Ice Cream Tour of Manhattan: Six Days of Ice Cream in NYC!
During our last visit to NYC we had plans to meet up with some friends and we wanted to take all the kids out for ice cream. Wanting it to be special as we don’t get to see these friends nearly as often as we’d like, we were looking for something more than just an ice cream truck. We wanted the best ice cream in Manhattan! Much to our boys’ delight, we found that searching for the best ice cream in Manhattan led us to far too many choices. What’s one to do when faced with too many ice cream choices? Try them all! This is how we ended up on a six day Ice Cream Tour of Manhattan. While our boys would have preferred to extend this tour for another month (for scientific purposes of course), we only had six days in the city so here are the six ice cream spots that made our list.
75 9th Ave, New York (Chelsea) Additional locations on website
Our first day in the city took us down to Chelsea Market and the Highline. Located in the Meatpacking District at 9th Avenue between 15th and 16th , Chelsea Market is a bustling, global indoor food market and shopping center where you’ll find everything from Cambodian inspired sandwiches to authentic Mexican tacos. The exposed brick architecture adds to the hip vibe emanating from the unique collection of restaurants and shops. While there are a couple of choices when it comes to ice cream and milkshakes, our boys were drawn to L’Arte Del Gelato. L’Arte Del Gelato is located right at the end of the main hall, beckoning you through the crowds towards its shiny glass display of creamy goodness! Gelato has less fat than traditional ice cream (as it’s made with more milk than cream) and less sugar that traditional ice cream, but it’s much more filling! Luckily our boys had no trouble gobbling down their larger than usual serving- this stuff was delicious! When we finished eating we headed up to the Highline and saw that L’Arte Del Gelato also has a location up in the park, which would be a pretty awesome place to stop for a treat. In fact, they have multiple locations throughout the city- including inside of some of NYC’s top museums- so you never have to go far to find L’Arte Del Gelato!
1796 Broadway, New York (Columbus Circle) Additional locations on website
We met up with our friends on our second day in the city. Though they’re from Long Island, they don’t often visit Manhattan so we wanted to put together a special day. When you’re talking four 8 year old boys, a special day must include some kind of ice cream! We settled on Grom, another gelato spot, for three reasons. First, Grom originated in Italy and is known for some of the most authentic Italian gelato in New York. Second, Grom has gluten-free cones! I honestly don’t remember how long it’s been since our boys could order their ice cream in a cone. So while I was drawn to the rich and velvety gelato made with all natural ingredients- many grown on Grom’s own organic farm in Italy- our boys selected Grom for their special treat based primarily on the gluten-free cone option! Lastly, located on Broadway at Columbus Circle, Grom is just a hop and a skip away from Central Park- the perfect place to let four 8 year old boys burn off some energy!
The verdict? Grom surely did not disappoint. The gelato was rich, creamy and full of flavor. They’ve got a wide variety of sizing options but as we learned with gelato the day before- don’t let your eyes deceive you! Made with less air than traditional ice cream, gelato is more dense and filling. This time we opted for smaller servings. You can mix and match flavors- the Carmello Al Sale mixed with the Guatemalan coffee flavored Caffe was glorious- or stick with a single flavor and add a unique topping. While most of Grom’s locations are scattered throughout Italy, they have three locations in NYC (Columbus Circle, Greenwich Village and Lower Manhattan). Make a special trip- you won’t regret it!
101 Macdougal Street, New York (West Village) Additional locations on website
Thai rolled ice cream is something we all wanted to try so we scoped out I CE NY to see what it was all about. So. Much. Fun! While our selections were somewhat limited as much of their menu contains gluten, our boys were able to customize a chocolate creation and absolutely loved watching their rolls being made. Because it is a quick freeze ice cream the texture is quite different than the traditional hard scoop variety. It’s incredibly smooth and creamy. Between the fun of watching them make your ice cream and the melt in your mouth texture of the ice cream itself, I CE NY quickly became one of our favorite frozen treats!
225 East 60th Street, New York (Midtown East)
We’ve been to NYC more than a half a dozen times yet we’ve never stopped at the famed Serendipity 3, an iconic New York City hot spot known for its gargantuan sized desserts. We spent a hot, sunny afternoon on the row boats in Central Park with another little friend and her mom when we all hopped on a bus then walked down 60th towards the Roosevelt Island Tram. Our friends have been living in the city for two years now so when we walked past Serendipity and realized that none of us had ever been inside, we all said there’s no better time than the present! With the heat bearing down on us and three kiddos on a hunt for new adventures in their favorite city, it was time to give it a try!
Let me be clear about something. Serendipity is a tourist trap. Everything here is larger than life. The menu was so big it took both of our boys just to hold it up. Luckily they didn’t have to hold it up for long as they quickly settled on the infamous frozen hot chocolate! The prices are also big. Really big. The kind of big that could give my husband a heart attack. (I actually saw him put his hand to his chest while looking at the menu!) I’m talking $25 for a banana split big. But the serving sizes are big too. Our boys shared a frozen hot chocolate and still only made it half-way through. The three adults shared a banana split and it was more than enough for all of us. So while the prices are enough to make your heart flutter, don’t be afraid to share! Our family is generally not into tourist traps, but I have to say this was one we are really glad we finally stopped to enjoy. Every kid should experience the pure joy of having a waitress deliver their ice cream only to realize the bowl is bigger than their head! The gasps and the giggles shared between our boys and their friend were enough to make it all worth it. It was like an ice cream dream come true! For us it will be a once in a lifetime experience, but I do get what all the hype is about and I can honestly say that I do recommend adding Serendipity to your must-do in NYC list!
721 Eight Avenue, New York (Times Square) Additional locations on website
Gelato in the shape of a rose with a macaron on top?! Yes please! When we found these fun, flowery treats we just had to give them a try. Known for shaping its gelato cones into beautiful flower petals, Amorino also serves macarons filled with its signature gelato. Their menu also boasts gluten-free cones but they had run out by the time we arrived mid-evening. Our boys still insisted on getting the rose in a cone and just dumping the cone after marveling at their flower treats. While the gelato wasn’t quite as rich and creamy as the others we had earlier in the week, it was still quite delicious and the macarons filled with gelato were nothing short of spectacular! The macarons were light and airy with a perfectly crisped shell and the gelato filling was a cool and refreshing twist on one of our favorite gluten-free treats. Macarons are never cheap and these were no exception, but we’ll be stopping at Amorino for more next time we’re in the city!
125 East 7th Street, New York (East Village) Additional locations on website
So we’re five days in to our Ice Cream Tour of Manhattan with one day left of our vacation. By this point our boys had shared their ice cream journey with numerous strangers on the bus and the subway because, contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers are incredibly friendly. We always manage to strike up a conversation with someone if we’re sitting for more than just a minute. Multiple people had recommended the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop as their favorite place for soft serve. So to support the spirit of Pride Week and all things ice cream, we decided to heed their advice and stop at the East Village location. Much to our surprise, they served gluten-free cones! By this point, our boys were becoming spoiled with ice cream cones! The soft serve was truly delicious and there are all sorts of fun toppings from sprinkles to dips to cookie crumbles. They even construct entire ice cream sundaes right inside of the cones! What started with an ice cream truck and built on the concepts of confidence and comfort food has now become one of New York City’s most popular cones. We were happy to finish off our Ice Cream Tour of Manhattan with the delicious soft serve and sprinkles (rainbow of course!) at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop!