Few things go better together than summer vacation and a trip to the local ice cream shop.
On a hot day, it's hard to beat a cold scoop from a Minnesota ice cream venue, whether it makes its own flavors or just adds a special touch (like a jelly bean at the bottom of every cone). Here’s a sampling of some of the state's popular ice cream shops for whenever your next craving hits.
Minneapolis-St. Paul Area
Selma's Ice Cream Parlor, Afton
This classic ice cream shop has been a popular destination for many years in this quaint village in the St. Croix River Valley.
Two Scoops, Anoka
This downtown shop features super premium ice cream in a wide array of imaginative flavors (try the Fat Elvis), which change weekly, plus malts and sundaes.
Mabel's Ice Cream, Bayport
Blocks from the scenic St. Croix River, this adorable downtown shop serves two-dozen flavors of Cedar Crest ice cream, made just across the border in Wisconsin.
Big Dipper Creamery, Blaine & North Oaks
More than 50 handcrafted flavors ranging from classic chocolate chip to s'mores and salty caramel make this family-owned shop a local favorite. And if you happen to stop by when it's closed, fear not: The ice cream vending machine is open 24/7.
What's the Scoop?, Buffalo
New to downtown Buffalo, this family-owned shop serves 40 flavors of Cedar Crest ice cream, perfect for bringing to the nearby splash pad or Buffalo Lake.
Adele's Frozen Custard, Excelsior
Adele's has over 80 flavors of custard made with fresh ingredients, but only makes a few each day. Check out the monthly calendar.
Licks Unlimited, Excelsior
Near Lake Minnetonka, this little shop is a great place to get off the boat and grab some ice cream. Choose from a wide variety of flavors, including Zoreo—chocolate/marshmallow ice cream with Oreo pieces.
Chill Ice Cream Studio, Farmington
Come for the Chocolate Shoppe ice cream (a popular import from Wisconsin), stay for the '80s arcade games!
Grandpa's Ice Cream, Fridley
Produced in small batches on-site, Grandpa's serves 32 flavors including unique takes like maple bacon, horchata and lime basil sorbet.
Schoolhouse Scoop, Hastings
Try any of the 32 hand-dipped premium flavors or shoot for the Hall of Fame if your group can eat 16 scoops in 30 minutes or less.
Nita Mae's Scoop, Marine on St. Croix
Tucked away behind the historic Marine General Store, Nita Mae's Scoop features a back patio with a view of the Marine Mill Stream.
Milkjam Creamery, Minneapolis
The hippest spot in town for a scoop, Milkjam serves flavors you won't find anywhere else, including a boozy one for those 21+.
Pumphouse Creamery, Minneapolis
This tiny shop features ice cream made from all-natural ingredients, plus homemade caramel and butterscotch sauces.
Sebastian Joes, Minneapolis
A local institution with two Minneapolis locations, Sebastian Joes' makes hundreds of ice creams and sorbets, ranging from basil vanilla in the summer to salty caramel year-round, as well as vegan and kosher varieties.
Honey & Mackie's, Plymouth
This shop became an instant hit thanks to its homemade, creative flavors like cayenne candied bacon and chocolate covered pretzel.
Cone Brothers Ice Cream, Richfield
A 1950s-inspired ice cream shop offers more than 20 flavors in this first-ring Minneapolis suburb.
Cold Front, St. Paul
For ice cream lovers who could use a jolt of caffeine, head to Cold Front in Mac-Groveland for deliciously old-school fountain drinks, premium ice cream and exceptional coffee daily from morning until night. The super-premium ice cream flavors come courtesy of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream in Madison, WI, while coffee drinks are made with locally roasted Bootstrap Coffee beans.
Treats, St. Paul
What do you get when you mix Fruity Pebbles, Froot Loops, Trix and berries with soft serve, then top it with gummy bears? This and other cereal-centric concoctions are the focus at Treats cereal bar on St. Paul's Grand Avenue, a block away from another capital city favorite, Grand Ole Creamery.
Nelson's Ice Cream, St. Paul & Stillwater
Nelson's has 40-plus flavors of ice cream, but is especially known for its HUGE portions. On a hot summer evening, the line extends down the block. There's also an outpost in St. Paul.
