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Dolci Gelati just opened an outdoor scoops stand in the Union Market district.
Dolci Gelati [official]

Cool Off at D.C.’s 15 Essential Ice Cream Shops

Where to pick up the finest frozen treats around

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Dolci Gelati just opened an outdoor scoops stand in the Union Market district.
| Dolci Gelati [official]

Even COVID-19 can’t slow down D.C.’s annual appetite for cold, summertime scoops. Many essential area ice cream shops are back in business this month, adjusting to unprecedented times with new pick-up windows, delivery models, and requirements that customers wear masks inside.

Along with boutique chains (Jeni’s, Mt. Desert) and homegrown brands like Ice Cream Jubilee, gelato shops are also competitive here, with Dolcezza, Pitango, and Dolci Gelati locations sprinkled all over town. Beloved brand Milk Bar remains on pause for now at the Wharf and Logan Circle.

Some restaurants upped their scoops game during the pandemic (2Amys, Clarity). And newcomers like Emilie’s and Albi/Yellow Cafe offer worthy sherbet and soft serve finales.

This list compiles the area’s top destinations for scoops, gelato, and soft serve.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Moorenko's Ice Cream Café

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8030 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 565-7804
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This respected scoops chain, a DMV fixture since 2002, gets its dairy from grass-fed cows raised on family-owned farms in Pennsylvania. Its Silver Spring and Ellicott City stores reopened this week with limited hours (noon to 6 p.m. Friday to Sunday).

2. Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

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3110 Mt Pleasant St NW 1st Floor
Washington, DC 20010
(240) 804-7038
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Partners Brian Lowit and Melissa Quinley brought the uber-creamy Maine favorite to Mount Pleasant two summers ago. Find one of the best cookies and cream varieties in town, along with a White Russian flavor dubbed “the Dude” after the Big Lebowski. Limited reopening hours for June are weekdays 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends for walk-in, takeout service only. Guests can also pre-pay for pickup orders.

Mount Desert [official]

3. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

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1925 14th St NW Suite B
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 621-8625
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The Ohio-based ice cream chain with a cult following is known for flavors like brambleberry crisp, gooey butter cake, and a buttermilk rainbow sorbet. Stop by any of the three area scoop shops (14th Street NW, Old Town, Bethesda) for takeout, or go the delivery route for pints at your door. And Union Market district’s The Bruery just collaborated with the brand on a new imperial milk stout called Hold The Spoon: Black Chocolate Cake.

This new themed pint looks like all the 2020 feels but is actually filled with citrus and tropical fruit.
Jeni’s/official photo

4. Happy Ice Cream

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1509 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Michelin-rated Komi’s vegetarian Greek diner pop-up serves a solid selection of to-go frozen pints from sous chef Ben Brunner that have spawned their own Happy Ice Cream cart. Offerings include freshly spun olive oil gelato with cocoa crumble, strawberry-buttermilk ice cream with polenta crumble, or a Basque cheesecake flavor with strawberry swirl. Order takeout pints Tuesday to Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., or get a scoop in front of the store with one of Brunner’s homemade sourdough cones.

5. Thomas Sweet

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3214 P St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 337-0616
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Thomas Sweet is a regional chain with four locations in New Jersey, but its Georgetown shop is considered a local mainstay. Part of allure is the commitment to classic flavors — there’s no funky stuff here — as well as the option to fold in candy and additional sweeteners. The shop is open for takeout and delivery.

6. Dolci Gelati (Multiple locations)

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1420 8th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

With a steady stream of seasonal flavors created by pastry chef and owner Gianluigi Dellaccio, Dolci Gelati always has something new to try. Its dedicated storefront in Shaw just unveiled a new to-go window that’s sending out vegan flavors and cakes. There’s also a new Dolci stand set up outside Stellina Pizzeria in Union Market district.

7. Pitango Gelato (Multiple locations)

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413 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 885-9607
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Homegrown chain Pitango prides itself on serving traditional gelato flavors, such as hazelnut and pistachio, as well as more modern interpretations such as dark chocolate sorbet and green tea. The gelato is made out of organic milk and cream from grass-fed cows on an organic farm in Pennsylvania. Some area scoop shops (Adams Morgan, Reston, Bethesda) reopened this month for indoor pick-up, limited hours, and patio seating.

