san diego ice cream

Best Ice Cream in San Diego

In celebration of National Ice Cream Month, we’ve rounded up the top spots for scoops in San Diego. From scratch-made classics to unique sweets, pop in one of the these adored ice cream shops next time your sweet tooth needs to be satisfied.

Cali Cream

Sweet-toothed Californians can find three locations of Cali Cream (two in San Diego and one in Encinitas), carrying more than 50 flavors of homemade ice cream each day. The smores and salted caramel flavors are decadent summer favorites, though the lavender ice cream–in the most gorgeous violet color–with chocolate-covered honeycomb might make you forget about plain ole vanilla for life.

Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream

You might want to keep your indecisive friend at home during a visit to one of Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream two San Diego shops. There are more than 300 flavors of super-premium Hawaiian ice cream and sorbet to choose from! What makes their scoops so special? They are handmade with 18 percent butterfat, creating a decadent rich, creamy texture.

Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw

A well-recognized name among ice cream fans, Salt & Straw has locations all throughout California, including two in San Diego. Salt & Straw doesn’t have the super-long list of flavors; here, it is quality over quantity with flavors rotating monthly, alongside classics. Go bold and get a scoop of the pear and bleu cheese or Arbequina olive oil flavors.

Afters Ice Cream

“Less talk. More ice cream.” So says Afters Ice Cream, and we’re here for it. With locations all throughout the state, it is a breeze to get your hands on Afters’ famous Milky Bun, a glazed bun that has been cut in half with ice cream stuffed inside. The Cookie Monster ice cream flavor is tasty enough to delight Mom and Dad, but cute (and blue) enough to entice the littles.

Mutual Friend Ice Cream

A family-owned favorite since 2018, Mutual Friend Ice Cream (sister establishment to Dark Horse Coffee Roasters) offers small-batch craft ice cream that is big on nostalgia–and flavor. Savor the likes of Happy Camper, Milk & Cookies and Strawberries & Cream.

JoJo’s Creamery

JoJo’s Creamery

It is not usual for the best shops to make their ice cream from scratch, but their waffle cones, toffee, fudge and caramel, too? JoJo’s Creamery in Encinitas does it all. Best of all, they include a small chocolate chip cookie (either traditional or gluten-free) with every ice cream order! There are vegan ice cream flavors, to boot.


Though not unique to San Diego (there are locations everywhere from Hawaii to Texas), SomiSomi is certainly unique in its presentation. The spot specializes in Korean dessert–“Ah-Boong,” a fish-shaped waffle cone with your choice of filling and topped with soft serve, in flavors like milk, matcha, ube and black sesame.

Lighthouse Ice Cream

A hot pancake ice cream sandwich? You read that right. Lighthouse Ice Cream not only serves up delicious, high-quality ice cream in cups and cones, it also offers a wide of variety of specialty items from floats to sundaes to shakes to, yes, hot pancake or waffle ice cream sandwiches.

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