As the summer heat approaches, so do the cravings for sweet frozen treats. Perfect for a mid-afternoon snack or in the evening after a long day in the sun, ice cream is America's most beloved warm-weather dessert. Check out our guide to the best ice cream spots all around Greater Des Moines! 

Bauder Pharmacy - Des Moines  

Home to an old-fashioned soda fountain, serving homemade ice cream in original Coca Cola glasses, Bauder Pharmacy brings you back to yesteryear. Sit at the counter and enjoy a wide variety of options, featuring a dozen flavors, including fresh strawberry and peach ice cream. Try the famous homemade peppermint bars, consisting of Oreo crusts, with peppermint ice cream and hot fudge in the middle - Bauder's ice cream bars are also legendary at the Iowa State Fair! 

Chocolaterie Stam – Des Moines and West Des Moines 

When the family has been in the confectionery business for more than two centuries, you can trust they know how to make exceptional sweets. Chocolaterie Stam creates fine European chocolates and serves up authentic Italian gelato. They also offer gluten-free gelato made with local organic milk from Picket Fence Creamery. Try the specialty flavors such as Red Velvet Cake or Apple Pie.  

Paleteria La Michoacana Ice Cream – Des Moines 

This quick-serve Mexican restaurant known for its vast menu with plenty of vegan options also serves up street-style frozen treats. From fruity bars to creamy shakes and frozen bananas, there's a decadent treat for the adventurous and the traditionalists.  

Granny's Sweet Freeze Shoppe – Des Moines 

Sometimes, you just want to add a lil' something extra to your ice cream treat. Granny's Sweet Freeze Shoppe on Hubbell Avenue is sure to satisfy your craving with a full menu of shakes and malts, soda floats, cones, sundaes, and so much more! Check out flavors like pineapple upside-down cake, s' mores, puppy chow, and fruity pebbles, just to name a few.  

Heavenly Delights – Grimes  

Don't be surprised if you see a line outside Heavenly Delights all summer long – the line moves fast! This essential Grimes stop boasts countless flavors and a creative trick to keep your ice cream from melting out of the bottom of your waffle cone. Try the French silk shake or cherry amaretto ice cream, no matter what you choose, your sweet tooth will be satisfied.  

Over the Top - Pleasant Hill 

Over the Top lives up to its name with 35 ice cream flavors including sweet ‘n salty pretzel, white chocolate raspberry, cookie monster, and coffee toffee chunk. The Pleasant Hill store is spacious with indoor and outdoor seating, along with a drive-through. Watch as your ice cream is being made through a glass picture window right before your eyes! 

Snookie's Malt Shop - Beaverdale 

Located in the Beaverdale neighborhood of Des Moines, Snookie's Malt Shop is a timeless classic and community favorite hangout since the 1950s. Order at the counter (or drive-thru) and enjoy your sweet treat inside or out. Known for their soft-serve ice cream, malts, sundaes, cones, and arctic blasts, Snookie's, will even cater to your four-legged friend with their very own pup cone!  

Sweet Swirls Rolled Ice Cream - Johnston, Ankeny, and Windsor Heights 

Try this trendy take on ice cream – rolled ice cream has become extremely popular in the past couple of years, and Des Moines is lucky enough to have multiple locations all in the surrounding area, Johnston, Ankeny, and Windsor Heights. Order up rolled matcha, strawberry, mango, or any other sweet flavors offered, with whipped cream and your choice of toppings! 

The Outside Scoop – mobile food truck 

The Outside Scoop comes to you! You can find this popular food truck at festivals and events throughout Greater Des Moines. Handmade artisan-style batches full of robust flavor, Outside Scoop, uses local ingredients to make ice cream just like from grandma's kitchen. If this hasn't gotten your taste buds tingling, they also serve specialty sundaes, root beer floats, and shakes.   

Classic Frozen Custard – Des Moines 

A family business for almost 30 years, this southside staple offers eight flavors of custard to choose from. Enjoy a generous scoop of creamy frozen custard drenched in your favorite toppings or keep it simple in a fresh-made waffle cone.  

Van Dee's Ice Cream Shoppe - Johnston 

A Johnston staple for decades, enjoy a taste of American nostalgia at Van Dee's Ice Cream Shoppe. The tiny shop on Merle Hay Road boasts a loyal following of customers who often return to try the unique flavor of the week ranging from cotton candy to lemon. If you're lucky, your ice cream cone might come with a surprise of candy eyeballs!  

Thelma's Treats – Greater Des Moines grocery stores and mobile food cart 

Made famous in Des Moines, Thelma's Treats are homemade ice cream sandwiched between large delicious cookies. Reading this in the dead of winter and feeling sad about your local ice cream prospects? Fret not! Thelma's Treats are available year-round at local grocery stores in the ice cream section. Try the signature snickerdoodle with vanilla ice cream.