Summer’s Hot! Cool Off on the Alexandria Ice Cream Trail!

A fun way to keep cool in the heat is with cold, delicious ice cream. Read about the "Alexandria Ice Cream Trail" and all the places you can visit!

Eight Mom and Pop shops make up the Alexandria Ice Cream Trail. (Map by Ellen Hamilton/Yellow Dot Designs)
Eight Mom and Pop shops make up the Alexandria Ice Cream Trail. (Map by Ellen Hamilton/Yellow Dot Designs)

Alexandria, VA – We all need a way to stay refreshed during the hot summer season, especially now that pandemic restrictions are being lifted. A fun way to keep cool in the heat is with cold, delicious ice cream. In a cup or on a cone, ice cream, gelato, and frozen yogurt are among the most highly favored treats across Virginia, and how fortunate we are to have so many stores selling such a delectable treat for all to enjoy.

But with so many ice cream stores around the area, it isn’t easy to choose where to get your favorite frozen treat. Just for you, after extensive research, travel, and consumption, the Zebra has compiled a directory of many of the tastiest frozen treats in the Alexandria area. This article touches on this writer’s favorite ice cream stores that everyone should visit at least once before the summer season ends. But don’t be limited! Follow the Alexandria Ice Cream Trail map to check them all out before Labor Day (and after!).

Our list highlights local stores or locations that have only one location in Alexandria. So while frozen treats from Baskin Robbins, SweetFrog, and Dairy Queen are unquestionably delicious, they’re not on this list. But you’ll find them on our Frozen Treats Directory on the Zebra website (thezebra.org)

Dolce and Bean

Chocolate’s and Truffles made by Dolce and Bean. (Photo: Dolce and Bean)

Dolce and Bean is a chocolate and gelato shop along The Avenue in Del Ray. Not in the mood for delicious gelato? Dolce and Bean also sells crepes, coffee, and delectable macarons! This family-owned business uses fresh, highest-quality ingredients to create rejuvenating coffee and scrumptious desserts! So if you’re looking for fancy, professionally crafted gelato or chocolate, Dolce and Bean is the shop for you!

Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato

A cup filled with delicious gelato from the Casa Rosada. (Photo: Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato)

A family-owned gelato shop in Old Town, Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato is an excellent stop for anyone craving Argentinian gelato and sorbet. After a decade of making gelato with his wife, Benjamin Umansky created his gelato shop in 2014 with the help of his sons. The name “Casa Rosada” means “Pink House” in Spanish, and the Argentine presidential palace inspired it. The Casa Rosada shop, like the palace, is pink! The atmosphere at The Casa Rosada is vibrant and fun, and the gelato they serve is creamy, sweet, and delightful!

The Creamery

The Creamery building in Old Town. (Photo: The Creamery)

Since 1984, The Creamery has provided Del Ray with old-fashioned, hand-crafted ice cream. As the oldest continually operated ice cream shop in the area, The Creamery fulfills its mission of giving joy to its customers daily by offering a selection of 32 flavors. Open year-round, this ice cream shop invites families to stop by and try their historic treats! The Creamery is on this list not because of its rich history, but for its delicious ice cream!

Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Numerous rows of Pop’s Ice cream flavors. (Photo: Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream.)

Can we all agree that ice cream makes people happy? This includes former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, whom Ray “Pop” Giovanni had the honor of serving his scrumptious ice cream! Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream continues Giovanni’s legacy today by serving the same sweet, quality desserts it always has. Pop’s customers leave smiling and satisfied. Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream appears on this list for its numerous ice cream choices, plus its shakes, sundaes, pies, and toppings! Pop’s even has lactose-free vanilla and chocolate softserve for everyone to enjoy. From specials like the Campfire Sundae to the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel ice cream, Pop’s really has it all!

Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats

The location of Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats, formerly the Ice Vault. (Photo: Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats)

When Brandon Byrd bought the building in 2008, Goodies Frozen Custard set up shop in the former location of Old Town’s iconic Ice Vault. Byrd originally sold his Wisconsin-style custard from a custard van, but with increasing popularity and more customers, he decided to locate in Alexandria. With homemade caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and rainbow sprinkles, and of course, his daily-made custard, Byrd ensures Goodies’ success. But the creative desserts Goodies creates are what make this shop’s offerings truly unique. One fan favorite is Goodies “donutwiches,” which sandwich the store’s delicious custard between two sugary soft donuts! Yum!

Custard Shack

The Custard Shack’s monthly lineup of its flavor of the day in June. (Photo: Custard Shack)

Since opening in 2015, this shop on Belle Haven Road has offered heavenly custard made with cream, milk, sugar, and pasteurized egg yolks. Their chocolate and vanilla flavors are gluten-free. Highlighting a special flavor every two days, Custard Shack gives customers a reason to return and try their new creations, such as Berry Blast, Pumpkin Pie, and even Churro! Custard Shack is on this list for its creative shakes, creamy ice cream, and fruity sorbet!

The Dairy Godmother

The Dairy Godmother’s dense, creamy, Wisconsin-style custard and new and unique flavors every month have made it the most successful frozen dessert business in Del Ray. (Photo: the Zebra Press)

The Dairy Godmother is best known for dense, creamy, Wisconsin-style custard. With new and unique flavors every month, this shop is among the best-known and most successful frozen dessert businesses in Del Ray. Its custard is so popular that in 2009, President Barack Obama went in to grab a scoop! (His order was a small vanilla custard topped with hot fudge and almonds.) The Dairy Godmother is highly creative in its flavors of the day (changed every two days). This summer they offered Cicada Crunch ice cream! It doesn’t sound appetizing at first, but when you learn that it’s really chocolate custard-covered Nestlé Crunch, Rice Krispies, and sprinkles topped with whipped cream, maybe you’ll rethink grabbing a frozen treat at the Dairy Godmother!

Boccato Gelato

Towering scoops of Boccato Gelato. (Photo: Boccato)

The Dairy Godmother may reign as Queen of Del Ray’s ice cream kingdom, but she’s not without competition. Boccato Gelato recently opened in Del Ray. At Boccato, you’ll see extravagantly decorated, scrumptious-looking gelato towering behind the glass. Each flavor is fresh and unique, ranging from strawberry and blood orange to Belgian chocolate and cookie monster! Boccato Gelato rotates over 200 flavors through the year! Flavors like cake batter, eggnog, and pumpkin pie, to name a few. And beyond homemade gelato, Boccato also sells empanadas, coffee, and more!

Why not take an ice cream tour this summer!

When you crave a frozen treat, ice cream, sweet custard, or frozen yogurt, explore these and many more establishments on the Alexandria Ice Cream Trail! And if you want to hit them all, no problem! It’s a long, hot summer.

Frozen Treat Directory

This list encompasses the many different ice cream and frozen dessert shops in the Alexandria area from Mom and Pops to well-known franchises.

Baskin Robbins

Opening in 1945, Baskin Robbins is also referred to by some as “31 Flavors,” due to being founded with the idea that an individual could have a different flavor of ice cream every day of a month.

Baskin Robbins has multiple locations around Alexandria, which can be found on their website.

Ben and Jerrys

This ice cream company was established in 1978 by none other than childhood friends Ben and Jerry. Ben and Jerry met in the 7th grade during PE and were described as being the two slowest kids in the class.

Ben and Jerrys has multiple locations around Alexandria, which can be found on their website.\

Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato

703-349-1001

A family-owned gelato shop in Old town, Casa Rosada Artisan Gelato is a nice stop for anyone craving Argentinian gelato and sorbet. After a decade of making gelato with his wife, Benjamin Umansky created the gelato shop in 2014 with the help of his sons. The name “Casa Rosada” actually means “Pink House” in Spanish and is inspired by the Argentine presidential palace. The Casa Rosada gelato shop, like the palace, is also the color pink!

