As temperatures rise and you search for ways to keep cool with the kids, going out for ice cream becomes a favorite summertime outing. From hand-dipped cookies-and-cream piled high in a waffle cone and rolled in sprinkles, to a scoop of mint chip sandwiched between super soft chocolate chip cookies—there are plenty of fresh, locally-made ice cream treats to sample at these unique creameries around town.
Alongside traditional ice cream favorites like milk chocolate and vanilla bean, visitors to High Point Creamery will find a list of creative sweet and savory flavors, including some best saved for parents—Tin Cup whiskey with pistachio brittle or coffee bean, anyone? Husband and wife duo Erika Thomas and Chad Stutz want to bring Denver a “happy” experience serving up scoops, layered-ice-cream bombes, malts, shakes, and coffee. Try an ice-cream flight to sample five of the flavors, all crafted with fresh ingredients. Three metro Denver locations.
Must Try: The Ice “Kouign” Sandwich made with a kouign-amann (a round, flaky pastry-like cake) from Izzio bakery and High Point ice cream.
Nuggs was founded by the O’Sullivan brothers—the same duo who started Brother’s BBQ—after the pair noticed the Park Hill neighborhood was lacking a good old-fashioned ice cream spot. Cones are made daily and dairy products are sourced locally for a truly old-fashioned and delicious experience. Ask about their vegan, nut-free, and gluten-free options. 5135 E. Colfax Ave., Denver.
Must Try: Tuesdays are for “tacos”—ice cream scoops served in crunchy waffle cone “shells,” topped with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry.
With six locations from Boulder to Denver, there are great options to step up to the counter at these bright, airy shops and try their small-batch ice cream mixed in-house with locally sourced ingredients. Not only does Sweet Cow offer some of the creamiest dips for those with dairy allergies or intolerances, but there are also several rotating options. Six metro Denver locations.
Must Try: Oatmeal cookie ice cream with chewy chunks of cookie in each bite.
This quaint ice cream spot has a full menu boasting 20 new flavors made daily and a rotating variety almost weekly. This family-owned ice cream shop focuses on a small batch ice cream process, guaranteeing its customers the freshest dips with flavors that include gluten-free and dairy-free options. Both locations serve paninis and soup Monday through Friday, making it a great place to have a family date. Two metro Denver locations.
Must Try: Dive into something a bit more adventurous like the horchata or honey lavender, when available.
Since opening the windows on the 28-foot-tall silver milk can just less than a decade ago, Little Man Ice Cream has quickly become a Denver staple. With all that love, owner Paul Tamburello decided to expand into three sister locations, including Sweet Cooie’s, Constellations in Stapleton, and Churn in Fort Collins. Grab a scoop from the extensive flavor menu and enjoy participating in Little Man’s Scoop for Scoop program, knowing that a scoop of rice or beans has just been donated to a community in need through Little Man’s scoop for scoop program. 2620 16th St., Denver.
Must Try: The salted Oreo in a waffle cone is a delicious take on the classic cookies and cream.
The second location from the owner of Little Man is a dedication to his mother (the location’s namesake). Upon entering, you are coated in nostalgia and your fondest memories of hand-dipped ice cream, chocolates, and childhood. In the scoop-for-scoop tradition of Little Man, a portion of each scoop purchased here supports women’s education around the world. 3506 E. 12th Ave., Denver.
Must Try: The Gooey Cooie made with a brioche donut split in two, and filled with your choice of ice cream.
It’s easy to support a Colorado business that not only powers their shop with wind, but also uses compostable and recyclable packaging, especially when they serve up scoops of creamy goodness with names like chocolate whoopee pie and salted butterscotch. Sweet Action creates a rotating daily menu of hand-dipped ice cream using fresh Colorado dairy and local produce and ingredients. Located on Broadway near E. 1st Ave., parking can be tricky, but it’s worth the walk to grab a scoop and people-watch by the big front window. 52 Broadway, Denver.
Must Try: The menu at Sweet Action is constantly rotating, but if you get the lucky opportunity to try the blueberry Oreo—do it.
Ice Cream Riot offers a variety of small-batch ice cream flavors alongside their Philadelphia-style water ice (Philadelphia’s take on Italian ice). Try any of their wacky ice cream creations including ones with cereal or goldfish crackers. 1238 E. Colfax Ave., Denver.
Must Try: Order a custom ice cream sandwich made with any of their flavors, our favorite being Fruity Pebbles, sandwiched between two Pop Tarts of your choice. Don’t miss the wild cherry or pink lemonade.
Thai-style rolled ice cream is just the creative take on ice cream that Denver has been waiting for. Chaos & Cream starts with a frozen stainless steel preparation surface and pours locally-sourced ice cream base and fresh ingredients, such as strawberries or cookies into the cool mix. Using metal spatulas, the mix is spread thin, rolled, and placed in a cup, then sprinkled with toppings like fudge and crushed Oreos. Watching the prep is part of the fun. Find Chaos & Cream regularly at The Source, and check their Instagram to see where else they’ll be scooping.
Must Try: The Smart Cookie made with crushed Oreos and cream.
The beloved mad scientist couple, Ian and Stacey Kleinman, reopened the Inventing Room in early August 2017. Fan favorites are readily available, such as liquid nitrogen ice cream and nitrogen smoking cheese curls. The thing that makes this shop a must-visit is each dessert is made to order, and customers can watch as Kleinman uses liquid nitrogen to change the way we view dessert—a modern day Willy Wonka. 29th Ave. and Tennyson St., Denver.
Must Try: The butter beer liquid nitrogen ice cream float has billowing clouds falling from the frozen ice cream, floating in a sweet butter beer.
Magill’s is one of the oldest locations on the list with more than 37 years of experience churning out over 40 flavors at all times, with gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free options —there will always be something for everyone in the family. The pickiest to the most adventurous eaters will find a flavor they can’t resist. 8016 W. Jewell Ave., Lakewood.
Must Try: The Slam Dunk is just that, raspberry ice cream swirled with chocolate chunks and fudge.
Frozen treats aren’t just a kid favorite. When Mom and Dad are looking for a sweet shake with a little kick, they can head to Milkbox Ice Creamery at Union Station. While the kids devour a double scoop of salted Oreo in a waffle cone with sprinkles, grown-ups can slurp down a boozy shake. 1701 Wynkoop St., Denver.
Must Try: The 1881 milkshake made with butterscotch ice cream and a bit of bourbon.