10 Must-Visit Ice Cream Spots in (or Near) Charlotte

On the hunt for a cold, sweet treat? We've got you covered.
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With National Ice Cream Month in July, it’s a great time to get the family involved in some taste-testing to decide which is your fave. Here are the best 10 places to get a cool treat this summer when you get a hankering for something sweet – seven in the heart of Charlotte and three on the outskirts.

1. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

South End – 1920 Camden Road

NoDa – 416 E. 36th St., #400

Park Road Shopping Center – 4203 Park Road

If you want to experience true artisan ice cream, Jeni’s is the place to go. There are plenty of choices for chocolate and vanilla lovers, but you’ll also find unexpected flavors like Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Sweet Cream Biscuits with Peach Jam, Coffee with Cream & Sugar, and so many more. Jeni’s also serves frozen yogurt, sorbet, and dairy-free options. You know you’ve found what you are looking for when you see the line. Don’t worry, it’s totally worth the wait.

photo courtesy of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

2. Two Scoops Creamery

Locations in Plaza Midwood, Lake Norman, South End, and Rock Hill 

Remember the ice cream spot you went to growing up that served creamy goodness you dream about on hot days? This. Is. The. Place. Two Scoops Creamery is run by three best friends who deliver some of the best ice cream in town. They offer 32 flavors ranging from classics like strawberry and vanilla to more creative flavors like bubble gum and Smurf marshmallow. Don’t forget to take pictures of your kids with their favorite flavor in front of the hand-painted murals.


3. Golden Cow Creamery

SouthPark – 720 Governor Morrison St.

South End – 170 West Summit Ave.

Uptown – 601 S. Tryon St.

Started by North Carolina natives Liz and Alex Hannah (pictured below), this quaint ice cream shop has locations in South End’s Gold District and SouthPark’s Morrison Shopping Center. You can feel good as you woof down your cone, as a portion of the proceeds from every sale goes to a local charity. Golden Cow Creamery always has the same six flavors on the ready, plus three to four small-batch creations that will blow your mind. You can also choose from at least one non-dairy, vegan option, so bring your lactose-intolerant friend along.

photo courtesy of Golden Cow Creamery


4. Popbar

NoDa – 3123 North Davidson St, Ste. B

Camp North End – 270 Camp Road, Ste. 105

This shop serves customizable popsicles made daily from gelato, sorbet, and yogurt. This spot isn’t just trendy; it’s guilt-free. The lactose-free, vegan-friendly popSorbettos are all less than 80 calories. The popGelatos are less than 200 calories, and the yogurtPops, at 100 calories, are low fat and cholesterol-free. All of these treats are gluten free, Kosher certified, and contain no artificial coloring or preservatives—but you don’t have to have a food restriction to enjoy these frozen treats.

5. The Local Scoop 

South Charlotte – 5355 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., Ste. 100

It’s all in the name. This heavenly ice cream is locally made from locally sourced dairy. Everyday you’ll find a rotation of flavors, plus eight different non-dairy options.  Their to-go “Survival Kit” (two pints, four toppings, hot fudge, and cones) became a big hit in South Charlotte during the pandemic, offering families the chance to have an ice cream sundae party at home.


6. Ninety’s Ice Cream and Sandwiches

University – 9009-4 J. M. Keynes Drive

Rock Hill location expected Fall 2022

The macaroon ice cream sandwiches are as artful as they are delicious. The menu also includes some wacky milkshake combinations, including some topped with Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, Cracker Jacks, and an assortment of sugary snacks.


Outside the Heart of Charlotte:

7. Carolina Cones

Cornelius

Carolina Cones opened in Cornelius in 1983 and has been serving scoops to happy customers ever since. Little ones will love the train track (complete with train) zooming overhead, and kids of all ages can check out the vending machines with trinkets in the back of the store. There’s also a playground and a garden center next door if you want to shop for flowers while you enjoy your cone.

photo courtesy of Carolina Cones


8. Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

Matthews

Bruster’s is the place to go when the members of your crew are all craving a different kind of cool. This cute shop in downtown Matthews has it all: classic sundaes, waffle cones, shakes, yogurt, sherbet, sorbets, and more. They are out to please the entire group, with free baby cones to children under 40 inches and free “doggie sundaes” to the four legged family members.


9. Tony’s Ice Cream Company

Gastonia

Tony’s is a Gaston County landmark. It makes its product in-house (talk about homemade) one half-gallon at a time and sells it to other local shops and stores throughout the state. Located in downtown Gastonia, Tony’s has affordable lunch options along with its 28 flavors of ice cream, milkshakes, banana splits, and sundaes.


10. Carolina Creamery

Mint Hill

This spot gets popular when warm evenings roll around. People wait patiently in line for a scoop of the homemade creamy ice cream and freshly made waffle cones. Whatever flavor your choose, you’re headed for sweet-tooth satisfaction.