The hot temps have arrived, and it looks like they are here to stay. Along with days by the pool, vacation time and relaxation, summer brings the heat — literally. Charlotte summers can be brutal, but have no fear. The city has ice cream shops on just about every corner to keep you cool this season.
The rise of temperature isn’t going to stop the people of Charlotte from getting out-and-about. Whether you like soft serve, large scoops or ice cream in sandwich form or on a stick, there are options in just about every Charlotte neighborhood and suburb to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Don’t let the heat get you down this season. In honor of July being National Ice Cream month, here is a guide to some of the best ice cream shops in and around the city to help you stay cool during the scorching summer days ahead of us.
There’s nothing like hearing the sound of an ice cream truck ride to spark childhood memories. This old-school truck circles through different Charlotte neighborhoods and does events at local schools. Keep your ears open in case this truck drives through your neighborhood this summer.
Yeah, popsicles aren’t technically ice cream. However, King of Pops serves cream-based pops in addition to its fruity pops. Flavors like Cookies ‘n Cream, Strawberries ‘n Cream and Chocolate Sea Salt are perfect for cooling down during the hot summer days. Plus, they are pretty fun to eat. If you’re feeling ice cream on a stick, it’s worth chasing down this cart.
Looking for a curbside treat? Sugar Shack Sweets peddles around the city to deliver ice cream and other food items to the Charlotte area. They also are available for catering if you are looking for a cool addition to your next pool party.
16131 Lancaster Hwy.
There are over 7,800 Baskin-Robbins locations around the world, and a couple of those are in the Charlotte area. Among specialty options such as parfaits and mix-ins, and grab-n-go options, there are various frozen treats to choose from. You should also always check out its flavor of the month to try something new.
9820 Rea Rd., Suite B
Cold Stone Creamery is an American ice cream chain that has a couple of shops in the Charlotte area. Its ice cream, yogurt and sorbet are made fresh in store every day. Various toppings are available for any frozen creation and are mixed-in and prepared on a frozen granite stone.
7408 Waverly Walk Ave.
Many people recognize this brand from the frozen isle in the grocery store. However, there are many Häagen-Dazs shops throughout the country, including the one in the Waverly shopping center. Enjoy your ice cream on a swinging bench or table outside at The Terrace, which is directly next to the shop.
7800-C Rea Road
This chain has been around since 1983 and prides itself on serving fresh, homemade ice cream. Hand-rolled cones, a variety of toppings and several drizzles to choose from allow you to become the ultimate creator of your frozen treat.
5355 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. (Note: There’s also a pop-up shop in Matthews)
The secret is in the name: The Local Scoop uses locally-sourced ingredients to make its freshly crafted ice cream. More specifically, the dairy comes from Jackson Farms and Homeland Creamery. Although The Local Scoop’s flavors change constantly, popular summer flavors include Banana Pudding and Key Lime Pie. Non-dairy options are also available.
Pro-tip: Keep your eyes peeled on @localscoopclt on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram from Mondays through Thursdays for the name of the day to receive one free scoop.
5009, 21 Union St. S, Concord
This creamery has been serving 25+ fun flavors, such as Moon Pie, Apple Pie, Bubble Gum, Butter Pecan and Rum Raisin, for over 80 years. Whether you want your frozen dessert cupped or coned, there are plenty of options to choose from for whatever you’re craving.
7761 Gateway Lane NW, Concord
If you’re craving a classic vanilla cone or hot fudge sundae, Sonic’s got that. But it’s hard to top a Sonic blast, with favorites like Oreos, Butterfinger candy or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups mixed in. The drive-in or drive-through — your choice — also has options for classic shakes or “master” shakes, which include Oreo Peanut Butter or Strawberry Cheesecake.
1831 South Blvd.
Often found outside of JJ’s Red Hots, 1514 E. Boulevard, but check @kingofpopsclt
507 Providence Road
Ben and Jerry: two names known and loved by many. The story of Ben and Jerry and their notorious ice creams began in 1978 in a renovated gas station in Vermont. Now, Ben and Jerry’s pints are recognized in areas all over the world. Luckily, Charlotte has a couple scoop shops for all those Phish Food and Cherry Garcia cravings.