8. Toby's Homemade Ice Cream

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5849 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22205
(703) 536-7000
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Get a taste of the Philippines with the globally inspired ice creams at Toby’s. Other treats include fresh doughnuts, bagels, and ice coffee intensified with coffee ice cubes. Swing by 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday (and until 7 pm. on Sunday).

9. Southwest Soda Pop Shop

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1142 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 981-6999

The Wharf’s family-owned, pint-size ice cream parlor is known for its soft serve, shakes, and floats. Swing by Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

10. Dolcezza (Multiple locations)

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99 District Square SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 414-7595
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Homegrown gelato chain Dolcezza was one of the first shops on the D.C. scene to specialize in unique flavors and artisanal ingredients. Flavors range from the traditional straciatella to black sesame to Swiss tarragon. Order ahead to pick up pints at Dupont, Logan Circle, Bethesda, the Wharf, and Fairfax locations. Delivery is also available via Grubhub.

11. Ice Cream Jubilee (Multiple locations)

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301 Water St SE #105
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 863-0727
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Th fast-growing D.C. chain, with locations at The Yards and Logan Circle, expanded to Virginia at Ballston Quarter food hall last year. Pints or scoops of whimsical flavors like banana bourbon caramel, Thai iced tea, and caramel popcorn are available for pick-up or delivery ($38 minimum). There’s brownie and chocolate sundaes, too.

12. Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Co.

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109 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 518-5374
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Founder Ray “Pop” Giovanni catered events at the White House and served first lady Eleanor Roosevelt her favorite ice cream. His secret recipes live on in neighboring Alexandria at this classic neighborhood scoop shop. Open noon to 9 p.m. daily.

13. Peterson's Ice Cream Depot

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7150 Main St
Clifton, VA 20124
(703) 830-7898
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This quaint window in Northern Virginia is the go-to spot for locals to grab soft-serve and scooped ice cream with toppings. Summer hours are Tuesday to Thursday (11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and Friday to Sunday until 9:30 p.m. Or, pre-order for curbside pickup (weekends 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) on flavors like tiramisu and a bourbon-infused variety with crunchy chocolate clusters.

14. Hovermale's Tastes Best

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9011 Livingston Rd
Fort Washington, MD 20744
(301) 248-2710

This classic, cash-only ice cream stand in Prince George’s County has been serving wholesome cones since 1954. Current hours are 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

15. The Creamery at Union Market

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(301) 347-3998
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Daniel Burdge, the longtime retail manager for Trickling Springs’s now-defunct area shops, made a comeback with the opening of a new dairy-driven stand inside Union Market. Open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

1. Moorenko's Ice Cream Café

8030 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910

This respected scoops chain, a DMV fixture since 2002, gets its dairy from grass-fed cows raised on family-owned farms in Pennsylvania. Its Silver Spring and Ellicott City stores reopened this week with limited hours (noon to 6 p.m. Friday to Sunday).

8030 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20910

2. Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

3110 Mt Pleasant St NW 1st Floor, Washington, DC 20010
Mount Desert [official]

Partners Brian Lowit and Melissa Quinley brought the uber-creamy Maine favorite to Mount Pleasant two summers ago. Find one of the best cookies and cream varieties in town, along with a White Russian flavor dubbed “the Dude” after the Big Lebowski. Limited reopening hours for June are weekdays 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends for walk-in, takeout service only. Guests can also pre-pay for pickup orders.

3110 Mt Pleasant St NW 1st Floor
Washington, DC 20010

3. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

1925 14th St NW Suite B, Washington, DC 20009
This new themed pint looks like all the 2020 feels but is actually filled with citrus and tropical fruit.
Jeni’s/official photo

The Ohio-based ice cream chain with a cult following is known for flavors like brambleberry crisp, gooey butter cake, and a buttermilk rainbow sorbet. Stop by any of the three area scoop shops (14th Street NW, Old Town, Bethesda) for takeout, or go the delivery route for pints at your door. And Union Market district’s The Bruery just collaborated with the brand on a new imperial milk stout called Hold The Spoon: Black Chocolate Cake.

