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Photo: Denver Milk Market

Unique Ice Cream Treats in the Denver Area

Satisfy your summer sweet tooth with frozen, family-friendly creations.

It’s a hot day and you’re in the mood for ice cream, but not just any old scoop. Whatever treat you’re dreaming up, these local sweets shops have your craving covered. Offering unique flavors, tons of toppings, and artistic flair, they may surpass your palate’s expectations.

Cornicello’s Gelato

Denver’s Milk Market wouldn’t be complete without Cornicello’s treats. The chic shop serves up fresh spun ice cream and gelato, which often feature extra tidbits for style and flavor. Top a hand-rolled waffle cone with a kid-favorite and recurring scoop, the Cookie Monster. It’s a vanilla bean base colored to an arctic blue with chocolate chip cookie dough blended through. Lactose-avoidant or simply fruit-inclined customers might dip into the sorbet selection; this summer’s flavors include Mango Chili and Pineapple Chili. Flavors change frequently, see the ice cream case in store for details. Milk Market, Denver.

Photo: Anna Sutterer

Dang’s Soft Serve Swirls

Flavors at this colorful spot in the Central Park neighborhood are constantly changing, with at least one new flavor each month. A Coconut Lime and Lilikoi (passion fruit) swirl hits the soft serve stage this summer. It’s not too tart, features a light green and yellow contrast, and is available through July. Kids love gummy bears, sour worms, or nerds on top, according to general manager Kimi Mitchell. The tried and true Salted Oreo gets a new flavor to twirl with—Strawberry Cream Cheese—through August. What’s constant is a creamy finish and a dozen topping options for style, texture, and flavor blasts. If you’re a soft-serve-french-fry dipper, don’t forget a pint of fries in your order. Check out the location’s Instagram page for updates: @dangsoftserve. Park Hill neighborhood, Denver.

Snowl’s Taiyaki and Big Bowls

At Snowl, generations of customers enjoy a Japanese treat: taiyaki (literally translated to “baked sea bream”). Fish-shaped, chewy waffle cones hold a tall swirl of ice cream that comes in refreshing flavors like Matcha, Milk Tea (vanilla-ish), and Taro (hints of coconut, slightly floral and nutty). Top your treat with Oreos, vanilla wafers, and other classic garnish. Folks can also grab a massive, fluffy bowl of Taiwanese-style shaved ice topped with creamy condensed milk and bursting balls of lychee. Most kids might gravitate toward the mango or strawberry options. Plan to hang out a while in the shop, where cheery and bright decor create a welcoming family atmosphere. Havana Street, Aurora.

Photo: Anna Sutterer

Hidden Gems’ Toppings

Opened April 2021, this spot on the Larimer block serves up single cups with a vanilla soft serve base ($2 extra for vegan), so it’s all about the toppings. Customers enter the uncluttered shop and head straight to a counter where they mark a paper menu with their desired mix-ins. Salty-sweet snackers might like the Cheez-It option with a drizzle of peanut butter sauce. Cereal-lovers will enjoy choosing from Froot Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Frosted Flakes, and more. Colorado Parent tried a frosted animal cracker mix-in with Honey Nut Cheerios and a drizzle of caramel on top. The flavors blended like the sweet last gulps of milk from a breakfast bowl. Larimer Street, Denver.

MyKings’ Milkshakes

Young entrepreneur and mother Le’Day Grant brings Lakewood-based Magill’s ice cream to the neighborhood just north of city park. But she and her team put a big spin on these scoops. Their Colorful Colorado shake, featuring Blue Moon ice cream (which tastes like Froot Loops), is sky blue and topped with Toucan Sam’s favorite cereal. The breakfast theme continues with an option to build your own cereal milkshake using Cookie Crisp, Reese’s Puffs, Cap’n Crunch, and more. Kids who are a fan of the Superman ice cream—a blue raspberry, cherry, and french vanilla swirl—might try the Superman Royal Float, in which Sprite gives the scoop a lift. New flavors in the shop this summer are Cotton Candy and a seasonal Rainbow Sherbet. Take a seat in the bubblegum pink-painted store, which provides puzzles and games to those dining in. Skyland neighborhood, Denver.

Photo: Anna Sutterer

Heaven’s Natural Wonders

Owner Martha Trillo made it her mission to nix processed sugars, artificial colors, and additives from her concoctions. The menu is wide, offering ice cream, gelato, and sorbet. The presentation is detailed, transforming ice cream eating into a performance art. Copa di gelato, available at the Cherry Creek North location, are like fancy sundaes. The (vegan) tropical version includes coconut milk gelato, plus kiwi, mango, pineapple, and banana drizzled with mango and passionfruit homemade sauce—it’s subtly sweet and perfect for fruit fanatics. The Sushi Boat, coming soon to the Streets of Southglenn location, serves fruit rolled in sweet sticky rice on a small wooden ark with scoops of ice cream on the side. More traditional treats like popsicles and ice cream cones are also available. Menus vary by location. Cherry Creek North, Denver; Streets of Southglenn, Centennial; RiNo, Denver (coming soon).

Happy Cones’ New Zealand Style

Business owner Hap Cameron is a lively host with the welcoming spirit of one who’s traveled all seven continents and returned to the love of his childhood; he picked berries for fruit ice cream as a kid and often shared the treat with his dad. His team now serves up New Zealand style fruit ice cream—⅓ fruit blended with ⅔ ice cream—to guests in Denver and Golden. The classic Mixed Berry swirl is gratifying in color (purple) and taste (like a sweet and creamy smoothie). It’s a crowd pleaser across age groups. The Hokey Pokey, one of four classic scoops always on hand, features vanilla ice cream with chunks of honeycomb toffee that’s crunchy then sticky when chewed. Slightly older kids and adults gravitate toward this one. Happy Cones also offers rotating flavors, including a new one each week. Their trusty ice cream truck travels to various events and can be rented out for parties. Edgewater Public Market, Edgewater; The Golden Mill, Golden.

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