Summer days are synonymous with time spent playing outside and cooling off with a refreshing ice cream treat. Little else is as satisfying in these high temps. Lucky for us, Chicago has some amazing ice cream stores to choose from.
Here are some of our top picks for this frozen treat:
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (Lakeview): Jeni’s is known for consistently producing some of the richest and creamiest ice cream around, and they never disappoint. The shop is bright and airy and the staff couldn’t be nicer. Known for unusual and inventive flavors like goat cheese with cherry and Riesling poached pear sorbet, customers are welcome to ask for tastes of as many flavors as they like. Not being a family of risk takers, we prefer Roxbury Road, which just might be the best take on the classic Rocky Road I’ve ever had. The mint chocolate chip and vanilla are also rich and decadent. If you can find a place to sit in the shop, you can enjoy the warm ambiance and your youngsters will have fun drawing on the blackboard while enjoying their treat.
Cones: (West Loop): This cute gourmet ice cream parlor has a distinct Irish flair. Its owner, Sean McGuire, was born and raised in Ireland and is sharing his love of all things Irish in this shop. Cones offers both soft serve and hand-crafted traditional ice cream in really unique flavors. Kids will go crazy for moose tracks, cookie monster and cake batter. Adults may enjoy trying Arthur Guinness, Maple Bacon or Jameson. On a beautiful day you can enjoy your frozen treat on the spacious patio.
Margie’s: There’s a reason why this vintage ice cream parlor has stood the test of time. You just can’t beat the nostalgic feel of the place or the thick chocolate fudge that elevates any bowl of ice cream to the next level. Take a seat in one of the retro vinyl booths and take your time perusing the extensive multi-page ice cream menu. Being a traditionalist, I ordered mint chocolate chip ice cream with the hot fudge, whipped cream and nuts. It almost doesn’t matter what flavor ice cream you order, just make sure to ask for the hot fudge. All ice cream is served in a signature white clamshell dish with a vanilla wafer cookie. My 13-year-old son was quite taken with the Royal George sundae, which consists of 25 scoops of ice cream. He’s decided that in lieu of a birthday cake he wants to bring a group of his friends to try and take that down.
Amy’s Candy Bar (Lincoln Square): To do Amy’s justice we must talk candy AND ice cream. This charming candy and ice cream boutique is sure to please everyone in the group. The candy is beautifully displayed in apothecary jars throughout the store. You can pick up gummies, some nostalgic candy or try the homemade candy made from top quality ingredients. I recommend the turtles and the OMG candy bar (a combination of sea salt caramel, praline and chocolate ganache). Frozen treats include ice cream, sundaes (with great homemade hot fudge), shakes and egg creams. They serve chocolate shop ice cream, which is some of the richest creamiest ice cream around. Try the Zanzibar chocolate for a sure bet!
Firecakes Donuts (River North): Move over ice cream sandwich, there’s a new sheriff in town. Firecakes, which makes some of the best doughnuts in the Windy City, has introduced the doughnut ice cream sandwich. Each doughnut ice cream sandwich is made to order. You vanilla or a special flavored pistachio gelato, which is served in between two layers of a yummy glazed doughnut and drizzled with chocolate sauce. While you’re there make sure to leave with doughnuts for the next morning.