Lonely Planet Writer

Get the scoop: your US ice cream picks

birite

Brace yourself for brain freeze, grab your spoon and get ready to celebrate America's tastiest holiday, National Ice Cream Month, with our community picks.

With the US Independence Day celebrations on the 4th and hot summer weather across the country, July was a natural choice when Ronald Reagan christened the occasion in 1984.

There's no denying Americans love ice cream: the US is the largest producer and consumer of ice cream in the world, eating roughly 14 litres per person each year. The volume produced is colossal, but it's the variety of types, flavours and regional specialities that is truly impressive from the traveller's point of view.

[Photo: Ginger ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco - by lesleyk]

Whether you're taking a road trip across the US, relaxing on the beach in Oahu, watching the 4th of July fireworks in the Boston, or travelling for business, it's always best to know the locals' tips for where to find the best ice cream.

To give you the scoop on the best ice cream shops in the US, we recently polled our community members on the Thorn Tree forum and Lonely Planet staff members and then compiled all of the recommendations into one handy map (strawberry cones = community recommendations; chocolate cones = LP Staff recommendations - click through to the full map):

ice_cream_map

The selections come from all over the US, and the tastes and styles are at just as varied: 130-year-old creameries as well as recent upstarts; urban diners and rural dairies; gourmet gelaterias with petite, rich portions and old-fashioned soda fountains that wow you with towering sundaes; makers of classic flavours and those that experiment with the likes of bourbon and bacon.

gelato

Cones, cups, shakes, malts, floats, freezes, sundaes, splits - you'll find them all at the spots on the list. You can also find some other ice cream relatives on the list: frozen yogurt, sorbet, Italian ice, Hawaiian shave ice (with or without vanilla ice cream), Indian kulfi, and akutaq, the so-called Eskimo ice cream made from whipped blubber and berries (but no cream).

[Photo: Gelato from L'Arte del Gelato in New York by roboppy]

If we passed over your favourite place, let us know in the comments below or join the discussion on Thorn Tree and we'll add your suggestions to the map.