Temperatures are climbing, and that means it's the perfec time to retreat for a treat. Head to one of Charlotte's best ice cream shops and dessert restaurants for a deserved indulgence, and follow this short guide to some of our favorite sweet stops to get you started.
This traditional Spanish ice cream parlor is nestled in a strip mall to the east of NoDa; look for the monkeys on the store’s sign. The menu is in spanish, and what you'll find here is ice cream and fresh fruit blended into traditional Spanish desserts. Order a cone with ice cream flavors like chamoy—a red sweet chili flavor—or beso de angel—coconut, cheery and nuts. Try homemade popsicles (palentas) in flavors like cheesecake, guava or mango chili. 4801 N. Tryon St., Suite K, Charlotte, North Carolina. 980.219.8512.
The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte’s Bar Cocoa serves up decadent gelato offerings in fan favorites like vanilla and chocolate with summer time treats like watermelon and other cool flavors. Bar Cocoa also offers macaroons, chocolates—like Norman Love truffles—and other lavish treats. 201 E. Trade St., Charlotte, North Carolina, 704.972.4397.
Aggie’s Ice Cream & Grill
This locally-owned grill located in a strip mall in Silverwood offers hearty burgers, subs and sides with homemade ice cream flavors like maple walnut, black raspberry, mint chocolate and more. If you’re in a rush or have lots of little ones in tow, there’s a walk-up window for ordering. 7209 Harris Blvd., Charlotte, North Carolina. 704.568.6789.
Sticks and Cones Ice Cream Truck
The Sticks and Cones Ice Cream Truck is actually two trucks. Expect daring premium mixes like the Mint Hill or the Boldly Balsamic sundaes at the "cones" truck, or find more traditional popsicle and ice cream flavors at the "sticks" truck, which circles neighborhoods in Mint Hill, Matthews, Stallings and Charlotte. The cones truck, with its made-to-order offerings, is a regular at the South End Food Truck Rally and other local events. 704.545.7823.
A staple of the Wells Fargo Atrium in Uptown, this mom-and-pop café serves scoops and cones with more than half a dozen toppings—Oreos, pineapple and more—in addition to milkshakes and floats. The black-and-white tiled space with café tables and cozy ordering counter hints at soda fountain stores of a bygone era. 301 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, North Carolina, 704.342.9697.
Crave Dessert Bar
This high-end, exclusive dessert bar—the dress code is "no effort, no admittance," so put on that tie or those heels—serves a lot more than ice cream. It's a place where you'll match rich desserts with cocktails and wine (or hookahs and beer) to curb grownup cravings. 500 W. 5th St., Charlotte, North Carolina. 704.335.0588.
Snap a selfie with the giant ice cream cone sign outside this quaint shop. The bright-colored interior attracts kids, the flavors range from the usual suspects to more experimental flavors like fresh ginger scoops to please the adults. The family-owned business is beloved, evident by the long evening lines during the summer. 1535 Elizabeth Ave. 704.377.7976
Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream
A classic stomping ground for many Charlottonians, Mr. K’s serves up ice cream cones, with a classic swirl, sundaes and more alongside lunch and dinner items like burgers, fringes—for when you can’t decide between fries or onion rings—and more. Specialty dessert ices include soft serve blended with Italian ice (a frostbite), parfaits, Snowballs (ice cream layered with Italian ice) or hand-dipped cones. 2107 South Blvd., Charlotte, North Carolina. 704.375.4318
Ben & Jerry's
There are three scoop stores offering Ben & Jerry’s in the Charlotte metro area. Head to Myers Park, Parktowne Village or Foxcroft to get your fill of the iconic Vemont-based ice cream chain. Lay hands on popular favorites like brownie batter and banana split to concoctions named after famous entertainers and political events. 507 Providence Road, Charlotte, North Carolina. 704.333.1003; 1600 E. Woodlawn Road, #110, Charlotte, North Carolina. 704.525.9945; 7800 Fairview Road, Charlotte, North Carolina. 704.364.7600
The historic Cabarrus Creamery reopened in 2009 and features flavors like peanut butter cup and Moon Pie ice cream. The giant blackboard is where you’ll find all the listed flavors along with cute ice cream doodles. Sit on the long, red park bench in the middle of the store or grab a high-top table to enjoy your cold treat. 21 Union St. S, Concord, North Carolina. 704.784.1923.