This hot July may have you hankering for a cold confection. In a newly reopened DC, sweet satisfaction is near. Capitol Hill is an ice cream dream, with more than a dozen shops spread across several neighborhoods including Barracks Row, Eastern Market, H Street NE, Navy Yard, Southwest Waterfront and Union Market.
Some of the shops might be new to you. While residents hunkered down during the pandemic, Moorenko’s took over the space that was occupied by Trickling Springs at Eastern Market, while Captain Cookie and the Milk Man moved into the former Pitango space. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opened two new stores on Barracks Row and at Navy Yard. Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins on Barracks Row moved locations slightly.
Come along on an ice cream tour sprinkled with details such as locations, hours, flavors and whether you can sit down immediately with your treat.
406 Eighth St. SE
5 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday; 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Dunkin’ is a longstanding Barracks Row institution, which last fall bumped down Eighth Street a few storefronts from its previous corner location. The new store is smaller, but yes, it still serves Baskin-Robbins ice cream in more than a dozen flavors.
Flavor highlights: Remember Gold Medal Ribbon, Jamoca Almond Fudge and Old Fashioned Butter Pecan? The shop has these plus a non-dairy and vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Seating situation: Dunkin’ has a couple patio tables, plus you can take advantage of the public tables across the way at the newly beautified Eastern Market Plaza.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
526 Eighth St. SE
11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Jeni’s is a national brand that arrived on Capitol Hill in August 2020 with Barracks Row and Navy Yard locations. Jeni’s serves super-premium ice cream made from whole, natural ingredients in more than 20 inventive flavors. This is one of the highest quality, most delicious ice creams available on the Hill.
Flavor highlights: The scoop menu recently included Brambleberry Crisp, Cold Brew with Coconut Cream, Gooey Butter Cake and Texas Sheet Cake.
Seating situation: Jeni’s has a few outdoor tables on Barracks Row.
Captain Cookie and the Milk Man
666 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (actually on Seventh Street, next to Peregrine Espresso)
11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Captain Cookie is a D.C. business that started with food trucks and locations in Foggy Bottom and Brookland before arriving on the Hill in July 2020. While obviously a cookie business, the store also offers locally sourced ice cream and ice cream/cookie sandwiches.
Flavor highlights: The store has the basics—Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry—which you can sandwich between your choice of cookie flavors like Double Chocolate, Funfetti and Peanut Butter.
Seating situation: Captain Cookie has a few indoor tables and a few outdoor tables. Additional public seating is available in the Eastern Market area.
720 C St. SE
Noon-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon-10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Moorenko’s is a local, woman-owned family business with locations in Maryland and a factory in Silver Spring. The ultra-premium ice cream is ultra-delicious, one of the best on the Hill, and it comes in a wide range of classic as well as original flavors.
Flavor highlights: Recent options included Salted Caramel, Cherry Stracciatella, Key Lime Pie, Buttered Popcorn, Gold Chocolate Pretzel and Ruby Chocolate Peanut. In addition, Moorenko’s has more than a dozen flavors of sorbet.
Seating situation: The shop has no dedicated indoor/outdoor seating, but C Street is lined with public benches.
H STREET NE
1309 H St. NE
11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Thursday and Friday; noon-1 a.m. Saturday
Insomnia Cookies, like Captain Cookie, is a cookie business that also serves ice cream. Here, the ice cream options are more expansive, including scoops, sundaes, ice cream with cookie butter, cookies with scoops and several varieties of ice cream/cookie sandwiches.
Flavor highlights: The store offers 10 ice cream flavors, including Chocolate, Vanilla, Rocky Road, Moose Tracks and Sweet and Salty Pretzel, which can be combined with any of more than 15 kinds of cookies.
Seating situation: Insomnia has no indoor or outdoor seating.
Rita’s Italian Ice and Custard
1014 H St. NE
2-8 p.m Monday-Friday; 1-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Rita’s, a national chain started in Philadelphia in 1984, offers freshly made Italian ice, custard, gelati and shakes in a wide array of flavors. The ices and custards are made daily, and flavors will vary by the day.
Flavor highlights: Rotating Italian ice flavors include Banana, Florida Orange, Island Fusion, Mango Strawberry and Watermelon. Custard flavors may include Cake Batter, Orange Crème, Pistachio and Vanilla. You can call the store ahead to find out the flavors of the day.