The Social, Victoria
This old-fashioned ice cream parlor serves 32 flavors and overlooks Steiger Lake.
Cup and Cone, White Bear Lake
Family operated, this ice cream shack serves soft-serve ice cream and sherbets. A favorite with locals, it draws a line every evening.
A hot spot for a cold cone, especially during the town's popular summer turtle races.
Dairy Queen, Moorhead
The Dilly Bar was invented here in 1954, and the annual reopening of this walk-up shop draws lines every spring. Not your average DQ, the menu features hard-to-find treats like Chipper sandwiches, Mr. Malties, Monkey Tails and more.
Open seasonally, this shop on the North Shore Scenic Drive features Bridgeman's ice cream, Abdallah chocolates, espresso drinks, smoothies, malts and sundaes. Don't miss the adjacent stores, including the Agate Shop & Museum.
Gordy's Warming House, Cloquet
Warm up with coffee, then chill out with 32 flavors of ice cream. If you're still hungry, the famous Gordy's Hi Hat burger joint is next door.
Love Creamery, Duluth
Head to the Lincoln Park Craft District for this Love Creamery's crave-worthy ice cream, handcrafted with local ingredients in small batches on premises.
The PortLand Malt Shoppe, Duluth
Just off the Lakewalk, the Malt Shoppe serves cones, sundaes, floats and malts within view of the big ships on Lake Superior. Open spring through fall.
Sydney's Frozen Custard, Grand Marais
Sit on the rooftop deck for a beautiful view while enjoying frozen custard and outstanding brick-oven pizza.
Pier 77 Mini-Golf & Creamery, Tower
This cute north woods-themed mini-golf course is tucked into the birch forest along the shore of Lake Vermilion, and the little cafe has soft-serve ice cream, malts and root beer floats.
Lake Country Crafts & Cones, Crosslake
The front of Lake Country is an ice cream shop with cups, cones and shakes, the back features crafts and tchotchkes. Every cone comes with a jelly bean at the bottom!
Dairyland, Fergus Falls
An old-fashioned seasonal shop that serves malts, shakes, sundaes and more in an adorable red building.
The Chocolate Ox, Nisswa
Open seasonally, this candy and ice cream shop is a favorite stop for Brainerd Lakes area vacationers, with locations downtown and at Grand View Lodge.
Tip Top Dairy Bar, Osakis
Opened in 1955, this walk-up, take-out is a classic, offering freshly made ice cream, malts and sundaes, plus burgers.
Mr. Twisty, St. Cloud
Open seasonally, Mr. Twisty offers a variety of Italian ice flavors and specialty items daily, as well as other foods and snacks.
Serving yummy, affordable ice cream, Dairy Freeze has been a staple in Fairmont since 1952.
Toody's Sweet Treats, Henderson
This classic soda fountain on one of Minnesota's most charming main streets serves real ice cream in cones, shakes and malts, as well as homemade fudge. Don't miss the old-fashioned, counter-service pharmacy in the back.
Another Time Ice Cream Parlor, Lanesboro
You can't miss the pink exterior of this Lanesboro ice cream shop, not far from the Root River Trail and adjacent to several antique stores, galleries and a photo-worthy dining car.
Mom & Pop’s, Mankato
The variety at Mom & Pop's includes 32 flavors of hard scoop ice cream, plus soy, non-fat yogurt, sherbet, no sugar added and Italian ice, served in a dish with a freshly made waffle wedge. Espresso drinks, fudge, smoothies and 1919 Root Beer are also on the menu.
More than just a fun name, Flapdoodles serves a ton of flavors, from gingerbread to cranberry swirl, and was voted best ice cream in Rochester.
Penguin Zesto, Winona
Soft-serve ice cream cones, sundaes, shakes, malts, floats and slushes are just some of the frozen treats made on-site. Try the Paddle Wheels, which are ice cream sandwiches dipped in chocolate and covered with a mix of nuts and sprinkles.
Erica Wacker is a Midwesterner through and through, growing up in Illinois, going to college in Wisconsin, and settling down in Minnesota. She loves to run, travel with her family, and go to concerts to relive her youth.
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