Where to Find the Best Ice Cream on the Atlanta BeltLine
Summer in Atlanta is exactly like living in a rainforest (without the chimpanzees). So if you are outside, be sure to find plenty of ways to keep cool. Bring some bottled water, a sweat towel, maybe a personal fan and some ice cream.
Yes, ice cream! It might be hot walking down the Atlanta BeltLine, but there are plenty of places to stop for a refreshing scoop or popsicle to cool down a bit. And forget boring flavors like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. They've been replaced with Chocolate Slap Yo Mama, Cookie Monster and Everything Bagel. There are also plenty of non-dairy and vegan options. And even downright healthy ingredients like chai and matcha.
You can find some of the best ice cream in Atlanta on the Atlanta BeltLine's Eastside Trail. So down a scoop or two because heat stroke is serious, y'all!
Atlanta’s iconic, quirky popsicle vendor started with a used cart in front of Buddy’s gas station at the corner of North Avenue. They are now further spreading happiness (pretty much their company motto) across the South (and even into some Northern states) with flavors made from local farms, changing seasonally. You might find their cart in Piedmont Park or on the BeltLine at Irwin Street on weekends, and their retail shop both inside and outside Ponce City Market. They even offer boozy popsicles now (hey, it's 5:00 somewhere). They have created over 500 flavors since they started, so you’re sure to find one you like. Chocolate Sea Salt and Orange Cream are a couple of my favorites.
No matter where our food tour guests come from, they seem to know, and love, Jeni's. A couple years ago, Jeni's created a special strawberry flavor as a tribute to Dolly Parton. So many people rushed to get it that it literally broke their website! Their most popular flavors include Brown Butter Almond Brittle (my favorite), Darkest Chocolate, and Salted Peanut Butter Chocolate Flecks. A new flavor to try is Everything Bagel, made with cream cheese and bagel seasoning. Damn. And now with two locations in the Krog District, inside and outside, it's easier than ever to join the line - and worth the wait.
This Decatur-based restaurant has a location in SPX Alley, next to Guac y Margys. Their offbeat flavors include Cookie Monster, Christmas in July (made with hot cocoa and peppermint) and Snix, which sounds like…yeah, Snickers. They also make all the yummy baked goods they put in their ice cream, like brownies, cookies and toffee. And so you can feel good about splurging on all that sugar, they are socially responsible, having teamed up with Ice Cream for Change, an initiative to “freeze out” racism. And bonus, they sell "pup cups" made with natural ingredients for your fur baby, like peanut butter and banana, or pumpkin and honey. Give your dog a taste when you join Barks and Bites: Doggie Food Crawl on the BeltLine.
Jake's has long been a cornerstone of Atlanta ice cream, in the Irwin Street Market. (When you get to Irwin Street on the BeltLine, look to your right). They might be famous for their Chocolate Slap Yo Mama and Brown Shugah Vanilla, but they also offer more than 200 flavors of ice cream, yogurt, gelato.…basically anything frozen. Another claim to fame is their Joyscream™, with a sweetener they created. On my list to try are Chocolate Pecan Piescream, made with an entire pecan pie, German Chocolate Cakescream and Thin Mint (yes, like the Girl Scout cookie). They also have sorbets for vegans and the dairy free.
You used to find this creamy gelato on local restaurant dessert menus only. They now have their own shop at Ponce City Market, and a retail test kitchen on the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail at Lee + White. With flavors like Bourbon Pecan Praline, Chai, Nutella and Salted Caramel Brownie, it was worth the wait.
Nestled in the heart of Inman Park behind Bartaco, VOGA serves gelato, chocolate and coffee - which they say are “fundamental elements of happiness.” Who’s to argue that? Their coffee comes from Guatemala, and their pistachios, lemons, hazelnuts and espresso beans are imported from Italy. They also have an indulgence of chocolate: chocolate bars, chocolate spread, chocolate pralines and chocolate you drink hot or cold. And, of course, iced coffee.
Sometimes you just crave Chunky Monkey or Cherry Garcia, but don’t want a whole pint from Publix. Who are you kidding? Of course, you WANT the whole pint, but you know…it’s not just ice cream season, it’s also swimsuit season. Well, you can get a single (or double) scoop at Ben & Jerry’s retail shop across from Pure Taqueria in Inman Park, just steps from the Atlanta BeltLine. They were the original socially responsible ice cream makers, and are still advocating for the little guy (I just got a petition from them to push gazillionaires to pay higher taxes). But whether or not you agree with their liberal Vermont politics, they're still making good ice cream.
Whichever place you choose, if you get a cone, make sure to ask for a cup too, as it will probably end up looking this:
If you're looking for a healthier frozen treat, check out my article on smoothies and smoothie bowls on the Atlanta BeltLine.
And stay cool out there!
This blog post was updated in May 2023.
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Want to taste more of Atlanta's neighborhood restaurants? Join our Food and Street Art Tour of the Atlanta BeltLine. You'll get a firsthand taste of some of the city's most delicious restaurants and uncover the hidden stories behind the BeltLine's vibrant street art. And for all the paw parents out there, our newest event, Barks & Bites: Doggie Food Crawl on the BeltLine, is the perfect opportunity to help your fur baby live their best life. Book today before they sell out!
An Atlanta native, Nicole Gustin is the Founder & CEO of BiteLines, which offers walking food & art tours on the Atlanta BeltLine. She considers the BeltLine her backyard, and is excited to see how Atlanta is reinventing itself. The BiteLines blog features art, restaurants, happenings and weirdness on the Atlanta BeltLine. Share story ideas and pics at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow on Instagram @bitelinesatl.