As temperatures climb, it’s time to seek solace in the cool embrace of the freezer. The freezer in a shop serving ice cream, to be more precise!
Whether you’re looking to cool down after the pool or splash pad, for a date night dessert option, or just an (air-conditioned) place to escape the house with the kids this summer, I’ve got you covered. While the Alamo City has more than its fair share of great chain shops—Marble Slab, Cold Stone Creamery, and Baskin-Robbins to name but a few—this list features small businesses and local chains that offer both amazing service and high-quality products.
Keep reading for the ultimate guide to ice cream in San Antonio.
Ice Cream, Gelato, Frozen Custard—Oh, My!
Lick Honest Ice Creams
3 Locations: 312 Pearl Parkway #2101, San Antonio 78215; 639 Hemisfair Boulevard, San Antonio 78205; 17635 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio 78257
Made in Austin since 2011 using the freshest local ingredients, Lick Honest Ice Creams has become a San Antonio institution. With unique flavors like cilantro lime, bourbon peach cobbler, and Lady Bird lavender crisp, there’s always something tasty and new to try at Lick. Now with three locations, you can satisfy those ice cream cravings at the Pearl, Hemisfair, and on the north side. My favorite pick for the summer? Two scoops: one goat cheese, thyme, and honey; one roasted beet with fresh mint. It’s hard to find a more refreshing combination on a hot day.
Justin’s Ice Cream Company
245 E Commerce, San Antonio 78205
If you’re downtown this summer, you need ice cream! Located in the Rio Plaza, you won’t find better than Justin’s. This old-school storefront has been serving the San Antonio River Walk since 1981, when Justin Arecchi decided to share his passion for Italian ices and gelato with the Alamo City. The (hungry) part of me that relished living in Italy during my 20s rejoices to see such traditional Italian flavors as Malaga (essentially, rum raisin), zabaglione, tiramisu, amaretto, and tarte de limone alongside locally-inspired Mexican raspberry, peanut butter, and chocolate. Their coffee is also excellent, and they are open late (10:00 p.m. weeknights, 11:00 p.m. weekends, closed on Sundays). Justin’s is a local institution for a reason, so head down and enjoy it.
Mr. Ice Cream
423 E Commerce, San Antonio 78205
Another downtown contender, Mr. Ice Cream has two entrances—one on E Commerce, and the other on the River Walk itself. Love Blue Bell ice cream? This is the spot for you! They have all your favorite flavors and a few new contenders too. Choose your scoops in a homemade waffle or cake cone to go, or indulge with a fully-loaded sundae or banana split. You can also get one of my favorite things in the world at Mr. Ice Cream—a malt! A traditional ice cream parlor at its best, this family-owned institution has been serving the Alamo City since 1975.
The Baked Bear
The Shops at La Cantera, San Antonio 78256
If you thought ice cream sandwiches were a novelty, The Baked Bear encourages you to think again! The brainchild of two childhood friends, Rob Robbins and Shane Stranger, this business has gone from strength to strength. Their store in San Antonio is located at the La Cantera mall and offers the most wonderful, custom ice cream sandwiches you can imagine. With more than a dozen types of freshly-baked cookies and brownies, lots of ice cream flavors, and tasty toppings to roll your ice cream sandwich in, there are seemingly endless possibilities to mix and match.
Black + White Modern Creamery
4011 Broadway, San Antonio 78209 (The Boardwalk)
This ice cream shop is a thing of beauty—and so is their ice cream. Black + White creamery makes small-batch ice creams in a variety of flavors that are dairy, non-dairy, and vegan, rotating on a month-by-month basis. Check their Instagram page for this month’s line-up, or embrace the element of surprise! Their stunning black vanilla ice cream is the cornerstone of their collection, but with inventive and enticing flavors like oatmeal cream pie, honey and cornbread, chocolate Oreo brownie, and lavender milk tea, everyone will find something new to try. An ice cream lover’s delight!
Andy’s Frozen Custard
17927 I10W, San Antonio 78257 (The Rim)
Andy’s Frozen Custard is another small chain (based in Missouri) to open its first location in the Alamo City in 2022. They offer their delicious vanilla or chocolate custard in a cone, sundae, or as one of their signature “concretes”—a mixed custard concoction that can have anything from chocolate, Oreos, or candy to a whole slice of pumpkin or apple pie mixed in. Andy’s has perfected their signature, creamy churned custard since 1986, and offers a selection of delicious old-school milkshakes, malts, floats, splits, and sundaes that will bring a smile to any face. Open late, it’s the perfect spot to reconnect with your teen after a movie at the nearby Palladium theater.
