It may be possible to ski in June just an hour’s drive from Denver, but the Mile-High City experiences some downright hot summer days. Thankfully, Denver is home to some righteously good ice cream. If you’re a fan of the frozen dairy treat so many Americans associate with summer, cool down with a cup or cone from one of these celebrated area ice cream shops. In case you’re curious, National Ice Cream Day falls on July 17.
Gelato and ice cream are not technically the same thing. Gelato is denser than ice cream, served at a slightly warmer temperature, and contains less fat. But the frozen treats are similar enough that we saw it fit to include the 2016 winner of Westword’s best gelato (or ice cream) shop on this list. Amore Gelato, located on the 16th Street Mall between Welton Street and Glenarm Place, serves authentic gelato with ingredients imported from Italy. The shop changes its gelato offerings daily.
D Bar is much more than an ice cream shop, but the quality of its ice cream earns it a spot on this list. This happening North Capitol Hill restaurant and happy hour spot serves a selection of 10 ice cream flavors at any given time. Just two blocks from AMLI Park Avenue, D Bar is a convenient place to grab dinner, happy hour drinks, ice cream, and other inventive desserts.
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An even shorter walk from AMLI’s Uptown Denver apartments than D Bar is Frozen Matter, an artisanal ice cream heaven. This family run ice cream shop hallmarks are friendly service and sophisticated flavors like rosemary caramel and beery milk-chocolate chai stout. Frozen Matter also serves ice pops and soda, and has a cocktail bar out back.
Glacier got its start in Boulder, but now operates two locations in Denver and one in Greenwood Village. The award-winning ice cream and gelato shop is known for its fresh, quality ingredients and multitude of flavors.
This delightful and delightfully inexpensive Capitol Hills ice cream shop is a must-try for value seekers. A 15-minute walk from AMLI Park Avenue, Ice Cream Riot scoops up limited, small-batch ice cream flavors and Philadelphia-style water ices.
We can’t help you get the inside scoop on every single topic. But if you’re looking for a memorable cone or cup of ice cream, Inside Scoop Creamery can help. Minnesota natives Steve Longman and Andrew Myhre opened their original shop in Littleton in 2013, and expanded to Platte Street two years ago. This ice cream hot spot’s most celebrated flavor is Minnesota salted toffee, but Inside Scoop serves a range of classics and seasonal flavors. The Platte Street location is a ten-minute walk from AMLI Riverfront Park.
Many of Denver’s most popular ice cream shops are relatively new. Liks, with locations in Capitol Hill and Conifer, has been dishing up the good stuff for more than 40 years. Drop in for reliably good ice cream and an authentically retro atmosphere. If you’re sharing with others or feeling exceptionally bold, build your own Piggy Split. Choose seven flavors of ice cream and five toppings to have smothered with whipped cream, nuts, cherries, and banana.
Little Man’s original location, a 15-minute walk from AMLI Riverfront Park’s LoHi apartments, usually has the longest line of any ice cream shop in town. But repeat patrons agree there is good reason for this. Visit at off-peak hours or check out one of Little Man’s sister locations to taste what the fuss is about without waiting in a long line. Sweet Cooie’s in the Congress Park neighborhood is already open. Additional sister locations set to open this summer include Churn in Fort Collins and The Constellation in Stapleton.
This is another small-batch Denver ice cream shop that uses locally sourced ingredients when possible. Sweet Action is known for its adventurous flavors, including ginger lemon cookie and Stranahan’s whiskey brickle. Unlike some of the traditionalists on this list, Sweet Action does not hesitate to make vegan options available. Current vegan flavors include passion fruit, strawberry rhubarb crumble, and toasted walnut brownie.
This Louisville-based ice cream shop now has six Denver area locations, each with the same business model. Twenty flavors are always on display, including nine “staples” and 11 rotating flavors. Sweet Cow also has an ice cream truck dubbed the MooMobile that makes its ice cream even more accessible. Check out the truck’s whereabouts online or contact Sweet Cow to inquire about renting it out for a private event.
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