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. It’s usually reserved for milkshakes, but if you ask for a cup they’ll give it to you.
This Koreatown dessert shop sells excellent taro and matcha 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.
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.
If things are too crazy at the Broome Street location, you can just walk up to Noho and get your Cha Cha Matcha soft serve here.
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? Better question: do you want 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 - watermelon and cold brew. The cold brew one is made with La Colombe coffee, and the watermelon is served inside a hollowed-out slice of actual watermelon, with pieces of dark chocolate placed like seeds on the outside (see below).
There’s only one Dairy Queen in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, 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.
Eggloo may be expensive ($9) and most people may let half of it melt while they take pictures of the really elaborate cones, but everything at this tiny Chinatown spot also happens to be delicious. The soft serve, which comes in flavors like Ovaltine or white rabbit (candy), is served in a freshly made waffle (the type you eat at breakfast), and topped with things like Fruity Pebbles and condensed milk.
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. P.S.A - there’s another location on the UWS but they don’t have any soft serve.
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.
Keki’s Modern Cakes is a Japanese cheesecake shop that serves one flavor of soft serve (it’s usually “Amish Cream,” which is just intense vanilla). This is some of the purest dairy we’ve had the pleasure of eating. You want it.
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 the matcha flavor (they also do a chocolate dip).
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 kinds: creamsicle, chocolate caramel, and milk & honey. 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 at Mah Ze Dahr is definitely good, the toppings and cones set this place apart (the flavors change every few weeks, and might include things like espresso chip and vanilla). 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 woke up this morning in the mood to eat some gold, you should probably do it at Matcha n’ More in Chinatown, where you can add a big leaf of it on top of your soft serve cone or cup for just $9. The matcha soft serve here is very good - a nice combo of bitter and creamy. Sometimes they have other flavors too, like ube or red bean, which you can opt to swirl in with your matcha or enjoy on their own.
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.
You can only get soft serve in a cup here - and it’s a pretty massive cup that you’d normally drink things like water or iced tea out of. The menu has a bunch of different sundaes (all with a vanilla base) and we like the honeycomb one best. Plus, Milkcow is just a fun name.
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.
The Oddfellows in DUMBO has two main things that sets it apart from the other locations: it’s got great views of the Brooklyn Bridge, and it has beer, wine, and cider (in addition to soft serve).
This location of Oddfellows is 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 black sesame, pistachio, and a strawberry one topped with basil, rhubarb, and sweet pieces of bread. There isn’t much 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.
Project Tea primarily makes bubble tea, but there are also a few rotating flavors of soft serve at any given time - like black sesame, or a honeydew one that’s very intense and sweet. Regardless of what you get, we’d suggest adding bubbles and/or mochi to your ice cream.
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.
The main reason you go to Rippers on Rockaway Beach is for the burger. But, while you’re there, you might as well get some soft serve.
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 Hong Kong milk tea. 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: sweet corn, and brownies and cream. They each come with a piece of croissant in them and, if you can’t decide which you want, 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. The soft serve here comes in chocolate, vanilla, matcha, mango, strawberry, 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 vanilla soft serve with toppings like sweet beans, rice-flour dumplings, and green tea sauce, and it’s delicious.
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.
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 a few that do below.
Grab some soft serve from this Uncle Louie G’s and eat it on a bench in Prospect Park a block away.
This location is in Williamsburg, and it’s just a window on the street. There’s an ice cream cone statue out front so you don’t miss it.
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.