For many, summer and ice cream go hand in hand. From a classic vanilla cone to a matcha twist, New York City has plenty of options to satisfy your ice cream cravings. Although soft serve has traditionally been confined to hometown Dairy Queens, it has slowly crept into the trendy dining landscape—with good reason too. Soft serve is fun and forever a crowd-pleaser. Here are five places to get a cup or cone in the city.

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

What was once an ice cream shop is now a full-blown, multiple location ice cream operation. Big Gay Ice Cream shop is a delicious new take on the old school ice cream experience. They mix high-quality classics with unexpected new and special flavors. From classic sundaes to the Salty Pimp (a famed menu item) to rotating favorites, Big Gay Ice Cream Shop has it all.

Milk Bar

The brain-child of James Beard award-winning pastry chef Christina Tosi, Milk Bar is a sweet shop that churns out a myriad of creative desserts. Milk Bar first opened in NYC’s East Village, but they now operate storefronts across the country. Arguably their most popular dishes are their compost cookies, Milk Bar pies (previously known as crack pie), and their cereal milk soft serve. The latter of which is why Milk Bar has made the list. Cereal milk soft serve is creamy and smooth and tastes just like the milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl.

Mister Dips

Located in a 1974 Airstream parked outside the William Vale hotel, Mister Dips offers burgers, fries, and delicious dairy dips. Although regarded as a hybrid of Shake Shack and Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Mister Dips is an individual. With flavors like carrot cake, thin mints, chocolate peanut butter, and berry gibbs, their fun soft serve options take a nostalgic take on modern trends.

Soft Swerve

Regarded as the “best ice cream I’ve ever had” by countless reviewers and blogs, this New York City shop serves up colorful cones with funky flavors. They are best known for their vibrant purple ube ice cream, but they also serve flavors like matcha, lychee, black sesame, and milk tea. Besides flavors, they also have exciting topics like fruity pebbles and boba.


Taiyaki serves possibly the prettiest ice cream cones ever. Their name translates literally to “fried fish,” but in Japanese culture, a Taiyaki is a fish-shaped pastry that represents prosperity, good luck, and happiness. This restaurant does not stray far from Taiyaki’s traditional origins. Their ice cream, ranging in flavors from matcha to basic vanilla, is served in a fish-shaped cone with red bean paste, mochi, wafers, and an array of other toppings. To sweeten the deal, Taiyaki is more than just a pretty face. Their ice cream is sweet, creamy, and high quality. They are both Instagramable and delicious.

Cha Cha Matcha

Cha Cha Matcha, founded in 2016 by two New York University Stern graduate, has taken instagram by storm with their brightly colored, vegan matcha soft-serve. Bonded through entrepreneurial spirit and a mutual love for matcha tea, the duo partnered with independent tea farms in Japan to create their signature matcha blend—formulated specifically for the New York market. Their quality soft-serve is approved by vegans and non-vegans alike, and their monthly ‘Special Swirl” flavor keeps customers coming back for more.

The city is full of food opportunities, and these are just five of many. Get out, explore, and get some soft serve. Your taste buds will thank you—your stomach may not though.