Ranking Local Ice Cream Places

By Amelie Arango

8. Smitten: 

A cute ice cream place located in the center of the bustling Santana Row, Smitten provided me with surprisingly disappointing ice cream. Like any other ice cream connoisseur, I expected a sweet cold treat, but Smitten only provided the cold. The weirdly salty ice cream, made right in front of me, definitely proved not worth the price of $5.75 for a small cup. Rating: 3/10

7. Tin Pot Creamery 

A small shop in a corner of the Pruneyard, Tin Pot Creamery offers wonderful ice cream, but very little flavors for a not-so-little price. Their handmade ice cream impresses all, but at $7.75 for a single scoop of ice cream, the price does not prove worth the amount and quality. Overall, good for a one-time trip, but far too expensive for 5 oz. of ice cream. Rating 5/10

6. Dairy Queen

While it’s mostly transformed into a fast food place on top of serving ice cream and sundaes, Dairy Queen keeps their prices matching the quality of their ice cream. My personal favorite, a vanilla soft-serve cone dipped in chocolate, always satisfies. The familiar favorite, blizzards, prove delicious and not overpriced at $3.69 for a small. However, limited choices and less quality ice cream places this lower than Baskin Robbins. Rating: 5/10

5. Baskin Robbins 

Commonly known for having 31 flavors, Baskin Robbins does not deliver on this promise. However, it still provides a wide variety of options, including ice cream, coffee, sundaes, milkshakes, and smoothies. Birthday Cake, my personal favorite, represents just one of the many different flavors that appeal to all. The price for a single scoop is $2.79, making the ice cream delicious and not overpriced. Rating 6/10

7. Salt & Straw

An upscale shop at Valley Fair, Salt & Straw provides creative flavors for a medium of price of $5.75 for a single scoop, less expensive than Tin Pot, but more expensive than Baskin Robbins. For the quality of the ice cream, the price proves worth it. Creative flavors, including Cinnamon Snickerdoodle and Pear with Blue Cheese, make for an interesting and new experience every time you visit. Rating: 6/10

3. Campbell Creamery

Campbell Creamery’s pink storefront on the corner in Downtown Campbell stands out, drawing crowds in on busy nights. Providing many options, including frozen yogurt, toppings, and shakes, along with quality ice cream, Campbell Creamery stays a great place for ice cream. $6.50 for a single scoop, it’s more expensive than Salt & Straw, but provides better options for that price. Rating: 7/10

2. Coldstone

At $4 for a small Create Your Own Ice Cream, Coldstone offers a new ice cream experience where you can make your own flavor for less than $5, or get one of their flavor options for about the same price. Almost unlimited choices of creation, you can get something different every time with options for everyone. The ice cream quality proves top-tier, and the toppings make it even better. They also provide the most cone options, such as cake, waffle, and waffle bowl, which you can get chocolate-dipped as well. Overall, Coldstone stands out from the competition. Rating: 10/10

1. Marianne’s 

Located in Santa Cruz, but selling in different stores more locally, Marianne’s Ice Cream maintains a classic atmosphere with almost unlimited choices. The menu appears overwhelming, but every flavor proves delicious and high-quality. While no toppings or differing options for cones exist, the ice cream speaks for itself. A little over $3 for a single scoop of the best ice cream ever? Definitely worth it! Rating: 10/10