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 boutique ice cream shops as well as a number of stylish eateries where you can pull up to the counter for gelatos, creamy shakes, and more.
Here, then, are TCU's favorites, from south to north (including one in Inwood).
Central Harlem 109 Malcolm X Blvd between W 115th and W 116th Sts
Naturally, the deliciously tangy soft serve at this rice-focused spot—the rice milk hibiscus raspberry swirl—is made using its star ingredient. And, yes, that means 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 spot in Harlem for creative scoops in flavors ranging from salted caramel (a.k.a Harlem Sweeties) to blueberry cheesecake (Chairperson of the Board). Now with two locations.
Central Harlem 196 Lenox Ave at W 120th St
Classic Italian gelato in flavors such as chocolate and pistachio.
Central Harlem 100 W 124th St and Lenox Ave
This retro burger joint's mouthwatering shake list includes everything from classic vanilla to its signature red velvet—and all are made with organic Blue Marble ice cream.
Central Harlem 2500 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 133rd and W 134th Sts
The Harlem location of this pop culture-inspired ice cream brand is open until late (check for hours)—perfect for grabbing founder Mikey Cole's signature waffle ice cream sandwich after dinner.
Inwood 4996 Broadway at 212th St
This stellar pastry shop makes its own ice cream and sorbet—flavors include mint chocolate chip ice cream and strawberry sorbet—and serves it (starting at noon) in a cup with a side of chocolate-dipped cone.