111 S Payne St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery has been around since 1988, and while it is known for their delicious ice cream, they also have ice cream cakes, cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and sorbet.

Cold Stone has multiple locations around Alexandria, which can be found on their website.

The Creamery

703-549-4527

Since 1984, The Creamery has provided old fashioned and hand-crafted ice cream to Alexandria. The Creamery touts itself as the oldest continually operated ice cream shop in the area. Open year round, this ice cream mecca is a mainstay just steps from the Potomac.

110 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Custard Shack

After opening in 2015, this custard shop on Belle Haven offers heavenly custard made of cream, milk, sugar and pasteurized egg yolks. As a bonus, their chocolate and vanilla flavors are gluten free! With a special flavor every day, Custard Shack gives its customers a reason to come back and try their new custard creations, such as Berry Blast, Pumpkin Pie, and even Churro!

1401 Belle Haven Rd. Alexandria Virginia, 22308

Dairy Godmother

703-683-7767

The Dairy Godmother is best known for their creamy Wisconsin-style custard. With new, unique flavors of the day every month, this ice cream shop is one of the most well-known and successful frozen dessert businesses in Del Ray. Its custard is so well known for being delicious, that in 2009, President Barack Obama even went in to grab a scoop!

2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301

Dairy Queen

Established on June 22, 1940 by John F. McCullough in Joliet, Illinois. This ice cream food chain has both ice cream and depending on the location, hot dogs, hamburgers, and soft drinks.

Dairy Queen has multiple locations around Alexandria, which can be found on their website.

Del Ray Boccato

703-869-6522

The Boccato is a delicious gelato shop that recently opened in Del Ray. When you first look through the store’s window, you can see extravagantly decorated and scrumptious looking gelato towering behind the glass! While they sell homemade gelato, The Boccato also makes empanadas, coffee, and more.

2400 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

Dolce and Bean

703-721-3151

Dolce and Bean is a chocolate and gelato shop along the main drag of Del Ray. If you aren’t in the mood for some delicious gelato, Dolce and Bean also sells crepes, coffee, and delectable macarons!

2003 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats

202-630-6455

Brandon Byrd’s Wisconsin style custard was originally sold in his super cool restored 1953 delivery van, but after gaining increasing popularity and customers, he decided to set up shop in Alexandria. Using his own homemade caramel sauce along with his daily made custard, Byrd ensures the success of Goodies through his creative and tasty treats!

200 Commerce Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Ice Cream Jubilee 

In 2013, the founder of Ice Cream Jubilee, Victoria, attended the Penn State University ice cream seminar before she graduated as class president. Victoria went on to sell her ice cream in grocery stores while going on to create Ice Cream Jubilee.

Ice Cream Jubilee has multiple locations in the Alexandria area, which can be found on their website. Additionally, Ice Cream Jubilee is sold in grocery stores, and select restaurants and hotels.

I CE NY 

First created under the name “I-TIM-PAD” in Thailand, and rebranded in 2015 to “I CE NY,” after it’s first establishments were created in the U.S., this rolled ice cream shop has grown to have 20 locations in the U.S., including the Virginia area. I CE NY offers fun, seasonal flavors of rolled ice cream, and can customize orders to have whipped cream, fruit, and other delicious toppings.

4150 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA 22206

Jeni’s

The founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Jeni, founded her store in 2002. Jeni’s ice cream uses whole ingredients and dairy from grass-pastured cows.

571-982-3127

Jeni’s has multiple locations in the DC area, and a location in Old Town, Alexandria at:

102 S Patrick St. Alexandria, VA 22314

Kilwin’s Alexandria

703-566-4094

Like the other shops listed, Kilwin’s makes and serves fun, enjoyable frozen ice cream. However, what makes this store unique is its production of other sweet treats, such as chocolate-dipped pretzels, caramel apples, and Rice Krispy treats! Check out their original recipe ice cream flavors, such as Turtle Cheesecake, Fudgie Brownie, and Mackinac Island Fudge!

