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Top 5 Places To Get a Cold Sweet Treat Around The UW Campus

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

Real Wisconsinites don’t let the weather influence their desserts!

Ah, ice cream. It’s just the magic cure-all, isn’t it? It’s every kid’s perfect pick-me-up after a hard test at school, a celebratory treat, a post-dinner indulgence, a sunset summer ritual or an extra sweet surprise on your waffles at brunch (an MKE tradition!). I, personally, have such an affinity for ice cream that I’m actually known to request it over a birthday cake whenever that time of the year rolls around. With that being said, I like to think of myself as a bit of an ice cream connoisseur, so please enjoy my list below of the top five places around campus to satisfy your sweet tooth!

5. Culver’s

Coming in at number five, we have the good old Midwestern classic, Culvers. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Culver’s doesn’t serve ice cream, they serve frozen custard. And you’re right! But given Culver’s iconic status, especially in its home state of Wisconsin, I consider it worthy of making the list. The addition of the egg and cream to the mixture before freezing gives the dessert such a silky texture that it’s hard to beat. If this was a custard ranking, Culver’s would take the crown for sure.

4. The Daily Scoop or Babcock Creamery

Next up is The Daily Scoop or Babcock Creamery. Every Badger knows that this is good stuff. The most popular flavor is again technically a custard, but I guess that just further proves that Wisco really knows its way around dairy. Babcock ice cream is a solid quality product and fairly accessible no matter where you are on campus. Pop into a Union or a Flamingo Run, and there you have it! Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they may serve it at dining locations, too. We love a convenient treat!

3. The Chocolate Shoppe

Taking third place is The Chocolate Shoppe. Also super conveniently located on State, The Chocolate Shoppe has an endless list of flavors to choose from. There is something for everyone: savory, salty-sweet, nutty, Plain Jane vanilla, various levels of chocolate-y goodness and a host of fruit-centered options as well. Best of all, The Chocolate Shoppe seems to have perfected all of them, which means they do inclusivity, and they do it well! 

2. Cold Stone Creamery

Our runner-up for this ranking is Cold Stone Creamery. Now, this is a pretty well-known national chain and for good reason. Cold Stone has nearly as many flavors as The Chocolate Shoppe, but the real twist is that they have an even more extensive buffet of toppings to mix into your flavor of choice. If you really wanted to, you could make every trip to Cold Stone taste different. What you’re left with is a jumbo dessert! Plus, it’s so fun to watch your toppings get mixed in on the cold stone (I admit I was far too old when I finally realized that’s where the name comes from…). So to summarize, it’s completely customizable, the portions are huge and you get a show. What’s not to love?

1. Kilwin’s

Let’s hear some commotion for our winner…drumroll please… Kilwin’s! Also located on State, although closer to the Capitol, Kilwin’s takes the cake. This ice cream chain may not have the spectacle of a Cold Stone, but they do have some pretty extensive flavor options. But above all, Kilwin’s deserves the top seed due to their sheer quality. I’m not sure what those food scientists were doing when they created the recipes to the also nationally-known Kilwin’s ice cream, but they deserve all the best the world has to offer. The first time I ever had the pleasure of tasting Kilwin’s was in Celebration, Florida, and let me be the first to tell you that the combination of that treat and the tepid evening air is a holy experience. Seriously. Run, don’t walk!

So, there you have it: my self-proclaimed professional ranking of the best ice cream parlors around the UW campus! In my opinion, everyone needs a good emotional support dessert on standby, especially as we’re wrapping up midterms and mentally gearing up for finals and the end of the academic year. I hope you find something in this list that speaks to you (though I’m sure you will!), and I promise that none of these options will steer you wrong.

Sophia Thomas

Wisconsin '26

Sophia is a current first-year student at UW-Madison and couldn't be more excited to be a baby Badger! She's a Wisco girl born and raised, so the way to her heart is any cheesy meal or dessert that involves ice cream/custard. In her spare time, Sophia enjoys hosting friends for dinner, trying out new cafés, rewatching all of her favorite shows, and, of course, coming up with fresh article ideas for Her Campus!