It would be an understatement to say I have been on my fair share of college visits in the past few months. While traveling in and around various university campuses, past the libraries, the dorms, and the quaint, family-run diners in town, I have taken notice to one overlooked common thread—every school has its favorite ice cream shop. 

As a mere Pre-Frosh, I looked to friends, fellow Spoon writers and other platforms of social media to help me gather a list of the best ice cream shops in 30 college towns across America.

Whether you are a perspective student (like me) looking for something sweet to break up monotonous info sessions and campus tours, or a current student searching for a treat between classes—I've got the scoop on where to go. 

1. Brown
 UniversityThree Sisters - Providence, RI 

cream, ice, sweet, sorbet, dairy product, chocolate, relish, milk
Photo courtesy of Becca H. on

This diner and ice cream shop is famous for its unique flavor Kulfi, which won second place and the people's choice award in the Rhode Island Food Fights Ice Cream Throwdown. 

2. Columbia & NYUAmple Hills Creamery - Manhattan, New York

cream, ice, chocolate, sundae
Lindsay Paulen

Creative flavors are freshly churned everyday and stuffed with home-baked mix ins like ‘gooey butter cake’ and ‘caramel crack’ at this Brooklyn and Manhattan-based creamery.

3. CornellPurity Ice Cream - Ithaca, New York

chocolate, cream, ice, goody, candy, milk, sweet, sundae
Photo courtesy of Spoon Cornell

In addition to the famous on-campus Cornell Dairy Bar, Ithaca is home to this small-batch shop, which is known around Central New York as the 'Ice Cream Of the Finger Lakes.'

4. DartmouthMorano Gelato - Hanover, New Hampshire

chocolate, cake, cream
Photo courtesy of Ethan P. on 

Morano Gelato aims to create the freshest of frozen treats for its customers, producing 16 authentic Italian flavors (and creative twists on the traditional) from scratch each morning.

5. Duke UniversityThe Parlour - Durham, North Carolina 

ice, waffle, cream, wafer, chocolate
Juliette Sibley

What started as a ice cream bus that created chaos on campus, has grown into a full blown parlor (literally) that still attracts lines out its door and is voted a Duke student favorite for its inventive ice cream flavors. 

6. Emory UniversityThe Yogurt Tap -  Atlanta, Georgia 

chocolate, strawberry, banana
Brittany Gelman

Believe it or not, the fro-yo served at The Yogurt Tap is far more superior than the chain-store treat that has become anything but special in the recent years. It's pouring out flavors like almond butter, black cherry vanilla, Nutella and so many more.

7. Georgetown UniversityThomas Sweet - Georgetown, Washington, D.C. 

cream, chocolate, sweet, milk, ice, dairy product, dairy, chocolate ice cream
Photo courtesy of

Now famous for being an Obama favorite, this Mecca of all things sweet has more than enough ice cream flavors to choose from—but if you happen to be unable to choose a flavor of your liking, Thomas Sweet offers a 'blend-in' option, where you can pick any combination of toppings to mix into your scoop.

8. George Washington UniversityDolcezza - Washington, D.C.

A photo posted by MADISON JEAN (@madisonn_jean) on

Ever wonder why there was a recent uprising of hip gelato spots in the ice cream world? Dolcezza 'made gelato cool again.' Plus, with half the fat and half the calories of normal ice cream, it's basically healthy—right? 

9. Harvard & MIT: Toscanini’s -Cambridge, Massachusetts

cream, milk, sweet, ice, dairy, chocolate, dairy product, relish, whipped cream, goody, wafer, yogurt, caramel
Photo courtesy of Toscanini’s Ice Cream on

The New York Times named Toscanini’s "The Best Ice Cream In The World'—if that's not enough incentive to check out the shop next time your near Harvard or MIT, then I don't know what is.

10. Johns Hopkins UniversityThe Charmery - Baltimore, Maryland

cream, chocolate, ice, waffle, sweet, wafer, milk
Photo courtesy of Cristel Y. on
The Maryland-native owners of The Charmery churn creative flavors such as Old Bay® Caramel and Maryland Mud (chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips and Oreos) that support local farmers and stay true to the Baltimore spirit.

11. Northwestern UniversityAndy's Frozen Custard - Evanston, Illinois 

ice, sundae, cream, chocolate, banana
Grace Jaeger

While many more ice cream options can be found down Lake Shore Drive, Evanston boasts some enticing frozen treats of its own. Try out one of Andy's special custard concretes like the "James Brownie Funky Jackhammer" (vanilla or chocolate frozen custard blended with creamy peanut butter and brownies, then filled with hot fudge) to get a true taste of the Midwest.

