"I left my heart in San Francisco." Cable cars, sourdough bread bowls, and photo shoots with the Golden Gate Bridge—that's San Francisco. Even though it's always (hella) foggy in SF, it's never too cold for ice cream. I created a list of the best places to find ice cream in San Francisco. Whether you are visiting this beautiful city for the first time, or a native like me, stop by these ice cream shops and order a scoop that will melt your heart.
The ice cream shop that has long lines even when it’s 45 degrees and raining. My personal favorite is the crème brûlée (10/10 would recommend). Other popular flavors are salted caramel and balsamic strawberry. Grab a scoop (or two) and enjoy it at Dolores Park up the block.
Hands down, everyone knows about its best selling item: secret breakfast. Secret breakfast is bourbon ice cream paired with sprinkles of cornflakes. I would also recommend the persimmon lychee sorbet if you are looking for an alternative to a creamy flavor. Be sure to stop by either location in the Mission or at the Ferry Building.
Hidden on the corner of Noriega and 39th Ave in the Sunset, Polly Ann holds a selection of 48 flavors including traditional Asian flavors such as durian, black sesame, or jasmine tea. I love the strawberry mango swirl, but other crowd favorites include Star Wars or the Old San Francisco (pineapple with toasted almonds). If you’re indecisive, spin the Wheel of Fate and let it choose a flavor for you.
The Baked Bear truck is parked at Fisherman’s Wharf. You can customize your ice cream sandwich to your heart’s desire. The “sandwich” base can be a doughnut, brownie, or two cookies. Of course, go all out with the doughnut sandwich. The coolest flavor is definitely bear batter: blue cake batter with brownie bits and fudge.
While you’re enjoying your day around the city, be sure to check out Smitten. All ice cream is churned as you order and it’s made with a special liquid nitrogen machine. The flavors are all seasonal so you’ll have to drop by often to see what comes out next—like the rhubarb crisp in April, or the peppermint bark during the holidays.
Located in the Dogpatch neighborhood in San Francisco, only a small percent of customers can probably pronounce the store name correctly. The menu is rarely the same as it was yesterday, but the most-talked about item is Ballpark—a mix of Anchor Steam ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels and peanuts. Other musts are the candied violet and the white sesame.
This ice cream parlor is where “old school meets new school.” The interior design of the shop includes a 1930's soda fountain and a lunch counter—it truly takes you back in time. I enjoyed my scoop of morello cherry (and I know you would too). Other hot picks include butterscotch and caramelized honey.
When you’re in the Marina District, go to Over the Moon on Chestnut Ave. The popular cookie sandwich combinations are Snickerdoodle cookie with Honey Lavender or the Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coffee Caramel Crunch. If you just want a scoop, cookie monster is your go-to-flavor.
The San Francisco Hometown Creamery makes ice cream from scratch right inside of the store. The house special? The Flight. This lets you choose five flavors (because you couldn’t decide on one in the first place, right?). I recommend peanut butter chocolate fudge, mint chip, and black sesame with miso.
AT&T park is not exactly an ice cream shop; it’s where you watch the San Francisco Giants beat the Los Angeles Dodgers. How do you top that off? A Ghirardelli sundae. The famous hot fudge sundae is just as important as the garlic fries, so make sure you get one even when it’s freezing cold during a night game.
11. Ici Ice Cream
Ici Ice Cream is located across the Bay Bridge on the busy College Avenue in Berkeley, often with a line out the door. The menu of flavors changes daily, but all eleven are unique and worth a try. Just to name a few off the list: chicory whiskey, matcha marshmallow, and mint toffee-fudge swirl.
To end off your SF trip, Mitchell’s Ice Cream is the all-time classic. You have to try the ube flavor. Oh, and while you’re at it, sample the tropical 4 (combo of banana, guava, mango, and pineapple) and grasshopper pie (mint with a blend of chocolate chips) for a dollop of happiness.