Look, what we really want to do is invent a Mister Softee locator app. But that’s going to require some time and technology, and summer doesn’t last forever. So here’s the next-best thing: a map of all of NYC’s soft serve that isn’t located on a roving truck.
You can find our favorite NYC soft serve spots listed alphabetically below, or if you want to see which one you’re currently closest to, click “launch map” at the top of this page.
By the way, if you steal our app idea from us, we reserve the right to be your first investor.
There are only two soft serve flavors at this small spot in Nolita - oolong and black tea - and both taste strongly of those ingredients. They also serve boba tea here, which is relevant because it means you can get boba as an ice cream topping. And you should.
Baz is a bagel place in Little Italy that also happens to make good vanilla soft serve. Sit at the counter and get matzo ball soup and a BLT for lunch, then grab some soft serve to-go.
This Koreatown dessert shop sells excellent taro and green tea soft serve. It comes out of the machine in the round cylinder style, as opposed to the more common, spiky style. We wish we had a better soft serve vocabulary to describe this. They also sell a bunch of ginseng products in the store, in case you’re looking for ginseng products.
Salty Pimps, Gobblers, American Globs. These are some of the words you can say out loud to a stranger behind a counter at Big Gay Ice Cream. Two other things to know: you will be surrounded by tourists, and you should grab several napkins.
The East Village location of Big Gay Ice Cream has the same flavors and combinations as the West Village one, but it’s right near Tompkins Square Park. Our note about tourists and napkins still stands.
Binki Cafe is a tiny soft serve place in Chinatown that puts little wigs of cotton candy on top of your ice cream to make creations like a ballerina or a hot air balloon or a Minion. Despite sounding like a place made for a five-year-old’s birthday, the cotton candy is optional, and you can also just get some normal soft serve here.
Cafe Zaiya has two locations on 41st Street. The one you need to know about (for soft serve purposes) is between 5th and Madison, and has very good black sesame and matcha flavors that come in big portions.
Carvel doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. It’s classic and foolproof. You’re here for something simple, like vanilla or chocolate, ideally topped with chocolate or rainbow sprinkles (although you’ll also find rotating flavors, like mint). There are tons of locations around the five boroughs, and we’re not going to include them all here - but they do have their own map you can use to find the closest one.
Whether you enjoy spending time at Cha Cha Matcha is going to depend on how much you like places with all-pink color schemes that are full of people wearing cross-body bags taking pictures of green lattes. Regardless, the soft serve is good, and you can get matcha, vanilla, or swirl.
There’s another Cha Cha Matcha location in Nomad, and it’s a little more spacious. It’s also very pink, and you’ll probably wind up in several photos while you wait in line for soft serve.
Do you need soft serve with a lasso-shaped churro sticking out of it? Because that’s exactly what you can get at this spot in Food Gallery 32 in K-Town. The ice cream itself is from Blue Marble, and you can choose between vanilla, matcha, and swirl flavors, plus a few different churro toppings like Fruity Pebbles and coconut. (You can also just get soft serve on its own, or a sundae.) If you do add a churro - and you should seriously consider it, since the warm churro/cold ice cream combination tastes great - we’d suggest sticking to plain.
Creamline is a fast-casual burger stand in Chelsea Market with perfect, creamy soft serve. They keep it simple here - the only options are chocolate, vanilla, and swirl.
The second location of Creamline has the same flavor options as the original spot, just on 7th Avenue in Chelsea.
Dominique Ansel Kitchen has a sidewalk window attached to its shop in the West Village where you can get two unusual types of soft serve - burrata and watermelon. The burrata tastes like a creamy, tangy, less sweet version of vanilla, and comes in a thin honey cone with a strawberry at the bottom. The watermelon is served inside a hollowed-out slice of actual watermelon, with pieces of dark chocolate placed like seeds on the outside. We like the burrata better.
There’s only one Dairy Queen in Manhattan, so let’s pretend it isn’t a nationwide chain. The next time you’re around Union Square, stop in for a cone of soft serve, a parfait with hot fudge, or a Blizzard, if you’re in the mood for a large cup of ice cream mixed with candy.
Emack and Bolio’s looks like it was designed by a child with a crayon and then actualized by adults who know how to make really good ice cream. They can do most of their hard flavors in soft serve form, and if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can get your soft serve in a waffle cone covered in things like rice crispy treats or Oreos.