25370 I10W, San Antonio 78257
Owned and operated by a local family, Snow Heaven offers ice cream, fruit cups, aguas frescas, snacks, and more, located just off I10 between San Antonio and Boerne. Whether you live in the area or are headed to Boerne to explore, this is the perfect spot to enjoy a delicious mangonada or banana split at one of their new picnic tables.
Parker’s Ice Cream
8000 Fair Oaks Pkwy., Fair Oaks Ranch 78015
My husband’s favorite, Parker’s, is the perfect spot to grab an ice cream in Fair Oaks Ranch. They work with Texas dairies to source their milk and cream directly, and they only use natural flavor extracts and plant-based food colorings in their delicious creations. As well as traditional ice creams, they also have dairy-free fruit sorbets and alcohol-infused ice creams (loved by dads!). Their menu is continually rotating with exciting, seasonally-inspired flavors. (Think: Girl Scout Cookies, Frankenberry cereal, pumpkin spice, and more!) They also make their own waffle cones, which are absolutely delicious. Well worth the trek, even if you aren’t on this side of town. It’s summer! Take a drive and enjoy some of the beautiful hill country scenery nearby.
Two locations: 7915 W. Loop 1604 N., Suite 120, San Antonio 78254 (Shaenfield Ranch Center) and 3107 TPC Pkwy., Suite 103, San Antonio 78259
Another family-owned and operated spot, Kuma is a Hong Kong-style ice cream shop, serving delicious flavors in traditional bubble waffles. These tasty waffles are filled to the brim with house-made ice creams in flavors like matcha, ube and Nagasaki honey, and green tea. Preteens and older kids will especially love this Instagram-friendly spot.
2527 Vance Jackson, San Antonio 78213
This is ice cream, but not as you know it! Named after the temperature at which water freezes, Fahrenheit 32SA has a broad menu of items but is known (and loved) for its artisanal rolled ice cream. You can create your own rolled ice cream or choose from one of the signature flavors including “honeydew love me,” “purple haze,” and “the breakfast club.” Their flavors are inventive and inviting, like cereal milk, honeydew melon, taro, ube, and matcha tea, all beautifully finished with tasty toppings.
14743 Old Bandera Rd. #6, Helotes 78023
Tucked into Wine 101 in Old Town Helotes, Congelato! shows us that “with gelato” life is indeed sweet! Here you’ll find delicious, authentic Italian gelato and sorbetto. Alongside classic flavors like German chocolate, stracciatella (chocolate chip), coffee, and lemon sorbet, you’ll also find sugar-free, dairy-free, and vegan options. Their cones are always fresh, homemade, and delicious! Not in the mood for ice cream? Congelato also has soft German pretzels, gourmet popcorn, soda floats, and macarons. There’s so much to explore in Helotes, but this delicious ice cream is worth a visit in itself. Follow them on IG or Facebook for regular updates on the flavors in their case!
Boozy’s Creamery & Craft
711 S St Mary’s St., San Antonio 78205
Though known for their delicious alcohol-infused ice creams and craft beers, Boozy’s always has a selection of kid-friendly flavors, making this a good family spot, too! Their delicious ice cream is always scratch-made in small batches and frequently sells out (especially in the evenings). Their boozy shakes, floats, cones, and affogato (ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over) will definitely hit the spot after date night dinner.
Amy’s Ice Cream
255 E Basse, San Antonio 78209 (Alamo Quarry Market)
Now a local chain, Amy’s started in Austin and opened its outpost at the Alamo Quarry. With more than 350 flavors in rotation, if you love ice cream, it’s the perfect place to keep trying something new. From standards like Mexican vanilla and Belgian chocolate to inventive flavors like avocado, chai tea, chocolate wasabi, and honey habanero, it’s unlikely that you’ll find the same flavors each time you visit! With a bar of toppings and mix-ins, kids will love creating their own sundaes.
Paciugo Gelato Caffe
340 E Basse, San Antonio 78209 (Alamo Quarry Market)
Also at the Quarry (ice cream tour, anyone?) is Paciugo, part of the chain specializing in traditional Italian ice cream. With flavors like banana cream pie, coffee mocha swirl, and pannacotta, this isn’t your average ice cream. It isn’t your average presentation, either— indulge in the Cooking Channel favorite “spaghetti and meatballs”: creamy vanilla gelato “spaghetti” topped with strawberry coulis, chocolate “meatballs,” and a lady finger breadstick; or try a macaron gelato sandwich. Open til 10:00 p.m. Sunday–Thursday, and 11:00 p.m. Friday–Saturday, it’s worth a stop on the way home from a movie or dinner.
