The downtown St. Petersburg ice cream scene has mushroomed, just like everything else in the urban center over the past five years. Between Beach Drive and 16th Street North, there are eight different shops with ice cream, gelato, or ice pops available. Let's take a look at all of your Downtown St. Pete ice cream options:

Bright Ice

Specializing in small-batch locally sourced ice creams with deliciously unique flavors, Bright Ice on 5th Ave North is a local favorite. Flavors like blueberry cinnamon, lemon with crystallized ginger, and sea salt caramel make for an amazing tastebud experience. Serving up espresso to enjoy on the side, or affogato for a mixture of cold & warm, this ice-cream destination is a real summer treat.

Paciugo Gelato

Paciugo Gelato is a must-see when visiting downtown St. Petersburg. Set alongside other upscale stores along Beach Drive, Paciugo reminds me of the family-owned shops and gelaterias I've seen in Florence. The selections here may look as a bit pricey, but the same size servings would go for triple the prices in Italy! Paciugo's high-quality gelato have become a local favorite, so be prepared to wait on busy evenings. It's worth the wait, though. The flavors change, but the owners keep the favorite selections on hand, including nocciola (hazelnut) and pistachio. They will usually serve you three flavors in a small cup so go with the nocciola, pistachio, and strawberry coconut (my favorite). They even have dairy-free and reduced-sugar gelato -- it's just as good as the regular stuff!


Also on Beach Drive is Kilwin's, a long-standing St. Pete ice cream shop offering house-made ice cream in flavors like marzipan and Georgia peach, plus lots of other sweet treats. The scent of chocolate and waffle cones hits you as you walk along Beach Drive, and the smell definitely draws you in. The candy case looks like the kind of chocolate wonderland Willy Wonka would have approved, and the fudge section is just as large -- my favorite is the coconut fudge. My daughter and I love the candied apples, too -- she always wants the simple, caramel-flavored one while I go for the caramel pecan apple one. Kilwin's is a dessert lovers paradise and an awesome place to stop before or after a movie at the nearby AMC Sundial 20.

The Hyppo St. Petersburg

If you're looking for a different kind of frozen treat, the Hyppo provides all-natural, homemade ice pops. Founder Stephen DiMare started the original Hyppo in St. Augustine following a chance encounter with an airplane passenger and a winter spent testing ice pop flavors while working at a ski lodge in Montana. They use fresh fruit, so the only time it's frozen is when the ice pops are prepared in the shop. The Hyppo has 450 flavors at the company's disposal (including a Mate Pear flavor only found in the St. Pete Hyppo), but they keep it relatively simple and change out flavors with the seasons.

Sweet Divas Chocolates

Sweet Diva's is more of a sweet tooth destination, with their signature chocolates and cupcakes, plus sipping chocolates and coffees, but it also has excellent artisan ice cream with a rich, creamy texture.

With so many ice cream shops in downtown St. Petersburg, everyone's sure to find their favorite style and flavor! With National Ice Cream Month the entire month of July, there's no better time to get out and try one of them... or all of them!

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