AH ... ICE CREAM. The subtle treasures of life seem to be tethered to the fleeting delight of each drip, lick, spoonful, and let’s not forget those who suck the sweet marrow from the bottom of a cone—whatever you call that (guilty as charged).
Parlors, creameries, and even the clanging summons of the ice cream truck turn loyalty to tradition. If you ask someone who grew up here, they probably have a couple favorite spots for different occasions. Explore unfamiliar routes and make an ice cream pilgrimage this summer. I think you will find that Rochester isn’t as small as you imagine.
4791 Lake Ave., Charlotte
If you don’t already have a prized memory of watching the sunset from the end of Charlotte Pier with an Abbott’s cone, welcome to Rochester. They’re waiting for you.
4900 Culver Road, Seabreeze
Feed the seagulls and dip your crinkly fries in Rochester’s best chocolate almond custard, or bring a cone across the street to Marge’s on the beach.
4719 County Road 117, Spencerport
Four words: Ice. Cream. Cup. Cake. LuGia’s is on wheels too, and they’ll come to you for your party.
672 South Ave., Rochester
Possibly the highest butterfat content in Upstate New York. Eight luxurious flavors available daily with options like whiskey fig goat cheese. Sharing is absurd.
2485 Route 54A, Penn Yan
Half a century is hard-earned. Take a ride out to Amish Country, tour Keuka’s vineyards, visit the largest pancake griddle in the world, and finish your day trip with Seneca Farms’ nine real egg yolk custards and 50 hard ice cream flavors.
SCOOP’S ICE CREAM TRUCK
Do you hear that? Quick! What’s your groove? Bomb Pop? They have four kinds! Chaco Taco? Amorphous pink baseball glove with the frozen gumball? Dig for change and bolt across your neighbors’ yards to catch that little blue and red striped pickup truck.
ORBAKER’S DRIVE IN
4793 Route 104, Williamson
Since 1936, this classic spot slings 32 flavors of hard and soft ice cream. Catch the drag races up the road at Spencer Speedway, and end the excursion with a birthday cake-sized Glutton Burger on their shady lawn, but save room for a triple scoop!
BRUSTER’S REAL ICE CREAM
1041 Ridge Road, Webster
It may be a franchise, but Bruster’s is hallowed as a favorite family spot where friends return with friends who have never been. It’s a keeper because it’s just that cool.
PITTSFORD FARMS DAIRY
44 N Main St., Pittsford
The Versailles of ice cream. Leave the car at home and take the canal path to Pittsford Village for a napoleon pastry with the most luscious vanilla bean custard in town. Thirty rotating flavors are available to take home.
36 West Ave., Fairport
Their promise of a “fifteen minute vacation” is no exaggeration. Ethiopian berbere, Parisian breakfast, and Norwegian krokan say it all. Turn your phone off and walk along the canal arm in arm (even with your mom or dad).
Hungerford Building, Rochester
Nothing tops Eat Me’s playful pairings like olive oil and basil, cashew curry coconut, and sweet corn. Get a kooky soft serve on First Friday or seek out these dairy godmothers on their custom tricycle coolers at the Brighton Market. Vegan? Not a problem here.
290 Culver Parkway, Rochester
Ride your bike to this neighborhood gem! See if you can find it again (no GPS cheating). They still serve ice cream in little baseball helmets. Say hello to Aemo and Charming! Dogs welcome.
2385 Chili Ave., Rochester
Rochesterians everywhere rave about Russell’s ice cream cakes. The strawberry shortcake sundae draws a crowd even in the rain, but the volume of ice cream selfies on their FB page speaks volumes.
965 Edgemere Drive, Greece
A silky twist of chocolate and vanilla satisfies the soul. But dunking crisp, sizzling onion rings in a bowl of vanilla custard? Yoga can’t even ... Oh—and there’s a pickle bucket!