When I arrived in Philadelphia, I started a Tweet thread of ice cream shops that are or aren’t as good as Rain or Shine back in Vancouver, which was the ice cream place I frequented most often since they have a location on the UBC campus. (I don’t have a thread or a list for ice cream shops in Vancouver, but you really can’t go wrong with Rain or Shine or with Earnest.)
Here I collect a list of the shops that are as good as Rain or Shine, ordered from west to east. Prices are for the smallest (non-kid’s) scoop in a cup, including 8% tax, excluding tip. This isn’t a total ranking of the ice cream shops, because I think they’re all worthwhile to visit if you want ice cream. However, I’ve put stars next to the ones I especially like, so if you find yourself equidistant between an entry with a star and one without, do go for the one with a star instead of flipping a coin.
This list only has shops specializing in ice cream scoops (which they call “hard” or “frozen” ice cream here, for some reason, as if anyone would want unfrozen ice cream). I will not include soft serve, rolled ice cream, shaved ice, or large ice cream chains like Ben & Jerry’s or Häagen-Dazs — if I can buy a pint at a grocery store back in Vancouver, there’s no point including it on a Philly-specific list. If you’re curious about where I might visit next, my map of ice cream shops includes both places on this list and places I’ve yet to visit. Photos can be found in the Twitter thread above, or in my Instagram guide.
265 S 44th Street (bw Spruce & Locust)
Single scoop: 4.99$
2827 W Girard Avenue
Single scoop: 4.32$
2623 W Girard Avenue
Single scoop: 4$
1901 Chestnut Street
“Single” scoop (two flavours): 6.75$
115 S 18th Street (by Chestnut)
Single scoop: 6.21$
1716 Chestnut Street
Small gelato: 5.94$
9 E Passyunk Avenue (by Dickinson)
Single scoop: 5.94$
2 E Passyunk Avenue (by 13th & Moore)
Single scoop (w/ topping and drizzle): 5.40$
6616 Germantown Avenue
Single scoop: 5.94$
618 S 5th Street (by South)
Single scoop: 4.50$
Fishtown — 1255 E Palmer Street (on Thompson)
Ice cream sandwich: 5$
They only do pints and ice cream sandwiches, not scoops. But the sandwich is very good.
Centre City — 229 S. 20th Street (bw Walnut & Locust)
This location only does pints and soft serve; the Ardmore location does scoops. The soft serve is tasty though.
Centre City — 243 Market Street
Single scoop: 6.48$
According to their site, they use milk from their own cows, which I think is very unique and impressive.
A shame that the ice cream is incredibly melty, way too sugary, and overall not that good.