Nothing says ‘summer’ like a soft-serve scoop of ice cream. Whether you’re all about the holy trinity of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, or after more eclectic flavours like matcha and sweet red bean, Orlando has you covered. ‘The City Beautiful’ is brimming with brilliant scoops, soft serve, floats, sundaes, melts, twisters and chillers, some in flavours that could induce a coronary just looking at them. But by God they’re delicious. From artisanal boutiques to nitro-labs, it’s about time you indulged in some of the best ice cream shops in Orlando. These should keep you going well into winter too.
Once upon a time, Kelly’s was just one small ice cream float in a farmers market, but it’s become so popular that it now boasts three different shops in Florida, two of which are in Orlando. Seasonality is king here, with flavours inspired by what’s fresh and local produce. July’s featured flavours include a Key Lime Pie, Blueberry Swirl and Non-Dairy Ameretto Cherry. There are top-notch traditional flavours like the blondie, as well indulgent combos like Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie and Banana Pudding. If you can’t decide, treat yourself to an Ice Cream Flight – four flavours served in a crispy waffle bowl. Heaven.
Orlando’s first-ever artisanal ice cream boutique is conveniently located in Downtown Orlando. The ice cream here is 100% organic and fresh, without an additive, artificial flavouring or thickener in sight. Traditional dairy ice cream is made with locally sourced cream from grass-fed Orlando cows, while vegans can take their pick from coconut, peanut butter, sunflower butter, almond or soy bases. The team handcraft the ice cream in small batches daily to ensure freshness and quality control. Flavours change daily but if you’re stuck for choice, you can get a helping hand from a friendly ‘SorBae’.
You’ll need a ticket to Universal Studios to get in, but if you’re already there it would be rude not to fully commit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The re-imagined ice cream shop is a favourite with Harry Potter and his pals in the blockbuster movies and award-winning novels. Muggles in the know might remember that Hagrid bought Harry a rather delightful looking chocolate and raspberry number from here when he first ventured to Diagon Alley. Fictionally speaking, the ice cream shop disappeared when You Know Who returned, but thankfully this ice cream shop is very much still present. And as the website says, “Butter Beer ice cream is just the beginning….”. Tuck into fantastic flavours like Granny Smith, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Salted Caramel Blondie. If you’re feeling parched, you can sip on Pumpkin Juice too.
For an equally magical soft scoop experience, head to the Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory. They use a modern nitrogen freezing technology to flash freeze your chosen flavours. First, you choose from a regular, sugar-free, lactose-free or yoghurt base. Then, you pimp up your scoop with one of an array of ‘toss-ins’. Highlights include butterscotch, blueberry and cherries, but there’s some seriously elaborate stuff going on here too, with premium flavours like Cheesecake and Strawberry Shortcake.
Plus, there’s a bounce house where kids under the age of 12 can expend some of that sugar-induced energy.
For gelato your nonna would approve of, you can’t beat Mike’s Italian Ice. The family-run ice cream shop serves up a staggering range of floats, ices and soft ice cream, as well as something called ‘The Avalanche’. Made with sophisticated ice cream machines imported from Italy, along with a 100-year-old-recipe and high-quality ingredients, you can guarantee a soft and creamy scoop every time. There are a whopping 150 flavours to choose from more virtuous healthy low-calorie, fat-free, gluten-free scoops to explosive flavour combinations like “Da Bomb”, made with cherries, lemon and blue raspberry.
Located just past Central Florida Parkway, Ginther’s is the perfect pitstop after a long day at SeaWorld. There’s a large patio, indoor seating or a drive-through, if you’re pressed for time too. The curated menu offers at least eight flavours. You’ll find stalwarts like Vanilla and Chocolate alongside more creative concoctions like Birthday Cake and Salty Caramel Peanut. As well as scoops, you can tuck into milkshakes, malts, twirls, sundaes, splits, smoothies, floats, and chillers – all topped with dips, Flavorburst and sprinkles.
If you’ve had your fill of cookie dough and cream, Matcha House Tea and Creamery. Unsurprisingly, they specialise in matcha here, but it’s not all coffee. There’s an array of kooky and quirky soft serve and sundaes to choose from. Crowd pleasers include the Ube and Matcha Soft Serve with Sweet Red Beans, Mochi Balls, Corn Flakes and Strawberry Pocky, as well as the Fruity Pebbles Sundae, made with mochi, blueberries and yoghurt popping boba. This place is seriously good for the ‘gram too.