12. Penn State UniversityBerkey Creamery - State College, Pennsylvania 

Photo by Jenna Rosen

An integral part of PSU's agriculture program, Berkey Creamery, located right on campus, makes such impressive ice cream that Ben and Jerry (Yes, THE Ben and Jerry) took a class there to improve their skills. Stuck on which flavor to choose? Spoon Penn State has got you covered

13. Princeton UniversityThe Bent Spoon - Princeton, New Jersey 

waffle, cream, ice, chocolate, wafer, bacon
Photo courtesy of The Bent Spoon on Facebook

Rated among Travel & Leisure's "America’s Best Ice Cream Shops," The Bent Spoon showcases some of the most imaginative ice cream flavors in the nation. They rotate through over 550 artisanal flavors, which is only one of the many reasons why there is always a new raving review of the shop in the press, and why one passionate spooner wrote a whole article about it.

14. Stanford UniversityCREAM - Palo Alto, California 

chocolate, candy, sweet, brownie
Photo courtesy of A N. on

Two warm, fresh-baked cookies stuffed with a few scoops of cold, freshly churned ice cream—need I say more? This Stanford must-have specializes in our favorite type of sandwich, offering 10 different types of cookies (including "Creamfetti," "Carnival" and trusty ol' "Double Chocolate Chip") and over two times the amount of ice cream flavors.

15. Syracuse UniversityGannon’s Isle Ice Cream - Syracuse, New York 

ice, cream, chocolate
Photo Courtesy of @mandarose99 on

Gannon's simply dominates the Syracuse ice cream scene—so much so that the husband and wife namesake team has been winning "Syracuse's Best Ice Cream" every year since the awards inception.

16. The University of ChicagoBobtail Ice Cream - Chicago, Illinois

ice, cream
Photo courtesy of Maria N. on

Set in an old-fashioned shop, Bobtail is famous for both its concoctions that are mixed with coffee (ice cream lattes, anyone?) and its funky flavors that are infused with alcohol, like the "Signature Sunset" (Merlot ice cream, dark chocolate chips) and the "Lakeview Barhopper" (Dutch cocoa ice cream blended with Jack Daniels®).

17. The University of ColoradoSweet Cow - Boulder, Colorado 

ice, cream, chocolate, sweet, chocolate ice cream
Photo curtesy of Annie N. on

The art of the ice cream sandwich is perfected at Sweet Cow, and they serve up great scoops too. Furthermore, the owner, who also happens to be a Boulder graduate, makes sure that the environment at the shop is always fun and happy, creating an overall experience that keeps customers coming back again and again.

18. The University of FloridaD’Lites Emporium - Gainesville, Florida 

A photo posted by Rachel (@rkrockwell) on

Students at UF rave over D'Lites—not only is it a shocking 12 ½ calories per ounce but their flavors of the week range anywhere from 'Samoas,' to 'Caramel Fudge Éclair,' to 'Snickers Cheesecake.'

19. The University of MarylandMaryland Dairy - College Park, Maryland

ice, cream, chocolate, cupcake
Photo curtesy of Emma W. on

Offered in the Student Union at UMD, and celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, the ice cream at 'The Dairy' or Maryland Dairy contains 14% butterfat, which explains its signature creamy texture.

20. The University of PennsylvaniaCapogiro & Basset's - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

chocolate, cream, sweet
Photo courtesy of Celia G. on

UPenn's Philly setting, filled with endless great choices for a frozen treat, made it too difficult to choose a single best spot for this list, and I figured the more ice cream the merrier, right? 

Stop by Capogiro for farm fresh gelato that happens to be named the number one ice cream in the entire world by National Geographic

Also be sure to visit Basset's to get a taste of an institution that has been a Philly staple since 1861, and is known as America's oldest ice cream shop—it's been around for five generations of owners, and there has got to be good a reason for that. 

21. Tulane UniversityCreole Creamery - New Orleans, Louisiana 

ice, cream
Photo courtesy of Jimmy T. on

You may have some difficulty deciding which of the unique flavors you want to order at this Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives featured shop (ever tried Lavender Honey?), but never fear—Creole Creamery offers a four or six mini scoop sampler to ease the ordering anxiety of even the most indecisive customers. 

22. UNC - Chapel HillThe Yogurt Pump (YOPO) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina 

cream, chocolate, sweet, cake, cupcake
Photo courtesy of @TheYogurtPump on Twitter

As any UNC student will tell you, it's very rare to see 'YOPO' without a line around the corner. However, as any students will also tell you, the wait is certainly worth it. Flavors change daily but the low prices and delicious fro-yo stay constant.

