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Double rainbow ice cream sundae Double Rainbow

19 Sweet Ice Cream Shops in San Francisco

From classic mint chip to wild purple ube, there's a flavor waiting for you at one of these cool spots

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It may not always be ideal ice cream weather, but that's never stopped San Franciscans from snaking a line down the block for some of the sweet stuff, by the cone or frosty pint. You already know Bi-Rite and Humphry Slocombe are guaranteed to give you a good frozen fix, but there are also plenty of places with liquid nitrogen-frozen instance ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, wild purple ube colors, unexpected flavors like prosciutto, and more. In a town that straddles the line between traditional and modern, there are options to reflect both those sensibilities with classic parlors and more updated spots.

Here's a look at all of SF's sweetest options for ice cream when the craving strikes.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Baked Bear

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2824 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 993-2327
Visit Website

Get as crazy as you can imagine at this Fisherman's Wharf ice cream shop that pairs cookies, ice cream, and toppings. Just take a look at the Baked Bear Instagram from some flavor inspiration. Stroll down to the wharf for takeout, or order delivery through several different apps.

2. Salt & Straw

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2201 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 829-2803
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The unexpected flavors at this Portland-founded ice cream shop will make more sense to your tongue than your brain. Green apple mayo sherbet and peach vinegar cobbler with toasted nutmeg, for example, don't enjoy the same recognition as classic flavors like chocolate chip or strawberry. That's what's so intriguing about Salt & Straw, whose unique flavors are often churned with ingredients from local food producers like Sightglass Coffee and Berkeley olive oil.

Patricia Chang

3. Uji Time Dessert

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22 Peace Plz #440
San Francisco, CA 94115
(628) 444-3003
Visit Website

Uji Time is a Berkeley treat shop known for its adorable fish-shaped cones stuffed with soft serve, that has since has expanded to San Francisco and beyond. The famed cone, called taiyaki, is a take on the traditional Japanese dessert in the shape of a fish, and here is filled with flavors like matcha, black sesame, lavender, lychee, rose, and coffee. In addition to the taiyaki cones, which take extra time to prepare, other choices include waffle cones and bowls.

Kerry Lee

4. Toy Boat by Jane

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401 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 751-7505
Visit Website

Toy Boat by Jane is the revived version of Clement Street’s 38-year-old classic ice cream shop, courtesy of Amanda Michael, the owner of SF mini-chain Jane the Bakery. Michael went to great lengths to preserve the nostalgia of Toy Boat, like the vast toy collection, and opened in September 2020 selling Jane’s bakery breads, cookies, and pastries, and, excitingly, adding Double Rainbow Ice Cream.

5. Joe's Ice Cream

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5420 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 751-1950
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This no-frills classic scoop shop doesn't pull any punches, offering Americana standards such as root beer swirl and rum raisin, or more unconventional flavors like wasabi and chai tea. One thing’s for sure: it’s still serving up ice cream straight from your SF childhood — even after a 2010 move across the street.

6. Smitten Ice Cream

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432 Octavia St #1A
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 863-1518
Visit Website

If the excitement of dining at a chef’s counter is your idea of a good time, head to Smitten where the ice cream is made at all locations in front of you in about 90 seconds, using liquid nitrogen for a smoother, denser cream. Owner Robyn Sue Fisher created and patented the machine herself, which churns out everyday local flavors like Blue Bottle espresso and TCHO 60.5 percent chocolate as well as seasonal options such as sweet corn with berries and rhubarb crisp.

Smitten

7. The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain

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815 Cole St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 742-4932
Visit Website

Head back in time at this classic 1930s-inspired soda fountain shop serving up vintage phosphates, lactarts, malts, plus boozy milkshakes, ice cream soda floats and ice cream sandwiches in vegan options, too. There’s another location in the Castro, with more maple syrup or chicory coffee ice cream shakes.

8. Nieves Cinco De Mayo

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3052 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 800-7536

Head to this unassuming Mexican ice cream shop tucked into a Mission market for flavors like corn, guava, and leche quemada (burnt milk). Order it by the scoop, in a banana split, or go for a combination of fruit and toppings like a mangonada made with mango sorbet fresh mango, chile, lime, and tamarind. Check out its sister shop in Fruitvale, too.

