[Ice Cream Flight | Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream]
July is National Ice Cream Month, with National Ice Cream Day happening on July 17. What better way to cool off this summer than with a sweet treat?
Summer is now in full swing and we’ve got a fun idea for you to try out - a San Diego Ice Cream Crawl! There are a few neighborhoods that lend themselves to easy walking tours and we’ve put together all of the details for you - just grab a few friends, bring a few supplies, and hop on board MTS to get you to your day of delicious fun! Taking MTS can help you save on gas, travel in large groups and avoid parking issues in popular neighborhoods.
How to do an ice cream crawl
1.) Ask a few of your friends and family to join you for an ice cream crawl, then select one of the neighborhoods you'd like to explore from our list below - we've got three to choose from!
2.) To make the crawl a bit more fun, print out these Ice Cream Crawl review sheets in advance. Write in the names of the shops you plan to visit under each cone. Pick one or two flavors to try at each stop, depending on the number of people in your party. It's best to go small and share only 1 or 2 scoops since you'll be trying quite a bit of ice cream!
3.) After each visit, rate the ice cream on a scale of 1 to 4, 4 being the best. The “judges” can either circle the number, or color in the number of scoops to indicate the score. At the end of your ice cream crawl, have someone tally up the points for each shop. The shop with the most points is the winner!
4.) Snap of photo of your group and their completed review sheets or ice cream and tag us on Instagram @sdmts and include the hashtag #sdmtsicecreamcrawl
4.) Some suggested supplies to bring with you:
- plastic knife (for cutting ice cream sandwiches or paletas)
- Ice Cream Crawl review sheet
- pens or colored pencils
- a PRONTO card or app (every rider needs their own PRONTO card or app)
If you don't want to commit to a full crawl, also check out our list of unique ice cream shops in San Diego below. Whether you do a full ice cream crawl, or just visit a shop or two, MTS is a safe and easy way to get you to your destination without the hassle of parking and will help you to save on gas. And for families: remember that youth 18 and under ride free with the Youth Opportunity Pass.
View our list of suggested ice cream shops below!
Ice Cream Crawl Neighborhoods
Little Italy is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with plenty of piazzas to gather your friends and family together for a day of ice cream tasting.
How to get there:
Use one of our Park & Ride lots and then take the UC San Diego Blue Line or Green Line Trolley to County Center/Little Italy station. Head east on W Cedar Street and walk 0.2 miles to your first stop at Pappalecco.
1602 State St
Gelato is like ice cream's richer, more indulgent cousin and a good way to kick off an ice cream crawl to get a taste for something a little different. Pappalecco has a number of outstanding flavors to try and this being the first stop, it will be hard to pick just one. Don't go overboard on your first stop though! Get your group to choose one (or maybe two) flavors and share it so you can make it to a few more stops.
550 W Date St (inside the Little Italy Food Hall) or 2175 Kettner Blvd
There’s one other gelato option in Little Italy - with two locations! One is inside the Little Italy Food Hall and the other is down on Kettner Blvd. With their made fresh daily gelatos, either location will work for this crawl.
[Peanut Butter with Reese's Cup | Holy Paleta]
3.) Holy Paleta
2040 India Street, San Diego
Holy Paleta offers a variety of paletas (or popsicles) that are milk or water based and usually made with a variety of fresh fruit. Holy Paleta has a variety of flavors such as Pineapple Basil, Strawberry Mojito, Sandia (Watermelon) con Chile and dairy based flavors like Arroz con Leche, Peanut Butter with Reese's Cup, Horchata, Key Lime Pie and many more.
4.) Pop Pops Paleta
1740 India Street, San Diego, CA
Another paleta stop! Some of Pop Pops Paleta’s flavors include Mangonada, Milky Rice Pudding, Guava Cheesecake, Passionfruit, Very Berry Greek Yogurt, Cookies & Milk, Royal Tiramisu, and more.
