The Five Best Ice Cream Shops in Denver

Check out Hopper's picks for the 5 best ice cream parlors in Denver to see photos and read reviews of all the delicious treats offered by local favorites.

Hopper Editors - Oct. 26, 2017

Ice cream is a timeless favorite and when done right it can be the best, most indulgent of desserts. From the gourmandise of Italian gelato to the calorie-pinching FroYo, the ice cream paradigm has adaptations for every whim. But in Denver, Colorado, ice cream lovers can experience the full potential of traditional ice cream gone wild. Perhaps the colder months in the Mile-High City have bred creativity among ice cream makers, who know chilly Denverites might need some convincing to choose a sundae over a beaver tail? With these five ice cream vendors on their doorstep, we bet Denver’s ice cream lovers could easily be persuaded to step outside for a scoop of soft serve in the middle of a snow storm.

Gimme that Sweet Action Ice Cream

Sweet Action has fresh, homemade ice cream in such an astonishing variety of aromas that even the most jaded of dessert lovers will be impressed. The safest flavors – vanilla and milk chocolate among them – are packed with natural ingredients that mean they’re far from boring and full of flavor. Even the most bizarre options, like lemon ricotta and rocky mountain root beer, are seamlessly and artfully integrated into Sweet Action’s distinctive ice cream recipe. The baffling menu changes daily, which keeps intrigued regulars and curious tourists alike coming back for more. At 52 Broadway, this ice cream shop on a pretty tree-lined street provides the perfect respite on a hot day.

Sweet Cow does the noble animal justice

This glass-fronted ice cream store warrants a sit-down hour at the parasol-covered outdoor seating area. You’ll need that time to fully appreciate the breadth of the menu and to delight in the fresh and handcrafted ice cream on offer. Along with the staple favorite flavors (the oatmeal cookie comes highly recommended), Sweet Cow’s socially and environmentally conscious ice cream makers offer up constantly changing seasonal flavours with locally sourced ingredients. Try the homemade waffle cones with the Lucky Charms flavor, if you’re lucky enough to pop in when it’s on the menu.

Liks Ice Cream Parlor mixes it up

The family run Liks has been serving up shakes and ice cream to thirsty Denverites since the ‘70s. With two locations in the city – the original at Capitol Hill and the second in South Denver – you’ll never be stuck for a decent cone on a hot day. The Liks crew are known for their original recipe ice creams, with seemingly bizarre combinations of ingredients creating fantastic desserts. The Ambrosia – a mix of coconut, orange, pineapple, pecan and cherries – is a menu highlight.

Bonnie Brae Ice Cream is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor with an edge

One of the longest standing ice cream vendors in Denver, Bonnie Brae’s has been around since the ‘80s and is a favorite with locals – so you know it’s good. Like any self-respecting ice cream store, they make their flavorful and extra-creamy ice cream on site, along with fresh waffle cones and their famous shakes. Despite the joint’s traditional feel, Bonnie Brae’s isn’t shy with flavor experimentation: Gran Marnier Choc Chip, Caramel Cashew and Butter Brickle are just some of the successful concoctions. When it’s nice out, enjoy your cone at the outdoor seating area under a tastefully kitsch awning.

The most recognizable ice cream shop in Denver is Little Man Ice Cream

Here, where "business is conducted within a twenty-eight foot tall, 14,000 lb. cream can" (literally), Denver’s ice cream fans expect the unexpected. Located in the Highlands neighbourhood of Denver, this visually striking and self-consciously retro ice cream store has a nice variety of authentically rendered flavors. At Little Man, your delightful dessert is likely to come with a side of equally exciting extra-curricular attractions like poetry nights and live music. The cones, splits, shakes and malts all on offer here are of an undoubtedly high quality, but it’s the all-round memorable dining experience that’ll have you coming back for more.

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