawberry (think ras el hanout and pickled rose petal jam from famed Salt & Straw or passionfruit and mamey from Azucar Ice Cream Company in Miami).
The varieties are far reaching, too — from liquid-nitrogen-chilled ice cream at Snow Factory in Chicago to rolled Thai ice cream in Atlanta and Japanese kakigori in New York. And while there are countless Instagram-friendly trends serving colorful ice cream flavors covered in plenty of toppings that may or may not actually taste good, don’t worry: Classics like frozen custard and ice cream sundaes are still ever present, too.
Ice cream shops featured here include Sweet Cow Ice Cream in Denver, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream with locations in multiple cities, and the always-popular Smitten Ice Cream in San Francisco. When traveling this summer, continue a stop at Snoice’s in San Diego for Filipino pandesal ice cream sandwiches filled with ube ice cream or cool off in New Orleans with a cone of Thai basil coconut ice cream from Creole Creamery.