The 10 Best Ice Cream Parlors in California!

Looking for an icy treat to cool off in California’s notoriously warm weather? There’s no better place to refresh than at one of the Golden State’s many excellent ice cream parlors. Whether you have more of a taste for old-fashioned floats, an ice cream sandwich, or simply a scoop of your favorite flavor, these 10 spots have what you’re looking for! 

1. Fosselman’s, Alhambra, CA

Fosselman’s ice cream has been served at establishments in the San Gabriel Valley for nearly 100 years. Milkshakes, seasonal flavors, and soft serve have kept the historic ice creamery up to date and it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area.

2. Fair Oaks Pharmacy, Pasadena, CA

Fair Oaks Pharmacy in South Pasadena is a throwback to the ice cream parlors of yore. Pull up a seat at the counter or gaze at the restored vintage ceiling while you enjoy an old-fashioned float or ice cream soda. And don’t miss out on the Arroyo Grande, the signature dish of ice cream topped with hot fudge and marshmallow fluff.

3. McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Santa Barbara, CA

McConnell’s is synonymous with Santa Barbara’s ice cream scene as it has been a dairy and an ice cream maker for generations. Available in cartons in stores beyond California, it somehow tastes better when scooped at the store.

4. Bulgarini Gelato, Altadena, CA

Bulgarini Gelato is a rare gourmet find that really delivers. Using the best ingredients, Bulgarini Gelato has expanded its offerings from some of the best gelato in the world to a selection of other desserts and even food.

5. Doc Burnstein’s, Arroyo Grande, CA

Doc Burnstein’s is an imaginative, kid-friendly way to enjoy ice cream. An old-fashioned ice cream parlor with a modern twist, Doc Burnstein is the way a mad scientist would create dozens of new and classic ice cream flavors.

6. Mashti Malone’s, Los Angeles, CA

Mashti Malone’s is something of a Los Angeles legend, with Persian flavors finding a perfect home in the rich creaminess. Frequently found on Best of lists, Mashti Malone’s is known for its rosewater flavor and unique ice cream sandwich selections.

7. Richardson’s Ice Cream Parlor, South Lake Tahoe, CA

Black and white tile floors set apart the ice cream parlor from the rest of the general store and makes experiencing Richardson’s just a little more special. Open during the summer months, Richardson’s makes lots of visitors very happy.

8. The Penny Ice Creamery, Santa Cruz, CA

The Penny Ice Creamery takes pride in small batches of seasonal flavors using the best organic and local ingredients. The results show in each creamy scoop. 

9. Vic’s Ice Cream, Sacramento, CA

Since 1947 Vic’s Ice Cream has been scooping up frozen goodies for the citizens of Sacramento. Frozen treats extend to a few low-fat flavors as well as sherbets and seasonal flavors that can be enjoyed in the café or on the go.

10. Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco, CA

Bi-Rite Creamery has gourmet flavor options, a soft-serve window and homemade baked goods and treats that make ice cream even more enjoyable. Flavors change daily and the shop has been nationally recognized as being amongst the best.

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