Jun 07, 2024

Best ice cream places in Los Angeles and Orange County

(Yasmin Islas / For The Times)

Who can forget the sweet reward of an ice cream sundae or root beer float after patiently running weekend errands with a parent? Or maybe it’s a scene of you arriving at an ice cream truck, out of breath, to slap down a fistful of coins and order a chocolate-covered Drumstick. Your ears might still perk up when you hear the telltale clang of an ice cream cart’s bell. No matter your background, ice cream is the nostalgic treat that unites us all.

Sweet, creamy and flavored in more ways than Baskin-Robbins can count, ice cream is a snack that demands your full enjoyment. Look away for too long and you’ll find it pooled in the bottom of your cup or melting stickily all over your hand. On furnace-hot summer days, it offers the perfect counterbalance, sending an almost pleasant lightning bolt of brain freeze as we race to finish before the sun turns its velvety spheres into sugary, milky goop.

Cool off this season with our ongoing guide to the best frozen treats in Los Angeles.

Even as the frozen dessert becomes more artisanal and luxurious, with makers folding in fresh farmers market bounty, updating recipes to accommodate plant-based patrons and incorporating flavors and techniques that honor a multitude of cultures, ice cream remains accessible, usually clocking in between $5 and $10 — an easy impulse to satisfy.

From classic ice cream parlors to Italian gelato and regional styles and flavors that play off of L.A.’s vast cultural landscape, here are 23 of the best ice cream shops for conquering the summer heat, spanning the San Gabriel Valley, Malibu and Newport Beach, with plenty of options all over Los Angeles.