The 10 Best Family-Friendly Ice Cream Shops Around Boston
With summer coming soon, these sweet treats will keep the whole family happy.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! No matter who you are, there’s no denying that ice cream is a favorite summer treat. Maybe you like to keep it traditional with a scoop on a cone or maybe you opt for something more grand (brownie sundae, anyone?) Either way, an ice cream is almost guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
An ice cream trip is always a great activity, and there are a few Boston ice cream shops that are particularly perfect for kids. We've rounded up the 10 best family-friendly ice cream shops in the Boston area, just in time for your summer enjoyment! So, whether you're a parent, babysitter, or nanny looking for a fun outing to do with the kids, make sure you keep these 10 ice cream shops at the very top of your list.
Address: 659 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 (original) | Click here for other locations.
- Original Location: Open daily, 6 a.m. - midnight
- Additional Locations: Click here for other locations' hours.
Phone: Original Location, 617-524-6740 | Click here for other phone numbers.
When you think about Boston ice cream, J.P. Licks probably springs to mind immediately. Of course, the Boston original is most well-known for its bold, creamy, and delicious ice cream flavors (like Sail Boston Fresh Strawberry Rhubarb) that are made with real, local ingredients. If you can’t do dairy, have no fear -- J.P. Licks also offers fabulous non-dairy treats, like the Cape Codder Sorbet. One of the best things about J.P. Licks is the low-key, artsy vibe in every store, which can be traced back to the business’ Jamaica Plain roots. Kids and grownups alike will love seeing the local art displayed at the stores.
Address: 687 E. Second St., Boston, MA 02127
Hours: Monday - Friday, 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday, 7:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Molly Moo’s takes ice cream to the next level, giving the whole family treats that will rock your ice cream experience. Kids will adore the homemade ice cream sandwiches, and adults will go wild for the ice cream-stuffed cannoli. (Yes, you read that right!) The dessert masterminds at Molly Moo’s are always trying something new, and every member of your family will enjoy picking out a novelty treat to try each time you visit this South Boston favorite.
Address: 2295 Dorchester Ave., Boston, MA 02124
Hours: Open daily, noon - 10 p.m.
The Ice Creamsmith has a strong history in Dorchester. A husband-wife duo began making small-batch ice creams in 1976, and now their daughter and her husband have taken over the business, giving this place a distinctly family feel. The Ice Creamsmith sticks to simple and delicious flavors but offers customers many options for mix-ins, which is the perfect way to allow little ones to create a flavor that is all their own. The environment at the shop is welcoming and cozy and will leave you feeling like you’re visiting friends (the great ones, who don’t mind if your kids are a little rambunctious!).
Address: 140 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215 | Click here for other locations.
Hours: Monday - Friday, noon - 11 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday, noon - 11:30 p.m. Phone: 617-262-1569
Emack & Bolio’s is a Boston favorite, with locations throughout the city and beyond. However, our favorite is the Brookline Avenue location, right near Fenway Park. This is the perfect place to grab a cone with the family before exploring Fenway. Whether or not you’re going to a game, there’s always something exciting to be found in this area. Although the origin story of the chain is decidedly adult -- the shop started in Coolidge Corner in 1975 to get around laws about bar closing times -- the fun, funky atmosphere will delight visitors of all ages today.
Addres: 1255 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02139
Hours: Open daily, 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream, located right in Inman Square, is a Cambridge favorite. In addition to kid-friendly standards like chocolate and cookie dough, Christina’s also has some unique flavors that adults will enjoy: everything from green tea to ginger molasses. Whether you are drawn to sweet or savory, Christina’s will have an ice cream you’ll love -- although, for science, we suggest trying them all!
Address: 142 Park St., Dorchester, MA 02122
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
The owners of Chill on Park say they’ve aimed to create a space that allows people to be fun and lively or to just sit and relax, which basically sounds like the perfect environment for families. In fact, this ice cream shop is so family-friendly that they even have a wall where local kids’ art is displayed. Of course, the ice cream and baked goods are delicious, and adults will appreciate that the staff here knows how to make a great cup of coffee, as well.
Address: 899 Main St., Cambridge, MA 02139
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday, 9 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Toscanini’s is run by a brother-sister team, which is pretty much the sweetest thing we’ve heard. You can visit simply to prove to the kids that their siblings really are more than just pests! However, that lesson aside, Toscanini’s has also been called the best ice cream in the world by “The New York Times,” so you know it’s worth a visit. Don’t miss the ice cream here no matter what, but they also make a great espresso, so remember to grab a coffee before you leave!
Address: 655 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02118 | Click here for other locations.
Hours: Sunday - Thursday, noon - 10 p.m. | Friday & Saturday, noon - 11 p.m.
FoMu is the perfect family-friendly ice cream destination for parents and kids who have food allergies or intolerances. At FoMu, the “ice cream” is actually a delicious treat made entirely from plant-based ingredients. Most of the ice creams are concocted using coconut milk, and the result is a creamy, gelato-like treat that parents and kids will all love. In addition to this South End location, FoMu has locations in Allston and Jamaica Plain, and a pop-up store on Newbury Street until the end of the year.
Address: 94 Belvidere St., Boston, MA 02115 (in the Prudential Center)
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Cold Stone isn’t specific to Boston. In fact, this ice cream chain can be found around the country. But it’s still one of the most family-friendly ice cream shops around town. The reason why is simple: At Cold Stone, you pick a flavor and mix in whatever treats you’d like, from gummy bears to apple pie filling. Kids will absolutely love creating their own concoction, and Cold Stone’s location in the Prudential Center makes it the perfect ice cream shop in the heart of the city.
Address: New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02210
Hours: Friday - Sunday, noon - 6 p.m.
Ben & Jerry’s is a New England favorite, and everyone loves their bold and hilariously named flavors, like Oat of This Swirled. The only thing that can make a Ben & Jerry’s trip more fantastic is the location, and this pop-up ice cream stand right outside the New England Aquarium is perfect for families. Even if you’re not headed into the aquarium, you can eat your ice cream while watching the harbor seals (which you can see for free outside the aquarium) or while waving to the boats filled with tourists departing the docks, making a fun-filled summer afternoon just a little sweeter.
Did we name all your favorite local ice cream shops? Tell us in the comments below!
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