1925 14th St NW Suite B
Washington, DC 20009

4. Happy Ice Cream

1509 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036

Michelin-rated Komi’s vegetarian Greek diner pop-up serves a solid selection of to-go frozen pints from sous chef Ben Brunner that have spawned their own Happy Ice Cream cart. Offerings include freshly spun olive oil gelato with cocoa crumble, strawberry-buttermilk ice cream with polenta crumble, or a Basque cheesecake flavor with strawberry swirl. Order takeout pints Tuesday to Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., or get a scoop in front of the store with one of Brunner’s homemade sourdough cones.

1509 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036

5. Thomas Sweet

3214 P St NW, Washington, D.C. 20007

Thomas Sweet is a regional chain with four locations in New Jersey, but its Georgetown shop is considered a local mainstay. Part of allure is the commitment to classic flavors — there’s no funky stuff here — as well as the option to fold in candy and additional sweeteners. The shop is open for takeout and delivery.

3214 P St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

6. Dolci Gelati (Multiple locations)

1420 8th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

With a steady stream of seasonal flavors created by pastry chef and owner Gianluigi Dellaccio, Dolci Gelati always has something new to try. Its dedicated storefront in Shaw just unveiled a new to-go window that’s sending out vegan flavors and cakes. There’s also a new Dolci stand set up outside Stellina Pizzeria in Union Market district.

1420 8th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

7. Pitango Gelato (Multiple locations)

413 7th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

Homegrown chain Pitango prides itself on serving traditional gelato flavors, such as hazelnut and pistachio, as well as more modern interpretations such as dark chocolate sorbet and green tea. The gelato is made out of organic milk and cream from grass-fed cows on an organic farm in Pennsylvania. Some area scoop shops (Adams Morgan, Reston, Bethesda) reopened this month for indoor pick-up, limited hours, and patio seating.

413 7th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

8. Toby's Homemade Ice Cream

5849 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

Get a taste of the Philippines with the globally inspired ice creams at Toby’s. Other treats include fresh doughnuts, bagels, and ice coffee intensified with coffee ice cubes. Swing by 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday (and until 7 pm. on Sunday).

5849 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22205

9. Southwest Soda Pop Shop

1142 Maine Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

The Wharf’s family-owned, pint-size ice cream parlor is known for its soft serve, shakes, and floats. Swing by Monday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

1142 Maine Ave SW
Washington, DC 20024

10. Dolcezza (Multiple locations)

99 District Square SW, Washington, DC 20024

Homegrown gelato chain Dolcezza was one of the first shops on the D.C. scene to specialize in unique flavors and artisanal ingredients. Flavors range from the traditional straciatella to black sesame to Swiss tarragon. Order ahead to pick up pints at Dupont, Logan Circle, Bethesda, the Wharf, and Fairfax locations. Delivery is also available via Grubhub.

99 District Square SW
Washington, DC 20024

11. Ice Cream Jubilee (Multiple locations)

301 Water St SE #105, Washington, DC 20003

Th fast-growing D.C. chain, with locations at The Yards and Logan Circle, expanded to Virginia at Ballston Quarter food hall last year. Pints or scoops of whimsical flavors like banana bourbon caramel, Thai iced tea, and caramel popcorn are available for pick-up or delivery ($38 minimum). There’s brownie and chocolate sundaes, too.

301 Water St SE #105
Washington, DC 20003

12. Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Co.

109 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Founder Ray “Pop” Giovanni catered events at the White House and served first lady Eleanor Roosevelt her favorite ice cream. His secret recipes live on in neighboring Alexandria at this classic neighborhood scoop shop. Open noon to 9 p.m. daily.

109 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

13. Peterson's Ice Cream Depot

7150 Main St, Clifton, VA 20124

This quaint window in Northern Virginia is the go-to spot for locals to grab soft-serve and scooped ice cream with toppings. Summer hours are Tuesday to Thursday (11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and Friday to Sunday until 9:30 p.m. Or, pre-order for curbside pickup (weekends 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) on flavors like tiramisu and a bourbon-infused variety with crunchy chocolate clusters.

7150 Main St
Clifton, VA 20124

14. Hovermale's Tastes Best

9011 Livingston Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744

This classic, cash-only ice cream stand in Prince George’s County has been serving wholesome cones since 1954. Current hours are 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

9011 Livingston Rd
Fort Washington, MD 20744

15. The Creamery at Union Market

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002

Daniel Burdge, the longtime retail manager for Trickling Springs’s now-defunct area shops, made a comeback with the opening of a new dairy-driven stand inside Union Market. Open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

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