1535 Elizabeth Ave.
This quaint, little shop is a crowd pleaser. It is a family-owned and family-run business that values fresh, quality ingredients and has been adored by many in the city for many years. Popular flavors include Butter Pecan and Blueberry Cheesecake. If you are feeling funky, try some of its more unique flavors such as Smurf or Green Tea.
Fort Mill/Tega Cay
2603 Hwy. 160 W. Fort Mill, SC
This franchise is in about 20 states, and North Carolina is lucky to be one of them. The ice cream is made in-store and comes in about 24 different flavors. There is no inside seating area, so enjoy your frozen treat outside at the patio area — just be sure to grab extra napkins if you order a cone.
3521 Foothills Way, Fort Mill, SC
Although Culver’s restaurants are primarily located in the Midwest, there are a couple of stores in the Charlotte area. This fast-food joint serves frozen custard that is made throughout the day to remain creamy and fresh.
936 Market St Ste 103 Fort Mill, SC
Don’t be fooled — this dessert shop serves more than just delicious cupcakes. Along with cake pops and cookies, it also serves ice cream sandwiches.
2524 Hwy. 160 W., Fort Mill, SC
Craving a notorious dipped cone or Blizzard from Dairy Queen? No worries — there are a couple of shops located in and around the city to satisfy your craving.
516 Mercantile Place, Fort Mill, SC
The first Hwy 55 opened in 1991 in North Carolina. Shakes, floats, sundaes, concretes and frozen custard scoops — this place has the perfect treat to pair with your burger and fries.
753 Crossroads Plaza, Fort Mill, SC
Scoop n’ Swirl’s frozen treats consist of the four S’s: scoops, sundaes, shakes and smoothies. Popular flavors include Cheesecake, Butter Pecan and Red Velvet. Dairy-free flavors, such as Mango Sorbet, are also available. Feeling adventurous? Create your own sundae using your choice of ice cream and toppings.
3039 Hwy. 160, Tega Cay, SC
1010 Springfield Pkwy., Fort Mill, SC
Springs Farm Marke produces more than fresh, homegrown produce — it serves homemade soft-serve ice cream, available in four different flavors: strawberry, peach, blackberry and vanilla. This quaint shop has a covered porch, which offers a shady spot to enjoy your sweet treat in the heat of summer while also supporting a local business.
1325 Hwy. 160 W. Fort Mill, SC
The Peach Stand, a sister store to Springs Farm Market, serves over 30 flavors of Hershey’s Premium Hand Dipped Ice Cream. After shopping for your local, fresh produce or after finishing lunch at the restaurant, top-off your trip to The Peach Stand with a scoop or two (or three) from its ice cream parlor.
642 Hwy. 160 W., Fort Mill, SC
At Whit’s, frozen custard is made fresh daily. Although there are only three different flavors available (vanilla, chocolate and a special weekly flavor), Whit’s focuses on perfecting each batch so customers receive quality custard. Whit’s has several different toppings that can either be mixed in to create a “Whitser” or piled on top for a sundae. It also serves hand-dipped cones and other sweet treats.
2302 S. New Hope Road, Gastonia
3908 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia
3821 Union Road and 904 E. Franklin Blvd.
604 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia
Tony’s is a family-run and family-operated restaurant that has been in downtown Gastonia since 1915, and its ice cream is manufactured in the plant right next to the shop. In addition to being sold at Tony’s, the 28 flavors are available in stores and restaurants all over the state.
1206 S. York St., Gastonia. (Note: There’s also an ice cream truck.)
This unconventional sweet shop doubles as a gaming party spot for kids, complete with laser tag and XBOX, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation systems. The treat shop features Thai ice cream rolls in flavors such as Fruity Pebbles, Root Beer Float or Vegan’s Delight, as well as shaved sno cream and other frozen delicacies.
20801 N. Main St., Cornelius
Carolina Cones, a family-owned ice cream shop, has been in the Cornelius area for over 30 years. They have various ice cream and yogurt flavors available, and the shop is extremely kid-friendly, with playground equipment and a model trail that runs around the ceiling.
