Chicago, the Windy City, a bustling metropolis known for its soaring skyscrapers, iconic deep-dish pizza, and vibrant music scene, also offers a wide range of delightful options for the ice cream connoisseur. Despite the city’s notorious cold winters, when summer shines on Lake Michigan, locals and tourists alike flock to the city’s top ice cream shops to indulge in some of the nation’s most deliciously unique frozen delights. From classic to avant-garde, here’s the inside scoop on the best ice cream shops in Chicago.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams:
A well-renowned name in the ice cream industry, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is located in the heart of Wicker Park. Offering a variety of flavor profiles, from traditional classics to contemporary creative concoctions, Jeni’s ice creams are churned to smooth perfection. Must-tries include “Brambleberry Crisp” and “Brown Butter Almond Brittle.” They also offer an impressive array of dairy-free options, making Jeni’s a crowd-pleaser for all ice cream lovers.
Address: 871 N. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60611
A Chicago staple since 1921, Margie’s Candies exudes a vintage ambiance that takes you back to a sweeter, simpler time. Located in Bucktown and North Center, Margie’s is famed for their colossal sundaes served in sea-shell shaped dishes, accompanied by a wafer and homemade hot fudge. Their signature “Turtle Sundae” is an all-time customer favorite. What sets Margie’s apart is not just the quality of their ice cream, but the entire nostalgic experience of stepping back in time.
Address: 1813 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago IL 60613
Black Dog Gelato:
An artisanal gem, Black Dog Gelato, nestled in Ukrainian Village and Roscoe Village, has redefined the boundaries of ice cream. Combining unusual flavors, they create intricate and delicious masterpieces like “Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel” and “Sesame Fig Chocolate Chip.” Their rotating menu, inspired by seasonal ingredients, ensures that there’s always something fresh and innovative to sample.
Address: 859 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, United States
The Original Rainbow Cone:
Established in 1926, The Original Rainbow Cone in Beverly is an iconic stop on any Chicago ice cream tour. Their signature “Rainbow Cone” is a layered scoop of orange sherbet, pistachio, Palmer House (vanilla with cherries and walnuts), strawberry, and chocolate. It’s a delightful, colorful experience that satisfies diverse taste preferences all in one cone.
Address: 9233 S Western Avenue Chicago, Illinois • 60643
Cone Gourmet Ice Cream:
Cone Gourmet Ice Cream, based in West Loop, prides itself on serving the city’s richest, creamiest Irish ice cream. With their playful twist on traditional flavors, some highlights include “Shamrock Mint” and the deliciously decadent “Jameson Whiskey.” Their inventive menu includes vegan-friendly choices and unique combinations that surprise and delight.
Address: 1047 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607, United States
Lickity Split Frozen Custard and Sweets:
A beloved local institution, Lickity Split in Edgewater offers creamy frozen custard, which is denser and smoother than typical ice cream. Their menu ranges from the classics to signature sundaes such as the “Radical Raspberry Razzle.” A community-driven place, Lickity Split often participates in local events and frequently contributes to school fundraisers, making it a hit both for its delicious desserts and community spirit.
Address: 6056 N Broadway St Chicago, IL, US 60660
From traditional parlors serving classic scoops to innovative shops churning out gourmet flavors, Chicago’s ice cream scene offers a little something for everyone. As the weather warms up, the best way to explore the city is with an ice cream in hand, so take a taste tour and decide for yourself which Chicago ice cream shop is your personal favorite.