It’s no secret that it gets pretty hot in Sacramento in the summertime. And sometimes, when you want to cool off with a sweet treat, ice cream just doesn’t cut it. Luckily, there are plenty of other cold treats available in the area—if you know where to look. Here are the best cold treats in Sacramento (of the non-ice cream variety).
Hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Memorial Day through Labor Day)
The snow cone might just be the best invention ever on a hot summer day. Take shaved ice, add a syrup flavor, and voila! The perfect cold treat. Osaka Ya’s snow cones are available in several mouth-watering flavors, including bubblegum, grape, lime, root beer, cherry, lemon, orange, blue raspberry, punch, strawberry, pineapple, and, my personal favorite, watermelon. Prices are $2 for extra small, $2.50 for small, $3 for medium, and $4.25 for large (I’ve never strayed beyond a small, which is more than big enough for two). Warning: the lines can get long at Osaka Ya on the weekends, but it’s worth the wait!
Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 a.m.- 9:30 p.m., Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday – 12
p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
If you think Here’s the Scoop! only serves ice cream, think again. They also serve cold Slush Puppies (think Slurpee, but looser) in tasty flavors such as kiwi-strawberry, grape, lemon-lime, green apple, watermelon, and cherry. Prices are $1.40 for a small, $1.90 for medium, and $2.25 for large. Also check out the soy ice cream bon bons–$3.50 gets you six golf ball-sized scoops of vegan mint chocolate chip soy ice cream coated in dark chocolate.
Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
You may go to Hot Italian for the pizza, but be sure you stay for the Gelateria Naia gelato, which will transport your taste buds to Italy. Favors include cannoli, caramel salato, chocolate orange, cookies and cream, dark chocolate, ferrero rocher, limon, madagascar vanilla, mr. espresso, peanut butter chip, pistachio, stracciatella (similar to chocolate chip), tiramisu, and white mint chip. Prices are $3 for a cone or cup, and they will mix and match scoops–just ask (my favorite pairing is caramel salato and dark chocolate).
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
When you’re looking for a relatively guilt-free cold treat, Merlino’s Freeze will hit the spot. Merlino’s Freezes combine fruit and ice into a drink that’s the essence of summer in fresh flavors including strawberry, lemon, orange, mango and pineapple. They’re not too sweet, and the visible chunks of fresh fruit make you feel virtuous. Prices are $3.75 for a small, $5 for a medium, and $7.50 for a large.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Fat Face popsicles are not your average popsicles. Think gourmet. Then think boundary-pushing flavor combinations that pair well together. Options include strawberry-coconut, strawberry-lemonade, lime-avocado, kiwi-mango, green tea-mango, and, my favorite, Thai tea-sweet potato. These pops will set you back $3 per, but their handmade yumminess more than makes up for the price.
Hours: Daily 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Los Jarritos makes their own Rainbow Fruit Bars (paletas, or popsicles) in a variety of flavors. Cream flavors include strawberry, coconut, vanilla, walnut, guava, banana, cantaloupe, mango chocolate, pina colada, and bubble gum. Ice flavors include strawberry, watermelon, pineapple, Jamaica (hibiscus flowers), tamarind, and lemon. Can’t decide? Grab a dozen and try them all (or most, anyway) for $10. Otherwise, these pops are $1 each.
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 pm., Sunday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sure, you can get ice cream at Vic’s, but you can also enjoy a soda pulled from their soda draft arm, which creates a more bubbly drink called a Phosphate. Vic’s Phosphates are available in orange, cherry, grape and lime, and cost $1.30 for a small and $1.60 for a large (to-go prices are $1, $1.25 and $1.50). Get a blended Phosphate (called a Mist) for $1.60 for a small and $1.80 for a large (to-go $1.25, $1.50 and $1.75).
and rescued greyhound. She is a freelance writer who regularly writes about food, pets, health
and wellness, entertainment, and more.