Best of Denver

The Ten Best Ice Cream Shops in Denver — 2016 Edition

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6. Inside Scoop Creamery
1535 Platte Street

5654 South Prince Street, Littleton

For some reason, every time we go to this little shop on Platte Street, it's fairly empty. This bodes well for those looking to skip the constant line of ice cream lovers at nearby Little Man, especially if said fans adore toffee. After all, one of the best flavors owners Andrew Myhre and Steve Longman make is the Minnesota salted toffee, a nod to their home state and the frozen version of Myhre's grandma's beloved dessert. Other options out of their twenty-flavor list prove well worth the visit as well, such as the bright and tart Key lime pie, honey lavender, and salted caramel. Top the last with hot fudge and you have the ultimate summer treat. Eat it in the cool venue, sit outside and watch the people walking by, or take your scoop to go and wander across the bridge toward downtown. For folks farther south, Inside Scoop's original shop in Littleton proves just as good.

5. Liks Ice Cream
2039 East 13th Avenue

Though many iconic businesses around Liks have left the Capitol Hill neighborhood, this charming ice cream parlor has remained steadfast. It's no wonder: Since 1976, the owners have served some of the best frozen treats in the city, and their solid menu boasts the temptations of banana fudge ripple, Key lime pie and Alpine chocolate almond, which has toasted almonds and white-chocolate pieces scattered in an uber-rich, dark-chocolate ice cream. Each handmade batch is only twelve gallons or less, meaning that no matter what you order, it's sure to be the freshest ice cream around. You can plop down inside and watch the scoopers work as you indulge in a heaping banana split, or join the sidewalk lingerers outside on the vast and shady porch.
4. Little Man Ice Cream
2620 16th Street

Of all the ice cream shops in the city, Little Man remains the most iconic. Not because the tasty goods top the competitors, but because of the 28-foot, 14,000-pound giant milk can that makes up this unique outdoor shop. You can see it from far away — and once you get closer, you'll also see the long line that snakes around the LoHi hot spot (or is that cold spot?). But don't be dissuaded: The ice cream whipped up and served by owner Paul Tamburello's happy crew is worth the wait. And for impatient kids, a slide around the back provides entertainment until they get their dessert. With fun flavors like vegan chocolate salted Oreo, Purple Cow and milk stout chip, ice cream lovers will never be bored by the selection.
3. Magill's World of Ice Cream
8016 West Jewell Avenue

If you're craving an old-school ice cream joint, head to Lakewood and check out this 35-year-old shop. Magill's serve dozens of classic creations such as mocha almond fudge, coffee and pistachio nut, as well as some strangely named concoctions you might have to quiz the young scooper about: think Superman, Blue Moon and Slam Dunk. In fact, there are eighty rotating flavors to choose from. As a bonus, if you decide to eat your treats inside at one of the blue or red booths, you can play Connect Four while you lick away.

2. Sweet Action Ice Cream
52 Broadway

Is it the commitment to using local dairy and Colorado's finest ingredients that make Sweet Action's ice cream so good? Maybe the thoughtful and harmonious flavor combinations that have had the shop's treats lauded all over the country since Sweet Action opened in 2009? Turns out it's both, and you can taste the quality of owners Samantha Kopicko and Chia Basinger's frozen desserts with each bite. Choose from more traditional scoops like toasted coconut and milk chocolate, or go the devious route and order elderflower, sweet-potato curry or the oddly addictive honey jalapeño pickle. No matter your path, you may find your mind wandering as it fantasizes about what you might order on the next visit.
1. Amore Gelato
535 16th Street

Technically, gelato isn't exactly ice cream, but the two are kissing cousins, and this glorious shop proved good enough to garner the Best Ice Cream/Gelato Shop for 2016. Since 2010, this funky, gold-accented store on the 16th Street Mall has been dishing out sweet treats — a real boon for an area saturated with tourists, cars and businessmen. Fans of traditional Italian gelato will be please to find that the Denver-based version tastes as good as the European stuff and come in all sorts of fun flavors, including cherry cola, German chocolate cake and mascarpone caramelized pear. As for the difference between ice cream and gelato: The latter has about a third of the fat content and calories, which means you can try all of the flavors semi-guilt free.
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Linnea Covington moved back to Denver after spending thirteen years in New York City and couldn't be happier to be home, exploring the Mile High and eating as much as possible, especially when it involves pizza or ice cream.
Contact: Linnea Covington