With temperatures getting up to the 100s in the summer here in ATX, we know keeping cool is as important as ever.
What better way to stay cool than to indulge in a cold treat that will not only be refreshing but also satisfy your craving for something sweet?
Read on for our favorite summer dessert spots around the city. There’s an array of options for everyone!
Amy’s Ice Cream
A very Austinite-y ice cream spot, Amy’s is a local favorite. We recommend the Mexican Vanilla, a delicious favorite of many, but you can’t go wrong with the more than 350 flavors in rotation. At Amy’s, you can create your own concoctions by choosing from an array of toppings and crush-in options like gummy bears, cookie crumbles, and other candies to be mixed into your ice cream. The ice cream shop itself is a colorful display of Austin’s vibrant artsiness and quirkiness is just the cherry on top of an awesome and authentic Austin ice cream experience!
Lick Honest Ice Creams
Lick is known for its farm-to-table ice cream made with the purest and freshest ingredients that can be traced back to their sources. With ice cream churned in its kitchens, waffle cones made by hand in its shops, and unique flavors created by the seasonal offerings in Texas, it’s no wonder Lick is a popular ice cream pick in Austin. The ice cream is served in compostable cups, and the napkins and spoons are also compostable, so feel less guilty about indulging in this guilty pleasure and go to Lick!
SPUN Ice Cream
If you’re craving ice cream with a twist, go to Spun. The ice cream here is unique because it is made with organic and local ingredients that are spun with liquid nitrogen at -321 degrees, and you can watch it getting made. The process leaves the ice cream tasting velvety smooth and super creamy, and biting into a scoop is pure bliss!
Cow Tipping Creamery
Cow Tipping Creamery was a dessert trailer that now has a brick-and-mortar location serving rich and creamy soft serve ice cream. It is known for its stackers, special sundaes with inventive toppings dispersed throughout the ice cream, not just at the top. There are unique combinations as well as options to customize your edible piece of art yourself. The flavor is intense, making it especially perfect if you have a sweet tooth. Bonus: get your ice cream in a bubble waffle cone!
Sweet Ritual has delicious ice cream that’s VEGAN! When eating it, it’s hard to believe it’s dairy-free because it tastes like the real thing. It also offers delicious toppings that aren’t common at other ice cream shops including edible glitter and toasted mini marshmallows. It looks as good as it tastes, but don’t take our word for it. Go try it out for yourself!
Cold Cookie Company
Cold Cookie Company is a different way to indulge in magical ice cream and cookie creations. It is a colorful food truck offering scoops of ice cream, shakes, and ice cream sandwiches. Unique to this place is its “unshakes”, cups filled with alternating layers of cookies, ice cream, and toppings that are then left unblended. Choose your confection, then your ice cream flavor, then your cookie flavor, and then of course your toppings. Now you have yourself a cool treat that’s not only visually appealing and mouthwatering, but also tastes like heaven in your mouth on a hot summer day!
You can’t have a list of cool desserts and leave off ice cream’s cousin, Gelato! With two locations in Austin, including one at the Domain, this gelateria has become a popular spot to indulge in this Italian-style ice cream. Frost has a large selection of flavors ranging from chocolate and richer choices to refreshing and fruity sorbets. They are all displayed beautifully, so we don’t blame you if you have a hard time deciding. The texture of the gelato is smooth and creamy, and it is made fresh daily on location from raw ingredients imported from Italy. Although gelato isn’t cheap in America, the smallest size gives you plenty, so don’t let that stop you from beating the heat Italian style!
