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2 Aug 2019
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Things to Do & Events

Ice cream. It’s one of America’s favorite tasty treats and a wildly popular dessert for kids (and kids at heart) of all ages. When you combine this flavorful dairy dessert with a little Asheville ingenuity, the result is nothing short of delicious. The good news about ice cream in Asheville is that if you value food attributes that include words like “local,” “organic,” “fair trade,” “hand-crafted,” “free of antibiotics and growth hormones,” “ethically sourced, " there are a variety of ice cream shops that are likely to share your values and offer products for everyone in your group.

On top of this, for those with lactose intolerance or other food-related allergies, many of Asheville’s ice cream suppliers have a line of flavors that are gluten-free, dairy-sourced & non-dairy sourced, as well as vegan ice cream flavors made with coconut, almond, and oat milk.

The Hop Ice Cream

The Hop Ice Cream has had a presence in Asheville since 1978. They boast a variety of homemade 16% butterfat dairy ice cream options as well as scratch-made vegan ice cream and sorbet. Flavors range from Salted Caramel, Raspberry Crunch (with local French Broad Chocolate cacao nibs), Girl Scout Thin Mint, Death By Chocolate and more. Vegan ice cream options include flavors such as birthday cake coconut milk, ginger molasses banana cream, Bulldog Tracks Oat Milk (gluten-free brownies, vanilla oat milk ice cream, and vegan fudge). The Hop has locations off of Merrimon Ave, in West Asheville off of Haywood, and in downtown Black Mountain off of Cherry Street. Regardless of where you are staying around the Asheville area, you’re never too far from a Hop location.

Ultimate Ice Cream Company

These former social workers turned ice cream makers, really capture the spirit of Asheville with their inventive flavors. Some of their regular rotations include flavors like Ultimate Chai, Cup of Joe, Vanilla Oreo Cream and Belgian Dark Chocolate. The flavor explosion continues from there with seasonal and occasional flavors like Baklava, Pumpkin Whiskey, Spiked Apple Cider, Brown Sugar Bacon Maple and many more types. Ultimate Ice Cream has been featured on Fodor’s Travel blog as one of the top 10 places in the country to visit for savory ice creams. Ultimate Ice Cream has 2 locations – one in east Asheville, a short drive from Highland Brewing and the WNC Nature Center and Downtown on Charlotte Street, near the Grove Park neighborhood district.

Sunshine Sammies, on Lexington Ave

Sunshine Sammies

Who doesn’t love an ice cream sandwich?! Sunshine Sammies brings Asheville delectable cookie and ice cream sandwich combos to residents and visitors, alike, 7 days a week. Yes, you can build your own sandwich, and they also have some classic combos like cookie dough ice cream between chocolate chip cookies and salted carmel ice cream between chocolate cookies.

Seasonally, Sunshine Sammies will mix up their small-batch ice cream flavors so that you can try flavors like Blueberry Basil, Key Lime, or get a little wild with “Corn Dog.” Gluten or dairy allergies? No worries! Sunshine Sammies offers dairy-free sammies, gluten-free cookies. Originally, Sunshine Sammies treats were sold out of a solar-powered pushcart around Asheville in 2013, and have now evolved into dishing out these sammies from their own storefront. 


While they are not local to Asheville, Kilwins has the local feel and friendly service as well with locations across the eastern United States. While staying in the Asheville area, you can enjoy their ice cream, fudge or chocolates at locations in Black Mountain or in the Battery Park area of downtown Asheville. This is also a great place to pick up a box of truffles or a piece of fudge.

Dairy King

For those staying in Black Mountain, Dairy King, or “Blue Cone” as many of the locals know it, is a great “hole in the wall” ice cream shop with a large selection of ice cream flavors, snow cones, milkshakes, banana splits and more. The hours tend to be a little elusive as they are primarily open during the summer months and into the fall. We recommend giving them a call first to make sure they are open before hopping in the car for a giant ice cream scoop.

French Broad Chocolate Lounge

An iconic spot for all things sweet in Asheville, French Broad Chocolates is known for their delicious chocolate and gourmet bonbons, but you’ll find the ice cream is just as loved and popular. When visiting the French Broad Chocolate Lounge location in the heart of downtown Asheville at Pack Square, it's important to sample everything. Have a slice of decadent cake, Creme Brulee, and a Chocolate dipped ginger cookie along with a scoop of their made-from-scratch ice cream that uses fresh, local, grass-fed milk from Farm to Home and cage-free local eggs from Farside Farms.

For vegans in the group, they have an impressive selection of ice cream made with organic coconut milk that is ever-changing and often features seasonal produce grown right here in Asheville. For an extra special treat, try the Affogato or drizzling the liquid chocolate truffle over an ice cream flavor of your choice.

10th Muse Comfort Foods 

10th Muse Comfort Foods specializes in caffeine, donuts, and ice cream at their shop on Patton Avenue west of downtown  Asheville. They're just a few doors down from Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack and share a lot with Sky Lanes Bowling Alley, making it the perfect spot for a date night treat. While their entire menu is delicious, the Vato Loco Sundae is a must. Featuring horchata ice cream mixed with waffle cone, peanuts, and Dulce De Leche, it’s then topped with a chocolate magic shell and a Klondike Choco Taco. If you're not up for something quite that epic, they also have bubble waffle ice cream sundaes, simple cones, milkshakes, funnel cakes, fried oreos, and coffee latte shakes. 

The Soda Fountain of Woolworth Walk

Go back in time to poodle skirts and T-Birds at The Soda Fountain, a nostalgic ice cream shop that serves up traditional ice cream floats and other old-fashioned favorites. One of Asheville's historic landmarks established in 1938, "F.W. Woolworth,"  was restored in 2001 and boasts a fully operational Soda Fountain built to resemble the original Woolworth Luncheonette. Open daily serving many of the original menu items, including egg creams, club sandwiches, coffee and, of course, old fashioned ice cream sodas, it's been preserved to reflect its original glory. Try a classic Root Beer Float, and we promise you'll be doo-wopping your way to Woolworth every chance you get!

The Freeze of Asheville

Specializing in delicious ice cream treats since 1981, The Freeze of Asheville offers soft serve cones, milkshakes, "freezys," and mega banana splits. When you go, be sure to try their Boston Shake, specialty milkshake available in any flavor on the menu that is served with a sundae on top. While the combinations are endless, the chocolate milkshake with a raspberry sundae and a vanilla milkshake with a blueberry sundae are two of our favorites. 


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