Freshest Ice Creams
8053 Callaghan, San Antonio 78230 (Grandview Shopping Center)
Looking for a healthy ice cream option? Look no further than Freshest Ice Creams. Their ice creams and sorbets are made with alkaline water, lactose-free milk, or coconut milk, and contain no artificial flavors, colorings, or added fats. Their menu includes ice cream scoops, freshly-made milkshakes and slushes, and fruit cups. All delicious—and all guilt free!
South Alamode Panini & Gelato Company
1420 S Alamo #102, San Antonio 78210 (Blue Star)
If I love anything more than ice cream, it’s a pun. South Alamode gives me everything my heart needs! Their gelato is definitely some of the most delicious San Antonio has to offer. After years living in Italy and training in the ways of gelato, South Alamode quickly outgrew the farmers market scene and set up shop in the Blue Star Arts Complex, where it remains. Their gelato is made fresh daily and is rich, creamy, and fluffy—just like it’s supposed to be. A true taste of Italy in the Alamo City, bellissimo.
Brindles Awesome Ice Cream
11255 Huebner Rd., San Antonio 78230 (The Strand at Huebner Oaks)
Another locally-owned spot offering delicious ice cream, Brindles has a wonderful selection of flavors to choose from—coffee Heath bar, Azteca (dark chocolate and cinnamon), burgundy cherry, and cookie butter to name but a few. Their waffle cones and bowls are scratch-made, and kids can choose from an array of toppings to finish off their perfect ice cream. Located on Huebner, it’s open til 10:00 p.m. Sunday–Thursday, and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Bring On The Paletas!
There’s something quintessentially San Antonio about paletas—delicious, creamy ice cream or fruit ice on a stick. It’s just what we do to beat the heat, and wow, do we do it well! I felt it was only right for the best pop shops to have their own space to shine, so read on…
Paleteria San Antonio
510 South Alamo St., Ste. 104, San Antonio 78205
Husband and wife Joey and Cecy Rodriguez are producing beautiful, high quality, seasonally-inspired, and constantly rotating paletas. From fruity pebbles and avocado strawberry milk-based pops to mangonada and strawberry lime water pops, you can customize your paletas in-store with toppings like chamoy, chocolate, and gummy worms. Located in the Yanaguana Gardens at Hemisfair Park, you know this popular local spot is hopping with splash pad-bound kids and their paleta-loving mamas.
Two locations: 19141 Stone Oak Parkway #303, San Antonio 78258 and 7038 UTSA Blvd., San Antonio 78249
Holy Pops! These are beautiful, fully-customizable paletas, served daily from noon til late at their locations in Stone Oak and near UTSA. With unique flavors like creamy red velvet, pistachio, and Ferraro, you can top your pop with whatever you feel like—from spicy chamoy and tajin to fruity pebbles and sour candy. Take all your creativity with you and create the best paleta you’ve ever had.
El Paraiso Ice Cream
1934 Fredericksburg Rd., San Antonio 78201
If you love paletas, I probably don’t need to tell you about El Paraiso, but I’m going to anyway. The original paleta company in San Antonio, El Paraiso has been creating ice cream and fruit bars since 1984. Their paletas are made in the USA and are some of the healthiest—and most affordable!—available. Whether fruit or ice cream-based, these paletas contain nothing artificial, just high-quality fruit, milk, and cream. With classic flavors like coconut, banana, pecan, tamarind, and pineapple, these are perfect pops for the dog days of summer. Feeling braver? Try their pickle or Lucas (chile) pops.
7271 Wurzbach Rd. #120, San Antonio 78240
This family-owned ice cream parlor is known for its handcrafted paletas, made with seasonal fruit and the very best ingredients. With flavors like cajeta, blackberry cheesecake, and bubble gum, there’s something for every paleta lover. However, paletas are only a limited part of their offerings! You can build your own waffle cone, cup, or ice cream taco. They also have a kids’ play area, so you can enjoy your paleta in (relative) peace and tranquility while they burn off some energy.
Michoacana Paleteria y Nieveria
850 Cincinnati Ave., San Antonio 78201
Off to Woodlawn Lake Park? Stop by this pink palace of paletas on the way. You’ll find a huge selection of fruit cups, pops, ice creams, raspas, and other sweet cold treats here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my ultimate guide to ice cream in San Antonio! As ever, if I’ve missed your favorite stop, please share it with all of us below. I think you’ll agree that any day trip that includes ice cream or paletas is sure to be a good one. Stay cool this summer, mamas!