Minnesotans, generally speaking, have a reverential attitude about ice cream. We owe that in part to DQ, patron saint of soft serve: The Twin Cities’ oldest Dairy Queen opened on Lexington Avenue in 1947, and is still in operation today. (Thirteen other locations have since popped up around Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the chain is now headquartered just south of Minneapolis.) But the metro has even more to offer than Peanut Buster Parfaits. From tart sorbets and creamy paletas to indulgent custards and candy-packed scoops, here are some of the most essential ice cream shops in the Twin Cities.Read More
15 Essential Ice Cream Shops in the Twin Cities
From classic soft serve stands to the maximalists on the Fruity Pebbles beat
It may be a national chain, but Dairy Queen is a quintessential ice cream experience in the Twin Cities. DQ is headquartered in Bloomington, but the Lexington Avenue location is the Cities’ oldest shop — it dates back to 1947 and still sports an old-fashioned neon sign. Get all the classics here, from a peanut buster parfaits to Oreo blizzards served upside-down.
Conny's Creamy Cone
This iconic St. Paul shop is a step back into the era when diners ordered ice cream from walk-up windows. Conny’s has an impressive array of soft serve flavors, from amaretto and black cherry to pumpkin. (Sauce things up with a butterscotch or crunch dip.) Grab some onion rings and a chili dog to complete the nostalgic summer meal.
2 Scoops Ice Cream Eatery
2 Scoops opened during the summer of 2020 and quickly became a Selby Avenue fixture. This is a great spot for the classics: Grab a scoop of the rich, delicately salty butter pecan, or the fudgy zanzibar chocolate. Pair a waffle cone with homemade pizza, a chili dog, or a pulled pork sandwiches. There’s a little patch of green space across from the shop for a sweet, impromptu picnic.
Grand Ole Creamery & Grand Pizza
A St. Paul institution, Grand Ole Creamery makes its ice cream in-house and doles out giant servings in fresh waffle cones. Popular flavors include Black Hills Gold (caramel ice cream with Oreos and praline pecans) and Macdaddy (butter pecan ice cream with Oreos). The lines are long on hot summer nights, but they move quickly.
Breakfast lovers will especially appreciate the creations at Treats. The soft serve here includes bits of cereals like Cocoa Puffs, Fruity Pebbles, and Cap’n Crunch, and the photo-worthy cones are embellished with additional cereal, drizzles, and garnishes. Treats also serves bubble tea and dessert waffles.
Pumphouse Creamery is all about “farm to frozen” ice cream: All its flavors are handmade in the tiny kitchen with natural and organic, locally sourced ingredients. This makes for some exceptionally flavorful scoops: The strawberry, for example actually tastes like freshly picked wild strawberries. Try the speckled milky chocolate or the mint cookies and cream.
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La Michoacana Purepecha
An East Lake Street favorite, La Michoacana Purepecha serves a vast array agua frescas and over 30 flavors ice cream. Perhaps most popular are the paletas, some tart and fruity and some made with a rich cream base, served plain or dipped in chocolate. Order a sandia y limon on a hot summer day, and balance the sweetness out with some Dorilocos or chicharrones.
Crepe and Spoon
Most local ice cream shops have a plant-based flavor or two, but at Crepe & Spoon in Northeast Minneapolis, everything on the menu is vegan. Expect classics like mint chocolate chip, vanilla, and coffee, plus harder-to-find flavors like ube (a purple yam) and rosewater cardamom. Although all of the ice cream at Crepe and Spoon is nut-based, a nut-free sorbet is typically on offer.
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Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream Cafe
Sebastian Joe’s was the shop that introduced Minneapolis to premium ice cream in 1984. They’ve been scooping up delectable flavors ever since—try the Pavoratti, made with caramel, banana, and vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips. With locations in both Lowry Hill and Linden Hills (plus a spot on the menu in dozens of local restaurants), Sebastian Joes is a much-loved Minneapolis institution.
Bebe Zito Ice Cream
This whimsical ice cream shop in Minneapolis’s Wedge neighborhood has a maximalist roster of flavors: For perspective, its “classics” menu features the “Breakfast Club,” a citrus vanilla base topped with caramelized Fruity Pebbles, and a salted caramel flan brulee. Even vanilla gets a flavor punch up with a dose of MSG. Bebe Zito also serves a great cheeseburger.
Another classic Uptown ice cream spot, Milkjam’s flavor combos range from refined (the namesake “Milkjam” flavor is made with caramelized goat’s, cow’s, and sweetened condensed milk) to totally indulgent (the “Doughboi” is cake batter ice cream with hefty cookie dough chunks). This shop has some great dairy-free options, too — the vegan chocolate is so dark and rich it almost glitters. The toppings here take Milkjam’s scoops into another stratosphere of flavor.
Sonny's Ice Cream Cafe
Rich and creamy scoops with adult-friendly flavors (think anise hyssop sorbet, cardamon black pepper, and butter cashew), Sonny’s is an ideal stop for a date night on warm evenings. It also may be the only Twin Cities shop serving a wine-flavored sorbet: Stop by to try the organic pinot grigio, finished with a hint of mint.
La La Homemade Ice Cream
A sweet little spot in Uptown, La La serves both kid-approved cones and flavors adults adore. One favorite, the Charlottes’ Web, is made with toasted coconut and dark chocolate swirled into vanilla ice cream. There’s also a wide selection of house-made sodas.
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Sweet Science Ice Cream
This ultra-creamy ice cream is available in a rotating selection of creative flavors. Try some coffee-steeped toffee scoops — the strawberry mascarpone is a masterpiece of fresh-picked berries mixed with a dense, cream base. Grab a pint of Sweet Science’s limited release flavors to take home for later.
Adele's Frozen Custard
Adele’s namesake custard has a texture that’s even richer and creamier than ice cream. The seasonal stand, just off the shore of Lake Minnetonka, offers chocolate, vanilla, and a daily selection of classic flavors like chocolate raspberry truffle and cookie dough (check the online flavor calendar to see which two are available). In addition to cones and sundaes, Adele’s also serves “concretes,” made with a thick blend of vanilla custard and candy.
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