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Monday through Sundae: My Top 10 Favorite Ice Cream Places in MN

My favorite food is ice cream. I will never back down from this statement—I don’t care how many people tell me “Ice cream isn’t food; it’s a dessert.” Nope, sorry. Ice cream is a full meal if you make it one… you just have to know how to eat it. I realized I have never made a tribute to ice cream here on my Her Campus page, so here it is for everyone. 

 

1. Cup and ConeWhite Bear Lake 

 

Cup and Cone takes the cake (or ice cream?) in my heart. And it’s a family favorite, which makes it all the sweeter. Their claim to fame is the crunchy cone, vanilla ice cream rolled in a beautiful mysterious mixture of sprinkles, and some peanut-like candy (really unsure of the crunchy yummies’ identity), and then ready to be licked up and enjoyed by all!  

 

 

2. Lakeview Drive InnWinona

 

Lakeview is a Winona classic. Right next to Lake Winona, you can eat your ice cream and smiley fries while enjoying the beauty of the bluffs all at once. Whether you dine in or drive up, Lakeview has something for everyone! The only downfall of Lakeview is that they close for the winter, but this makes the anticipation all the better for that first Lakeview trip of the season!   

 

 

3. Nelson’sStillwater

 

Nelson’s is quite simply a summertime classic. I have never seen a child’s size ice cream as massive as the one served at Nelson’s. While the flavors may be fairly average, nobody can walk past Nelson’s without stopping in. Usually with a line around the building, people are still willing to wait for a cup of ice cream the size of their head. The amount of ice cream is a challenge I accept time and time again knowing my tummy shouldn’t, but indeed can, hold a full child’s size cup of ice cream.  

 

 

4. MN Nice CreamSt. Paul 

 

One word, GLITTER! Yes, that’s right. MN Nice Cream serves glitter on top of every tasty treat served there! Forget about the cherry on top, I want glitter on top. MN Nice Cream serves up all sorts of crazy combos from the “Camper Cone” to the “Berry Nice” cone and every other combination you can think up! 

 

 

5. Snuffy’s (no more) 

 

Snuffy’s is another AMAZING must-try milkshake shop. Unfortunately, my go-to shut down, so I had to make a location change to the cute retro-themed downtown St. Paul location. Unfortunately again, that one also shut down. Maybe somebody knows something about Snuffys that I don’t…    

 

 

6. Leo’s Grill and Malt ShopStillwater 

 

Another Stillwater classic. Leo’s serves up the yummiest malts that taste all the better with a big greasy fry dunked in it. Leo’s has the old-time feel with the old-time flavor you just can’t get anywhere. 

 

 

7. The Chocolate OxCrosslake 

 

The Chocolate Ox is a go-to cabin treat. Nothing beats a big scoop of ice cream after a long day in the summer sun and lake. The Chocolate Ox will always remind me of high school summer days at my friend’s cabin. We were extra ambitious and would bike there to work off those extra ice cream calories.      

 

 

8. Penguin ZestoWinona 

 

If I’m being honest, Penguin Zesto is not actually worthy of being on this list because it’s just kind of a sad spin-off of Lakeview—I’m super sorry if you like Penguin Zesto—but it made my list because it is basically a tiny Lakeview that only serves ice cream. It’s a Winona classic that I could take or leave but had to add.    

 

 

“Fake” ice cream 

 

9. CosettaSt Paul

 

Now, here’s where it gets iffy. Cosetta is an all-around amazing place. In the main dining area, you have delicious cafeteria-style pasta and breadsticks. Venture upstairs and you’ll find an amazing sit-down restaurant with out-of-this-world pizza. And then, this is where the magic happens… they have an entire section of the restaurant dedicated to decadent  desserts, which do indeed include gelato. Now, I know gelato isn’t ice cream, but I really couldn’t write an entire article on amazing ice cream in MN and not include Cosetta because the gelato is to melt for. 

 

 

10. Culver’sWinona 

 

Now, this may seem silly, fast food restaurant? But yes. Culver’s custard is something just so indescribable I also could not leave it off of my list. I was never much of a Culver’s gal until I came to Winona. Now, it’s all I want. I dream about Culver’s and the sweet, sweet soft serve. And unlike McDonald’s, the soft serve machine is never down. 

 

 

Ice cream is the love of my life—yes, the absolute love of my gosh darn life. Whether it’s from a cart, pint, cup, cone, machine, you name it, I will devour it. If you’re not craving ice cream after reading this, go have some cake, you ice cream hater. If you are craving ice cream after reading this, treat yo’ self! Yum. 

 

 

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I love adventures in my canoe, reading, painting, running and exploring! 
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