9. CREAM

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3106 16th St, San Francisco
CA, 94103
(415) 400-4551
Visit Website

Expect to wait in line for Berkeley-based CREAM’s (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me) mix-and-match ice cream sandwiches that have proved exceedingly popular with the Cal student set. The endless options allow ice cream sandwich fiends to build the ideal sandwich from a large selection of cookies (there are vegan and gluten-free flavors, plus more unusual variations like turtle, M&M and cappuccino) and ice creams (green tea, cinnamon, and the highly meta cookie dough). Check out their full list of locations around the Bay Area here.

CREAM

10. Double Rainbow Ice Cream

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415 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 757-0657
Visit Website

Double Rainbow is a 45-year-old ice cream company that was originally founded by two best friends in the Castro in the 70s. It returned to the neighborhood in late 2020 with a new scoop shop just a couple of doors down from their original location. Longtime fans stop by for old-school scoops of malt chocolate and mint chip, shakes, cups, and pints.

Double rainbow ice cream sundae Double Rainbow

11. Bi-Rite Creamery

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3692 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 626-5600
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Small-batch, seasonal, hand-made, local, etc. ice cream is the calling card at San Francisco’s arguably most popular scoop shop. Lines usually snake out the door and down the block with people waiting for tastes of salted caramel and balsamic strawberry, two of Bi-Rite’s most popular flavors, or the more unusual options like basil and honey lavender.

12. The Castro Fountain

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554 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 834-5457
Visit Website

A second sweets shop from the Ice Cream Bar’s Juliet Prie, the Castro Fountain has an extensive menu of cakes and baked goods on top of fresh-churned ice cream — or rather, to put that ice cream on top of. Like its predecessor, the shop’s style is that of an old-school soda fountain, so go ahead, split a sundae, a float, or a piece of photogenic rainbow cake with a scoop of ice cream on the side. One ice cream flavor, Yass Queen, even has bits of that rainbow cake inside it.

13. Garden Creamery

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3566 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Garden Creamery is the Mission District ice cream shop that became an Instagram star for opening with churro-like chimney cones, made with sweet yeast dough baked and covered in cinnamon sugar. Garden Creamy offers an array of Hawaiian-influenced flavors (including some non-dairy options), as well as matcha with toasted rice, black sesame, as well as Mexican and Manila mango, salted plum, and Thai tea.

Kerry Lee/ESF

14. Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous

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699 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 970-0750
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If it’s gourmet ice cream you desire, look no further than this daily-changing option from Wolfgang Puck Spago alums (and husband and wife team) Ian Flores and Annabelle Topacio. Flavors like mango chili lime, chocolate chicory coffee and candied violet will satisfy your higher-end needs, though there’s no shame in going classic with plain old vanilla bean, too.

15. Polly Ann Ice Cream

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3138 Noriega St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 664-2472
Visit Website

Have flavor fatigue? Leave your fate in the hands of Polly Ann, where you can spin the wheel and let it decide which of the over 500 rotating flavors you’ll be trying today. The shop, which has been open since the 1950s, often has Asian flavors like durian, lychee and jasmine on display, as well as favorites like rocky road and mint chocolate chip.

16. Humphry Slocombe

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2790 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 550-6971
Visit Website

Get your weird on with experimental flavors at this crazy popular Mission ice cream destination (with an outpost in the Ferry Building, too). The most-talked-about flavor is Secret Breakfast, made with vanilla, cornflake cookies and Jim Beam bourbon, but there’s no shortage of wacky options such as prosciutto, cheese, mushrooms and foie gras from evil ice cream genius Jake Godby.

Humphry Slocombe

17. Mitchell's Ice Cream

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688 San Jose Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 648-2300
Visit Website

Mitchell’s opened in Bernal Heights way back in 1953 and has been inspiring lines of fans ever since. The classic shop is known for its authentic Mexican (horchata, Mexican chocolate), Peruvian (yucuma) and Filipino (two types of coconut) options, including a bright purple ube with its own longstanding fan following.

18. Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream

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1447 Taraval St
San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-2833

Named for the explorer said to have introduced Italy to ice cream by way of China, Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream serves its frozen treat the other way round, with scoops of gelato-like creaminess in Asian flavors. Try lychee, green tea, black sesame, or pungent durian, made from the fruit that’s famously banned on public transit in Singapore for its strong smell. Opened in 1982, Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream is a favorite gathering spot in far flung Parkside, and a second location opened in San Jose in 2015.

