The Best Milkshake Spots in America
Whether you call them milkshakes, frappes or cabinets, satisfy your craving on the hottest of hot of summer days with these coolest of cool spots.
Molly Moon’s is all about sustainability and community. Along with sourcing 90% of their ingredients from the Pacific Northwest, everything in their shop is 100% compostable from the spoons and straws to the milkshake cups. And, their Anna Banana Milk Fund has raised $135,000 to give families in need fresh, organic milk. On top of all that goodness, their flavors are delicious and unique, like Earl Grey, Honey Lavender and Yeti. Get that milkshake you deserve! After all, their website promises that “Ice Cream Makes You Cool.” If you’re looking to save money, learn how to make a milkshake at home.
New York, NY
If it’s the ultimate shake you seek, look no further than Black Tap. Their monster shakes are all over Instagram because they’re as beautiful as they are ridiculous. Good luck choosing between options like the Cotton Candy Strawberry Shake—topped with blue, pink and pearl chocolates with rock candy, a lollipop, whipped cream and its namesake pile of cotton candy—or the Cake Batter Shake, graced with rainbow sprinkles and a whole slice of funfetti cake.
If you’re going to try a frozen custard milkshake for the first time, you’re best off to get it in Milwaukee, the Frozen Custard Capital of the World. Founded in 1950, Kopp’s is a Milwaukee-area staple. Check out their featured shake, or create your own, and you just might want to consider getting it “extra thick.”
New Orleans, LA
While this creamery may be vintage, its flavors are anything but. Constantly rotating their selection, they boast innovative and oddball combinations like Balsamic Caramel, Lavender Honey and Alotta Burrata—burrata cheese ice cream marbled with strawberry tomato jam.
If you thought Black Tap in NYC looked crazy, leave it to New Jersey to bring the insane. Some of their milkshakes are piled so high with toppings, they will certainly look amazing in photos, and they will certainly be bigger than your head. Called the Sideshow Shake, you choose your flavor of ice cream, which is then topped with an ice cream cone and a massive ice cream sandwich, along with a giant pile of cotton candy, chocolate pretzels, sour candy and a Ring Pop.
You’ll find the entrance to this quirky shop through an old British telephone booth. Once you’re in, check out their Golden Girls Milkshake, made with a cream cheese frosting rim, Golden Grahams cereal and toffee, and topped with whipped cream, caramel, a twinkie, vanilla wafer and a homemade blondie. Other specialty shakes include ET Goes to the Movies to Watch the Goonies, and the BreakFast Club.
Can’t get enough of the Golden Girls? Did you know they have their own hot sauce??
Eclectic and eccentric, this shop is chock full of knick-knacks and Walter Wick-esque whimsy. It’s not just the decor that’s funky—you won’t believe how delicious their bacon milkshake is, made with bacon crumbles and maple syrup, mixed with your choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
Iowa City, IA
This Iowa landmark offers “comfort food in a fifties time capsule.” It’s also been visited by Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Perhaps they were all lured in by the pie shake, which is made by mixing your choice of a slice of delicious pie or cake into your milkshake.
If you’re in New England, you’re not ordering a milkshake, you’re ordering a “frappe.” To make matters even more complicated, if you’re in Rhode Island, you’ll need to order a “cabinet.” Confused? Skip all of that trouble and order this Rhode Island staple called the “Awful Awful,” which thankfully stands for Awful Big, Awful Good. Choose from a variety of flavors, or make it an Outrageous, with flavors like strawberry banana chip or cappuccino crunch.
St. Louis, MO
Opened in 1913, not much has changed about this old-timey classic shop with a vintage jukebox and antique soda fountain. Their malts and shakes are simple and perfect, served in flavors like chocolate, cherry, marshmallow and fresh banana, as well as their specialty butterscotch malted.
Have what it takes to drink five malts in 30 minutes? Beat the challenge, and the malts are on the house.
Delicious shakes with cool throwback vibes are in store for you when you visit Lunchbox Laboratory. Along with classic video games from the 80s, their shop gets its name from the vintage lunchboxes decorating the store. Feeling funky? Stop in for their Drunken Elvis Shake, made with vanilla ice cream, graham cracker, peanut butter and banana.
Heber City, UT
Name sound a little…familiar? The shop got its quirky name when the owners inherited an abandoned Dairy Queen. When they were unable to find a buyer, they decided to start up the shop themselves. However, since they couldn’t afford a whole new sign, they just swapped out the “QU” for a “K” and set up shop. From 2003-2015, they dominated the Best of State category for frozen desserts and shakes. Check out their delicious variety of shakes, and while you enjoy your tasty treat, make sure to notice the legendary toy train that runs on tracks up by the ceiling of the store.
