July brings promises of late nights catching lightning bugs, fireworks after the ball game and days so hot they heat the lake to the temperature of bath water. Each day brings a new opportunity to sample the myriad flavors of the quintessential summer treat. From Cookie Monster to Birthday Cake, soft serve or hand dipped, Charlotte ice cream parlors offer happiness in a cone. Peruse our picks for must-try craft creameries.
913 Central Ave, Charlotte, NC
Must try: The two scoop cone
Nestled in the heart of Plaza Midwood and with a second location at Lake Norman, Two Scoops Creamery makes their crafted ice cream with a secret family recipe. Owned by three best friends, this ice cream parlor features unique, homemade flavors and selfie ready artwork by local artist Miriam Yumet.
170 W. Summit Ave, Charlotte, NC
Must try: Flights – three ping pong ball sized scoops, mix and match flavors
Taking craft ice cream to the next level, Golden Cow Creamery makes their seasonal flavors in small batches with local ingredients and offers an exclusive flavor to members of the pint-of- the-month club. This socially conscious ice cream shop donates a portion of their proceeds to a local charity each month as part of their “Queen’s Share” program.
4021 Weddington Rd Hwy 84, Monroe, NC 28110
Must try: Soft serve with sprinkles
Soft serve ice cream cones for a dollar begs for you to make the drive on Highway 84. Order your cone with sprinkles or dipped. This quaint ice cream shop promises sweet treats for a buck.
9009 J M Keynes Dr # 4, Charlotte, NC
Must try: Macaron ice cream sandwich
Sandwiched between macarons, Ninety’s ice cream treats are served in monster or mini-monster sizes. This family-run establishment touts 30 years at The Boardwalk University. Add a cookie dough pop to your order and relax at the lakefront while you eat your treats.
2107 South Blvd. Charlotte, NC
Must try: Soft serve cone with a dip
Family owned and operated since 1967, Mr. K’s is a Charlotte tradition. Still operating in its original location in SouthEnd, Mr. K’s serves twisty cones, mix and match milkshakes, snowballs and more.
1601 Elizabeth Ave. Charlotte, NC
Must try: Freshly made waffle cones
This neighborhood ice cream parlor is one of Charlotte’s original ice cream shops. Take a ride on the trolley before you select the flavor to top your homemade waffle cone. All flavors are made fresh in the store!
20801 N. Main St, Cornelius, NC
Must try: Brownie boat sundae and check out the plant shop next door
Celebrating their 34th year in business, Carolina Cones is a local hangout. With a signature model train circling the ceiling and the seasonal garden center next door, this family friendly ice cream parlor offers a dose of nostalgia. Employees are area teens, and many former employees now bring their children to Carolina Cones for a sundae and to enjoy the playground outside.
201 W. South Main St. Waxhaw, NC
Must try: Any and all of the seasonal flavors
Main Street in Waxhaw provides a small town feel and a small town tasty treat. This craft creamery is adjacent to David G. Barnes Children’s Park and Waxhaw Skatepark is located behind the store. With a variety of seasonal flavors, you always have a reason to stop in.
21 Union Street S. Concord, NC
Must try: Ice cream cookie sandwich
Downtown Cabarrus has a delicious ice cream parlor. Nostalgia abounds along with generous portions. Stop in and sit awhile as you devour your cone.
604 E Franklin Blvd, Gastonia, NC
Must try: Milkshakes
Making ice cream since 1915, this Gastonia ice cream parlor and restaurant creates their ice cream in the plant next door. Tony’s ice cream is served in restaurants across the state and they offer over 20 flavors of milkshakes.
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14523 Carowinds Blvd, Charlotte, NC
Must try: Toasted Gelato Panini
While not a traditional ice cream parlor, Carowinds has upped their culinary game and is featuring an ice cream treat that rivals the pros. Ice cream is sandwiched inside a bun and toasted on a panini press, creating a decadent delight.