23. University of MiamiWhip ‘n Dip - Coral Gables, Florida

chocolate, sweet, cookie
Katie Cruz

Whip ‘n Dip is a South Miami classic—a forever dependable neighborhood sweet shop that serves up low-fat (18 calories an ounce!), 'lite' cream in flavors like Nutella, Salted Caramel and Toasted Coconut, along with full fat ice cream, fresh baked cookies and more types of toppings than you could dream up. 

24. University of MichiganBlank Slate Creamery - Ann Arbor, Michigan 

ice, cream
Zoe Zaiss

The owner of Blank Slate is actually an UM alum. They serve your scoops in homemade waffle cones or cookie sandwich-style, and they offer a flavor called Wolverine Tracks (like your standard moose tracks but infinitely better—featuring handmade fudge & Justin's Organic Peanut Butter Cups). They also have chalkboard walls and tables so you can get creative while you chow down. On top of all that, they even use locally-sourced ingredients.

The list of reasons for why you need to go to Blank Slate could go on and on—but I'll stop there so you can discover for yourself why this Ann Arbor newbie has become an instant classic.

25. University of Southern CaliforniaThe Bigg Chill - Los Angeles, California 

chocolate, cream, milk, ice, sundae, sweet, coffee, dairy product
Claire Dinhut

Given the perpetual sunshine in Southern California, it is not hard to find good ice cream on almost any corner in LA. The Bigg Chill, however, still stands strong, and continues to be the most Instagrammed, amidst the ever-changing ice cream trends. And yes, macaroon or churro ice cream sandwiches, donut milky buns and ice cream tacos can also all be found in the Golden State.

 #SpoonTip: Top your twist with their vegan cookie dough—you won't be disappointed, and neither will your Instagram followers.

26. University of Texas, Austin: Cow Tipping Creamery - Austin, Texas

cream, chocolate, caramel, sweet, ice, milk, sundae, candy, goody, dairy product
Photo courtesy of  Cow Tipping Creamery on Facebook

Cow Tipping Creamery has begun a new revolution in the ice cream world—and their weapon of choice goes by the name of 'Stackers.' This game-changing take on a sundae layers toppings, soft serve, sauces and baked goods in a parfait-style so that the customer gets a little bit of everything in each bite. 

Next on CTC's agenda? Housemade donut cones filled with brown sugar hot fudge, cold brew coffee soft-serve and coffee soil. BRB, drooling. 

27. University of WisconsinBabcock Dairy - Madison, Wisconsin 

Produced on campus in UW Madison's own Babcock Hall Dairy Plant, Babcock dairy ice cream is a Badger favorite that is close to home. Find the unanimously loved ice cream at The Daily Scoop in Memorial Union (UW Madison's student center) and be sure to sample flavors paying tribute to the University such as 'On, Wisconsin!' and 'Badger Blast.'

28. VanderbiltJeni's - Nashville, Tennessee

cream, chocolate, ice, milk, dairy product, sweet, coffee, caramel, wafer
Rachel Kalichman

With four locations across Nashville, and the newest store in Hillsboro Village, there is never an excuse to not be eating Jeni's. Food & Wine Magazine once said, "No one else makes ice cream like Jeni Britton Bauer." Given both the Vandy student body praise and national admiration for this place, I believe it.  

29. Washington University in St. LouisJilly's - St. Louis, Missouri

ice, cream, strawberry, chocolate, wafer
Photo courtesy of Jilly's Ice Cream Bar on Facebook

Jilly's Cupcake Bar and Jilly's Ice Cream Bar are located not far from campus in the city of St. Louis, but luckily WashU students don't even have to leave their dining hall to try scoops of the Cupcake War winner's frozen specialties. 

Served at Ibby's in the Danforth University Center, Jilly's ice cream flavors range from 'Get Lucky,' (stuffed with Lucky Charms) to 'Reese's Chunkage.'

30. YaleAshely's Ice Cream - New Haven, Connecticut

"The Frisbees" at Ashely's (the beautiful mess pictured above) contain eight scoops of ice cream and ten toppings—enough to feed you and a few friends or maybe just you—considering how good the Ice Cream at Ashely's is known to be. 

Recipient of the title of "New Haven's Best Ice Cream" for 29 years in a row, it's no surprise that Ashley's often serves famous Yale alumni and New Haven's celebrity visitors.