Where to get ice cream, gelato, and frozen desserts in Asheville
From gelato and coconut-based ice cream, to a cup of dirt with Oreos and gummy worms, this guide shares our favorite places in Asheville to get ice cream.
Fortunately for all of us, Asheville has several great ice cream shops! Our kids agree, of course, and are happy to visit all of the great ice cream establishments around town with us in the name of research.
We had so much fun compiling this list of the best places to get ice cream in Asheville and hope that it inspires you to try a cool treat on a warm day soon.
Overview of the best ice cream shops in Asheville, NC
Whether you’re after a classic sprinkle cone, authentic gelato, a crazy flavor combo, or tasty vegan ice cream, you’ll find it in our guide to the best ice cream in Asheville.
See below for a full breakdown and feel free to jump around as needed.
Map of Asheville Ice Cream Shops
Before we dive into the list, we first wanted to share a map so that you could quickly find ice cream near you.
Asheville Ice Cream Shops
1. The Hop Favorite
The Hop Ice Cream Locations
- 167 Haywood Road | West Asheville
- 721 Haywood Road | West Asheville
- S&W Market | Downtown Asheville
- 640 Merrimon Ave | North Asheville
- 114 Cherry Street | Black Mountain
Pro tip: Pair a trip to The Hop with a trip to the West Asheville farmers market! The Hop has two locations in West Asheville and one is right across the street from the Tuesday afternoon farmers market (Apr-Dec.)
A classic ice cream shop with cones, milkshakes, tons of toppings, fun flavors and both dairy and vegan ice cream.
The Hop has been a fixture in Asheville since opening its doors in 1978. With stores in five locations, it is very easy to get your hands on their handcrafted ice cream. They make all of their flavors in-house at their creamery location in West Asheville.
The Hop offers a range of unique and seasonal flavors that can be ordered in cups, cones, milkshakes or sundaes. You can also purchase pints and quarts to take home!
My absolute favorite flavor at The Hop is Cookie Party– fresh vanilla ice cream mixed with cookie dough and bites of housemade chocolate chip and funfetti cookies. Any our oldest can’t get enough of their unicorn flavor because it’s filled with sprinkles.
The Hop offers traditional dairy options as well as non-dairy vegan ice cream. They have about as many vegan ice cream flavors as dairy flavors!
If you’re looking for something to drink with your ice cream, The Hop has soda, blue moon water, Devil’s Foot soda and PennyCup cold brew. Check out The Hop’s full menu here!
2. Sunshine Sammies Favorite
Sunshine Sammies Locations
You can find Sunshine Sammies in a cute shop in downtown Asheville year-round. In addition to their brick-and-mortar location, Sunshine Sammies has a vintage food truck in South Asheville parked Fridays through Sundays in the summer at the Wild Wings Cafe on Long Shoals Road.
Ice cream sandwiches on freshly baked cookies + scoops of ice cream in downtown Asheville!
From its humble beginning as an ice cream sandwich push cart, Sunshine Sammies has expanded into an ice cream sandwich producer sold in stores throughout the southeast.
You can order ice cream, a milkshake, a float or one of their epic ice cream sandwiches at their flagship location in South Slope / downtown Asheville. Our kids love their ice cream (especially strawberry!) You can add various toppings to your ice cream, like salted caramel, sprinkles and chocolate chips.
I always opt for their classic chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream sandwich. It’s so good! You can also find this flavor for sale in various stores across the southeast. Check locations sold here.
Sunshine Sammies doesn’t have gluten-free cookie sandwiches available, but they do have a vegan option with vegan vanilla coconut milk ice cream + vegan chocolate chip cookies.
3. Whit’s Frozen Custard Favorite
Delicious frozen custard with all the toppings you can imagine!
If you are looking for a creamy, classic scoop of ice cream, head to Whit’s! While they don’t have the most extensive selection of flavors, they do offer vanilla, chocolate and a daily specialty flavor. All of their Asheville locations offer vegan-friendly ice cream as well.
They make up for the lack of flavor selection in their topping department. They have toppings ranging from sauces and fruit to candies and nuts. They will even blend you toppings into your frozen custard in their specialty Whitster.
You can order your ice cream by the scoop in a cup, cake cone, waffle cone, or dipped waffle cone or have one of their specialty desserts including banana split, brownie blitz and strawberry shortcake. Check out their full menu of options here.
