10 great Pittsburgh ice cream places where the whole family can chill out
Photo above courtesy of Happy Day Dessert Factory. Portions of the updated story below were originally published by our media partner NEXTpittsburgh.com. Sign up here for their free newsletter filled with all the latest news about the people driving change in our city and the innovative and cool things happening here.
With summer finally here, it’s time to head for the coolest ice cream spots in Pittsburgh. If you and your kids are ready to chill out, these delicious Pittsburgh ice cream shops have what you need.
Custard’s First Stand has been dishing out dairy delights to Pittsburgh ice cream fans for decades. Get all the classic Hershey’s Ice Cream flavors in a cone, cup, pint or quart, order a Slush Puppie or a novelty item or mix it up with a Glacier.
At Sugar Spell Scoops, vegans can chill out on a hot summer’s day with a frosty treat. The shop specializes in dairy-free frozen confections made from cashew and other nut milks that are sweetened with a combination of agave, maple syrup and organic sugar. One taste and you’ll agree: It’s pretty magical.
Feelin’ the burn? Head to Churn, a local chain with locations in Fox Chapel, Gibsonia and the South Side. Since 2015, owner Kelley Costa has been crankin’ out cones, sundaes, floats, banana splits and milkshakes along with hot options like cappuccino, espresso, lattes and chai tea.
Caustelot Creamery takes the ice cream truck concept to a new level. The business ditches the novelty items and serves its own brand of creamy delights that are made with liquid nitrogen right in front of your eyes. Look for the “fastest ice cream in town” at a community festival or special event near you.
Pile in the car and crank up the AC for a trip to The Snowman. Located right off the I-79 exit near Moraine State Park, the 13-foot, custom-built roadside stand serves shaved ice, milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream cones and frozen novelty treats directly from good ol’ Frosty’s tummy. The Snowman also has a concession trailer that rolls through the area like a blizzard every summer. Cool!
Combine science and dessert with a trip to Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream. The national chain, which uses liquid nitrogen to flash freeze its treats, launched in 2004 and now has 50 locations, including one in Shadyside. Customers choose from a bunch of flavor bases, mix in other ingredients and watch as the concoction is zapped with the odorless, colorless, tasteless and non-toxic gas, creating an end-product with less air and fewer ice crystals than some ice creams and even more taste.
Ice cream is the food of joy. Lifelong North Side resident Galen Moorer, whose father owned Rita’s Italian Ice on East Ohio Street, has been bringing his own brand of sugar-induced happiness — and charity work — to the neighborhood since March 2020.
Regular flavors include triple chocolate mousse, cherry vanilla and birthday cake along with dairy-free options such as almond milk soft serve, lemon water ice and Dannon Yocream Frozen Yogurt. There’s also an assortment of ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches and specialty treats like the Twister, a combo of any soft serve, hard ice cream, any flavors of water ice and toppings.
In 2015, chef Chad Townsend (Salt of the Earth) left the world of line cooks and sauté pans to pursue a sweeter career. Along with his wife Lauren, Townsend launched Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream, selling ice cream at farmer’s markets and through a unique CSA program. The bright little shop dishes up seasonal ice cream flavors like Vietnamese Coffee, Rhubarb Sorbet, Kaya Mango Tango and Coconut Lime Sorbet, which are made with local ingredients whenever possible. They’ve grown to include locations in Shadyside, Lawrenceville, Wexford, Market Square, South Fayette, Cranberry and even at Kennywood.
Take a step back in time at Remember When’s location in Robinson Town Centre. You can make memories over Pittsburgh’s largest ice cream cones, along with Dole Whip, floats, frozen yogurt, ice balls, ice cream sandwiches, parfaits, slushes and even scoops for your pooch.
No summer is complete without a trip to Page Dairy Mart. The family-run operation has been giving Pittsburgh ice cream lovers — including vegans (and pups!) — the scoop since 1951. Along with amazing ice cream cones, you’ll find Arctic Swirls, slushies, ice cream sandwiches and lemonade, plus hamburgers and hot dogs.
Looking for more places to cool off with kids. Check out these 8 Pittsburgh museum cafes worth a visit.