Ice cream isn’t just for summer anymore, especially in a city like Richmond where there are warm, sunny days throughout the year. If you’re looking for a local joint with personality and creativity, look no further than these 5 places with the best ice cream in Richmond Virginia.
My All-Around Favorite: Stoplight Gelato Cafe
Tucked into Jackson Ward, fun neighborhood near galleries and restaurants, Stoplight Gelato is my #1 choice for the best ice cream in Richmond. Their flavors are fun and creative without being absurd and prices are downright cheap. It’s easy to get to for both tourists and residents, too!
My Purchase: Ginger Pineapple
Price: $1.75 for a single scoop or $3.50 for 6 mini scoops as a sampler flight
Flavor Rating: 4 out of 5. It’s super refreshing but heavy on the pineapple and light on the ginger.
Creaminess Rating: 5 out of 5. It doesn’t get better than this.
Service Rating: 5 out of 5. Both employees were courteous and helpful.
For Roadtrippers: Sweet 95
This is right off I-95, so Sweet 95 is great if you’re taking a roadtrip and want to include a sweet stop. My sundae was built for sharing and a little too sweet for my taste, but I’ve heard great things about their gridlocks (half ice cream, half water ice) and anything cannoli flavored has good reviews. They have limited hours — mostly evenings — and CASH ONLY.
My Purchase: Baklava Sundae
Price: $3 for a single scoop or $6.50 for a “Traffic Jam” (ouch!)
Flavor Rating: 3 out of 5. My first bite was amazing but after about 5 bites, it got to be too sweet to handle.
Creaminess Rating: 4 out of 5. Pretty great texture.
Service Rating: 3 out of 5. Service was friendly but s-l-o-w.
For Traditionalists: Gelati Celesti
Of all the places with best ice cream in Richmond, I go to Gelati Celesti the most. They have several locations for your convenience, including my favorite in Scott’s Addition near Richmond breweries. Most of their gelato is based on traditional flavors, executed perfectly.
My Purchase: Lavendar & “Just Ask”
Price: $3 for a toddler scoop or $4.20 for my small double scoop
Flavor Rating: 5 out of 5. Both flavors were just what I wanted.
Creaminess Rating: 4 out of 5. Smooth but not quite velvety.
Service Rating: 5 out of 5. Free samples and big smiles.
For Sweet Tooths: Charm School
Charm School Social Club in Richmond’s arts district is wildly popular, but a little too hipster and a little too sweet for me. Expect mediocre service and high prices, but it could still be worth it for the fun ambiance and interesting flavors, ranging from Red Hots Candy or Thai Iced Tea. Hint: their toppings are sugar bombs.
My Purchase: Toast & Jam with Marshmallow Topping
Price: $3.50 for a single scoop or $6 for 2 scoops + marshmallow
Flavor Rating: 2 out of 5. Points for innovation, but poor execution on all four flavors I tried.
Creaminess Rating: 3 out of 5. There was actual grit from toast crumbs in mine and my husband’s flavors were about the same as grocery store brands.
Service Rating: 4 out of 5. Not particularly personable but overall no issues.
For Something Different: La Michoacana
To try the Mexican ice cream at La Michoacana, you’ll have to drive south of downtown. There aren’t any tourist attractions in the area, but half the fun of exploring somewhere new is finding something that no one else has. You’ll love the different flavors here…and it’s worth trying both the ice cream and the creamy paletas.
My Purchase: Piñon (pine nuts & the corresponding tree fruit)
Price: $2 for a small cup or $2 for a popsicle
Flavor Rating: 5 out of 5. So good my husband stole mine and finished it and I was left with his Kahlua ice cream. Also amazing.
Creaminess Rating: 4 out of 5. Smooth but not quite perfect.
Service Rating: 4 out of 5. Summer weekends are busy, so they hurry through orders.
Notably Absent from the List…
Read any list of Richmond ice cream shops and you’ll see a listing for Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream in Carytown. It’s a convenient place for tourists, since almost everyone visits to shop and dine. That said, I’ve been a few times and was always consistently underwhelmed, so I skipped it this time around.
Also missing from this list: King of Pops. Like the name infers, it’s a popsicle shop which is not my jam. I love that they source from real ingredients instead of syrups, but if it drips and makes me sticky, I’m just not interested.
Are you visiting Virginia? (You should!)
If so, here’s my guide to my home state including where to eat, where to hike, and where my favorite spots are.
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