Jul 27, 2023 - Food and Drink

25 best ice cream spots in Charlotte

Soft-serve swirl in a cake cone with rainbow sprinkles at Two Scoops Creamery. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Soft-serve swirl in a cake cone with rainbow sprinkles at Two Scoops Creamery. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

The Charlotte area is filled with delicious ice cream.

Here are 25 places to try, with everything from classic scoops and swirly soft serve to over-the-top trendy treats.

Artisen Gelato

  • The local gelato shop, which is co-owned by Manolo’s Latin Bakery owner Manolo Betancur, is made with coconut milk, making it dairy-free and vegan. Flavors include coffee mocha chips and s’mores, plus seasonal flavors. They also serve sorbet.

Bonus: You can also find the gelato at Manolo’s Latin Bakery in east Charlotte.

Location: Matthews 301 W. John St.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 12-8pm, Friday-Saturday 12-9pm and Sunday 12-8pm.

Manolo’s Latin Bakery served Artisen Gelato at the Wells Fargo Championship. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Calle Sol

Flavors like guava Maria, a cream cheese soft serve ice cream topped with guava and Maria cookies ($5), are one of the many reasons the Latin café and cevicheria is on our best restaurants list.

Location: 1205 Thomas Ave.

Hours: Sunday—Thursday 11am-9pm and Friday—Saturday 11am-10pm.

Guava Maria. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Calle Sol’s Guava Maria. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Cheat’s Cheesesteak Parlor

  • The cheesesteak spot serves three soft-serve flavors: vanilla, tropical pineapple vanilla swirl and a vegan pineapple option.

Location: 913 Pecan Ave.

Hours: 10am-9pm

Go deeper: Real-deal Philly cheesesteak “whiz wit” now open in Charlotte

Tropical pineapple and creamy vanilla soft-serve swirl in a cake cone. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Tropical pineapple and creamy vanilla soft-serve swirl in a cake cone. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Cold Hearted Gelato

  • Expect more than a dozen flavors at this Plaza Midwood gelato shop.

Location: 1308-A The Plaza

Hours: Monday 1-10pm, Wednesday-Thursday 1-10pm, Friday 1-11pm, Saturday 11am-11pm and Sunday 11am-10pm.

Go deeper: “Gourmet” gelato shop Cold Hearted Gelato opens in Plaza Midwood

Tiramisu gelato. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Tiramisu gelato. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Dairy Queen

  • Put down your locally made pitchforks. This monster franchise makes the local ice cream list for its retro-cool walkup location on Wilkinson Boulevard, which has been in Charlotte since 1947. The property was listed for $1.4 million last fall. Charlotte’s other longtime location off Central Avenue, which was built in 1951 and is now Milkbread, moved to Eastway Crossing.
  • The historic significance of the two sites has been documented by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Committee here and here.

Location: Eastway 3054 Eastway Dr.

Hours: Eastway Sunday-Thursday 12-9pm and Friday-Saturday 12-9:30pm.

  • West Charlotte Monday-Saturday 11am-9pm and Sunday 1-9pm.

Go deeper: Longtime Plaza Midwood Dairy Queen finds a new home

The historic Dairy Queen in Plaza Midwood will close its doors Nov. 1
A vanilla cone at the former Plaza Midwood location. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

Elizabeth Creamery

  • This tiny shop — not much bigger than the ice cream counter itself — is a Charlotte classic located steps from the Gold Line. Your visit didn’t happen if you don’t take a photo with the sign.

Location: 1535 Elizabeth Ave. #100

Hours: 1-8pm Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday.

Vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles at Elizabeth Creamery. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios
Vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles at Elizabeth Creamery. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios
Elizabeth Creamery. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Elizabeth Creamery. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Golden Cow Creamery

  • Small batch, handcrafted flavors rotate out regularly, but house favorites like dunkamoos and salted Oreo are always available.

Locations: South End 170 W. Summit Ave.

Hours: South End Monday–Wednesday 12–9pm, Thursday–Saturday 12–10pm and Sunday 12–9pm.

  • SouthPark Monday–Wednesday 12–9pm, Thursday–Saturday 12–10pm and Sunday 12–9pm.
  • Uptown Monday–Wednesday 11am–9pm, Thursday–Friday 11am–10pm and Saturday-Sunday 12pm-10pm.

Go deeper: How to spend 48 hours in Charlotte with Golden Cow Creamery’s Liz and Alex Hannah

Golden Cow Creamery salted Oreo in a waffle cone at the SouthPark location.
Golden Cow Creamery salted Oreo in a waffle cone ($6) at the SouthPark location. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Honeysuckle Gelato

  • Southern-inspired gourmet gelato serving scoops, shakes and sandwiches. Flavors range from lemon raspberry crumble to bourbon pecan praline.

