Spending summer 5,280 feet closer to the sun makes for days full of bright skies and record-breaking heat. While ice cream is a sweet treat year-round, summertime is the perfect time to indulge in it. Whether you need to relax during your summer classes or cool off while exploring the city with friends, here are the top five ice cream shops within walking distance of campus to beat the summertime heat.
Ice Cream Nation
Looking for a treat that tastes as good as it looks? Then Ice Cream Nation is a definite stop. Rolled ice cream has been receiving quite the hype — and all for good reason. Each flavor begins with the same liquid base, then the flavors are folded into the slowly freezing ice cream, whether it be Oreos, Nutella or sprinkles. Once frozen, the ice cream is then perfectly rolled and finished with whipped cream and toppings to complement each flavor. This stand on 16th Street Mall is a 17-minute walk from campus, and make sure to tag them in any Insta worthy pics!
Em’s Ice Cream
Any festival frequenter may recognize the name Em’s from their many food trucks seen visiting local events around the city. Em’s sets itself apart from the rest by serving ice creams entirely made from certified organic ingredients. There is no stabilizers, GMOs or food coloring in any of the flavors. Whether in the mood for a classic flavor, like mint chocolate chip — made with homemade chocolate chunks — or a new take on a classic, like coffee toffee — think freshly brewed coffee with a satisfyingly sweet crunch — there’s a flavor for everyone. Bonus: this gluten-free shop is closest to campus with only a 13-minute stroll separating CU Denver students from the sweetness.
For an extra creamy treat, Amore Gelato is your place. Just 18 minutes from campus, this Italian-inspired gelato and creperie shop is sure to impress with its revolving cast of 20 flavors. Their most popular flavor is Salted Oreo, and all for good reason. The salty flavor perfectly balances the sweetness of the chocolate and Oreos for the ultimate sweet and savory summer treat. The difference between ice cream and gelato? The latter uses less cream and eggs and more milk, resulting in about a third less fat and calories, so sampling every flavor is completely justified.
Milkbox Ice Creamery
In the heart of Union Station, Milkbox Ice Creamery is a sure stop for a day spent exploring the city. Priding itself on its old-school vibes, the vintage decor hasn’t changed much since the space used to be a train station barbershop. Serving up flavors from the well-known milk canister, Little Man, Milkbox is a perfect option for crowd favorites closer to campus. Make sure to try their seasonal favorite Raspberry Love, made with a summery raspberry base and chunks of dark chocolate mixed in. Milkbox Ice Creamery is a perfect detour spot for any light rail commuters or anyone up for a 14-minute walk to Union Station.
5280 Ice Cream
Located in the Pavillions mall, this ice cream shop is only a 20-minute jaunt from the Student Commons Building. 5280 Ice Cream features eight flavors offered year round, like caramelized banana or sea salted caramel, as well as the always changing seasonal flavors, such as this summer’s crowd favorite fire-roasted marshmallow. Made with actual campfire marshmallows mixed into the base, it delivers the essence of summer in a cone. Each ice cream is churned in-house fresh each day, as well as vegan popsicles for any non-dairy goes. While this shop is the farthest from campus, take advantage of the free mall ride shuttles on 16th Street Mall to escape the heat and get to the ice cream faster!