[Honey Lavender | Salt & Straw]
5.) Salt & Straw
1670 India Street, San Diego, CA
This ice cream shop from Portland is always creating new flavors. Last month they featured a “Cinnamon & Honey Fried Chicken” which had bits of croissant deep fried in chicken fat (no actual chicken in the mix, if you’re wondering or possibly worried). They do have more “normal” flavors like Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons and other West Coast Exclusives like Cold Brew Coffee Cashew Praline and Pear & Blue Cheese. If you can’t decide on a flavor, you can even get an ice cream flight! But for an ice cream crawl, we recommend that your group choose one flavor to share. Make it something that everyone can agree on!
All of the ice cream shops listed for the Convoy Street Crawl are a bit different than your regular ice cream or gelato shop! Do this crawl if you want to experience some different flavors and textures along with your ice cream.
How to get there:
Take Route 44 (connects to the Trolley at Old Town and Morena-Linda Vista Stations) to Convoy St and Armour St; or take Route 27 from the Balboa Avenue Station (exit Balboa and Convoy, then walk down half a block); and start at Bing Haus. After you’re finished at Bing Haus, simply walk two blocks north on Convoy to Dagget St.
1.) Bing Haus
4425 Convoy Street
Thai rolled ice cream is like having a show with your dessert. They spread out ice cream on a very cold surface and it’s rolled up with a spatula. It looks a bit like a swiss cake roll - but it’s ice cream! Bing Haus also offers soft serve (flavors change monthly), shaved snow and other treats.
[Milk Soft Serve with Taiyaki Cone | Somi Somi]
2.) Somi Somi
4620 Convoy Street
Somi Somi serves up a Korean dessert known as “Ah-Boong” which has a fish shaped waffle cone with your choice of filling and topped with soft serve. They feature different flavors of soft serve as well as different “swirls” every week. Each location features a different swirl which is a combination of two of their soft serve flavors.
4609 Convoy Street
Iceskimo specializes in Tawainese shaved snow which is shaved thin ribbons from a block of snow ice. The thin shaved snow creates a delicate and creamy melt in your mouth experience. They also have soft serve that you can get with a bubble waffle to have a mixture of a hot and cold treat.
[Strawberry Cheesecake Puffle with Vanilla Custard | Boba Bar & Desserts]
4.) Boba Bar & Desserts
4619 Convoy Street
Boba Bar & Desserts have “puffles” which are small egg shaped bubble waffles with soft serve and a variety of toppings. The puffles are made to order and are served warm! They offer a variety of different toppings and different style of puffles.
5.) LAB Desserts & Coffee
4817 Convoy Street
Round out the crawl with a macaron ice cream sandwich or a cotton candy burrito filled with ice cream.
The best thing about an ice cream crawl at Pacific Beach is being by the water and enjoying the ocean breeze.
How to get there:
Take the UC San Diego Blue Line to Balboa Avenue Transit Center
Take Route 8 to Mission Blvd & Thomas Ave and walk about 0.2 miles or
Take Route 27 to Mission Blvd & Felspar St to start at the Baked Bear
1.) Baked Bear
4516 Mission Blvd
Start off your ice cream crawl with a customized ice cream sandwich! The hardest part will be trying to get your group to choose from the many options available and then cutting it up into smaller sharing sized pieces. You got this!
[Peanut Butter Parfait | Handel's Ice Cream]
2.) Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream
4475 Mission Blvd
There are tons of flavors to try at Handel’s! A few that caught our eye: Banana Cream Pie, Spouse like a House, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, and Graham Central Station (with graham ice cream?!).
3.) Afters Ice Cream
855 Garnet Avenue
Mix things up and get a milky bun for your ice cream and some interesting toppings.
4.) Insomnia Cookies
1007 Garnet Avenue
Is your ice cream crawl ready for a second cookie sandwich? Try out the Blue Ribbon Blueberry Monster’wich which has vanilla ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies mashed in between two Blue Ribbon Blueberry cookies.