Caleb Pershan

19. Churn Urban Creamery + Bakery

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2646 San Bruno Ave
San Francisco, CA 94134
(415) 236-2633
Visit Website

Originally a mobile ice cream cart, proprietor Rica Sunga-Kwan opened her Avenue Theater Portola shop in 2017 after gaining fans from across the city. Many of Churn’s flavors, like mint chip straciatella, blueberry swirl, ube honeycomb, and horchata, are made with ingredients grown in Sunga-Kwan’s own garden in South San Francisco. All are made without eggs, and many are also dairy free and vegan.

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1. The Baked Bear

2824 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94133

Get as crazy as you can imagine at this Fisherman's Wharf ice cream shop that pairs cookies, ice cream, and toppings. Just take a look at the Baked Bear Instagram from some flavor inspiration. Stroll down to the wharf for takeout, or order delivery through several different apps.

2824 Jones St
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Salt & Straw

2201 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115
Patricia Chang

The unexpected flavors at this Portland-founded ice cream shop will make more sense to your tongue than your brain. Green apple mayo sherbet and peach vinegar cobbler with toasted nutmeg, for example, don't enjoy the same recognition as classic flavors like chocolate chip or strawberry. That's what's so intriguing about Salt & Straw, whose unique flavors are often churned with ingredients from local food producers like Sightglass Coffee and Berkeley olive oil.

2201 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

3. Uji Time Dessert

22 Peace Plz #440, San Francisco, CA 94115
Kerry Lee

Uji Time is a Berkeley treat shop known for its adorable fish-shaped cones stuffed with soft serve, that has since has expanded to San Francisco and beyond. The famed cone, called taiyaki, is a take on the traditional Japanese dessert in the shape of a fish, and here is filled with flavors like matcha, black sesame, lavender, lychee, rose, and coffee. In addition to the taiyaki cones, which take extra time to prepare, other choices include waffle cones and bowls.

22 Peace Plz #440
San Francisco, CA 94115

4. Toy Boat by Jane

401 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

Toy Boat by Jane is the revived version of Clement Street’s 38-year-old classic ice cream shop, courtesy of Amanda Michael, the owner of SF mini-chain Jane the Bakery. Michael went to great lengths to preserve the nostalgia of Toy Boat, like the vast toy collection, and opened in September 2020 selling Jane’s bakery breads, cookies, and pastries, and, excitingly, adding Double Rainbow Ice Cream.

401 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

5. Joe's Ice Cream

5420 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

This no-frills classic scoop shop doesn't pull any punches, offering Americana standards such as root beer swirl and rum raisin, or more unconventional flavors like wasabi and chai tea. One thing’s for sure: it’s still serving up ice cream straight from your SF childhood — even after a 2010 move across the street.

5420 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94121

6. Smitten Ice Cream

432 Octavia St #1A, San Francisco, CA 94102
Smitten

If the excitement of dining at a chef’s counter is your idea of a good time, head to Smitten where the ice cream is made at all locations in front of you in about 90 seconds, using liquid nitrogen for a smoother, denser cream. Owner Robyn Sue Fisher created and patented the machine herself, which churns out everyday local flavors like Blue Bottle espresso and TCHO 60.5 percent chocolate as well as seasonal options such as sweet corn with berries and rhubarb crisp.

432 Octavia St #1A
San Francisco, CA 94102

7. The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain

815 Cole St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Head back in time at this classic 1930s-inspired soda fountain shop serving up vintage phosphates, lactarts, malts, plus boozy milkshakes, ice cream soda floats and ice cream sandwiches in vegan options, too. There’s another location in the Castro, with more maple syrup or chicory coffee ice cream shakes.

815 Cole St
San Francisco, CA 94117

8. Nieves Cinco De Mayo

3052 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Head to this unassuming Mexican ice cream shop tucked into a Mission market for flavors like corn, guava, and leche quemada (burnt milk). Order it by the scoop, in a banana split, or go for a combination of fruit and toppings like a mangonada made with mango sorbet fresh mango, chile, lime, and tamarind. Check out its sister shop in Fruitvale, too.

3052 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

9. CREAM

3106 16th St, San Francisco, CA, 94103
CREAM

Expect to wait in line for Berkeley-based CREAM’s (Cookies Rule Everything Around Me) mix-and-match ice cream sandwiches that have proved exceedingly popular with the Cal student set. The endless options allow ice cream sandwich fiends to build the ideal sandwich from a large selection of cookies (there are vegan and gluten-free flavors, plus more unusual variations like turtle, M&M and cappuccino) and ice creams (green tea, cinnamon, and the highly meta cookie dough). Check out their full list of locations around the Bay Area here.

