Best Bests: Places to Cool off With a Milkshake

From traditional flavors to DIY combinations, explore these fun places for a sweet treat.

With temperatures on the rise, summer is the perfect time to seek out milkshake perfection. Shakes made everyone happy with cool creaminess and endless flavor combinations. Whether you prefer this sweet treat through a straw or thick enough that only a spoon will do, finding your favorite spot for this ice cream delight is half the fun. Below are some top places in and around Charlotte known for serving up smiles complete with ice cream mustaches. Slurp up and dig in!

Park Road Soda Shoppe 

Park Road Soda Shoppe in the popular Park Road Shopping Center is a go-to in Charlotte and their Kannapolis location for good reason. Soda Shoppe shakes are made with hand dipped, premium ice cream so you know you are getting the real deal. The most popular flavor is the old school black and white shake with vanilla ice cream blended with chocolate syrup. The employees say they can't scoop them fast enough! And if you catch a craving for apple pie in the dead of summer, head here for classic pie and vanilla ice cream you can sip through a straw. 4121 Park Rd.

Shake Shack

If "Shake" is part of your name, it better be good and Shake Shack with multiple locations around the city really delivers. Patrons have been known to line up around the block for a chocolate, salted caramel, black and white, strawberry, peanut butter or coffee shake to enjoy solo or as a cool accompaniment to the famous burgers and fries. While you slurp, you can feel good about every bite knowing these shakes are made with real sugar (no corn syrup) and milk from dairy farmers who pledge not to use artificial growth hormones. Multiple locations.

photo courtesy of shake shack

Enjoy a shake solo or pair it with a burger and fries. 

Cook Out

You could order a different creamy and delicious Cook Out shake every day of the month and not have the same treat twice. With 40 flavors to choose from, it won't take long to find a favorite. Go classic with chocolate, vanilla or cookies and cream or fruity with peach, watermelon (a seasonal flavor, but oh so delicious), banana pudding or strawberry, or satisfy your candy fix the cool way with Heath Bar, Butterfinger or M&M's mixed in. The huge portions and great prices mean you won't hit the bottom until you've had your fill. Grab friends and family for an ice cream break and stock up on spoons to share. Multiple locations.

Ninety's Ice Cream and Sandwiches

The colorful and delicious shakes from Ninety's at University Place are almost too good to eat – almost. Luckily these shakes are more than just a pretty picture! Snap that photo fast, it won't take too long until you (and anyone with a spoon) digs in to classic flavors or a new creation. Your cup runneth over here, especially when you add fruit loops or fruity pebbles cereal to the outside rim for extra OMG's! 9009 J M Keynes Dr #4.

Bad Daddy's Burger Bar

Ready to take your shake game to a new level? Head to Bad Daddy's Burger Bar. Try their famous BD Snickered shakes with creamy vanilla ice cream, rich Ghirardelli chocolate, crunchy peanuts and caramel syrup. Or go for something fit for a king with the Chunky Elvis: a blend of vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, Ghirardelli chocolate syrup, banana and walnuts. If a salty sweet combination is more your style, order the Salted Carmel Pretzel shake filled with vanilla ice cream, caramel syrup and crunchy pretzels, topped with fluffy whipped cream. Be creative and add a little bit of this and a little bit of that and create your own shake. This creamy goodness can be found at all their locations including the Charlotte Douglas International Airport so you can fuel up before you take off. Multiple locations.

photo courtesy of bad daddy's burger bar

Bad Daddy's serves delicious shakes at all its locations including the airport, so you can start your trip off right. 

Mr. K's 

Since opening on August 13, 1967, Mr. K's in SouthEnd has become a reliable spot to beat the heat with a creamy creation. At Mr. K's you can go hand scooped or soft serve – the choice is yours. Soft serve flavors include banana, blueberry, butterscotch, caramel, cherry, chocolate, coffee, dark chocolate, hot fudge, mocha, peanut butter, pineapple, strawberry and vanilla. You are encouraged to mix and match to find your surefire shake flavor combo and add mix-ins till your heart's content. 2107 South Blvd.

photo courtesy of mr. k's

Tony's (Gastonia)

Tony's has been called a "hidden gem well worth the wait" by its fans. No matter if this spot is out of your way or right down the road, it deserves a stop this summer. The secret to their delicious success? It could be the fact the ice cream is made right next door or maybe it is because it is family owned and operated. Plus Tony's has been in the ice cream business since 1915 so they know a thing or two about milkshakes and summer. 604 E Franklin Blvd., Gastonia.

The Local Scoop (Matthews)

This scoop shop is all about serving up local ingredients in each bite. Dig into a Honey Vanilla shake with fresh honey or try the strawberry ice cream and sorbets made with local strawberries. If you need a recommendation, the staff says don't miss the Cookie Monster shake with Oreo's and chocolate chip cookies, the Blondie with brownies, fudge and chocolate chip cookies or the popular Peanut Butter Cup. You can't go wrong whatever you choose. For those who need nondairy choices goodness, The Local Scoop always has 8  flavors they can whip into a dairy dream (minus the dairy of course). 5355 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy., Matthews.

photo courtesy of the local scoop

Dive into locally made ingredients at this scoop shop in Matthews.


Let's face it, shakes are good any time of the year and with so many great spots to try out, the sooner you get to slurping, the better!


Courtney McLaughlin is a freelance writer who has enjoyed tasting her way through this article with her 13-year old daughter.