The 15 Best Ice Cream Shops in Seattle
Cool off at these classic spots for gelato, soft serve, or a good old-fashioned vanilla cone.
Summer in Seattle is excellent for a long list of reasons (among them: sunshine, picnics, swimming in the ocean, barbecues) but let’s turn our attention to the most delicious of them all: ice cream. Now that it’s finally hot enough to indulge in dessert that comes from the freezer, the only remaining predicament is where to find it. Whether it’s gelato, soft serve, or a good old-fashioned vanilla cone, this city has plenty of options, and, luckily, you’ve got plenty of time to try them all. Ahead, where to find the absolute best ice cream in Seattle this summer.
Launched last year by Central District Ice Cream Company co-founder Kryse Martin, KRYSE is the product of Martin’s Filipina-American upbringing, creative intuition, and passion for sweet treats. Rotating flavors like LiliKoi Li Hing Mui, Salted Caramel Apple, and Calamansi Cheesecake are available once a week for pre-order pick-ups at The Station in Beacon Hill; keep an eye on the website and Instagram for new flavors launching weekly.
Fainting Goat Gelato is a family-run business owned by Yalcin and Sevim Ataman, who immigrated from Izmir, Turkey in 1997 dreaming of gelato (well, sort of). Since 2009, the shop has collaborated with Smith Brother Farms to make some of the creamiest gelato in the city, coming in a slew of flavors like Earl Grey, Lavender, Tiramisu, Double Espresso, Nutella, and Sea Salt Caramel. Grab a scoop (or two) of your own from one of two locations, in Fremont or Wallingford.
Fish-shaped ice cream cones are the name of the game at Matcha Man, which specializes in Taiyaki ice cream, aka the Japanese tradition of shaping a cone to look like a fried fish. Matcha feels like the most obvious flavor to try here, given the shop’s name, but a rotating menu makes others—like Honey Lavender, Pineapple Dole Whip, Ube, and Cereal Milk—just as tempting.
Operating out of a humble store front in Wallingford, Indigo Cow was apparently the country's first-ever Hokkaido milk soft serve shop when it opened back in 2021. Made from fresh milk sourced from the island of Hokkaido, this soft serve, or soft cream, comes in a rotating list of both sweet and savory flavors, like Black Sesame, Original Milk, Ceremonial Matcha, Yaki-Imo, Kabocha Honey, and Mochi.
Salt & Straw has some of the most unexpected ice cream flavors you’ll find in Seattle, and that’s part of what makes them so special (the other part being, obviously, the deliciousness). Go out on a wing and try the Arbequina Olive Oil, Pear & Blue Cheese, or Honey Lavender next time you’re at either of their two locations in the city, AKA Ballard and Capitol Hill.
Opened a few years ago by a UW-grad who also got a food sciences degree from Penn, this small-batch creamery headquartered on The Ave makes their Sweet Cream base daily using organic ingredients, almost all of which are sourced within 100 miles of our storefront. Said base is then turned into a range of creative, or just creatively named, ice creams, including Cookies & Cream, Chocolate Earl Grey, Birthday Cake, and a version of cookie dough they're calling Dough or Die.
Started by a former ballet dancer, and the former Canlis chef who started Hot Cakes back in 2008, F&J boasts locations in Capitol Hill and Ballard (the latter is actually on the street where the owners first met), serves up about a dozen flavors of plant-based, gluten-free ice cream, like the deep black colored Salty Caramel Ash, and something called Gingered Golden Milk that is, well, golden. They also have more traditional options including Mint Brownie... and that's pretty much it. But who wants traditional?
Seattle's first-ever dessert truck was conceived by a retail vet who turned her sales experience and "major sweet-tooth" into a mobile ice cream operation after buying a former postal service truck on eBay. Currently ST offers a range of comfortingly familiar flavors like Rocky Road, Mint Chip or Cookie Dough, plus their signature miniature ice cream cookies (peanut butter with chocolate, double chocolate with mint chip, etc.) and a handful of other baked goods. To get your hands on some Street Treats check for pop-up dates on Instagram or stop by their kitchen in South Seattle on Fridays, 3 - 5 pm (pre-orders only).
This classic Seattle sweets purveyor has been around for 20 years, but their recipes are still all hand developed by their founder and then crafted daily in small batches, with ingredients like organic milk and seasonal fruits. In addition to pints you can also find cakes, cookies and other pastries at their shop on Third Avenue, but the best way to score Gelatiamo is probably by ordering a pizza -- their gelato is the dessert of choice at all area Pagliacci locations.
This oh-so-artisanal "microcreamery" serves the usual coffee/frozen dairy desserts in creative flavors that rotate quarterly, but since 2014—when they were inspired by a beer-flavored ice cream created in collaboration with their Capitol Hill neighbor, Elysian Brewing—Bluebird has also been brewing its own beer and craft sodas (often in dessert appropriate flavors) and serving them in their shop. So, in other words, screw the root beer float. Pay a visit to their brick and mortar in Phinney Ridge (which, by the way, is closed Mondays and Tuesdays), or find them at 10 seasonal farmers markets in and around Seattle.
Started in White Center in 2008, FT's three locations are worth checking out for the old-school video game/pinball machines lining the walls, as well as the solid selection of Northwest beers on tap, and the eclectic collection of tunes bumping in the background. But then, there is the ice cream: Rich, creamy stuff that’s still light enough to make you eat more than you should, and is available in an array of classic flavors ranging from Mint Chip, Coffee Oreo, and Birthday Cake to Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Blue Moon.
MM's eight, almost invariably tiny, ice creameries are charming. And who can blame people for lining up to shove a scoop of handmade 'Scout' Mint ice cream made with real Girl Scout Cookies (one of the few ingredients not produced locally), or Melted Chocolate flavored with bars bought from Theo, or local Strawberry sorbet in their faces?
Poised to open their first Eastside location this summer in Woodinville, this gelato operation (which also boasts brick and mortars in Phinney Ridge and Magnolia) is named for the nuts (hazelnut, pistachio, peanuts, etc.) found in many of its flavors, which rotate seasonally. In addition to pints, their gelato can also be purchased in milkshake or cake form, or a six-pack of gelato pops, all of which are available for delivery or curbside-pickup in their online store.
Pike Place Market
This brightly colored spot that's meant to invoke the nostalgia of old-fashioned soda fountains (it even features a restored soda fountain from the '30s) doesn't make its own ice cream, but it'll gladly serve you some from Lopez Island Creamery by the scoop, in a sundae, or float-style with beer or champagne.
Launched in 2010, and run by a father and son team, this operation combines premium Italian and Northwest ingredients to create an authentic, but uniquely "Seattle" style of Gelato. Made from scratch daily, the can't miss flavors include Chocolate Hazelnut, the signature Pistachio, and mascarpone-based Tiramisu. Try D’Ambrosio at either of their two locations (in Ballard and Westlake) or via online order and delivery.