With the whopper of a hot summer we’ve been having in Hamilton this year, it’s no surprise that the city’s ice cream shops have been absolutely bustling with locals looking to cool down while savouring something delicious.
Thankfully, Hamilton is loaded with a wide variety of spots for ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, soft serve, and more; and we’ve got the scoop on some of the best around.
Without further ado, here’s our list of Hamilton’s top 10 spots for ice cream for 2022!
An oft-overlooked hidden gem in Ancaster, The Purple Pony is an adorable and aesthetically pleasing little ice cream spot serving up high quality scooped ice cream sourced from some of the Ontario’s best purveyors.
Owned and operated seasonally by sisters Kirby and Taren since 2006, The Purple Pony continues to be an enduring favourite for Ancaster locals and passersby alike; and yes, it’s very possible you’ll find a purple ice cream option on hand too.
As their name would suggest – come on, the word ‘cream’ is present three times in two languages – La Crème de la Crème Creamery takes sweet treats pretty seriously.
This Locke Street shop has a small collection of handmade chocolates and confectionary on hand, but the main attraction here is the house-made soft serve ice cream. Served in a cup or cone and dipped in a range of hardening chocolates with flavours like Oreo, salted caramel, or bubble gum, there’s enough variety here for pretty much any palate. So. Good.
With locations on Ottawa Street as well as Concession, The Parlour’s approach to summer indulgences is rooted in pure childhood nostalgia.
On top of an ever-changing lineup of ice cream flavours sourced from the region’s dairy providers, The Parlour offers a menu of gourmet grilled cheeses, eclectic poutines, and loaded hot dogs. They make for a comforting, savoury precursor to a sweet finale courtesy of milkshakes, floats, funnel cakes, sundaes, and cones.
The name says it all: Panini & Ice Cream is serving up a hefty dose of both of those treats at their Main Street East storefront.
A menu of made-to-order paninis has options as simple as a classic grilled cheese or as stacked as a Doritos and Chicken sandwich, and a solid range of ice creams sourced from Hewitt’s Dairy can be served as a standard cone or in what the shop calls a Half & Half: a hybrid of a milkshake and ice cream sundae with choice of toppings and sauce. Don’t overlook this place.
James North’s ever-popular artisan chocolatier has gained as much notoriety for its range of ice cream treats as it has for its handmade chocolates, truffles, and candy.
Intense and mouth-watering soft serve creations are absolutely loaded with sauces and toppings of all kinds, from sprinkles to edible cookie dough to Reese’s Pieces and even ruffled potato chips. Cups and cones are big enough to share, but no judgement whatsoever if you want to crush it all by yourself.
For Italian-style gelato, there isn’t a better spot in Hamilton than AMO Gelato.
Located on Locke Street, this cozy shop features a rotating selection of house-made gelato in tempting flavours like French Toast Crunch, Oreo, mango, Reese’s Puffs cereal, birthday cake, and beyond. Some flavours are light and fruity, others are rich and decadent, and all are delicious.
Yes, these are two separate places; but they’re owned by the same people and they offer the exact same thing, so we’re smushing them together!
If you’re going to call yourself something like Biggies or Big Scoops, you’d better be prepared to deliver the goods; and thankfully, these grab-and-go ice cream shops – located on the Hamilton Mountain and in the lower city, respectively – more than live up to their names.
Biggies and Big Scoops both serve ice cream from Hewitt’s Dairy at reasonable prices in portions big enough to be startling. A small ice cream rivals a large at most other parlours, and if you’re bold enough to order a large? Get ready for the biggest ice cream coma of your life.
How could we forget this total Hamilton classic? Hutch’s has two locations in the city – one at Confederation Beach Park, the other at Bayfront Park – and we chose the former for this list due largely to the setting.
Who hasn’t spent at least one day of their summer grabbing a cone from Hutch’s and enjoyed it on a stroll along the bustling beach strip? With numerous tempting ice flavours supplied by Nestlé as well as their regular menu of fish & chips, burgers, and more, this iconic local spot – open since 1946 – continues to be one of the city’s most popular.
One of Hamilton’s newest ice cream spots also happens to be one of its best and most unique.
Diced Ice, open on Locke Street for just a few months, specializes in made-to-order, Thai-style rolled ice cream in an assortment of flavours and thoughtfully designed combinations.
Diced Ice’s Thai ice cream starts from a creamy liquid base that’s poured onto a cold flat-top surface and turned into a thin layer of freshly frozen ice cream on the spot. The ice cream is then scraped with a metal spatula and rolled into adorable scrolls of deliciousness, which are then arranged in a bowl and finished with toppings from fresh fruit to cookie bits and sweet sauces.
It’s a bit of a wait to get your Instagram-worthy treat during busier times, but trust us when we say that wait is more than worth it.
Located in a prime spot right by Hamilton’s popular Gage Park – and notable for being one of the only ice cream shops in the city that makes its own ice cream – Willard’s specializes in small-batch ice creams hand-crafted with excellent ingredients.
The menu changes on a frequent basis, with an assortment of flavours coming in and out of rotation multiple times a week. Willard’s usually has something in their freezer that even regulars haven’t tried yet – including a weekly mystery flavour that’s served black in colour – and they’re also not afraid to get experimental from time to time with flavours like dill pickle or pepperoni pizza.
A solid chunk of the menu is consistently vegan too, making Willard’s Ice Cream as accessible as it is delicious. Made fresh in Hamilton and very much beloved, this is our pick for the city’s top ice cream spot.
Honourable Mentions: OMG Ice Cream and Frozen Treats, EZ Rolls Ice Cream, Creamy Atlas, Jax Sweet Shoppe, Waterfront Scoops, Paradise Ice Cream Parlour
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What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!