428 S Main St., Davidson
6300 South Blvd., Unit 100
La Michochana has been serving artisanal Mexican ice cream, frozen fruit bars and drinks since 1942. It uses fresh, natural ingredients for all its sweet treats, including paletas, banana splits and shakes.
545 W. John St., Matthews
1819 Matthews Township Pkwy., Suite 900
10020 Monroe Road #110, Matthews
Jolly Rolls, located in Matthews, does things a little differently. It serves rolled ice cream, which has become a novelty trend. Customers can concoct their own frozen treats using different toppings to be mixed-in using the 25 ice cream flavors available. Plus, watching them actually roll the ice cream is almost as fun as eating it — almost.
11 Matthews Station St., Matthews
During the summer months, checkout The Local Scoop’s pop up shop during the weekend in Downtown Matthews behind Moe’s Bar B Que. The secret is in the name: The Local Scoop uses locally-sourced ingredients to make its freshly crafted ice cream. More specifically, the dairy comes from Jackson Farms and Homeland Creamery. Although their flavors change constantly, popular summer flavors include Banana Pudding and Key Lime Pie.
645 Matthews Township Pkwy., Matthews
VeloPops is now officially open in the Matthews area. All-natural, quality ingredients go into the creation of their fruit and cream-based pops. VeloPops serves a variety of cream-based flavors, such as Banana Nutella, Mexican Chocolate and Pineapple Coconut. It even has pops for your pup, so bring your furry friend along with you.
2166 Commerce Drive, Monroe
400 W. Roosevelt Blvd.
4021 Weddington Rd., Monroe
As the name hints, Dollar Cone sells its ice cream cones for a buck. Looking for a fun outing this summer? Take a drive to this small ice cream parlor in the middle of a field and enjoy a quality cone for a steal.
124 Argus Lane, Mooresville
This family ice cream spot with locations in western North Carolina specializes in warm, made-to-order waffle cones in flavors like vanilla or cinnamon. Its hand-dipped ice cream also lends itself to sundaes, shakes and banana splits.
72 N. Broad St., Mooresville
In 1924, several ice cream lovers came together and created Mooresville Ice Cream Company. From classic flavors, to sherberts, to low-fat options, to deluxe flavors, Mooresville Ice Cream Company has many delicious flavors of churned ice cream. Other goodies include sundaes, banana splits, milkshakes and root beer floats.
Mt. Holly/NW Charlotte
265 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
2914 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
This half-pinball arcade and half-ice cream shop beckons your inner child to come play for awhile and grab a treat. It scoops up 12 flavors of hand-dipped Hershey ice cream, including Cotton Candy, Cookie Dough and Moose Tracks. But there’s also hand-spun shakes and spun soda floats — called “Spinners” — coffee floats and even multi-balls, which are mini-scoops just begging for you to mix and match flavors.
7800 Fairview Road
108 S. Sharon Amity Road
4203 Park Road
This Ohio-based, artisan ice cream company has sparked a craze in the Charlotte area. Check out its new Park Road Shopping Center location before this summer ends. People go nuts for Jeni’s unique flavors and overall aesthetic. Crowd favorite flavors include Brambleberry Crisp, Darkest Chocolate and Goat Cheese with Red Cherries. Artisan dairy-free flavors are also available.
4121 Park Road
Looking for the perfect banana split? Park Road Soda Shoppe might be your golden ticket. This old-school soda shoppe serves all the diner classics and is a great spot to enjoy a milkshake, sundae, scoop or float.
416 E. 36th St. #400
8334 Prineville-Matthews Road, Pineville
11025 Carolina Place Parkway, Pineville
Carolina Place Mall – level two
Dippin’ Dots serves tiny beads of flash-frozen ice cream, yogurt, sherbert and flavored ice. Popular flavors include Cookies ‘N Cream, Birthday Cake and Cotton Candy.
11025 Carolina Place Parkway, Pineville
Carolina Place Mall – level one, in food court
1640 Oakhurst Commons Dr., #103
Many people know Swirl for its custom cakes. However, did you know it recently began selling soft serve? During your next visit (which should be soon), grab a cupcake and a cup of soft serve — you won’t regret it. Two is better than one, right?
