Your Ultimate Guide to Frosty Treats in Tucson

Last modified on July 11th, 2015 at 9:27 am

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Isabella's Ice Cream

July is National Ice Cream Month, which means you can eat as much gelato, raspados, fro yo and brownie sundaes as you want! It also means tasty deals and specials will be popping up all month long. Here’s a list of don’t miss events and select spots to help get your brain freeze on:

Ice Cream & Raspados

BrushFire Creamery

2745 N. Campbell Ave (520) 624-3223 / 7080 E 22nd St (520) 867-6050

  • Family owned and operated Brushfire boasts “classic American ice cream” that is churned in house daily and can be dressed up with over 25 different toppings.

The Hub

266 E Congress St, Tucson (520) 207-8201

  • With crazier flavors than Ben and Jerry’s, the line for The Hub is usually out the door on hot Saturday nights in downtown Tucson. Seasonal summer flavors include Gettin’ Lucky in Kentucky (yes, there is Bourbon in the mix), Mexican Wedding Cake and Pistachio Orange Blossom.

Isabella’s Ice Cream

Available at Whole Foods, Food Conspiracy Co-op, Maynards Market, Renee’s Organic Oven and Lerua’s Fine Mexican Foods.

  • Tucson’s “greenest” creamery whips up batches of handmade flavors like Strawberry Balsamic, Desert Honey and Sea Salt Caramel Pecan. Apart from 100% electric production, Isabella’s pledges that no artificial ingredients, stabilizers or fillers are used, whatsoever, in their products. Pick up an honest pint for your July 4th BBQ.

Los Pollos Raspados

2618 S 6th Ave (520) 903-1403
  • An essential Tucson experience! At Los Pollos you can compose your own combination of fluffy ice snow cones using their unique all natural syrups, like pineapple, pecan and tamarind. Add a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of lechera (sweetened condensed milk), a couple of saladitos (salty-sour-chile plums ) or some chopped fruit.

Maynards Market

400 N Toole Ave (520) 545-0577

  • Saturday July 12th Maynards Market is hosting an Ice Cream Showdown to find Southern Arizona’s best ice cream. Ten dollars gets you 10 ice cream samples and tasters can judge in three categories: Best Overall, Most Inventive, and Kids Choice. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Ben’s Bells(Bonus: The free film at the Historic Train Depot that night is Frozen.) Ice Cream Showdown at Maynards
  • The Market is also promoting Isabella’s Ice Cream throughout July with a frosty treat menu of beer floats, soda floats, coffee floats and homemade brownie ice cream sandwiches. For more details visit their events page.

Oasis Fruit Cones

 1002 W Saint Marys Rd (520) 792-6657

  • From the outside it’s a real hole in the wall, but to many Tucson locals Oasis Fruit Cones is a daily summer mecca. Oasis closes up when the weather cools down, so now’s the time to grab as many of their delicious Raspados de Frutas as you can. Chopped strawberries and mango with a scoop of ice cream is their number one bestseller.

Santa Barbara Ice Cream

1058 N Campbell Ave (520) 323-1232

  • More than 31 flavors at Santa Barbara come from McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream in California (recently judged the “best ice cream in the world” by Time magazine), with some exotic varieties from Oregon’s Cascade and Denali Alaskan Classics. It’s hard to miss this tiny shop with its bright neon signs and colored string lights in the window.

The Screamery

50 S Houghton Rd (520) 721-5299

  • A brand new ice cream parlor celebrating its soft opening this week! Hand Crafted ice cream is pasteurized on-site with all natural ingredients to provide an old fashioned solution to modern day ice cream flavors. The Screamery gets its cream and milk come from Strauss Family Creamery out of California, where the cows are grass fed and hormone free. Rest easy while you slurp up that piled-high cone.

Sonoran Sno Cones & Sonoran Delights

120 S Avenida del Convento (520) 344-8470 / 921 W Congress St (520) 623-3020

  • The Robles family moved from Obregon, Sonora Mexico in the late nineties and now owns Sonoran Sno-Cones in South Tucson as well as a taqueria style location, Sonoran Delights, next door. From must-try spicy iced drinks to Mexican banana splits, Sonoran Sno-Cones highlights the traditional recipes for sweets made of fresh fruit and natural ingredients, instead of artificial sweeteners. A must try for anyone living her or passing through.

