The Essential Guide To D.C.'s Best Scoop Shops

UPDATE: Summer's halfway over, which means you only have a limited time to scoop up (literally!) all of the best warm-weather treats. This story was originally published on May 22.
If we had to pick an absolute favorite food of all time, we'd have to go with ice cream — unequivocally, hands down, without a doubt, ice cream. We love the cold stuff in all its varied forms — fancy gelato made from so-fresh ingredients, frozen custard that conjures memories of a summer boardwalk, or old-fashioned creamy goodness that comes straight from a churn. (Admit it: You're craving it now, too!)
Whether you fancy a cup or a cone, we've got the essential guide to the best places in town to get your frozen fix — and for the next couple of months of sweltering heat, you've got a legit excuse to try every last one of these. Is that not the best news you've heard all day?
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This cozy mini-chain (with outposts in Georgetown, Dupont, and Bethesda Row) is home to some of the tastiest gelato we've sampled this side of Rome, not to mention delicious churros and perfect espresso, to boot. If you've got a serious sweet tooth, make sure to order anything with the shop's homemade dulce de leche — it's an award-winning recipe for a reason.

Where: 1560 Wisconsin Avenue NW, 202-333-4646; 1704 Connecticut Avenue NW, 202-299-9116; 7111 Bethesda Lane, 301-215-9226.

Photo: Courtesy of Dolcezza
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The Dairy Godmother
A Del Ray staple, this small shop has been churning out Wisconsin-style frozen custard since 2001. Flavors of custard and sorbet are updated daily, and you can expect fancy ice pops in flavors like mango-lime and rootbeer float this summer.

Where: 2310 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-683-7767.

Photo: Courtesy of The Dairy Godmother
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Serendipity 3
Indulgence is the name of the game at Georgetown's newest sweets spot. Think milkshakes and floats, drugstore-style sundaes, and deep-fried Oreos and ice cream (shown). First-timers should order up a Frrrozen Hot Chocolate to beat the summer heat.

Where: 3150 M Street NW; 202-333-5193.

Photo: Courtesy of Serendipity 3
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Frozen Dairy Bar
This old-school spot's claim to fame is simple: Area residents have been lining up for icy treats here since 1950. The specialty is frozen custard, and you can pick your poison: standard scoops, blended concoctions with candy mix-ins, ice cream pies, shakes, cones, or malts. Did we mention there are funnel cakes and pizza on the menu, too? Hello, summertime heaven.

Where: 6641 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church; 703-534-4200.

Photo: Courtesy of Frozen Dairy Bar
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Pitango Gelato
The Pitango buzz has spread quickly, with the local company opening five outposts in the D.C. area in just a few short years. The flavors here are intensely fresh, thanks to top-notch ingredients — try the mojito or rhubab if you like sweet-and-tangy treats, or the spicy chocolate or bourbon vanilla if you're craving something richer.

Where: 413 7th Street NW, 202-885-9607; 660 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, 202-701-6222; 1451 P Street NW, 202-332-8877; 11942 Democracy Drive, Reston, 703-606-9906.

Photo: Courtesy of Pitango Gelato
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If a rainbow of gelato flavors inside a glass case is your idea of happiness, then a visit to this Arlington standby should figure into your summer plans. There's always a line, but don't let that discourage you — the creative flavors are addictive, and you're encouraged to suggest your own on a community chalkboard.

Where: 2719 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington; 703-869-6522.

Photo: Courtesy of Boccato
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Moorenko's Ice Cream Café
Inspired by the ice cream that owner Susan Soorenko and her sons once enjoyed on vacation, the Moorenko's brand has been around since 2002. The creamy concoctions are all natural and made in small batches, so expect extra-tasty options such as chocolate peanut butter, salted caramel with pralines, and honey lavender.

Where: 8030b Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring; 301-565-7804.

Photo: Courtesy of Moorenko's

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