Brooklyn’s ice cream scene has something for everyone, especially families trying to keep cool this summer. Would you like ice cream, sorbet, or gelato? One scoop or two? Cup or waffle, wafer, or sugar cone? Hot fudge or caramel, or maybe even sprinkles? Take your sweet treats to go, or sit back, relax, and savor every last morsel at one of these five great locales.
We’ve selected some of the best family-friendly ice cream eateries in Brooklyn because when it comes to ice cream, we believe you – or even your nanny or sitter – and your family should spend your time enjoying it, not searching for it!
Our guide ranges from the traditional to the wacky to the experimental, but all options have one thing in common: family-friendly service in a welcoming environment. So, whether you pick a new go-to favorite spot or try them all, here are the hottest places serving the coolest treats!
Address: 513 Henry St., Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. | Saturday, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. | Sunday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Accepts: American Express, MasterCard, Visa
If you want a retro experience, look no further than Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain, housed inside a restored 1920s apothecary in Carroll Gardens. As soon as you set foot inside, you’ll feel transported to a different era.
This nostalgic wonderland serves comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. On weekends, brunch is also available, but be sure to save room for the dizzying array of innovative ice cream sundaes with fun names like Mr. Potato Head, 99 Problems, and Sir Twixalot. One special treat known as the End of the World Sundae is served on a Peter Pan donut and available only on Sundays.
Friendly soda jerks offer a variety of old-fashioned beverages, such as world-class egg creams made with Brooklyn’s own Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup, root beer floats, and black and white milkshakes.
The back room is home to bookshelves lined with reading material for the littlest readers, along with a variety of board games suited for all ages. On Thursday mornings, the Farmacy hosts a lively children’s sing-along, and there’s a set of tiny drawers along the wall that visitors are encouraged to write and leave notes in. This activity is popular with the kids.
Address: 288 Grand St., Brooklyn, NY 11211
Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday, 1 p.m. – 11 p.m. | Closed Mondays
Accepts: American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover
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You won’t find tubs of ice cream here. At -321 Degrees in Williamsburg, things are done very differently.
First, select your ice cream. Options range from classics, like Mint Chip and Cookies ’N Cream, to the exotic, like Macha, their signature flavor, which combines a sweet cream base, raw matcha powder, and a green-tea Kit Kat bar.
From there, fresh ingredients and water are placed in a mixer. Once the mixing is complete, an injection of liquid nitrogen is released, causing the cream to freeze at -321 degrees Fahrenheit and creating a smooth, custard-like consistency, ready to be enjoyed. All of this is done in plain sight, so at -321, it’s dessert and a show!
In addition to ice cream, you can sip a Nitro Hot Chocolate or pop a nitro ball — known as Dragon’s Breath — into your mouth for a unique experience.
For a coupon and new-flavor update, visit -321’s website and enter your email address to subscribe to the mailing list. Future locations are already planned for Manhattan and Queens.
- Dekalb Market Hall: 445 Albee Sq. West, Brooklyn, NY 11201 | P: 929-368-2762
- Gowanus: 305 Nevins St., Brooklyn, NY 11215 | P: 347-725-4061
- Prospect Heights: 623 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238 | P: 347-240-3926
- Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5, Brooklyn NY 11201 | P: 718-643-6961
- Brooklyn Bridge Park: Friday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
- Dekalb Market Hall: Sunday – Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Thursday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- Gowanus: Sunday – Thursday, noon – 10 p.m. | Friday & Saturday, noon – 11 p.m.
- Prospect Heights: Sunday – Thursday, noon – 11 p.m. | Friday & Saturday, noon – midnight
Accepts: American Express, Visa, MasterCard
While many shops sell pre-made ice cream or buy pasteurized ingredients, Ample Hills Creamery pasteurizes their milk, cream, sugar, and eggs on-site, which means they’re not only a shop, they are also a registered dairy plant. In fact, they are pioneers in the industry, having been the first in New York to pasteurize products on-site.
The kids will love the wacky concoctions that include mix-ins like marshmallows, potato chips, butter cake, peanut butter cups, and cookie dough. They will also go wild for the Build-a-Sundae on a Brownie option, and let’s be honest, you probably will, too!
Try one of their best-selling flavor concoctions, chock-full of mix-ins, such as the Munchies, which includes clusters of Ritz crackers, potato chips, pretzels, and mini M&Ms; the Peppermint Pattie, with semi-sweet chocolate flakes and homemade dark chocolate-covered peppermint patties; or the Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, which includes real chunks of cake.
They always carry at least one dairy-free/vegan sorbet selection at each location, and since the base of their ice cream is gluten-free, as long as you don’t add cookie, cake, or beer mix-ins, it will remain that way.
The locations are playful, and so is the staff. They host birthday parties and events and even provide an ice cream-churning bicycle so you can slip in a workout during your visit!
This playful neighborhood ice cream shop, whose name was inspired by the Walt Whitman poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” is a favorite of both kids and kids at heart. In fact, Ample Hills has grown so popular, they offer nationwide shipping, and their products are even sold on Amazon.
Address: 186 Underhill Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238
Hours: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday, 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Accepts: American Express, Visa, MasterCard
Blue Marble offers ice cream in classic, straightforward, or “elemental” flavors, as their founders call them. Go-to basics like Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla are king here, though they do offer slightly edgier flavors, like Green Tea and Pumpkin.
This flagship location in Prospect Heights was recently renovated and just reopened in mid-April. The newly done shop is home to an adorable play area, filled with toys and books to keep the littlest customers happy, and their back yard is a wonderful treat in nice weather.
Blue Marble is the only certified organic ice cream plant (making its product at the company’s Sunset Park facility), and its ice cream has become a favorite among parents for the ingredients and among kids for the taste.
Blue Marble has gone from a local ice cream shop to a socially conscious, sustainable, worldwide brand in a decade, so although you may not have been to the actual location yet, chances are you’ve seen or tried its ice cream at Barclay’s Center, Smorgasborg, Whole Foods, or one of the many retailers that carry it.
Address: 1 Water St., Brooklyn, NY 11201
Hours: Open daily, noon – 10 p.m.
Accepts: Cash only
Housed in a landmark fireboat house on the oldest ferry landing in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is an old-fashioned, no-frills establishment slinging freshly made classic scoops in eight traditional flavors, including Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Butter Pecan, and Coffee. On occasion, special flavors are created and sold on a seasonal basis, but in this historic spot the management is focused on quality, not quantity.
The servings are generous, and they now offer junior-size cones for kids. In addition to scoops, you can sample banana splits, sundaes, and milkshakes. Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory also sells glass bottles of Coca-Cola to add a bit of nostalgia to your visit.
Their ice cream is made without eggs, and they use less butterfat than most places, giving the finished product a light and creamy air.
Outdoor tented seating is available directly in front of the shop at what is called the Buzz Bar, and there is often live music. Others may choose to grab a cone and walk along the water, taking in the views of downtown Manhattan.
You might want to take the family to lunch first at Grimaldi’s or Juliana’s for pizza, but be sure to arrive before either restaurant opens to get a spot in line outside. Save some room for dessert and stroll over to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory after, as it’s only a few blocks away. Be prepared to wait in line here, too, especially in nice weather, because it’s a popular tourist destination.
Before you head home on full stomachs, be sure to take a ride on Jane’s Carousel on Dock Street between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge to top off the day.