Sullivan’s

6444 N Oracle Rd (520) 297-9974

  • It’s all about rich sundaes at Sullivan’s, one of the oldest ice cream locations in Tucson. Their creamy creations include everything from classic Banana Splits and Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Sundaes, to Chocolate Malts and a whole menu of 1950s parfaits, like the Cool Daddio: scoops of Rocky Road and Caramel Pecan Fudge Ice Cream with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, a Sullivan’s wafer and a cherry. Go on an empty stomach!

Frozen Yogurt

Kona Beri

9155 E Tanque Verde Rd (520) 749-4922

  • Even though it looks like a national chain, Kona Beri is totally local. The Hawaiian themed self-serve shop offers healthy frozen yogurt, including lots of gluten-free and sugar-free options. Top off your guilt-free treat with fresh strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango or kiwi. Don’t forget to have your loyalty card punched.

Pinkberry

1303 E University Blvd (520) 621-0040

  • The one and only Arizona Pinkberry is actually hidden on the U of A campus (it’s in the student union off of E 2nd St for you LA transplants out there). The original LA tart frozen yogurt brand serves six distinctive flavors: Original, Pomegranate, Salted Caramel, Chocolate, Mango, and a featured flavor that rotates seasonally. Personalize every yogurt with any combination of fresh fruits or sweet treats.

The Parlour

611 N 4th Ave, Tucson (520) 882-4488

  •  The latest craze at The Parlour are acai bowls, frozen yogurt served with bananas, yogurt, honey and acai berries for an extra health boost. Their delicious low-cal flavors are constantly changing, and toppings range from Apple Jacks to chia seeds to suit any kind of craving.

U-Swirl

3587 East Broadway Boulevard (520) 325-3155

  • Another fun self-serve frozen yogurt spot, U-Swirl charges by the weight so you can fill your cup to the brim or go easy. They offer 18 flavors of probiotic yogurt, over 50 toppings, and more than 15 sauces. Always gluten-free.

Gelato

Allegro – Il Gelato Naturale

446 N Campbell Ave (520) 207-1991

  • Owned by Marco Rapella, a native of Morbegno, Italy, Allegro uses only fresh fruit, nuts and spices to flavor each of their Gelatos and Sorbets, which they then grind or squeeze in their kitchen. Located around the corner from the U of A, this tiny spot can get pretty busy during the school year, so take advantage of summertime gelato without the wait.

Frost Gelateria and Sorbet

7131 N. Oracle Rd (520) 797-0188 / 7301 E. Tanque Verde Rd (520) 886-0354 / 2905 E. Skyline Dr (520) 299-0315

  • Frost is one of the healthier and creamier gelato bars around (as well as a personal obsession of mine), with an additional selection of incredible fat-free sorbets. The light as air gelato is made fresh daily in their gleaming, spotless shops, and each recipe has been concocted by master chef Nazario Melchionda, from Bologna, Italy.

Gentle Ben’s

865 E University Blvd (520) 624-4177

They’re calling themselves Tucson’s Best Gelato, but don’t you think you should be the judge of that? Gentle Ben’s, the two story bar and restaurant throbbing with students and faculty during the school year, has a surprisingly awesome gelato bar in the back, with waffle cones and flavors like Red Velvet, Birthday Cake, and Blueberry Acai.

Tazzina di Gelato

5420 E Broadway Blvd (520) 300-5538

  • The Miller family happily admits their obsession with the Italian culture is what drove them to open up their own gelato shop in Tucson. Last year Tazzina di Gelato, meaning little cup of gelato, gained recognition for their Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt gelato which won the People’s Choice award at the 2013 SAACA Sweet Charity Event. Stop in on Sundays for senior discounts and a refreshing Tazzina Fizz – a scoop of your favorite sorbet or gelato with soda water.

Viro’s Italian Bakery

8301 E 22nd St (520) 885-4045

  • Giant meatball subs and cannoli aren’t the only indulgences at Viro’s, a traditional Italian bakery and deli in East Tucson. They also serve big scoops of authentic gelato as part of their dinner menu.

Are you a owner/operator of a local ice cream, frozen yogurt, or gelato shop? Shoot us an email at info@tucsonfoodie.com and we’ll add you to the list.

Nina is a Creative Nonfiction MFA candidate at the University of Arizona, a food writer and a recipe addict.