This Cajun Brunch restaurant is serving up American Southern cooking, and some darn good milkshakes. Served in mason jars, choose between options like Cap’n Crunch or Elvis is King. If you’re in the mood for something stronger, their Lavender Fields milkshake is made with wild berries, vanilla bean ice cream and house-infused lavender gin.
Brent’s Drugs started out in 1946 as a pharmacy. In 2014 it was remodeled into a restaurant, but the owners left the bar stools and classic soda fountain in their original positions. Its retro vibe earned it a spot on Vogue’s recent list of cool classic diners in the country. Sidle onto a stool and slurp up a delicious milkshake, like the PB&J or the Ray au Lait, made with Mississippi cold drip coffee swirled into vanilla ice cream. Yum!
Holsten’s claim to fame? The last episode of the Sopranos was shot inside this classic shop. Order your milkshake in delicious old-timey favorites, like maple walnut and rum raisin, and definitely consider making it a “Heavy Milkshake,” served extra thick. Do it…for the Family.
Started by two brothers, this famous Washington, DC restaurant is named after their dad, who was known as the gregarious cook of their neighborhood. Full of classic vintage charm, this shop has enough flavors for everyone, and a whole separate list of adult milkshakes if you’re in the mood.
South Pasadena, CA
Get your “licks” on Route 66! Open since 1915, this well-known landmark on Route 66 is a must-see and must-stop on your drive. Plus, their hand-dipped shakes are made with a whole pint of ice cream.
St. Louis, MO
Want a shake so thick it’s served upside down? We thought so. Before concrete mixers swept the nation, Ted Drewes was way ahead of the game, serving up thick shakes. Get your thick Concrete Shake, or opt for a regular milkshake if you’re more in a sipping mood.
If you’re looking for a shake that’s fresher than the rest, head to Braum’s. Braum’s is the only major ice cream maker to milk its own cows, and the cows are raised without growth hormones or antibiotics. Malts and shakes are hand-dipped, with over thirty flavors to choose from.
Rated one of the top 24 diners in the country by Food Network, this diner prides itself on chef-inspired comfort food. Their menu is full of farm-to-table ingredients, and the milkshakes are no exception. Some additions include single-origin chocolate, local strawberries and Texas Coffee Traders espresso.
Volcano Shakes plays for keeps, with milkshake monstrosities they say are “Almost big enough to share.” Each of their volcano shakes is piled high with delicious whole ingredients, like their St. Helen’s, topped with chocolate chip cookies as well as a full ice cream sandwich, or their Coffee and Donut milkshake that comes served with an entire donut and some biscotti on top.
Let’s be honest—a good milkshake is a gift. So why not give back? At the ’55 Exchange, the entire store is run and managed by Clemson University students, who sell the world-famous Clemson ice cream products. Along with receiving job training from manufacturing to sales, all revenue goes back to the students to support them in their academic and professional training.
Traverse City, MI
Enjoy your milkshake while looking out at the cows that made that ice cream! MOOmer’s is a small, family-owned dairy farm right outside of Traverse City, Michigan. Like to have a lot of choices? MOOmer’s has over 160 flavors to choose from. Get your milkshake, and while you’re there sign up for one of the tours offered of the farm.
Los Angeles, CA
The Oinkster takes all the fast-food concepts you know and slows it down, offering high-quality American classics on a completely $10-and-under menu. If you go, you have to check out their “Ube Shake.” Ube is a bright purple sweet potato, and once people figured out it’s delicious in desserts, Pinterest and Instagram went nuts. If you’re skeptical, don’t worry—they offer more traditional flavors as well.
Eat like a college kid again—this shop is a University of Kentucky late night hot spot. Open 24 hours, the diner is no fuss, no frills, just good food. Check out their Oreo, banana and Nutella shakes, as well as their seasonal shake.
Know a college kid who could use a good meal? These easy recipes are a cinch for first-time cooks.
Visit the last small-town creamery in North Dakota, voted the best ice cream in the state. Although the creamery has been in operation since 1930, their shop Dairy Dipper II only opened within in the last few years. Take advantage, and get your ice cream right from the source, with over 25 flavors on the menu for all your milkshake cravings.
When you see someone else getting a milkshake at Flip Burger, you’re going to want one too. At Flip, they serve all milkshakes by infusing them with liquid nitrogen, which means the shakes give off a thick cold mist as they are delivered extra chilled to your table. Choose from flavors like Krispy Kreme, Nutella and Burnt Marshmallow.
Little Rock, AR
Home of the iconic purple milkshake, this shake is too weird looking NOT to try. Plus, it’s pretty tasty—it was voted the best milkshake in the state in 2015. The restaurant decor takes its cue from its hand-dipped shake, so from the bar seats to the booths, it’s all purple.