We’ve been exploring all the best places in Calgary for ice cream this summer so we can give you guys a comprehensive list of what Calgary has to offer. Also, because ice cream is delicious. At the bottom of the post I also have a list of some of the great options in Alberta (in the Southern/central region) outside of Calgary.
The list below doesn’t include larger chains although there are some great ones in Calgary including Marble Slab, Dairy Queen and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
I’ve noted which places have special diet options so you don’t end up disappointed when you get there. We’ve managed to go to many of the places on the list so you can get full reviews by clicking on the title link.
Britannia Plaza – 820 49th Ave SW, Victoria Park – 431 10 Avenue SE and Garrison Corner – 2406 34th Ave SW http://villageicecream.com/
When I was asking for recommendations for the best ice cream in Calgary, Village Ice Cream was the most frequent and most enthusiastic response. They make their own small batch ice cream with high quality, local, seasonal and often organic ingredients. They have 10 flavors always available plus a few seasonal flavors as well. They have some classic flavours like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla as well as innovative artisanal flavours like salted caramel, earl grey tea and cardamom.
Special diet options: Dairy free sorbet and dairy-free coconut milk ice cream.
1013 17th ave SW – suite 121
Made By Marcus has been available in specialty grocery stores for a while but now you can find them at their very own location. They offer artisanal small batch hard ice cream flavours as well as soft serve ice cream sundaes.
Special diet options: dairy free sorbet/vegan ice cream
3. Sweet Tooth Ice Cream
206 Center St SW http://sticyyc.com/
Sweet Tooth Ice Cream offers Thai style rolled ice cream made right in front of you with liquid nitrogen. They have 7 different flavours with lots of toppings. They also offer macaron ice cream cakes and rain drop cakes (made of jello).
Special diet options: The rain drop cakes are dairy free (but are jello not ice cream)
110 221 19th St SE http://www.fiascogelatoshop.com/
Fiasco Gelato’s new headquarters serves ice cream by the scoop. They offer creative flavours of Italian gelato and dairy-free sorbetto as well as ice cream sandwiches.
Special diet options: dairy free sorbetto
5. Nice Cream
New to Calgary’s ice cream scene Nice Cream offers handcrafted, made to order ice cream in Western Canada’s first Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream parlour. They offer a short list of flavours in 3 cup sizes (or a waffle cone) as well as toppings like gummy bears and ginger snaps. And you get to see them make ice cream right in front of you.
Special diet options: Non-dairy sorbet
6. Amato Gelato
2104 # 7 Kensington Road NW and 104-255 28th Street, SE. http://www.amatogelato.com/
Amato Gelato is a small chain with stores in Alberta as well as one in Vancouver. It is hands down the best place in Calgary for the most dairy free and Italian gelato flavours.
Special diet options: tofulati (made with soy), many non-dariy sorbetto options, no sugar added ice cream.
Parkdale – 3410 – 3 Ave NW Calgary, AB http://lics.ca/
Lic’s has been serving ice cream in Calgary for 33 years. It’s location makes it a perfect place to stop for a cone and a walk along the Bow River. They have lots of flavours and if you order a double, you even get a double cone!
Special diet options: No sugar added, lactose-free and dairy-free sorbet
Altadore – 2048 42 Ave. S.W., West Springs – 1114 – 8561 8A Ave. S.W http://www.myfavoriteicecream.com/
My Favourite Ice Cream Shoppe now has two locations – it’s orginal Altadore location has been around since 1981. They atmosphere has a retro-dive feel but their selection (primarily Foothills Creamery) is huge.
Special diet options: dairy free sorbet available, No sugar added ice cream
Bridgeland – 1104 1 Ave NE http://bridgelandmarket.com/
The Bridgeland Market offers a small selection of the locally made, artisinal, hand crafted Made by Marcus ice cream. They have ice cream sandwiches, ice cream bars and macarons. The flavours are usually a little out of the ordinary such a raspberry cardamom, and lemon curd blueberry but they also have some more typical ones like rocky road. You can also get Top Pop popsicles. Freezer is open year round but ice cream by the scoop is set up seasonally.
Special diet options: dairy free ice cream available
10. Burger 320
Bridgeland – 814 First Avenue, NE Kensington – 126 10 Street NW http://www.newfoodorder.com/
Not only does Burger 320 have some of the best burgers in the city, they also make their own gelato. Their flavors change daily and you can get your gelato in a cone, dish or made into a milkshake. They also have a selection of Family Freezed popsicles.
Special diet options: dairy-free sorbetto and dairy free Family Freezed popsicles
11. Peter’s Drive-in
Address: 219 – 16 Avenue NE http://www.petersdrivein.com/
Peter’s is better known for their milkshakes but they also offer soft serve ice cream, sundaes and banana splits. They will let you put more than one flavor on your sundae at no extra charge.
Special diet options: None.
