Are you looking for the best ice cream in Madison this summer? Or are you hankering for a sweet treat in the middle of a chilly Wisconsin winter? (No shame in that.)
No matter the season, the food tour guides at Madison Eats are here to give you the scoop. Here are five locally owned ice cream shops in Madison to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Best Ice Cream near Wisconsin State Capitol: Good News Ice Cream
Located one-half block from the Capitol Square on King Street, Good News Ice Cream is known for artisanal, small-batch ice cream, locally sourced ingredients, and adventurous flavors.
Good News makes fresh ice cream in small batches, so there’s always something new to try. You can’t go wrong with Fig and Honey, Mexican Hot Chocolate, or Lemon — and their pea protein-based non-dairy ice creams might taste better than the real thing.
Whichever scoop you choose, expect bold, natural flavors and generous scoop sizes. It’s a must-try ice cream shop in Madison.
Best Ice Cream on Madison’s East Side: Calliope Ice Cream
Born in the basement of the Weary Traveler Freehouse on Willy Street, Calliope Ice Cream can now be found at Garver Feed Mill on Madison’s East Side. Calliope stands out for scoops that celebrate the funky, the boozy, and the unexpectedly delicious.
Batches here are made five gallons at a time, meaning there’s always something new and adventurous to taste. Opt for a sriracha-infused Hot Peanut Butter, a boozy Brandy Old Fashioned, or a refreshing Lemon Lavender. By the time you finish this sentence, there will be a bold, new flavor in the rotation.
Best Milkshakes in Madison: DLUX
DLUX is known for its mouthwatering burgers and boozy brunches — but it’s the milkshakes that land DLUX in the highest echelon of Madison ice cream experiences.
These milkshakes are richer than Aaron Rodgers: the creamy Peanut Butter Pretzel shake, the divine Strawberries and Cream shake, and the absolutely nap-inducing Red Velvet shake are all excellent choices. If these aren’t rich enough for you, try a boozy S’mores shake with bourbon, chocolate, graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow.
All of DLUX’s shakes are made with Sassy Cow Ice Cream for a level of richness you can’t find anywhere else. Sip to your heart’s content – just make sure you save room for your half-pound, double-patty burger.
Best Ice Cream on the UW Campus: Babcock Dairy Store
Making good ice cream is an art form. At Babcock Ice Cream, it’s quite literally a science. Run in part by students of the University of Wisconsin’s Dairy Science program, the dairy used in Babcock’s ice cream is finely tuned from cow to cone. The result is a gloriously rich, thick, and smooth ice cream.
If you’re a chocolate lover, you can’t miss out on Badger Blast: chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate flakes and fudge swirls. Looking for something classic? Try Union Utopia: vanilla ice cream with swirls of peanut butter, caramel, and fudge.
Best Ice Cream for Something Tropical: Paradise Ice Cream
At Paradise Ice Cream on Monona Drive, tropical fruit flavors of Mexico and Central America take center stage and are sure to refresh your taste buds and spirits.
The mangonada — a mix of mango sorbet, fresh mango chunks, and tajin, a spicy, limey chili spice mix — is the perfect cold treat for a hot summer day in Madison. Other sorbet flavors like watermelon, guava, strawberry, and avocado (yes, avocado) means there’s a scoop of tropical paradise for everyone, no matter their cravings.
For those looking to do some serious ice cream damage: you’ve found your place. Order a banana split with your choice of ice cream scoops and toppings — and if you don’t “split” it with a friend, we won’t judge you!