The latest craze is Thai rolled ice cream, and Holla Mode is a popular go-to offering it right here in Austin. It is a trailer, and there is often a long line of people waiting since each order is made individually from scratch, so just be prepared before you go. It is absolutely worth it for both the taste and the experience. You choose your ice cream and what you want mixed into the liquid (10/10 recommend Nutella), and then it gets poured onto a frozen, stainless steel surface as a worker chops and rolls the liquid-turned-solid ice cream into cylinders that are then put into a cup and topped off with toppings of your choice! Watching it made right in front of your eyes is mesmerizing, but not as mesmerizing as biting into its thick and rich consistency that doesn’t melt as fast as regular ice cream. It’s a sweet flavor explosion in your mouth, and each serving is so big you can definitely share with a friend!
Another Asian-inspired cold dessert that shouldn’t be missed this summer is shaved ice at Snow Monster. It is essentially a mound of sweet milky ice that is shaved, leaving a soft and smooth consistency that makes it hard to put your spoon down. With delicious flavors like taro and kiwi, and toppings like fresh fruit, popping boba, and condensed milk, you can create something that fits your sweet tooth and cools you down after being in the sun.
Sweet Caroline’s Snow Shack
Snow cones are the staple to summer, and Sweet Caroline’s colorful trailers offers refreshing New Orleans-style snowballs to satisfy your craving for something icy and sweet. With plenty of flavors and specials, Sweet Caroline’s is arguably the go-to place on a hot summer day!
Bahama Bucks puts a modern twist on traditional snow cones, offering a one-of-a-kind snow cone experience. Its fluffy shaved ice is the softest you can probably get, and each colorful snow cone is served with a mini tropical paper umbrella. Make sure you get its trademark Bahama Rama Mama option, which gives you a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream topped with flavored sno and drizzled with Tropic Creme. Bahama Bucks also offers other island-themed treats, including smoothies, frozen island espressos, lemonades, and even sugar-free and dairy-free options to cater to those with specific dietary restrictions.
Hay Elotes is a cultural fantasy of Mexican street food, fruit cups, and ice cream. A popular choice is the Mango Hill, a colorful and fruity treat topped with sour candy and strawberries to cool you down when temperatures are high!
A food trailer selling frozen banana creations, Bananarchy has revolutionary desserts that are perfect for a hot day in Austin. A healthier alternative to ice cream, Bananarchy offers frozen bananas coated in a dip of chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, or vegan chocolate, and rolled in toppings of your choice. It’s innovative and tasty, and you don’t want to miss out on this perfect summer snack!
Blenders & Bowls
Arguably Austin’s favorite acai cafe, Blenders & Bowls offers healthy options to keep cool and refreshed without feeling guilty. There are many smoothie flavors as well as seven different acai bowl options varying in blend and toppings. If you crave something cold and sweet on a hot day without as high of calorie and sugar content, go for one of these acai bowls and feel immediately reenergized!
A list of cold desserts that are perfect for a summer afternoon isn’t complete without frozen yogurt, and Berry Austin is our favorite local fro yo spot! This self-serve place offers an assortment of frozen yogurt flavors as well as a wide range of delicious toppings. The shop itself is colorful and unique, providing customers an inviting atmosphere with artistic Texan charm to soak up while enjoying dessert. It is located downtown and open late, and you can also get root beer floats, fresh yogurt parfaits, and smoothies!
Cravings for popsicles on a summer day are best satisfied with Popbar, a New York-based gelato popsicle chain. This “Gelato on a Stick” is all natural, handcrafted, and customizable, and made fresh daily with real fruit, no artificial flavorings, no preservatives, and no high fructose corn syrup. With more than 40 flavors and a variety of dips and toppings, and even kosher, vegan, and gluten-free options for those with specific dietary restrictions, Popbar has something for everyone!
Can’t decide between tacos and ice cream? Why not get the best of both worlds with some ice cream tacos this summer? You read that right – a dessert trailer in Austin is serving ice cream in waffle shells covered in flavorful syrups and unlimited colorful toppings! You can either choose from delicious combinations like “The Cookie Monster”, “Over the Rainbow”, and “Chocolate Two-Step”, or build your own from the array of options, but you can’t go wrong with any ice cream taco!