5 Old-Fashioned Ice-Cream Shops That Take You Back in Time

Call us crazy, but a milkshake just tastes better when it’s served out of an old-fashioned soda-fountain glass. That’s why we searched high and low for Chicago’s best old-school ice cream parlors. Here are five spots that dish up the retro charm as readily as the sugar cones.

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Margie’s Candies

When The Beatles played Chicago in 1964, they stopped for ice cream at Margie’s, and the place doesn’t seem to have changed a bit since then. Grab a seat in a leather booth and order up a banana split loaded with chopped nuts, whipped cream, wafer cookies and housemade hot fudge (served in a separate boat so you can drizzle it to your heart’s content).

1960 N. Western Ave.; 773-384-1035 or

homer s homemade gourmet ice cream chicago

Homer’s Homemade Gourmet Ice Cream

This 70-year-old North Shore institution is every bit worth the pilgrimage. In fact, legend has it that Al Capone used to make the trip to satisfy his cravings for flavors like butter pecan and fresh peach. Make a meal of it by ordering up a classic burger-and-fries combo to start. (Pro tip:You can also find the sweet stuff by the pint at the Whole Foods on North Kingsbury.)

1237 Green Bay Rd., Wilmette; 847-251-0477 or

the freeze chicago ice cream parlors

The Freeze

On a summer night, there’s nothing like a stroll to this humble Humboldt Park stand. We recommend keeping it classic with a swirl of chocolate and vanilla soft serve piled high in a cone, best enjoyed at one of the picnic tables (prime for people-watching). It’s bliss like this that makes enduring the Chicago winter totally worth it.

2815 W. Armitage Ave.; 847-966-5710 or

original rainbow cone chicago ice cream parlors

Original Rainbow Cone

Forget what you learned in grade school about ROYGBIV. This rainbow is comprised of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (vanilla with walnuts plus cherries), pistachio and orange sherbet. It’s a time-tested recipe for happiness, and if you can’t make it to the South Side, you can snag some at the Navy Pier outpost.

9233 S. Western Ave.; 773-238-7075 or

petersen s old fashioned ice cream chicago

Petersen’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream

At nearly 100 years old, this might be the oldest shop on our list. The secret to its superlatively creamy ice creams is 18 percent butterfat content (higher than Häagen-Dazs, for the record). Belly up to the sparkling marble bar—complete with old-timey cash register—and try your best to choose between flavors like Mackinac Island fudge and caramel ripple. (Or, you know, just get both.)

1100 W. Chicago Ave.; 708-386-6131 or