The summer heat is upon us, which means many of the seasonal ice cream shops are ready to please.
Of course, there are some shops that fulfill your ice cream needs all year-round; Graeter's is, of course, the granddaddy of Cincinnati ice cream. (Black raspberry chip, anyone?)
But we have so many more options for you to try. Where do you get cool treats? There are many places serving everything from traditional ice cream to more exotic, foodie-focused frozen treats.
Creamy Whip/Soft Serve
Mt. Washington Creamy Whip (Mt. Washington): This creamy whip (Cincinnati's name for soft-serve ice cream) is pretty traditional -- you can get dipped cones, sundaes and flavor twists. The parlor has indoor seating and outdoor tables, too, so you can enjoy a cherry dip cone on the premises.
Putz's (Westwood): Putz's is a classic Cincinnati institution; if you're from the West Side you certainly have been there, and if you aren't, you've likely heard of it. It even has a street named after it. Aside from the usual creamy whip classics, Putz's has a pineapple upside-down cake sundae and great malts and milkshakes. It's worth the line (and worth getting some cash out of the ATM -- it's cash only).
Ice Cream Beverages
The Root Beer Stand (Sharonville): This used to be an A&W, but in the '80s, it lost its franchise. That's OK -- the Root Beer Stand kept (and even grew) its customer base, and it's now legendary in the Cincinnati area. You need to get a root beer float here. Sure, it serves other items, but the Root Beer Stand is known for its float -- perfect for a hot summer day.
Schneider's Sweet Shop (Bellevue): Known for its candy, Schneider's Sweet Shop covers all of the sweets bases, including ice cream. The flavors are traditional (strawberry, chocolate, cookie dough) but it's enjoyable to grab a cone and walk around Bellevue, or in warmer weather, lounge on the shop's outdoor patio.
Dojo Gelato (Over-the-Rhine): Dojo is gelato with an attitude. Sure, you can get classic flavors here, but the out-of-the-box flavors (with ingredients sourced locally, if possible) are the ones to focus on: Captain Crunch gelato, banana and bourbon, and even Boss Hogg (yes, that involves bacon). If you need a caffeine jolt, too, try their affogato, with a shot of espresso over a scoop of gelato.
Buona Terra (Mount Lookout): With 24 flavors of gelato available at any time, you're bound to find something you like. Classic flavors, such as pistachio and stracciatella, are great choices, or if you're going for vegan or dairy-free, sorbettos are also an excellent choice (particularly paired as a float with San Pellegrino -- it's light and delicious).
Streetpops (Oakley, Over-the-Rhine): Streetpops, with a new location in Oakley and its kitchen in OTR, is the place to get your Popsicle fix. Whether leaning toward more traditional flavors such as strawberry lemonade or sampling the pineapple jalapeño (both spicy and sweet), you can get in touch with your inner child (without chasing after the ice cream truck).
Yagoot (Oakley, Kenwood): Trying to be a little healthy? This local (owned by Busken) answer to the ubiquitous fro-yo shops is delicious. Their original flavor is great with alligator crunch (essentially Busken's danish topping) and pineapple; or try one of their seasonal flavors.
Hello Honey (Downtown): Ice cream made from scratch in revolving flavors is the hallmark of Hello Honey, a tiny, modern shop on Vine Street between Sixth and Seventh streets. Its signature is toasted homemade marshmallow -- flamed right in front of you. Try the dark chocolate ice cream.
Village Ice Cream Parlor (Lebanon): After a day of antique shopping in downtown Lebanon, there's nothing that can top it off like a sundae in a vintage ice cream parlor. This cute, quaint shop feels like you're stepping back in time. Go for a classic hot fudge sundae here.
Want a treat for your dog? Graeter's has monthly "Dog Night Out" events on the first Thursday of each month. Your pup gets a free Frosty Paws while you enjoy your favorite Graeter's ice cream. Streetpops' coconut popsicle is a big hit with dogs (and it's dairy free) and Pet Wants carries its own brand of Pawsicles, too.