If you’re anything like me, finding any and every reason to eat ice cream, especially during the summer, is a full-time hobby. I recently discovered that in 1984 President Ronald Reagan deemed ice cream so important he decided it needs its own month. You read that right, July is officially National Ice Cream Month, so drop all your plans and read along to decide where you’ll celebrate this joyous occasion.
I typically frequent the Target frozen foods section in search of some type of cookie flavored pint of the good ol’ creamy goodness (mostly because it’s about a block from my house). But in the name of research and giving you some delicious ideas, I decided to venture a little further. Here are five places worth trying during National Ice Cream month.
*I made it a point to specifically focus on ice cream shops, rather than paleteria or gelato shops.
711 S Saint Mary’s St. San Antonio, TX 78205 | 210-919-3553
Formerly known as “The House,” we discovered this little family-owned shop while it was still on South Alamo Street. While they’ve moved locations and changed names, the ice cream is still as delectable. They are officially a bar at 8pm, so only 21 and up at that point, but if you’re downtown, with your kiddos, on a Saturday afternoon it’s worth stopping by. They typically have four “infused” flavors (made with mom and dad in mind) — try the Bourbon Vanilla or Fresh Toast if they have them on hand — and four “friendly” flavors made for everyone else, we love Cereal Milk and Cookie Monster. BONUS: you’ll also usually find at least one dairy-free option. You’ll have to eat inside if you choose a boozy option, but it’s close to Yanaguana and all the hot food spots in Southtown, so it would be a great way to cool down and end a fun-filled day downtown.
4138 S New Braunfels Ave. San Antonio, 78223 | 210-817-6206
Okay, okay, this place isn’t exactly an ice cream shop per say, but ice cream plus churros?! Ummm, yes PLEASE! Located closer to south San Antonio, even if you live on the north side, this place is worth a trip. Since we’re talking ice cream today, I suggest getting something from the “Combos” menu. I had a churro sandwich with vanilla ice cream and Fruity Pebbles and the hubs ordered the ice cream churro combo with a chocolate coconut churro and strawberry cheesecake ice cream. Both were delicious, although I suggest having some utensils on hand for that ice cream sandwich. It is melty, sugary, and delightful, but handheld is not a word I would use to describe it. Our one-year-old had his first taste of ice cream here and he approves of that strawberry cheesecake flavor.
8053 Callaghan Rd. San Antonio, TX 78230 | 210-371-6510
If you’re in the mood for ice cream, but you’re trying your darndest to be good, then look no further than Freshest. There is truth in the name, as owners Marco and Angela pride themselves on serving ice cream made from only the freshest ingredients — artificial is not a word you’ll find on an ingredient list. All their ice creams/gelato are made using alkaline water, lactose-free milk or coconut milk, and natural ingredients, so each cup is a sweet treat you can feel good giving your kiddos. We tried the Oreo ice cream and Brazilian gelato (the family-favorite made from pineapple and mojito mint), but they serve a wide variety of options so venture out and try something new. There isn’t much room for a large group, but if you go in and need an extra seat they’ll be happy to grab one for you from the back…supporting a San Antonio family and eating a healthy treat? That’s what I call a win-win.
109 Alamo Plaza San Antonio, TX 78205 | 210-507-2100
I’ll admit, I typically avoid this part of downtown like the plague. I assume the hustle and bustle of the tourists snapping photos in front of the Alamo or walking up and down the Plaza picking up knick-knacks to take home is something I don’t want to battle. But if you’re already downtown, or feel like playing tourist for a day, this is a fun place to stop. They have a handful of unique ice cream flavors (we enjoyed the Alamo Mud and Kilwins’ Tracks) but the cherry on top (or on the bottom in this case) are the freshly-made waffle cones (as you can tell from the photo that’s not my cup of tea, but they smelled and looked delicious). We grabbed our cones and headed towards the Alamo to find a bench and enjoy the view.
*I suggest street parking (if you can find it) or parking closer to Yanaguana since the parking garage price is a bit steep.
6565 Babcock Rd. Suite 17 San Antonio, Texas 78249 | 210-641-2888
Since I dragged my husband around to assist in my “research” he made sure to mention, and I quote, “Even I’d drive up here to eat this again.” This place is ice cream with a Hong Kong twist. The owners focus on adding their authentic flair to this traditional treat. Your ice cream will come in a Hong Kong egg waffle cone with one scoop of ice cream, four toppings, and one sauce. Our creation, which we were quite proud of, was matcha ice cream, rainbow mochi, almonds, strawberry Pocki and sauce, and we topped it all off with Fruity Pebbles (you’ll notice a cereal theme here — I’ve concluded all ice cream is better topped with cereal). You can choose from other traditional Asian flavors such as Lychee, Ube, and Azuki or some you might be more familiar with: cookies & cream, chocolate brownie, and cheesecake. I fully believe you can’t go wrong with whatever you create, but be prepared to wait while they prepare your creation, we were surprised that this place was hoppin’ even on a Monday evening.
I have to admit, recapping all of these fun trips had my glands salivating so of course I had to pause to dig into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Tonight Dough. If you were able to contain yourself while reading about the sweet, creamy treats, then take your pick and go out to celebrate this month in true American style. If you want to dig into a research journey of your own these ACM articles might aid in your endeavors: Our Family’s Favorite Ice Cream Spots in San Antonio and Creating Sweet Memories: Summer Extreme Treat Bucket List.