8 locations in Calgary and more elsewhere in Alberta, BC and Ontario http://www.purdys.com/
Purdy’s is a regional chain that started in Vancouver. Purdy’s typically offers a selection of around 8 of their own flavors as well as sundaes and ice cream bars. Their sundaes are topped with Purdy’s melted chocolate and either with sprinkles or toasted nuts. The ice cream bars get dipped right in front of you. If you really want to do it right, get Purdy’s Ultimate Ice Cream bar – a vanilla ice cream bar that is first dipped in white chocolate, then dark chocolate and finally covered in toasted almonds or sprinkles right in front of you.
Outside of Calgary
220- 1st St West, Cochrane, Alberta http://www.mackaysicecream.com/
The MacKay family has been making and selling ice cream in Cochrane since 1948. MacKay’s ice cream is richer creamier than many as they start with a cream base with a higher percentage of butterfat. Their flavours include old stand bys like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, flavors that remind me of my childhood like cotton candy and tiger and more unusual options like baklava, durian and avocado.
Special diet options: Dairy-free sorbet, gluten free cones (the sorbet was previously 1% milk but they have now switched to dairy-free)
2. Big Dipper Ice Cream Shoppe – Okotoks
67 McRae Street, Okotoks, AB http://www.bigdipper.ca/
Big Dipper Ice Cream Shoppe has over 35 flavors of Foothills Creamery ice cream as well as Fisasco Gelato and Evelyn’s Memory Lane. They offer milkshakes, sundaes, floats and gelato sandwiches. (open seasonally April-Oct)
Special diet options: No sugar added and dairy free ice cream
3. Chinook Honey Company – Near Okotoks
386087 16th St West, Okotoks, AB http://chinookhoney.com/
In addition to honey and mead, the Chinook Honey company also serves ice cream and dairy-free sorbetto made locally with their honey. They have flavours like Saskatoon berry, black currant, Belgian chocolate and honey ripple which you can eat outside at their picnic area.
4. Marv’s Soda Shop – Black Diamond
121 Centre Avenue W, Black Diamond, AB http://www.marvsclassics.ca/
Marv’s Soda Shop services ice cream sundaes, banana splits, ice cream sodas and ice cream cones. They also serve burgers, fries and hot dogs, have a huge selection of sodas and have a huge candy selection.
5. Frontier Candy and Ice Cream – Bragg Creek
10 Balsam Avenue Unit #111, Bragg Creek
A favorite day trip destination, Bragg Creek’s Frontier Candy and Ice Cream offers up lots of flavor options and tons of candy too.
6. Old School Bus Ice Cream – Canmore
621 Main Street, Canmore, AB – Old School Bus Ice Cream Facebook Page
Serving ice cream out of an old school bus in downtown Canmore. More than 20 flavours of hard ice cream and 10 flavours of shaved ice. You can also get floats and milkshakes.
Open seasonally mid-May to the end of September.
Special diet options: Dairy free sorbet and shaved ice. Gluten and nut free sealed ice cream cups.
7. COWS – Banff
134 Banff Ave, Banff, AB https://www.cows.ca
Cows is a small chain based in PEI. It’s Banff Avenue shop is it’s only Alberta location. They offer dense, high butterfat ice cream. (closed due to fire as of Dec 2016)
8. Nanton Ice Cream
2129 Main Street, Nanton, AB http://www.nantoncandy.com/collectibles/
Located right next to the Nanton Candy store, Nanton Ice Cream offers 45 flavours of hard ice cream as well as soft serve, dipped cones, milkshakes and fresh made waffle cones.
Special diet options: dairy free and no sugar added options
9. Igloo Drive-in
569 24 St, Fort MacLeod, AB
Igloo Drive-in offers a large variety of soft serve ice cream as well as other items like burgers and fries.
10. Little Ice Cream & Soda Shoppe – Red Deer
4030 50 St, Red Deer, AB
The Little Ice Cream & Soda Shoppe does not seem to have a web presence. I couldn’t even find anything about their hours at the shop. If it does happen to be open while you are there though, you can treat yourself to some handmade hard ice cream made on site. Their portions are huge. You can get a single scoop with two flavours but really it’s as big as two scoops most other places. They have an entire section devoted to different chocolate ice cream variations. No debit.
Special diet options: dairy free ices
11. Cone Castle – Red Deer
255 Davison Drive Red Deer , Alberta http://conecastlecafe.com/
The Cone Castle serves a large selection of Foothills Creamery ice cream. They also serve pies, soups, hot dogs and other options.
Special diet options: Dairy free sorbet and dairy free soft serve, no sugar added ice cream.
12. Swirls Ice Cream – Medicine Hat
Corner of division Ave and 4th St, Medicine Hat http://www.swirlsicecream.ca/
Swirls has been serving ice cream in Medicine Hat for over 30 years. They offer both hard ice cream as well as soft serve and novelty treats. Open seasonally. Cash only.
Special diet options: $1 dairy free popsicles.
What’s your favorite place to go for ice cream? Do you know a place that should be on this list?