Best Ice Cream Shops in Central San Diego

Niederfrank's shop and factory
If, like me, you grew up with trips to the golden arches on special occasions, then you know all about nostalgia for those tiny soft-serve cones. Maybe your mom even let you flag down the ice cream truck to get an Orange Creamsicle. Unfortunately, those cheap treats have somehow lost their allure. These days, I crave real ice cream made with a list of ingredients that don’t include HFCS or carrageenan. And since I like supporting local businesses, here are my San Diego picks for that down-home ice cream parlor experience. Plus, lucky for me and my no-dairy policy as of late, each spot offers tasty sorbet options.

Don’t let the sometimes shady zip code deter you from trekking to this spot, the original factory since 1948. Here, the owners do things the old-fashioned way by handcrafting their ice cream in a giant 10-gallon batch freezer with only the purest ingredients: whole milk, sweet cream, and natural flavorings. What about the fudge in that scoop of Double Fudge Chocolate? It’s made in house. For the adventurous, try the Avocado or Lemon Custard.

726 A Avenue
National City, Ca

OK, we get it. The owners love The Beatles, tie-dye, butterflies, and non-violent protest. Apparently, they also love making really good ice cream. Once you look past all the hippie memorabilia at this Normal Heights establishment, be sure to try the Cookies & Mint or classic Butter Pecan. Don’t forget to put your wooden spoon in the compost bin!

3450 Adams Avenue
San Diego, Ca

It’s just like that one place that puts ice cream on a cold stone and you get to add your favorite mix-ins, only better! Plus, their flavors are made from scratch and rotated daily for freshness. My favorite is Cheesecake with crumbled graham crackers. YUM!

Two locations in Coronado, Ca:

1500 Orange Avenue (in Shops at the hotel) 

1025 Orange Avenue


  1. I'd go to Niederfrank's just for the cute decor. I wish I lived near San Diego! I'm a sucker for gourmet ice cream - although come to think of it I also love the soft serve crap :p
    - Cath

    1. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for soft-serve, but I still think real ice cream is the best ;)

  2. ah, girl, now I'm craving ice cream! Saving this in case I ever make it to lovely San Diego!

  3. your header is pretty!!! sorry i didn't respond about blog yeah, i'm not so good at that stuff! i bought my blog template from blog milk though, if that helps?

  4. Pretty decor! I love the ice cream

    1. it looks better in photos ;) a little run-down, but it's the ice cream that matters anyway!


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