[Skrewball Peanut Butter Cookie | Pacific Beach Ice Cream Co]
5.) Pacific Beach Ice Cream Co
1010 Grand Avenue
Pacific Beach Ice Cream Co is over on Grand Ave but don't skip this spot! They feature handcrafted ice cream with delicious flavors like Bourbon Breakfast, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Skrewball Peanut Butter Cookie, Honey Vanilla, Julian Dutch Apple Pie, Dad's Famous Mint Chip (made with real mint leaves!) and Saffron Rose Pistachio.
If you’re not interested in doing an ice cream crawl but still want to get some delicious ice cream, may we suggest one of the shops below?
[Sundae | Mootime Creamery]
1025 Orange Ave, Coronado, CA 92118
→ Route 904 or 901 to Orange Ave & Park Pl
Mootime Creamery is a great summertime choice. They have tons of ice cream flavors AND you can mix in items to create a totally unique flavor! There’s also sundaes, Mootacos (ice cream tacos) and Moopies (ice cream cookie sandwiches)!
[Gelato | An's Dry Cleaning]
An’s Dry Cleaning
3017 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
→ Route 2 or 11 near 30th Street & Adams Avenue
An’s Dry Cleaning doesn’t sound like a place that would have anything edible. The owners took over the shop (which used to be a dry cleaners) and left the name but instead they sell gelato! All of the gelato is named after different fabrics. The tables inside all have ironing boards to go along with the theme.
Tocumbo Ice Cream
1900 Main St #109, San Diego, CA 92113
→ UC San Diego Blue Line to Barrio Logan station
Named after a small town in Michoachan, Mexico that is known for its natural ice creams (known as the Mexican capital of ice cream and popsicles), Tocumbo offers ice cream flavors such as Rice, Mamey, Nanche, Guanabana, Corn, and Rose ice cream - plus many more.
[Sadie’s Sandwich with Strawberry Cream and Vanilla] | Sadie's Handcrafted]
Sadies Handcrafted Ice Cream
3001 Bonita Rd Suite 200, Chula Vista, CA 91910
→ Route 705 - Bonita Rd & Plaza Bonita Rd
Sadie’s offers a number of unique flavors including Mazapan, Chocolate Abuelita, Cafe de Olla, and Captain Crunch. They feature the “Sadie’s Sandwich” which is a Randy’s Donut that is split in half, stuffed with your choice of two scoops of ice cream, heat sealed and then coated in cinnamon sugar for the ultimate donut ice cream sandwich.
[Ice Cream Flight | Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream]
Hammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream
→ North Park - 3077 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104 (Route 7 to University Ave & Grim Ave)
→ Point Loma - 3740 Sports Arena Blvd, Suite 6, San Diego, CA 92110 (Route 8 or 9 to Sports Arena Blvd & Hancock St)
At Hammond’s, they offer Hawaiian made gourmet ice cream and are always rotating the flavors on the menu. If you can’t decide on just one flavor then get a flight! The flights are on mini cake or waffle cones and allow you to get more creamy ice cream to enjoy on a hot summer’s day.
Niederfrank's Ice Cream
726 A Avenue, National City, CA 91950
→ UC San Diego Blue Line to 8th Street Transit Center then transfer to Route 955 to 8th Street & National City Blvd
The ice cream at Niederfrank's is made the old fashioned way and the extra love put into every gallon makes for a great scoop of ice cream. Try flavors like Papaya Pineapple, Red Mint Chip, Blueberry Cheesecake, Kahlua Krunch, Avocado Pistachio and many more.
[Ube + Pandesal Toffee | Stella Jean's]
→ University Heights - 4404 Park Blvd Ste B, San Diego, CA 92116 (Route 215 to Park Blvd & Howard Ave or Route 11 to Park Blvd & Meade Ave)
→ Point Loma - 4195 Voltaire Street, San Diego, CA 92107 (Route 923 to Voltaire St & Catalina Blvd)
Stella Jean’s creates small batch premium ice cream with unique flavors such as Ube & Pandesal Toffee, Mango Sticky Rice, and Strawberry Oat Crumble. They have seasonal flavors as well. The ice cream is incredibly creamy and a great summertime treat.