Our kids especially love Whit’s because you can get a classic cup of dirt there. You know– vanilla custard, Oreo crumbles and gummy worms! Whit’s has several fun creations for kids like this that keep us coming back for more.
4. Ultimate Ice Cream
Ultimate Ice Cream Locations
Ultimate Ice Cream takes the “local” in local ice cream shop to the next level.
Handmaking their own ice cream, Ultimate Ice Cream sources all the other milk for their creamery from small local dairies within 150 miles. This means their milk is super fresh and has a high-fat content, which makes for delicious creamy ice cream.
Ultimate Ice Cream always carries all the classic flavors as well as some unique flavors like goat cheese bing cherry and blue cheese caramel swirl on occasion. They even have a few boozy flavors! You can check out their full menu here.
5. The Freeze of Asheville
Serving Asheville since 1982, this unassuming ice cream shop is a hidden gem located in West Asheville.
The Freeze of Asheville AKA Tastee Freez is the kind of place you would drive by and not give a second thought, but their ice cream selection is incredible.
It’s set up as a classic take-out dairy bar and has a few outdoor tables in front and behind the restaurant. They also have a drive-through window.
The Freeze offers soft serve as well as traditional ice cream. The range of options is amazing– specialty ice cream desserts, dipped cones, milkshakes, freezies, and ice cream floats. They even have some actual food on the menu including Hot Dogs, BBQ sandwiches and nachos.
6. Sugar and Snow Gelato
Italian-style gelato made from local and organic ingredients.
Located inside Second Gear outfitters, Sugar and Snow Gelato prides themselves on their clean (no food dyes!) and delicious product.
Apart from standard gelato, Sugar and Snow also offers some non-dairy + vegan gelato flavors.
They also have a cafe menu, so it’s a great kid-friendly restaurant to grab lunch before indulging in delicious gelato. Note: they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Sugar and Snow is located just across Riverside Drive from the greenway that runs along the French Broad River. We love grabbing gelato and strolling along the river with our kids.
7. Howdy Homemade Ice Cream
Howdy’s Mission: amazing ice cream served by amazing people.
Howdy is not just a great ice cream shop, but it’s also a great family-run business that focuses on hiring people with special needs.
Opening their first Asheville area store in South Asheville in July 2022, they are one of the newest additions to the Asheville ice cream scene.
Howdy’s ice cream is made on site in a variety of rotating flavors. We can recommend their ice cream flight which includes four 2-ounce servings of your choice. It’s perfect for those of us who just can’t make up our minds!
You can order your ice cream in a cup, cone or milkshake and they also have a ton of fun toppings.
Spots That Also Sell Ice Cream In Asheville
8. French Broad Chocolate Lounge Favorite
A local chocolatier with a great selection of baked goods, confections and ice cream.
While you may think of French Broad Chocolates as a producer of fine chocolates, don’t let that fool you about how seriously they take their ice cream.
French Broad Chocolate’s ice cream is made fresh in-house with milk and eggs from local farms. They also offer vegan ice cream options.
If ice cream’s not your thing, you can opt for chocolate bonbons, a slice of cake, drinking chocolate (!) or coffee.
The atmosphere at French Broad Chocolate Lounge can’t be beat. You can snag a spot on a couch or hang out at one of their tables. Their location is also perfect for exploring downtown Asheville with an ice cream cone or milkshake in hand.
In addition to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge downtown, they also have a cafe that serves ice cream at their chocolate factory in North Asheville. You can tour the factory– we have it listed on our things to do in Asheville with kids list.
9. Baked Pie Company Favorite
If you like your ice cream with a side of pie, head to Baked!
Yes, they are a pie company. But we couldn’t leave Baked Pie Company off of our list of the best ice cream in Asheville They have pie flights on the menu with three slices of pie with a scoop of ice cream. It’s such a treat and something I love doing with our oldest son as a fun afternoon out.
Baked Pie Company truly has an amazing selection of pies (best in town!) and the ice cream just puts it over the top. Definitely try it!
Baked Pie Company’s Locations
10. Asheville Chocolate
The perfect spot for delicious gelato in downtown Asheville!
You’ll find authentic Italian gelato and handcrafted truffles at Asheville Chocolate. The gelatos and sorbettos are all made in-house in the traditional Italian style.
They have a rotating gelato menu at Asheville Chocolate featuring classic Italian flavors as well as unique creations of their own. They also have a few vegan gelato options available. Stracciatella is always my go-to when they have it!
Asheville Chocolate is the perfect spot to stop in for a rest while wandering around downtown. One thing to note is that they do not have ice cream cones– just cups!
11. Asheville Sandwich Company
If you are looking for a great milkshake in Asheville…
While the name doesn’t scream ice cream, Asheville Sandwich Company has a formidable ice cream section on its menu.
They offer a variety of classic flavors that can be ordered by the scoop or in a milkshake. Be sure to check out their signature cookie butter milkshake!
While we’re talking about Asheville Sandwich Company, they are worth a visit if you are in search of a deli sandwich, cheesesteak, or burger. Check out our spotlight on lunch from Asheville Sandwich Company!
Kilwins Locations in and near AVL
Handmade waffle cones, 30+ flavors of ice cream and a great selection of fudge!
While Kilwins is well-known for its selection of fudges in Asheville and surrounding mountain towns, don’t let that overshadow their ice cream offerings.
With over 30 flavors of ice cream and sorbetto offered, there is something for every taste at Kilwins.
We especially love Kilwins’ chocolate peanut butter ice cream and cappuccino chocolate chip ice cream. Meanwhile, our kids love the cake batter and superman (rainbow swirl) flavors. No surprise there, I suppose!
Kilwins offers their ice cream by the scoop in waffle cones or cups as well as in sundaes, shakes, malts and floats. Their waffle cones are handmade in the store, so they are always fresh and delicious! And it smells amazing!!
13. The Soda Fountain at Woolworth Walk
Sit at a classic diner counter and order a grilled cheese and an ice cream float!
If you’re looking for an old-timey ice cream experience, look no further than The Soda Fountain at Woolworth Walk.
This 50s-style kid-friendly restaurant in Asheville with an old-fashioned soda fountain was reconstructed in 2001 to resemble the historic Woolworth Luncheonette.
Along with sandwiches, sides, soups and salads, The Soda Fountain has a full range of ice cream flavors that can be ordered by the scoop, in a banana split, sundae, shake, malt, float and of course and old fashioned ice cream soda.
Nothing beats the nostalgic feel of sitting at the counter and enjoying your favorite flavor!
Asheville Specialty Ice Cream
14. Gospel Ice Cream Favorite
Heavenly Ice Cream (their words, but I second it!)
Inspired to ‘spread the gospel of good food’, Gospel Ice Cream is on a mission to make the best ice cream possible using local, natural and quality ingredients. And they mean it! Quality comes first, so quantity is often limited.
Gospel releases new ice cream flavors twice a month and announces them via their email list. From there, they open orders the next morning with pickup on Wednesdays at the RAD Farmers Market and in Waynesville.
Their flavors are always INSANE and I want to try them every single drop. Most recently we had a sweet corn crema ice cream and peach cobbler ice cream that we will never stop talking about.
15. La Bodega by Cúrate
Chef-driven ice cream flavors in an easy-to-take-home format.
You may already be familiar with Asheville’s flagship restaurant Cúrate— you know, the James Beard award-winning one! But what you may not know is that they have a cafe on the street behind Cúrate that offers both grab & go as well as sit-down eats.
Apart from amazing breakfast sandwiches and gourmet bites, La Bodega by Cúrate also sells ice cream by the pint for $7.
We love their goat cheese ice cream and their Catanies (chocolate coffee almond) ice cream. Ice cream pints are located in a cooler toward the back of the café area.
While you’re there, try a sandwich or get a few things from their marketplace to go.
Other Frozen Treats in Asheville
16. Buggy Pops Favorite
Location: Buggy Pops can be found at a variety of events and farmers markets around town. Check their full event calendar here!
A gourmet ice pop business found at various markets and events around Asheville.
If you have been to a local farmers market, you have likely seen the cute Buggy Pops cart mixed with the other vendors. They are always my last stop at the North Asheville Tailgate Market (which is risky because sometimes I miss my favorite flavors!)
I really love their coconut cinnamon pop (their signature flavor!) and our son can’t get enough of the strawberry lemonade. It’s such a fun market treat and always amazingly delicious.