Living in a desert means the summer heat lingers to mid October or so. To compensate with the Sonoran sun, it is a must to cool down with ice cream. Thankfully Tucson has plenty of ice cream spots, and in no particular order, I would like to share some of my favorite below!
1. The Hub Ice Cream Factory
The Hub is a delicious restaurant and also carries ice cream to go. Before the Hub Ice Cream Factory opened up across the street, you would always see a line out the door of the restaurant for those craving their creamy and thick ice cream. When they opened up the Hub Ice Cream Factory, they expanded their ice cream selection to popsicles, chocotacos, cookie sandwiches and more. However, I prefer to enjoy the crafted 22 flavors on their own– three which are sorbets and vegan options as well.
Get it now: S’mores
Now, what would Tucson be without it’s Mexican-influenced ice cream creations?? Peñas Raspados has this delicious creation called a “macedonia” which includes the following: la lechera, ice cream, strawberries, peaches, mangoes, pineapple and crushed pecans. If you want the traditional raspado with shave ice, they have that available as well but I prefer this since I don’t like the shave ice texture. For those with an extra sweet tooth, get it topped with an extra scoop of ice cream!
Get it now: Macedonia
It was love at first sight when I first came across these insane milkshakes from Stray Dogs. I tried one within the first week they opened– it was a butterfinger milkshake topped with a freshly-fried donut. The shake was amaaazing and surprisingly not too an overkill on sweetness. I’ve tasted all three flavors of their shakes (Churrochata, the Loaded Donut and the Munchies) and I can vouch to say you won’t be disappointed with any of them. They also have a rotating flavor each month. Don’t forget to get a burger while you’re there– they locally source their ingredients when possible.
Get it now: The Loaded Donut
Every local Tucsonan will tell you how happy they were when Isabella’s Ice Cream decided to create a brick-and-mortar location! Before this, Isabella fans had to hope to see the ice cream truck at special events throughout Tucson. I’m not sure what they do to the ice cream to make it so good but it is incredibly creamy. They offer your traditional flavors but also fun flavors like rosé.
Get it now: Vanilla
I’ve been here a few times and the sundaes never leave me disappointed! Sullivan’s Eatery & Creamery has a huuuge list of sundaes to choose from, and even offers a full menu of sugar-free options. The inside has a cute, vintage-diner vibe to it, with a toy train that goes around the entire restaurant. I also love how each sundae comes complete with a wafer and cherry on top!
Get it now: Strawberries, Bananas & Cream Abdul Jabbar
While newer to Tucson, the Screamery has been bringing a competitive edge to the ice cream market for the last few years. They take pride in how their ice cream is produced with only grass-fed dairy. The honeycomb flavor is my absolute favorite because I love the chunks of honeycomb. However, if you can’t decide on a flavor then the ice cream flight is a great option! You get to pick six sample-scoop sizes, and this is big enough to share with another person… that is if you feel like sharing.
Get it now: Sweet Cream Honeycomb
La Garrafa offers Mexican-sorbet and ice cream flavors to the Tucson market. They opened last year and always have a crowd when I come in. For those who love chamoy, get their mango sorbet topped with sorbet and tamarind Mexican candy! Nieve de Garrafa is a style where the product is created in a wooden bucket through hand churning and La Garrafa is the only location in Arizona to incorporate this technique.
Get it now: Mazapán topped with condensed milk and fresh strawberries
When Frost: A Gelato Shoppe opened in Tucson, it rapidly grew popularity as being one of the few gelato locations in town. Frost’s flavors are consistently great and each flavor is delicious, whether you’re getting a sorbet or gelato. My only wish is that they would let you get two flavors for the small. When Allegro gelato was in Tucson, I loved the fact that I didn’t need to choose between two flavors for the small since I could get both. However, I still enjoy Frost even though I can only pick one flavor. Their panna cotta is my absolute favorite but isn’t part of their regular assortment, luckily you can request a special order of any limited-edition flavors!
Get it now: Rum Raisin
Tucson evens offers an all-vegan ice cream shop, Cashew Cow. I’ve tried vegan ice cream from the grocery story but let me just say that Cashew Cow really knows what they’re doing. While it won’t be as creamy as ice cream with dairy, they still do achieve a nice consistency. P.S.: Please excuse my poor manicure ha ha.
Get it now: Raspberry
Now, it’s your turn to indulge and let me know what you think! Or if I missed some of your favorites, then let me know so I can try it out. Happy SUNDAE everyone!