There are two main differences between this Emack location and the other: it’s in Brooklyn, and the soft serve machine here isn’t really advertised. You have to order at least “three scoops worth” of soft serve, but they’ll make it if you ask.
Greecologies is a Greek yogurt place. And their Greek yogurt is fantastic. But what a lot of people don’t know is that they also do soft serve - and it’s definitely not frozen yogurt. This is thick, creamy vanilla and matcha soft serve, which you can get topped with things like olive oil and sea salt or homemade granola. Get a swirl and take it out to their secret patio.
Sneaker drops aren’t the only thing people line up for at Kith. Kith Treats is the cereal and soft serve bar inside both of Kith’s NYC retail locations, and they’re famous for their cereal-centric ice cream flavors, which change often. It’s a tough choice for us between Cookie Crisp and Fruity Pebble soft serve.
More cereal-centric ice cream at the Kith store right by the Barclays Center.
You need to go to L&B Spumoni Gardens at least once in your NYC life. If the pizza on its own isn’t enough to convince you, then you should know they also make some very good soft serve, in addition to their famous spumoni (Italian ice cream). A proper trip here involves all three.
Lilia’s dessert is just as good as their pasta, and their soft serve gelato is something truly special. They do a chocolate and vanilla version (each with their own set of toppings), but the dessert that we wish we were eating most nights is their vanilla gelato with lemon ice. Important: you can get it in their back cafe, without having to wait two hours for a table in the main restaurant. This should be your next date-night nightcap.
Lucky Pickle serves pickle-flavored soft serve that comes with salty pickle chips on it. But unless you’re dying to experience pickle ice cream, we suggest you go for one of the other flavors, like matcha.
Made Nice is a place where you can get an efficient, kind-of-healthy lunch or dinner. But no meal here is complete without their soft serve. They do three sundaes, one creamsicle, and one float. Our favorite is the original - the milk & honey sundae. We would happily go at least 15 blocks out of our way just to eat this, any day.
While the soft serve itself (vanilla and one other rotating flavor) at Mah Ze Dahr is definitely good, the toppings and cones set this place apart. The housemade waffle cone is thin but never gets soggy, and the toppings, like broken pieces of their chewy, salty chocolate chip cookies, are so tasty you’ll want to ask for a separate cup of them on the side. Don’t do that - just get a whole cookie instead.
If you like cereal and being the master of your own destiny, this is a good spot for you. Choose a cereal from their long list, then they’ll grind it up and blend it into soft serve to-order. Toppings include fruit, nuts, candy, cookie dough, and drizzles like honey and grape jelly. The number of potential combinations will either be thrilling or intimidating, depending on what type of person you are.
A second location of Milk & Cream in Gansevoort Market.
Soft serve is great all by itself. But soft serve from an airstream trailer that comes with a view of Manhattan is even better. This place is right below the William Vale hotel in Williamsburg, and it’s what we think about when we close our eyes and wish for summer.
The “cereal milk” flavor for which Momofuku Milk Bar is now well-known is at its best in soft serve form. Get it topped with corn flakes. They also regularly have seasonal flavors.
Another location of Milk Bar, on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens.
Your cereal milk soft serve stop in Chelsea. Don’t worry, if this one isn’t convenient, there are six more coming.
Get some soft serve here before taking a ferry ride from one of the nearby terminals in the Seaport. Or on your lunch break.
Midtown’s Milk Bar outpost, also conveniently located for lunch breaks and snacks before or after Broadway shows.
Milk Bar’s Nolita location, just south of Houston Street on Mott.
Another Milk Bar location, this time a block away from Central Park.
Close to the Christopher Street 1 Train stop, so you can lower your body temperature after sweating your way through the subway.
The final stop on your Milk Bar tour of NYC is on Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg.
There’s often an ice cream truck parked on Kent Ave just a few blocks up from Oddfellows in Williamsburg, so you’ll have to make the choice: $1.50 chocolate-vanilla twist or $5 coconut-lemon zest twist? When you’re more in the mood for the latter, know that most of Oddfellows’ daily-rotating soft serve flavors are worth the (much) higher price point.
This is the newest location of Oddfellows, and it’s about as pleasant as an ice cream place on an extremely busy block of Houston could be. This is their coffee-and-ice cream spot, so you could come here for a fancy affogato, or their daily-changing soft serve. The texture is basically perfect.