3106 16th St, San Francisco
CA, 94103

10. Double Rainbow Ice Cream

415 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Double rainbow ice cream sundae Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow is a 45-year-old ice cream company that was originally founded by two best friends in the Castro in the 70s. It returned to the neighborhood in late 2020 with a new scoop shop just a couple of doors down from their original location. Longtime fans stop by for old-school scoops of malt chocolate and mint chip, shakes, cups, and pints.

415 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

11. Bi-Rite Creamery

3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Small-batch, seasonal, hand-made, local, etc. ice cream is the calling card at San Francisco’s arguably most popular scoop shop. Lines usually snake out the door and down the block with people waiting for tastes of salted caramel and balsamic strawberry, two of Bi-Rite’s most popular flavors, or the more unusual options like basil and honey lavender.

3692 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

12. The Castro Fountain

554 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

A second sweets shop from the Ice Cream Bar’s Juliet Prie, the Castro Fountain has an extensive menu of cakes and baked goods on top of fresh-churned ice cream — or rather, to put that ice cream on top of. Like its predecessor, the shop’s style is that of an old-school soda fountain, so go ahead, split a sundae, a float, or a piece of photogenic rainbow cake with a scoop of ice cream on the side. One ice cream flavor, Yass Queen, even has bits of that rainbow cake inside it.

554 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114

13. Garden Creamery

3566 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Kerry Lee/ESF

Garden Creamery is the Mission District ice cream shop that became an Instagram star for opening with churro-like chimney cones, made with sweet yeast dough baked and covered in cinnamon sugar. Garden Creamy offers an array of Hawaiian-influenced flavors (including some non-dairy options), as well as matcha with toasted rice, black sesame, as well as Mexican and Manila mango, salted plum, and Thai tea.

3566 20th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

14. Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous

699 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

If it’s gourmet ice cream you desire, look no further than this daily-changing option from Wolfgang Puck Spago alums (and husband and wife team) Ian Flores and Annabelle Topacio. Flavors like mango chili lime, chocolate chicory coffee and candied violet will satisfy your higher-end needs, though there’s no shame in going classic with plain old vanilla bean, too.

699 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

15. Polly Ann Ice Cream

3138 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Have flavor fatigue? Leave your fate in the hands of Polly Ann, where you can spin the wheel and let it decide which of the over 500 rotating flavors you’ll be trying today. The shop, which has been open since the 1950s, often has Asian flavors like durian, lychee and jasmine on display, as well as favorites like rocky road and mint chocolate chip.

3138 Noriega St
San Francisco, CA 94122

Related Maps

16. Humphry Slocombe

2790 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Humphry Slocombe

Get your weird on with experimental flavors at this crazy popular Mission ice cream destination (with an outpost in the Ferry Building, too). The most-talked-about flavor is Secret Breakfast, made with vanilla, cornflake cookies and Jim Beam bourbon, but there’s no shortage of wacky options such as prosciutto, cheese, mushrooms and foie gras from evil ice cream genius Jake Godby.

2790 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA 94110

17. Mitchell's Ice Cream

688 San Jose Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

Mitchell’s opened in Bernal Heights way back in 1953 and has been inspiring lines of fans ever since. The classic shop is known for its authentic Mexican (horchata, Mexican chocolate), Peruvian (yucuma) and Filipino (two types of coconut) options, including a bright purple ube with its own longstanding fan following.

688 San Jose Ave
San Francisco, CA 94110

18. Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream

1447 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116
Caleb Pershan

Named for the explorer said to have introduced Italy to ice cream by way of China, Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream serves its frozen treat the other way round, with scoops of gelato-like creaminess in Asian flavors. Try lychee, green tea, black sesame, or pungent durian, made from the fruit that’s famously banned on public transit in Singapore for its strong smell. Opened in 1982, Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream is a favorite gathering spot in far flung Parkside, and a second location opened in San Jose in 2015.

1447 Taraval St
San Francisco, CA 94116

19. Churn Urban Creamery + Bakery

2646 San Bruno Ave, San Francisco, CA 94134

Originally a mobile ice cream cart, proprietor Rica Sunga-Kwan opened her Avenue Theater Portola shop in 2017 after gaining fans from across the city. Many of Churn’s flavors, like mint chip straciatella, blueberry swirl, ube honeycomb, and horchata, are made with ingredients grown in Sunga-Kwan’s own garden in South San Francisco. All are made without eggs, and many are also dairy free and vegan.

2646 San Bruno Ave
San Francisco, CA 94134

Related Maps