Scoops of Delight: Chicago Summer Cool-Off Options

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Welcome to the 2023 Chicago summer season, where the city comes alive beneath the sun. With a plethora of festivals, lively street fairs, and breathtaking views, there’s no shortage of excitement to be found. However, amidst the thrill of summer, Chicago is also known for its scorching temperatures and relentless dry weather. There’s no need to sweat, though, as we have the perfect solution to beat the heat: ice cream! Get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth and discover the finest icy delights that this city has to offer!

Original Rainbow Cone

There is simply no better way to begin than with the iconic Rainbow Cone! After 97 years, the seamlessly sliced combination of orange sherbet, pistachio, Palmer House, strawberry and chocolate has yet to go out of style. With a permanent spot at Navy Pier and mobile trucks stationed at Lincoln Park Zoo and the Shedd Aquarium–in addition to suburban locations–Chicagoans know that Rainbow Cone is the answer on a blistering day beneath the sun.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Over the past decade, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has taken Chicago by storm, captivating the city with its unparalleled ice cream creations. With a wide range of innovative flavors and allergen-free options, Jeni’s has expanded its presence to 11 parlors throughout the city. From banana bread to cinnamon roll, you can rely on this establishment to keep you cool with their eccentric tastes. Every scoop has a smoothness that separates the parlor from most, so you have to try it for yourself.

The Freeze

This low-key ice cream joint sits in the heart of Logan Square. The establishment emits a lure of nostalgia with its diner-like ambiance, boasting a menu of cones, sundaes, malts, floats, burgers, chicken, hot dogs and more. You cannot go wrong with the timeless flavors and affordability of The Freeze. Summer nights are meant to be spent at an ice creamery like this one, so keep it in mind when you’re in the neighborhood.

Pretty Cool Ice Cream

This novel ice cream shop sits in a separate genre from its neighbors. Instead of offering dripping cones, this establishment boasts ice cream and frozen juice pops. Reminiscent of ice cream truck treats and goodies that kept you cool as a kid, the menu is decorated with some fabulous flavors. From pie-flavored pops to buttermilk bars, Pretty Cool will prove its name as it keeps you chilled during the summer heat.

Lickity Split

Located in Edgewater, Lickity Split is nothing if not endearing. The antique awnings and twinkling lights are inviting to passers-by, but the real charm is within the establishment. With aisles of vintage candies and endless soda flavors, you wouldn’t think that Lickity Split also has some of the best frozen custard in the city. Yet the shakes, cones and concretes prove that it is one of the tastiest spots to lower the temperature during Chicago’s hottest season.

Eli’s Ark

Prepare to post an Instagram after walking into Eli’s Ark! This woman-owned business offers gelato delights that are shaped like adorable animals. From cute cows to pretty pandas, these cones are known to put a smile on the faces of customers. Located in the heart of Wicker Park, this establishment offers a great chance to chill out and cool off in the bustling neighborhood.

Nonna’s

Nestled away in Chicago’s vibrant West Loop, this hidden gem is a pizza and sandwich shop that doubles as a dessert haven. In addition to parfaits and lemon bars, the establishment has recently added a lemon Italian ice for the summer! Explore the enchanting shops of Fulton Market before treating yourself to Nonna’s; it’s the perfect recipe for the season. 

Scooter’s Frozen Custard

If you prefer custard over soft serve, look no further than Scooter’s. Located on the edge of Lakeview, this creamery boasts concretes, sundaes, malts and all the necessary chill-out treats. On top of their typical menu, the establishment prides itself in their weekly flavors, an ever-changing schedule of decadent tastes. Scooter’s Frozen Custard knows how to keep customers coming back, so join in on the addiction this summer.

Cone

This family-owned ice creamery in the West Loop has a tempting Irish charm to it. Cone Gourmet Ice Cream has been cooling patrons off for the last decade, making it a beloved spot for locals and visitors alike. This summer, indulge in classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate or more adventurous options like Bailey’s Irish cream and Guinness! 

Margie’s Candies

Take a stroll to Margie’s Candies, the original ice cream parlor in Chicago, and indulge in the cozy nostalgia of a traditional visit to the candy store. With a century of operation, this establishment in Wicker Park has become known for delighting locals with timeless treats like luscious hot fudge sundaes and artisanal milkshakes. Head over and bring your appetite to savor the delightful ice cream offerings awaiting you at Margie’s!

Ava’s Italian Ice

If you crave a refreshing and guilt-free treat, look no further than Ava’s Italian Ice. Try the city’s finest selection of healthy Italian ice, crafted with organic fruits. Delight in their ever-changing array of flavors, such as mango, coconut, blood orange, and beyond. Alternatively, savor their invigorating coolers, where real fruit juice meets the essence of Italian ice, creating a portable delight perfect for on-the-go enjoyment!

Kurimu  

Experience a surprising twist on ice cream at this Japanese-inspired parlor. Depart from the ordinary with their soft-serve cones adorned in vibrant and captivating flavors like Matcha Matcha, Purple Yam, Strawberry Bliss, and others. Savor these delectable creations as is or customize them with delightful toppings such as matcha powder, mini mochi, boba, and pocky. Moreover, Kurimu also offers a delightful range of Boba Tea and Coffee beverages!

Eiffel Waffle 

Recently established in Wicker Park, Eiffel Waffles offers an array of ice cream sundaes served in delectable bubble waffle cones. Prepare to be astounded by their extensive selection of over twenty-four ice cream flavors, each featuring generous scoops crowned with toppings like cookie dough, whipped cream, hot fudge, and beyond. Arrive with an appetite, handpick your desired combination of treats, and relish in the indulgence of these ice cream delights!

Vaca’s Creamery

For an exquisite dairy-free ice cream experience, visit Vaca’s Creamery and experience their creamy soft serve cones and bowls. The in-house creations of chocolate and vanilla ice creams, expertly crafted using premium, gluten-free oat milk, ensure a vegan-friendly option for those following a plant-based diet! Enhance your soft serve with an assortment of delectable sauces and toppings, transforming it into a heavenly cold summer delicacy that is both sweet and harmless!

Written by Bridget McGann

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