Adventure Minneapolis: Twin Cities’ Best Ice Cream

Twin Cities' Best Ice CreamToday is August 31st, and summer is slowly coming to a close. Kids are going back to school, fall semester is starting at colleges, and pumpkin spice lattes are back in coffee shops across the country.

But as long as the calendar says August, I am stuck in summer mode. And summer means ice cream.

Luke and I had a very long and busy summer. He was working 45+ hours a week while finishing his last semester of college. I was working full time, reminding him to eat, and trying to keep our little lives from imploding.  We had no time for summer vacations, or day trips to the beach. But we made time for ice cream. We both love ice cream (honestly, who doesn’t?) and it made for a wonderful study break, as well as a chance to see our family and friends. Here is a list of some of our favorite ice cream places in the Twin Cities, as well as places we want to go.

Best Ice Cream- Grand Ole Creamery
Ice Cream and Sunsets on Grand Avenue

Grand Ole Creamery (Saint Paul and Minneapolis)

Grand Ole Creamery may be my favorite ice cream of all time. I grew up going here with my parents after a trip to the nearby Como Zoo. Their homemade ice cream is consistently ranked the best in the cities, and they have a wide variety of flavors to satisfy any palette. They also have amazing homemade waffle cone- with a malted milk ball at the bottom. The original location is on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, but a new location recently opened up in Minneapolis, not far from my grandparents’ house. Delicious.

Ingrid’s favorite flavor- Taro (it’s purple!)

Luke’s favorite flavor- Cookie Monster

750 Grand Ave, Saint Paul

4737 Cedar Ave South, Minneapolis

Nelson’s (Stillwater and Saint Paul)

Best Ice Cream- Nelson's
This is a “Child Size”

Nelson’s opened in Stillwater in 1923 and is a local favorite known for generous portions. How big are the portions? We both ordered a child serving- the smallest size roughly equivalent to two softballs. They recently opened a second location in Saint Paul (which we visited- the original Stillwater store is on our list!). One note about Nelson’s- they do not make their own ice cream, but serve ice cream from local dairies.

Ingrid’s favorite flavor- Coconut Joy

Luke’s favorite flavor- Pirate’s Booty

920 Olive Street West, Stillwater

454 Snelling Avenue South, Saint Paul

Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour (Afton)

Tucked away on a back road in Afton lies Minnesota’s self-proclaimed oldest ice cream shop- Selma’s.  Selma’s has been scooping ice cream since 1913, and was my mom’s favorite when she was growing up. Because of our busy schedules, we weren’t able to make it to Selma’s this summer, but we are hoping to squeeze in a visit before the summer comes to an end! Like Nelson’s, Selma’s also does not make its own ice cream- it comes from Madison, WI.

3419 Saint Croix Trail South, Afton

Izzy’s Ice Cream Cafe (Saint Paul and Minneapolis)

Izzy’s is a modern and playful ice cream shop that stands in contrast with these older establishments. Izzy’s opened its doors in 2000 and has already expanded with a second location in Minneapolis. They are best known for the “Izzy Scoop”- a tiny ¾ ounce scoop on top of your cone.  It’s a fun way to get a little taste of another flavor, and guests loved it so much, Izzy’s had it trademarked. Izzy’s has over 150 in their repertoire- you can see what flavors they have at each store online, and sign up to get email alerts when your favorites are available. I first visited Izzy’s with some friends, and haven’t gotten a chance to take Luke- it’s on our list!

Ingrid’s favorite flavor- Norwegian Chai (which my friends forced me to order because I’m Norwegian- but it was delicious!)

2034 Marshall Avenue, Saint Paul

1100 2nd Street South, Minneapolis

Ring Mountain Creamery (Eagan)Best Ice Cream- Ring Mountain

No list would be complete without our favorite place- Ring Mountain Creamery. Sadly, Ring Mountain closed its doors earlier this year, and we’ve been missing our favorite gelato ever since.  We hear Ring Mountain’s amazing gelato and ice cream can still be purchased at some local stores, and we hope to hear news of Ring Mountain’s re-opening soon. (Pretty please???)  Ring Mountain, thank you for so many amazing memories!

Ingrid’s favorite- Amaretto

Luke’s favorite- Salted Caramel

Best Ice Cream- Ring Mountain
One of our many Ring Mountain dates

On our list:

  • Pumphouse Creamery (Minneapolis)
    • We can’t believe we haven’t been to Pumphouse! It is blocks away from our church and we’ve driven past so many times, but haven’t made it inside.
  • Sebastian Joe’s (Minneapolis)
    • Before I get yelled at, yes, we’ve both been to Sebastian Joe’s before. I lived in Linden Hills for four years! (Okay, years 0-4, but plenty of ice cream was consumed during those years.) We haven’t been recently and are dying to go back!
  • Edina Creamery
    • Another place we haven’t been to in years, and need to visit again

Where should we go next? Tell us in your comments below!


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