Summer means an abundance of festivals, family fun, and outdoor adventures here in the River City! With so much exploring to do, you'll need to retreat from the summer heat for some refreshing drinks, popsicles, and ice cream to cool you down between activities. Here are eleven spots where you can beat the heat with cool (and delicious!) treats in Richmond!
311 W BROAD STREET, RICHMOND, VA 23220
Since opening in December 2016, Charm School has quickly become a favorite spot for sweet treats in the Arts District. This cute gourmet ice cream shop on Broad Street was formerly home to an art gallery. After you savor every bite of your scoop of choice (we recommend ordering it with the signature house-made marshmallow-fluff topping, hand-torched to order), head outside and take a picture in front of the very instagrammable "Greetings from Richmond" mural by local artist Mickael Broth and Ross Trimmer of Sure Hand Signs. Delectable ice cream and a photo op for the win! Oh, we almost forgot a very important detail: they also offer delicious vegan options!
STOPLIGHT GELATO CAFE
405 BROOK ROAD, RICHMOND VA 23220
Located in the heart of Jackson Ward, this gelato shop was certainly a welcome addition to the neighborhood when it opened in July 2016. Don't let the name fool you though - Stoplight Gelato Cafe serves up all sorts of tasty treats! In addition to a variety of delicious and unique gelato flavors, soft-serve ice cream, sundaes, floats, sodas, milkshakes, and smoothies, they also offer robust coffee options, a selection of homemade pastries, breakfast biscuit sandwiches, and lunch fare (grilled cheese and tomato soup anyone?). Did we mention that Barbara, the owner, is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet? Well trust us, she is, and meeting her is a real treat, just like her gelato.
LOCATIONS IN BON AIR, SCOTT'S ADDITION, SHORT PUMP, AND THE WEST END
Heavenly handmade ice cream. That's what you'll find at Gelati Celesti, a locally-owned (and local favorite!) ice cream company that's been operating in Richmond since 1984! Each batch of Gelati Celesti ice cream is made by hand with only the finest ingredients from around the world. Flavors are churned in small batches using special Italian equipment, which minimizes the air whipped into the ice cream, making it uniquely flavorful, thick and creamy.
BOYER'S ICE CREAM & COFFEE
5808 GROVE AVENUE, RICHMOND, VA 23226
Nestled in an adorable shop in the Libbie Grove shopping district, Boyer's Ice Cream & Coffee is a family-owned and operated cafe that has been serving up locally-made treats since 2008. From Gelati Celesti ice cream to Blanchard’s Coffee and Shyndigz desserts, the menu offers a true taste of Richmond with unbeatable service to match. Sit on the patio or inside near the front window to watch passersby on Grove Avenue while enjoying some delicious dessert!
1362 Gaskins Rd, Richmond, VA 23238
DeLuca Gelato is a family-owned and operated gelateria, specializing in gelato, sorbetto, and specialty Italian desserts such as fresh-baked tortes, cannoli, Florentine cookies, mascarpone pudding, and European sipping chocolate. The idea for DeLuca Gelato was born during a trip to Rome in April 2004 when the owners realized how much they love gelato and thought that Richmond needed a gelateria. The idea became reality in 2007 and DeLuca Gelato has been making delicious gelato ever since! Stop in for a tasty treat and you can watch the gelato being made fresh each day through the window of the production room.
Mabel's Espresso Bakery Cafe
3844 Old Buckingham Rd, Powhatan, VA 23139
Coffee, burgers & baking is their passion, but everyone's raving about their milkshakes. Home of the locally famous "crazy shakes," Mabel's Espresso Bakery Cafe is the perfect place to delight your eyes and tantalize your tastebuds at the same time. These amazing milkshakes are edible works of art that will provide a seriously delicious sugar rush. With options ranging from S'more Craziness to Cloud Nine to Cookie Licious and beyond, don't be surprised if you find a candy bar, donut, or an entire chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich atop your shake. (If you just accidentally licked your screen, we won't tell).
403 Strawberry Street, Richmond, VA 23220
This small-batch ice cream shop just opened in June 2018 in the Fan District and it is already a hit with locals and visitors alike. With flavors including roasted strawberry, croissants & jam, and sweet corn & blackberry, you're likely to find a new flavor you've never tried before, and if just might become your new favorite! We recommend trying one of their profiterole sundaes - a french pastry puff (baked fresh from sister store Whisk bakery) filled with your choice of ice cream, topping, sauce, and fresh whipped cream. Yes please!
KING OF POPS
3001 WEST CLAY STREET RICHMOND, VA 23230
King of Pops serves up yummy all-natural ice pops, handcrafted at the Pop Factory in Scott's Addition since 2012. The ice pops are made with as many local ingredients as possible, such as milk from Homestead Creamery and berries from Agriberry. Enjoy the tasty pops at the King of Pops patio or look for their carts with rainbow umbrellas at various locations and events throughout the city.
NarWhals Rolled Ice Cream
Locations at 3313 West Cary Street & Stony Point Fashion Park
The rolled ice cream craze arrived in RVA when NarWhals opened a sidewalk stand in Carytown last year. The popularity spread and you can now enjoy these rolled tubes of ice cream deliciousness at storefront locations in Carytown and Stony Point Fashion Park. Pick your base and mix-ins and watch the magic happen before your eyes as liquid ice cream is poured onto a freezing cold slab, tasty toppings are mixed in, then the yummy mixture is spread out and rolled up just for you!
La Michoacana Ice Cream
9110 Jefferson Davis Hwy, North Chesterfield, VA 23237
La Michoacana has been serving up a delicious variety of ice cream, smoothies, and paletas (Mexican dessert popsicles) since 2010. All of their frozen treats are made with natural fruit, which provides a rich flavor in every bite.
BEV'S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM
2911 W. CARY STREET, RICHMOND, VA 23221
A Carytown staple, Bev has been making ice cream in Richmond since 1998. Beverly Mazursky graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1988 at age 49 and opened up the first Bev's Homemade Ice Cream in Lenox, Massachusetts in 1989. Bev set her sights on Richmond in 1997 while visiting her son here. She moved to Richmond and opened her Carytown shop the next year, and the rest is history.
Cover image courtesy of Charm School RVA.