Patisserie Chanson is a French bakery in Flatiron with a few rotating flavors of very good, very fancy soft serve - like a strawberry one topped with basil, rhubarb, and sweet pieces of bread. There’s no signage or advertisement that they have soft serve, so you just have to ask.
If you don’t enjoy soft serve, then we’re not sure why you’re reading this guide, and if you don’t enjoy soft serve at the beach, then you need to do some soul-searching. Our go-to spot in Coney Island is right on the boardwalk at Paul’s Daughter. Get chocolate and vanilla swirl in a cone and wash off in the water after a quarter of it melts all over your hands.
Ray’s Candy Store is a small, narrow spot off Tompkins Square Park where the walls are covered with newspaper articles and pictures of all the different things you can order - from ice cream to a variety of fried things like Oreos and beignets. Ray himself, who’s owned the place since the 1970s, may or may not be there when you stop by, but either way, this is a good place for some classic soft serve in a (coffee) cup or cone. It’s also open 24 hours, for all your 3am soft serve needs.
Seamore’s in Nolita is a sit-down spot, but it has a little window where you can get vegan soft serve from Oddfellows to-go.
The Chelsea location doesn’t have a takeout window, but you can still get some vegan soft serve to-go.
Seamore’s in DUMBO has the same soft serve as the other locations, with the added bonus of the Brooklyn Bridge.
One more Seamore’s location, this time at Brookfield Place.
This little counter in Chelsea Market makes a Middle Eastern take on soft serve with goat’s milk and sesame tahini. And then you can top it off with more tahini, plus optional halva crumbles.
The flavors at Soft Swerve are ube, coconut, black sesame, and matcha. They also have a bunch of different toppings like mochi and Cap’n Crunch. We really like the ube flavor - it’s a little nutty and vanilla-y.
Sons Of Thunder is a Hawaiian/Californian counter-service place where you can get poké and hot dogs. They also have chocolate and vanilla soft serve, and it’s rich and creamy without being too sweet. Get a cone, and add sprinkles.
There’s also a Sons of Thunder in FiDi, and you can get soft serve here as well. They only have vanilla, but if that’s your biggest problem at the moment, you need more problems.
Supermoon serves two different sundaes: the Ferrero Rocher and the Croissant Butter. The first involves a rich hazelnut/chocolate ice cream with chocolate, hazelnut, and rice crispy chunks on top, and the second is a salty, sugary soft serve topped with pieces of the house croissants. We prefer the chocolate version (and the actual house croissants), but you can also get both flavors in a twist.
You’ve probably seen pictures of Taiyaki’s fish-shaped waffle cones, which are filled with custard or red bean as well as ice cream. Soft serve comes in chocolate, vanilla, matcha, and black sesame flavors (or swirls), and you can also just get some ice cream by itself in a cup.
More fish-shaped waffle cones full of soft serve, in a second Williamsburg location.
This little West Village Japanese place (where you grill your own meats at the table) also makes their own soft serve, and it’s delicious.
Uncle Louie G is a chain that serves Italian ice and soft serve at a bunch of locations throughout Brooklyn and Queens. They focus on Italian ice (the lemon is our favorite), and their soft serve options are just vanilla, chocolate, and swirl. So this is a good spot to bring a group when everyone wants something cold and sweet, but not everyone necessarily wants ice cream. Note that not every location has soft serve - so we’ve listed the ones that do below.
The Marine Park location of Uncle Louie G’s is similar, except you can order from a window on the sidewalk and it’s cash-only.
The Bay Ridge location is a somewhat larger operation with a few tables and a bunch of different sundaes on the menu, but the soft serve is still just chocolate and vanilla. This one is also cash-only.
Grab some soft serve from this Uncle Louie G’s and eat it on a bench in Prospect Park two blocks away.
This sort of feels like a museum gift shop, only the museum is Brooklyn and the products are things you can almost convince yourself you need - like fancy made-in-New York body wash, candles, jewelry, and t-shirts. It’s also a coffee shop that makes soft serve. Theirs is vegan, but it doesn’t taste like anything besides very good soft serve.
There are Van Leeuwens all over the city, but they only have soft serve at the Williamsburg location. Just know that it’s not always available, so if you’re really set on coming here, call ahead to make sure.