Summer—when the heat waves come in, well, waves—is peak ice cream season. It's a time when only a sweet, ice-cold treat will do.
Happily, Harlem has become a great place to find some truly notable frozen desserts. It's home to two spots specializing in ice cream and gelato as well as a number of stylish eateries where you can pull up to the counter for icy shakes, swirls and more.
Here, then, are TCU's favorites, from south to north.
Central Harlem 109 Malcolm X Blvd between W 115th and W 116th Sts
The deliciously tangy soft serve at this rice-focused spot—the rice milk hibiscus raspberry swirl—is made using its star ingredient. Meaning, yes, it's vegan.
• Central Harlem 184 Lenox Ave between W 119th and W 120th Sts
• Hamilton Heights 3629 Broadway between W 149th and W 150th Sts
The original Harlem spot for creative scoops in flavors ranging from caramel cookies-n-cream with Nilla Wafers (Hello New World) to blueberry cheesecake (Chairperson of the Board). Now with two locations.
Central Harlem 2220 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 119th and W 120th Sts
This Chilean pastry shop also makes its own ice cream and sorbet in flavors such as raspberry, orange, and—naturally—dulce de leche.
Central Harlem 100 W 124th St and Lenox Ave
This retro burger joint's mouthwatering shake menu includes everything from classic vanilla to its signature red velvet—all made with organic Blue Marble ice cream.
Hamilton Heights 1610 Amsterdam Ave between W 139th and W 140th Sts
A brand-new family-run spot for creamy house-made gelato. Find a range of rotating flavors including S'mores and vegan coconut.
Inwood 4996 Broadway at 212th St
This stellar pastry shop makes its own ice cream and sorbet—revolving flavors include mint chocolate chip ice cream and strawberry sorbet—served starting at noon. Also look for ice cream cake sandwiches like red velvet cake with vanilla ice cream.