San Francisco Ice Cream 101

With San Francisco summer fully underway (read: consistently foggy with temps at 50 degrees Fahrenheit most mornings and evenings) it can be hard to remember that we’re about to head into August. Luckily there is one treat that brings summer to mind like nothing else: ice cream. And when it comes to ice cream, San Francisco does not mess around. So without further adieu, we present you eight incredible options for SF’s best creamy frozen treat- and no one is saying you have to pick one, you can certainly try them all!

1. Bi-Rite Creamery: There’s been a lot of hubbub over Bi-Rite in the last few years, and admittedly, it’s all totally true. Their flavors rotate seasonally, but the salted caramel and the creme brûlée will always delight. Pro-tip: head to the Divisadero Street location for a much shorter wait than on 18th St.

2. Three Twins: If you like your ice cream on the slightly softer, all organic, locally-grown side, Three Twins is the spot for you. Give their Lemon Cookie a try, and we promise you’ll be hooked.

3. Smitten: Want to ensure your ice cream is fresh? Try having it made right in front of you! Smitten’s nitrogen magic is sure to delight all ages, and their Hayes Valley location is our absolute favorite.

4. Humphry Slocombe: With a shop conveniently located in the Ferry Building, Humphry Slocombe showcases San Francisco’s best local flavors with a twist of creativity. Give the Secret Breakfast flavor a try (a cornflakes and bourbon combo), alongside the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Iced Coffee flavor for a truly proper SF breakfast.

5. Mr. & Mrs. Miscellaneous: In case you needed one more reason to explore the Dogpatch, trying out Mr. & Mrs. M is a great one. Known for their beautiful shop, their Earl Gray ice cream, and their ice cream sandwiches, both your eyes and your mouth will be delighted.

6. The Ice Cream Bar: Want to sit on an old fashioned soda shop barstool while someone in a white paper hat makes you a float, malt, or banana split? Look no further than The Ice Cream Bar in Cole Valley. Bonus points for their assortment of 21+ float options 🙂

7. Swensen’s: A true San Francisco classic, Swensen’s has been operating on Hyde St. since 1948. Our favorites are the Black Raspberry Marble (think vanilla ice cream with raspberry jam swirled in) or the Sticky Peanut Butter.

8. ShakeDown: Last, but certainly not least, is ShakeDown. Bringing radical new flavors to the bay like “Golden State Cheesecake” (Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream with a Blueberry Swirl and Graham Cracker Crust Crumbles) and “It Was All A Dreamsicle” (Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream with Marshmallow Fluff Swirl), ShakeDown is for the adventurous ice cream eater in all of us.

Happy August!


About the Author // Eliza Dropkin is a Vantigo Tour Guide. She enjoys live music, good food, and cruising around town in Lillie (though she loves all the vans equally).

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