212 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Nicecream 

703-908-0225

Nicecream was created by Gil Welsford and Sandra Tran in their own kitchen. With a passion for experimenting with new recipes, the two decided to try freezing their Ice cream with liquid nitrogen. Since then, Nicecream locations have sprouted across the Virginia/DC area. (Fun fact! Nicecream is actually a combination of the words “nitrogen” and “ice cream!”)

Nicecream has multiple locations in the Alexandria area, which can be found on their website.

Old Town Dolci Gelati Cafe

571-290-0684

Founded by Chef Gianluigi, this dessert store serves Italian-style gelato using a family recipe, while also adding a fresh flair by mixing in both local and exotic flavors to its lineup of gelato. Located in Old Town, Alexandria, Dolci Gelati Cafe also provides hot and cold brewed coffee that is brewed locally, and is the perfect pick-me-up to a long day!

107 N Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314

Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company

703-836-5676

It can be universally agreed upon that ice cream makes people happy. This does not exclude former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who Ray “Pop” Giovanni had the opportunity to serve! Even today, Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream continues Giovanni’s legacy by serving the same sweet, quality desserts it always has, making customers leave with smiling, satisfied faces.

109 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Sweet Frog 

Sweet Frog is a sweet frozen yogurt chain across the U.S. that serves cute, colorful, and fun frozen yogurt! With adorable little frogs as their mascots, Sweet Frog offers premium frozen yogurt, toppings, and treats to its customers. They even have a unicorn swirl flavor, which combines sweet strawberry and blue cotton candy into a delicious treat!

Sweet Frog has multiple locations in the Alexandria area, which can be found on their website along with phone numbers.

Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream and Coffee

703-536-7000

Since 2008, Toby and Monina have operated their business, providing not only delicious ice cream, but smoothies, shakes, and- you guessed it- coffee! Always looking for a way to be active in their community, Toby’s also provides their treats for sports events, school fundraisers, and other social gatherings.

5849 A Washington Blvd, Arlington, Virginia 22205

Whimpop 

571-243-2837

Founded in 2014 by Claudia Reyes, this cute ice pop cart can be found just outside of the Alexandria area. It’s a bit of a ways away, but the trip will definitely be worth it, because once you find the cart, you can grab a fun, refreshing fruit pop! Whimpop offers fun seasonal flavors, like Plum Basil and Peach. In the fall, there are also ice pop flavors such as pumpkin, and even candy corn!

11404 Washington Plaza W Reston, VA 20190 (APRIL-DECEMBER)

120 Cherry St SE Vienna, VA 22180 (MAY-NOVEMBER)

Yogicastle 

571-303-0011

While Yogicastle offers your usual lineup of delicious ice cream flavors, they also provide sorbet, gelato, custard, and Italian ice! Whether you like it in a cup or cone, Yogicastle offers many different drizzles and toppings to complete your frozen masterpiece.

4014 Campbell Ave., Arlington, VA 22206

YogurtCity Frozen Yogurt

703-721-9888

Unlike other frozen dessert shops on this list, Yogurt City specializes in providing Virginia tasty frozen yogurt, along with smoothies and boba tea, both liquid and frozen! Along with offering both low and non-fat yogurt, the list of toppings on Yogurt City’s menu has something everyone will enjoy, from chocolate chips, candy and granola.

7615 Fordson Rd, Alexandria, Virginia 22306

YoLove Frozen Yogurt

202-243-9885

YoLove Frozen Yogurt is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop that can be found in Old Town. With traditional frozen flavors like chocolate and vanilla, along with fruity flavors such as cherry, YoLove allows its customers to handcraft their perfect frozen yogurt with the flavors and toppings that they desire! From fresh fruit to gummy worms, there’s something for everyone at this dessert shop.

101 N Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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