Location: 1115 N. Brevard St., at Optimist Hall.

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11am-9pm and Friday-Saturday 11am-10pm.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about Optimist Hall

Honeysuckle Gelato
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

  • The Ohio-based gourmet ice cream brand has a cult following.

Locations: Blakeney 9828 Rea Road

Hours: Blakeney 11am-11pm.

  • NoDa Monday-Thursday 12-10pm and Friday-Sunday 12-11pm.
  • Park Road 12-11pm Sunday-Thursday and Friday-Saturday 12-11:30pm.
  • South End Monday-Wednesday 12-11pm, Thursday 12pm-12am, Friday-Saturday 11am-12am and Sunday 12pm-12am.
Jenni's
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Marble Slab Creamery

  • Marble Slab serves around 50 flavors of ice cream with unlimited toppings you can mix in.

Locations: Plaza Midwood 1509 Central Ave.

Hours: Plaza Midwood Monday–Thursday 11am–10pm, Friday–Saturday 11am–10:30pm, Sunday
12–10pm.

  • South Charlotte Monday–Thursday 11:30am–9:30 pm, Friday–Saturday 11:30am–10:30pm, Sunday
    12–9:30pm.

Go deeper: Build-your-own ice cream shop opens this Friday in former Nova’s Bakery space

Marble Slab Creamery. Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios
Marble Slab Creamery. Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

Matcha Cafe Maiko

  • The matcha shop in the Arboretum serves Japanese-inspired drinks and treats. Think matcha soft serve ice cream, floats, lattes and teas.

Location: 8128 Providence Road #900

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30am-8:30pm, Friday-Saturday 11:30am-9:30pm and 12-8pm.

Matcha Cafe Maiko
Photo: Axios archives

Morelia Gourmet Paletas

  • The Miami-based gourmet ice cream shop serves more than a dozen flavors of fruit-based paletas (Mexican popsicles).

Location: 1425 Winnifred St. #104

Hours: Monday-Thursday 1-10pm, Friday 1-11pm, Saturday 12-11pm and Sunday 12-10pm.

Morelia Paletas
Photo: Axios archives

Ninety’s Dessert Bar

  • The family-owned dessert bar serves more than a dozen flavors of ice cream, plus cookies, speciality milkshakes and seasonal baked goods.

Location: 9009 J M Keynes Dr. #4

Hours: Sunday-Thursday 12-9:30pm and Friday-Saturday 12-10pm.

ninety's pumpkin milkshake
Photo: Brianna Crane/Axios

Ocha Time Tea & Creamery

  • Head to Plaza Midwood for Vietnamese rolled ice cream and bubble waffle ice cream.

Location: 2001 Commonwealth Ave.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-9pm.

ocha time
Vietnamese rolled ice cream from Ocha Time in Plaza Midwood. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Open Rice Asian Kitchen

  • Try the bubble waffle – cereal killer ($10.50) at the Metropolitan location. It includes vanilla ice cream, Fruity Pebbles, chocolate Frosted Flakes, cookie crisps, mini marshmallows, condensed milk and a chocolate drizzle.

Location: 1100 Metropolitan Ave.

Hours: Monday 11:30am-2:30pm for lunch and 4:30-9pm for dinner, Wednesday-Saturday 11:30am-2:30pm for lunch and 4:30-9pm for dinner and Sunday 12-8pm. Closed Tuesday.

Go deeper: Now open: Open Rice expands to Metropolitan shopping center

Open Rice Asian Kitchen
Open Rice Asian Kitchen’s bubble waffle – cereal killer. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Popbar

  • Popbar has dozens of flavors of gelato and sorbet pops to choose from, plus dozens of toppings.

Location: Camp North End 270 Camp Road Suite 105

Hours: Camp North End Saturday 12-8pm.

  • NoDaWednesday-Thursday 2-6pm, Friday-Saturday 12-8pm and Sunday 12-6pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
PopBar NoDaa
Photo: Axios archives

Revival Coffee & Ice Cream Truck

  • The truck serves 10 ice cream flavors, plus floats, milkshakes and coffee from Riverbend Creamery and coffee from Pure Intentions Coffee.
  • Check their website to find out where they’ll be that day.
  • Of note: The truck is also available for events.
Revival Coffee & Ice Cream Truck
Photo: Robert Chavis/courtesy of Revival Coffee & Ice Cream Truck

Seemingly Overzealous Ice Cream

  • The new shop at Camp North End serve a dozen flavors of dairy-free and egg-free ice cream. Their coffee ice cream is made using HEX coffee, another local shop at Camp North End. Flavors range from classics like cookies and cream to fun flavors like peanut butter and jelly.

