Celebrate Frozen With a Sweet Cold Treat

We’re pretty sure Elsa loves ice cream.

Escape the heat of summer when Frozen comes back to the Denver stage (June 19-July 3, 2024). Another great way to cool off? Ice cream, and plenty of it.

Thanks to the delicious trend of high-end ice cream parlors, the Mile High City has no lack of options. Find simple swirls of flavors, hand-made waffle cones, and freshly churned ice cream at shops all around the area, from Central Park to City Park to Uptown and beyond.

The team putting on the show have all won awards, so celebrate not only seeing the musical, but also in their triumph. In the end, you must ask yourself, “What would Elsa do?” When it comes to ice cream, we doubt she would let it go when it came to these five places.


Photo courtesy Sweet Action Ice Cream

52 Broadway, Denver
1061 S. Gaylord St., Denver
530 E. 19th Ave., Denver
2851 W. 25th Ave., Denver

Over the years, Sweet Action Ice Cream has gone through a sea change. It started as a solo shop known for beer-infused ice cream and wacky flavors. A few years ago the owners sold it to partners Gerry Kim and Josh Gertzen, owners of a niche ice cream shop called Frozen Matter. Kim had always been dedicated to self-pasteurization and creating her own ice cream base, as well as using wind power to make it all go. Now, Frozen Matter has melded with Sweet Action, opening  our locations around town.

Visit one of them to try rotating and seasonal flavors such as blood orange sorbet, cold brew coffee, blackberry lavender, and Thai tea, to name a few. There’s also a line of vegan ice creams including mighty mint chip, raspberry brownie, and coffee & donuts. Overall the ice cream proves so popular, some grocery stores now carry pints of the stuff, and certain restaurants also added it to the menu.


Photo courtesy Bonnie Brae Ice Cream

799 S. University Blvd., Denver

One of the first artisan ice cream parlors in Denver opened in 1986 in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood, giving it the simple name of Bonnie Brae Ice Cream. It’s been run by the same family ever since. While that aspect hasn’t changed, the flavors have modernized to fit in with trends. For example, banana chocolate chip, blueberry pinot chip, vegan mint chip, and pineapple sorbet. Of course staple flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, rocky road, and sinful cinnamon remain on the menu and will never come off.

The charming spot looks and feels like an old timey ice cream shop. The decor consists of bright whites and cherry-red accents. Take your Frozen-inspired dessert out to the patio to enjoy under a large ruby-hued umbrella, and enjoy.


Photo courtesy Happy Cones

5505 W. 20th Ave., Ste. 190, Edgewater
1012 Ford St., Golden

Hap Cameron’s four-year-old Happy Cones in the Edgewater Public Market and its new location in Golden specializes in New Zealand ice cream. Comprised of fresh, sweet cream ice cream and a scoop of fruit, this style differs from how most artisan shops create the goods. In a way, Happy Cones peddles soft serve, at least that’s how it comes out when the fruit and base go through the New Zealand-made machine.

The idea for the concept, said Cameron, comes from the berry orchards of New Zealand where this style of sweet treat gets called “real fruit ice cream.” The recipe calls for no added sugar or preservatives; it’s simple and clean as the driven snow, even when created by a queen’s hands. Make sure to try it with the hokey pokey, a traditional New Zealand flavor featuring honeycomb.


Photo courtesy Nuggs Ice Cream

5135 E. Colfax Ave., Denver

While Nuggs Ice Cream didn’t launch until 2014, brothers Chris and Nick O’Sullivan already had their foot in the food world. In 1998 the pair launched Brothers BBQ, which has spread to seven locations. After living in the Park Hill neighborhood for a while, the brothers realized the area lacked a local craft ice cream shop, and they wanted to change that.

Not one (or two) to sit on an idea, the pair took an ice cream making class in Florida and then opened Nuggs. Ten years later it’s still going strong. The flavors prove classic, seasonal, and fun, such as the lemon crunch cookie, love potion with red velvet cake, and salted caramel with dulce de leche. Candy also takes a place in the lineup, the cleverly named Brotherfinger features Butterfingers, S’more Lovin’ uses Hershey bars, and Chocolate Covered Candy Cane mixes mint bits in smooth chocolate ice cream. Get your ice cream by the scoop or have it in a whimsical presentation such as a traditional banana split, waffle tacos, or in cookie form. 


Photo courtesy Little Man Ice Cream

2620 16th St., Denver
10175 E. 29th Dr., Denver
3455 S. University Blvd., Unit A, Englewood
4940 S. Yosemite St., E1, Greenwood Village

Often when a food places spreads around town it dilutes the product, but not in the case of Little Man. The first shop opened in 2008, instantly making a splash since it resides in a 28-foot milk can replica right in LoHi. The photos of that structure garner as many social media “likes” as the ice cream does. But it’s not all gimmick. The sweet treats churning out of Little Man are worth the 30 minute wait in line to get a freshly-made waffle cone filled with salted Oreo or Mexican chocolate.

Not that you have to wait at all locations. Little Man Ice Cream Factory at 4411 W. Colfax Ave. usually stays tamer, and inside there’s plenty of space to enjoy a bowl while taking turns going down the epic slide. Over all, there are five Little Man locations, as well as spin offs such as Dang Soft Serve Ice Cream (2211 Oneida St., Denver), Sweet Cooie’s (3506 E. 12th Ave., Denver), and Old Town Churn (234 N. College Ave., Ft. Collins). Bonus, for every scoop of ice cream sold, the company sets aside a portion of the profits to support organizations dedicated to education, childhood welfare, hunger relief, agriculture and sustainability, and STEAM programs.