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Ice Cream Jubilee brought back its lemon muffin top flavor last month.
Ice Cream Jubilee/Facebook

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

Where to pick up the finest frozen treats around

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Ice Cream Jubilee brought back its lemon muffin top flavor last month.
| Ice Cream Jubilee/Facebook

With steamy temperatures already in full force, D.C.’s annual appetite for cold, summertime scoops is officially here.

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. NoMa pizza place Menomale and Chevy Chase’s new Italian Bar also carve out room for gelato counters.

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.

Moorenko's Ice Cream Café

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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. There’s also newer locations on Capitol Hill and inside Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

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Partners Brian Lowit and Melissa Quinley brought the uber-creamy Maine favorite to Mount Pleasant in summer 2018. Find one of the best cookies and cream varieties in town, along with a Vietnamese coffee and vegan caramelized pear varieties. Open for walk-up and takeout (closed Mondays).

Mount Desert [official]

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

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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 six area scoop shops (14th Street NW, Old Town, Bethesda, Barracks Row, Tysons, and Navy Yard) for takeout, or go the delivery route for pints at your door.

Five ice cream cones lay on a marble tabletop.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams [Official Photo]

Happy Ice Cream

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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 popcorn with corn cake and caramel. Order takeout pints or get a scoop in front of the store with one of Brunner’s homemade sourdough cones (closed Sunday and Monday).

Thomas Sweet

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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.

Dolci Gelati (Multiple locations)

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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 sends out vegan flavors and cakes from a takeout window. There’s also Dolci outposts in Old Town and Takoma Park.

The Creamery at Union Market

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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.

Pitango Gelato (Multiple locations)

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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. Locations include Penn Quarter, Adams Morgan, Bethesda, Reston, and Fells Point, Maryland.

Toby's Homemade Ice Cream

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Get a taste of the Philippines with ube ice cream and other global-leaning flavors at Toby’s in Arlington and its brand new locale in Vienna. Toby’s also sends out bags of house coffee beans made by Swing’s.

Southwest Soda Pop Shop

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The Wharf’s family-owned, pint-size ice cream parlor is known for its soft serve, shakes, and floats. Swing by daily from noon to 7 p.m.

Dolcezza (Multiple locations)

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Homegrown gelato chain Dolcezza was one of the first shops in the area 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 Fairfax, City Center DC, Dupont, Bethesda, and Hirshhorn locations. Local delivery via third-party apps is also available.

Ice Cream Jubilee (Multiple locations)

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The fast-growing D.C. chain, with locations at The Yards, Logan Circle, and Ballston Quarter food hall, sends out pints or scoops of whimsical flavors like banana bourbon caramel, Thai iced tea, and caramel popcorn available for pick-up or delivery. There’s brownie and chocolate sundaes, too.

Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Co.

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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. Alexandria is also home to frozen custard favorite The Dairy Godmother.

Peterson's Ice Cream Depot

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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. There’s a dozen homemade flavors on tap each day, like tiramisu and a bourbon-infused variety with crunchy chocolate clusters.

Hovermale's Tastes Best

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This classic, cash-only ice cream stand in Prince George’s County has been serving wholesome cones since 1954.

Moorenko's Ice Cream Café

This respected scoops chain, a DMV fixture since 2002, gets its dairy from grass-fed cows raised on family-owned farms in Pennsylvania. There’s also newer locations on Capitol Hill and inside Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

Mount Desert [official]

Partners Brian Lowit and Melissa Quinley brought the uber-creamy Maine favorite to Mount Pleasant in summer 2018. Find one of the best cookies and cream varieties in town, along with a Vietnamese coffee and vegan caramelized pear varieties. Open for walk-up and takeout (closed Mondays).

Mount Desert [official]

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Five ice cream cones lay on a marble tabletop.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams [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 six area scoop shops (14th Street NW, Old Town, Bethesda, Barracks Row, Tysons, and Navy Yard) for takeout, or go the delivery route for pints at your door.

Five ice cream cones lay on a marble tabletop.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams [Official Photo]

Happy Ice Cream

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 popcorn with corn cake and caramel. Order takeout pints or get a scoop in front of the store with one of Brunner’s homemade sourdough cones (closed Sunday and Monday).

Thomas Sweet

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.

Dolci Gelati (Multiple locations)

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 sends out vegan flavors and cakes from a takeout window. There’s also Dolci outposts in Old Town and Takoma Park.

The Creamery at Union Market

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.

Pitango Gelato (Multiple locations)

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. Locations include Penn Quarter, Adams Morgan, Bethesda, Reston, and Fells Point, Maryland.

Toby's Homemade Ice Cream

Get a taste of the Philippines with ube ice cream and other global-leaning flavors at Toby’s in Arlington and its brand new locale in Vienna. Toby’s also sends out bags of house coffee beans made by Swing’s.

Southwest Soda Pop Shop

The Wharf’s family-owned, pint-size ice cream parlor is known for its soft serve, shakes, and floats. Swing by daily from noon to 7 p.m.

Dolcezza (Multiple locations)

Homegrown gelato chain Dolcezza was one of the first shops in the area 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 Fairfax, City Center DC, Dupont, Bethesda, and Hirshhorn locations. Local delivery via third-party apps is also available.

Ice Cream Jubilee (Multiple locations)

The fast-growing D.C. chain, with locations at The Yards, Logan Circle, and Ballston Quarter food hall, sends out pints or scoops of whimsical flavors like banana bourbon caramel, Thai iced tea, and caramel popcorn available for pick-up or delivery. There’s brownie and chocolate sundaes, too.

Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Co.

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. Alexandria is also home to frozen custard favorite The Dairy Godmother.

Peterson's Ice Cream Depot

This quaint window in Northern Virginia is the go-to spot for locals to grab soft-serve and scooped ice cream with toppings. There’s a dozen homemade flavors on tap each day, like tiramisu and a bourbon-infused variety with crunchy chocolate clusters.

Hovermale's Tastes Best

This classic, cash-only ice cream stand in Prince George’s County has been serving wholesome cones since 1954.

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