School is over and summer has reached Champaign-Urbana, with temps in the 80s and sunny beautiful weather. It’s time to enjoy your favorite Champaign-Urbana area frozen treats! Your summertime bucket list should include a visit to at least one (or all) of these ice cream joints in the Champaign-Urbana area. (We should note, the list includes places that serve ice cream, custard, and frozen yogurt.)
So get ready to treat yourself and your taste buds this summer on the Champaign-Urbana Area Ice Cream Trail. How many can you check off your bucket list?
Cocomero (709 S. Wright St., Champaign) was the first self-serve froyo joint to hit Champaign-Urbana, and it still holds a special place in my heart. One of the things I like best about it: the great view of the Alma Mater. It’s a great starting point for a summer stroll. Oh, it always has great flavors and unique toppings, too.
Flesor’s Candy Kitchen (101 W. Sale St., Tuscola): You can’t go wrong with a trip to Tuscola to eat at Flesor’s, whether for a meal or just for ice cream. This is the epitome of nostalgia that’s also worth the calories. This old fashioned soda fountain features its own homemade ice cream (flavors change seasonally) and serves everything from malts to phosphates to banana splits. (No froyo here, folks.)
El Oasis (510 N. Cunningham Ave., Urbana): The best part about this hidden treasure in Urbana is all of the fresh fruit and ingredients that are in the ice cream and popsicles. Fresh coconut is my favorite and they have the best in town! They offer more than 40 flavors of Mexican Ice cream and ice cream bars.
Dick’s Pharmacy in Arthur (118 S. Vine St., Arthur): I can still remember my first Dicks Pharmacy chocolate milkshake. It was the closest thing to heaven I’d ever tasted. This is a last vestige of Americana, an old-fashioned locally-owned pharmacy with a soda fountain built in — of course my kids had no idea what all that meant, but they got a kick out of the place when we visited.
Mansfield General Store (107 N. Jefferson St., Mansfield): More than 20 different flavors of soft serve ice cream are available in the historic general store as well as other frozen treats, baked goods, coffee, sandwiches and more. The café is only part of the store’s charm, which was originally built in 1895. It’s definitely worth a stop if you’re traveling in the area.
Dewey’s Drive-In (620 E. Richardson St., Farmer City): Dewey’s has been a Farmer City tradition since 1956. Cheeseburgers, fries and old-fashioned shakes are popular items on the menu but the lemon ice cream is an absolute favorite for most locals. The 1950’s drive-in vibe adds to the overall experience.
Obie’s Arctic Chill (102 S. Oakwood St., Oakwood): The first thing you notice about Obie’s Arctic Chill is their extensive ice cream and frozen treat menu. The second thing? The super-friendly service and excellent prices. Located on Oakwood Street (the main drag) in Oakwood, you can get an ICEE, banana split, hand-dipped ice cream, soft serve ice cream, and much, much more. The prices are extremely reasonable, and the hand-dipped ice cream? Excellent. They have a drive-through, a large and shaded pavilion with ample picnic table seating and on street parking. They also offer pizza, sandwichesand snacks. Heading East on I74? Obie’s is worth the stop.
Sidney Dairy Barn (218 S. David St., Sidney): The sign in front proclaims “The World’s Best Ice Cream,” and who are we to argue? This is homemade ice cream just like the kind your parents used to make when you were little. Its opening in mid-April is darn near a community celebration. You can also find it on many Saturdays at Urbana’s Market at the Square.
The Scoop of Villa Grove (20 S. Main St., Villa Grove): We have social media drool on our faces when we see the Scoop’s Facebook feed. Heath ice cream pie? Twist parfait with cookie dough, Reese’s, and marshmallow? Let’s do it. [Editor’s note 6/24/20: The Scoop is not open during the summer of 2020.]
Jarling’s Custard Cup (309 W. Kirby Ave., Champaign): The business is no longer in the Jarling family but the good news — great news, actually — is that little has changed regarding the famous Custard Cup quality. You can still pick from a huge variety of Snowstorms, and the always-popular cold fudge sundae, among others. Now with expanded hours, it’s easier than ever to get your Jarling’s fix.
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- Ice Cream Trail around Champaign-Urbana