1431 Central Ave.
913 Central Ave.
Two Scoops Creamery is a locally owned ice cream shop that is run by three best friends who brought their family recipes to life. Can’t decide on what to order? No worries — create your own flavor creation using its iconic, dual-top cone. Dairy-free vegan flavors are also available for your choosing.
170 W. Summit Ave.
Golden Cow Creamery was founded by two North Carolina natives who shared a love for frozen treats and the community. Each batch of ice cream is made from scratch, and the flavors are always changing. Classic flavors include Fresh Strawberry, Salted Oreo and Dunkaroos (which may spark a flashback to your childhood snacking days).
1920 Camden Road
2500 Dunavant St.
Pro-tip: Get your ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate at the pop shop for a little extra pizzazz.
2107 South Blvd.
Mr. K’s is an old-school soda shop that has been serving vanilla and chocolate swirl soft serve since 1967. The store has been in the same exact location as the day it opened several years ago and is still loved by the community for its charm and quality. Coned, cupped, spun, dipped, sprinkled — whatever your preference, you cannot go wrong with Mr. K’s.
1616 Camden Road, #100
This cafe is run by a mother-daughter duo. Their goodies are inspired by the various places they have traveled together, one of them being Thai ice cream rolls. Fun flavors include Jet Lag (coffee), Cherry Carolina (black cherry) and Hazy Nana (nutella and banana).
720 Governor Morrison St.
4400 Sharon Road, Charlotte
SouthPark Mall, in front of Disney Store and Victoria’s Secret
This ice cream kiosk in SouthPark Mall sells fried ice cream rolls, which is a Thai concept.
4847 Shorten Road, Suite E
The combination of cake with ice cream is truly one that cannot be matched. At Smallcakes, you can have the best of both worlds. Enjoy a scoop of one of its popular flavors, such as Red Velvet or Blue Monster Cookie, and pair it with a cupcake.
14126 Rivergate Pkwy., Suite 100
7820 Forest Point Blvd.
9620 University City Blvd.
Looking for non-dairy or Paleo friendly treats? Coffee Cone Cafe might be right up your alley. In addition to their non-dairy, paleo ice cream, they serve hand-crafted espresso drinks, over 20 flavors of soft serve ice cream, milkshakes, frappes, smoothies and many other goodies.
7031 University City Blvd.
6301 N. Tryon St.
9009 J.M. Keynes Dr., Suite 4
Ninety’s, a family-owned shop in the University area, is known for its novelty ice cream creations such as cereal bowl milkshakes with edible rims, macaron ice cream sandwiches, customizable warm cookie sundaes and Yum-ee Buns (aka glazed doughnut ice cream sandwiches).
301 E. 7th St.
Note: Keep up with its social pages and website to locate carts and restaurants that sell the pops in the Charlotte area.
9921 Rea Road, Waxhaw
This quick-service frozen dessert chain has been around since 1986. Popular menu items include traw-Ana Sundae (custard covered with strawberries and bananas), the Ozark Turtle (custard covered with hot fudge, crème caramel, roasted pecans and topped with a cherry), and the James Brown Funky Jackhammer (blended custard with peanut butter, brownies and hot fudge). Seasonal summer flavors are also available for a limited time.
318 E. South Main St., Waxhaw
Edible cookie dough is a game changer, but pairing it with ice cream is close to perfection. With over 20 flavors, Cookie Dough Bliss has numerous ways to enjoy cookie dough without the belly ache, including cookie dough ice cream sandwiches.
109 E. Main St., Waxhaw
This traditional shop makes all its ice cream in-house. You’ll find all the standard flavors, plus a few decadent specialties, including red raspberry, double dark chocolate and lemon meringue pie. A long list of toppings and syrups are available to customize your dessert.
2732 Wilkinson Blvd.
Editor’s note: Did we miss any of your favorite ice cream spots? Let us know and we’ll add them in. Note that we didn’t include gelato on this list because there are enough gelato spots that we decided they deserve their own guide — stay tuned.