Seating situation: Rita’s has no seats, but it’s easy to stroll with treats that come in cups with straws.
The Capital Candy Jar
201 15th St. NE
Noon-7 p.m, closed on Mondays
The Capital Candy Jar is renowned for its fabulous confections, but it is lesser known that it also scoops ice cream (there is no mention of ice cream on its website). Its corner patio with ample seating is a low-key and supremely pleasant place to indulge. You can add a truffle or another candy to your ice cream and pick up frozen dog treats for your pooch.
Flavor highlights: Options recently included Dirt Road, Salted Caramel, Snallygaster and Birthday Cake.
Seating situation: The corner store has a spacious patio with three extra-large tables, each seating at least eight people.
Altani Gelato and Coffee
202 M St. SE
4-8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday
At Altani, it’s not ice cream, it’s artisanal gelato, made in-house with local milk. The store also serves sorbet, specialty coffee and espresso, pastries and sweet and savory waffles. Altani shares space with Wiseguy Pizza at Canal Park. Later hours make it an excellent after-dinner option.
Flavor highlights: Examples include Vanilla, Reese’s Peanut Butter, Baklava and Pistachio.
Seating situation: Altani has indoor and outdoor seating.
Cold Stone Creamery
1201 Half St. SE
Noon-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; noon-11 p.m. Friday; noon-midnight Saturday
Cold Stone, for the uninitiated, is premium ice cream that can be hand-mixed with your choice of additions like fruit, nuts and candy for a custom creation. Cold Stone is a national brand with nearly 1,000 locations nationwide. This one is right outside of Nationals Park, making it an ideal pre- or post-game treat.
Flavor highlights: The chain offers a wide array of rotating flavors, which may include Cake Batter, Sweet Cream, Cheesecake, Marshmallow and Peanut Butter.
Seating situation: Cold Stone has four tables outside.
Ice Cream Jubilee
301 Water St. SE
Ice Cream Jubilee is a local, woman-owned business started by Victoria Lai, a mom, lawyer and former Homeland Security staffer. It now has three shops (Navy Yard, U Street NW and Arlington) featuring ice cream and sundaes in creatively delicious flavors. At this location, you can grab a cone and then take in the views at Yards Park.
Flavor highlights: Recent offerings included Banana Bourbon Caramel, Buttered Toast and Marmalade, Lemon Muffintop, Whiskey Toasted Marshmallow and Toasted Horchata.
Seating situation: Ice Cream Jubilee has five outdoor tables.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
1300 4th St. SE (actually on Tingey Street, across from Vida Fitness)
Jeni’s at Navy Yard has the same profile as the Jeni’s at Eastern Market (see above), but located next to Yards Park, a short stroll to the river walk.
Flavor highlights: The scoop menu recently included Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns, Strawberry Buttermilk and Wildberry Lavender.
Seating situation: The Yards Park location has several outdoor tables and a couple benches.
Ben and Jerry’s
705 Wharf St. SW
10 a.m.-10 p.m.
This is the same Ben and Jerry’s you know and love—can you believe it’s been around more than 40 years?—with a water view.
Flavor highlights: The store is offering familiar flavors like Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough as well as some new ones like Marshmallow Sky and Whiskey Biz.
Seating situation: Outside the store, a few cow-shaped benches welcome ice cream eaters. In addition, there is plenty of public bench seating along the wharf.
Southwest Soda Pop Shop
1142 Maine Ave. SW
At the Southwest Soda Pop Shop, yummy ice cream is served up with an authentic D.C. connection. Owner Darryl Jones began his career at Eastern Market and continued at the Fish Market before starting this new venture at the Wharf as it transformed. His four daughters work at the family-run shop. Options include soft-serve ice cream, scoop ice cream, floats, shakes, sundaes and even hot dogs and half smokes.
Flavor highlights: The classics: Vanilla, Chocolate, Cookies N Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry, Butter Pecan and more.
Seating situation: This is a grab-and-go-style stand, but there is plenty of public seating nearby along the wharf.
The Creamery at Union Market
1309 Fifth St. NE
11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
The Creamery at Union Market serves scoops and milkshakes made in-house from local sources. It’s also a dairy store selling glass-bottled milk, butter, cream, cheese and eggs.
Flavor highlights: The creamery is lauded for its classic flavors including include Chocolate, Strawberry, Cookie Dough and Butter Pecan.
Seating situation: Union Market has both indoor and outdoor seating.