Location: 701 Keswick Ave. Suite 102

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 12-8pm, Friday-Saturday 12-9pm and Sunday 12-6pm. Closed on Monday.

Seemingly Overzealous Ice Cream. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios
Seemingly Overzealous Ice Cream. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Sticks and Cones Ice Cream Truck 

  • There’s just something about ice cream served out of a souped-up Chevy Express van. Catch it at events and food truck rallies throughout greater Charlotte. The truck is available for private events.

Swirl

  • Expect everything from custom-blended ice cream to made-to-order cupcakes and cookies.

Locations: LoSo 2822 South Blvd. Unit B

Hours: LoSo Monday–Thursday 2-8pm, Friday 2-10pm, Saturday 12pm-10pm and 12pm-6pm Sunday.

  • Oakhurst Monday–Thursday 2-8pm, Friday 2-10pm and Saturday 12pm-10pm.
Swirl.
Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

Teal Turnip 

  • A food-focused, small plates restaurant in Oakhurst. Ask about their ice cream.

Location: 1640 Oakhurst Commons Dr. Suite 105

Hours: Full-service Wednesday-Saturday 11am-4pm for lunch and 4-9pm for dinner. Limited service on Tuesday with live music and a bar bites menu 5-8pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Go deeper: Scoop: Teal Turnip opening in Oakhurst with chef’s table

Teal Turnip ice cream.
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

The Local Scoop

Ingredients for their ice cream come from area farms. The root beer for their floats comes from Mooresville. They serve more than a dozen flavors, as well as non-dairy options.

Locations: Ballantyne 5355 Ballantyne Commons Parkway

Hours: Ballantyne Monday-Thursday 2-9pm, Friday 2-10:30pm, Saturday 12-10:30pm and Sunday 12-9pm.

  • Matthews Monday-Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 12-9pm and Sunday 12-8pm.
  • ParkTowne Village Tuesday-Thursday 12-9pm, Friday-Saturday 12-10pm and Sunday 12-9pm. Closed Monday.
Coffee toffee in a sprinkle covered waffle cone at The Local Scoop's Parktowne Village location. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Coffee toffee in a sprinkle covered waffle cone at The Local Scoop’s Parktowne Village location. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Tutti Gelato 

  • The family-owned gelato shop recently opened in South End, serving more than 20 flavors of gelato, plus vegan options and sorbet. They also serve espresso and will eventually have pastries.

Location: 1700 Camden Road Suite 101

Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 2-8:30pm, Friday and Saturday 2-10:30pm and Sunday 1-9pm.

Go deeper: Tutti Gelato shop now open in former Central Coffee spot in South End

Gelato cones in front of a lit up "Tutti Gelato" sign.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Two Scoops Creamery

  • The local shop known for bold flavors, artistic murals and an iconic dual top cone expanded from its original shop on Central Avenue to South Carolina. Plus they were one of the local vendors tapped for the 2022 Presidents Cup.

Bonus: They recently started serving soft-serve at their Plaza Midwood location and plan to offer it at their South End location soon.

Locations: Lake Norman 119 Landings Dr. #104

Hours: Lake Norman 12-9pm Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday.

  • McAdenville Friday 4-9pm and Saturday–Sunday 1-9pm. Closed Monday–Thursday.
  • Plaza Midwood Sunday–Thursday 1-9pm and 1-10pm Friday–Saturday.
  • Rock Hill Sunday–Thursday 8am-9pm and Friday-Saturday 8am-10pm.
  • South End Sunday–Thursday 1-9pm and 1-10pm Friday–Saturday.

Go deeper: Five things I learned at the soft opening of Two Scoops Creamery

Two Scoops double chocolate in a waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Two Scoops double chocolate in a waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Two Scoops soft-serve swirl.
Soft-serve swirl. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Urban Sweets 

  • The South End shop serves ice cream, milkshakes, popsicles and baked goods. Expect vegan and gluten free options among their more than 25 flavors. You can also book them for events. 

Location: 222 West Blvd.

Hours: Wednesday-Thursday 1-7pm, Friday-Saturday 1-9pm and Sunday 1-7pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Go deeper: Ice cream shop with monthly subscription service to open in South End

Urban Sweets
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Editor’s note: This guide was originally published August 8, 2017 and updated in July 2023. Katie Levans contributed. 

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