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Washington, DC: Cold Treats to Beat the Summer Heat

“This is the last day that the weather will be in the 90’s...this week.” Yes, we live in a swamp town, and right now we are hitting peak swampiness. The days of craving the hot summer sun have past and now we all can't wait until vests and boots are our daily attire again. But with the summer comes the wonderful excuse to cool down with some cold sweets. Below are a list of places to pop into during these hot summer days...


413 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004 (multiple locations)

I have casually swung by Pitango way too many times to admit. Located around the city, but most notably in Penn Quarter (aka my commute route), Pitango is a great stop on the way to the National Mall for a stroll. With a rotating menu of gelatos and sorbets, everyone will find something they enjoy here. They even add on a cone for free!

Milk Bar

1090 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (multiple locations)

Mentioned a couple posts back, Milk Bar has multiple locations around the city and is definitely a fun stop on a warm DC day. With a unique menu, don’t come here and expect your classic vanilla cone. Milk Bar has a wide variety of shake options that can only be found at Milk Bar, made famous by its creator Christina Tosi. What makes Milk Bar special is its focus on cereal and cake. Try the famous Fruity Pebble Soft-Serve, essentially soft serve covered with delicious fruity cereal, or the B’Day Cake Shakes that taste like a vanilla cake in shake form (chunks included).

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

1925 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Jeni’s has expanded to multiple cities across the nation, and for good reason. Go ahead and try as many samples as you want; each flavor is creative and fresh. They supply a wide variety of tastes and sizes, so you’ll definitely want to taste a few flavors before settling on a cone. They even have a number of dairy-free options, so all are welcome for a tasty summer treat!

Dolcezza Gelato & Coffee

99 District Square SW, Washington, DC 20024 (multiple locations)

Yes, I have mentioned Dolcezza in three different posts now. No, I have no regrets about it. There's no better time to give a shout out to Dolcezza than for the area that it truly thrives: gelato. There are multiple locations around the city: City Center, Wharf, Logan Circle -- it even has a factory located at Union Market and a delicious pop up under the beautiful Hirshhorn Museum. Dolcezza rotates its flavors, creating some unique, delicious options like sesame, but also the classics like rich chocolate.

Ice Cream Jubilee

301 Water St SE #105, Washington, DC 20003 (multiple locations)

If you are curious about what a place like Ice Cream Jubilee has to offer, just take a quick glance at their social media presence. They have quite a reputation for their elaborate cone combos of donuts and desserts, towering for Instagram photo shoots. But they aren’t just hype; their flavors are delicious, inventive, and wonderful. They often come up with new seasonal flavors, making it a great place to stop by every couple weeks (even if it’s just to taste test some new flavors).

Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Co.

109 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

If you find yourself down in Alexandria touring around Old Town and the waterfront, make sure to take a quick stop at Pop’s for some afternoon ice cream. It’s local, with lines out the door and every flavor you can imagine. It is such a classic ice cream shop, the kind of establishment you visit with the family growing up, and that makes it one of my favorites in the DMV area. You can even peak into the kitchen to see where all the ice cream magic happens.

South Block

3011 11th St N, Arlington, VA 22201 (multiple locations)

If you are looking for something sweet but still want to keep it healthy and fresh, South Block is an amazing option. They create smoothies and fruit bowls that you wouldn’t believe. The menu offers a ton of classic and creative options, while also letting you create-your-own if you have something more unique and specific in mind. My favorites are the Cave Monkey and the Avocado Butter Smoothie (because I am a sucker for anything with peanut butter).

Rita's Italian Ice & Frozen Custard

610 H St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Rita’s is a great chain if you’d prefer to cool down with some Italian Ice. I love the lemon flavor on a warm day; it’s refreshing and sweet without having to worry about dairy. Said to be one of Obama’s favorites, this is a great cheap and casual option for the whole family.


2831 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201 (multiple locations)

You might have heard the hype surrounding Nicecream. It is liquid nitrogen ice cream, created right in front of you as you wait for your selection. A cool concept and worth a visit if you're interested in something new and creative. I will warn you, it melts pretty fast (yes, all ice cream melts fast, but Nicecream especially so) so make sure you come ready to devour!

Thomas Sweet

3214 P St NW, Washington, DC 20007

Another classic establishment that I could easily become a regular of if I didn’t live across town. Thomas Sweet has what seems like an unlimited combination of flavors and additives. Milkshakes, cones, cups, basically every combo is available that you could imagine, so come ready to create your dream ice cream treat! I also love that they offer delicious yogurt ice cream that comes in fat/sugar free varieties, so you don't have to feel any guilt loading on those extra Reese's Pieces!

Bôn Matcha

1928 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001

What I love about Bôn Matcha is that it is such a cute unique concept, located in a walk-up, booth-like extension of an Asian restaurant, making it easy to swing by while out enjoying the summer sun. With typically only three varieties to pick from, Matcha (Green Tea), the season flavor (currently: Ca Phe Sua Da aka Vietnamese Coffee), or a swirl of the two, you always know what you are getting from the sweet lady behind the counter. It is definitely a gem in downtown DC worth traveling to.

Any other suggestions? Let us know!

Written by Emi Lungmus

Editing by Anna McCarthy

Photos by Emi Lungmus


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