Portland, Maine, a city known for its picturesque lighthouses, vibrant arts scene, and historic architecture, is also a haven for ice cream lovers. With its rich dairy industry and a plethora of artisanal ice cream shops, Portland offers a sweet retreat for those who appreciate the creamy, cold delight. Whether you’re a fan of classic flavors or adventurous combinations, Portland’s ice cream scene is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Let’s embark on a tantalizing journey through Maine’s dairy capital and indulge in the sweet delights of Portland’s ice cream scene.

A Brief History of Ice Cream in Portland

Portland’s love affair with ice cream dates back to the 19th century when dairy farming was a major industry in Maine. The abundance of fresh milk and cream led to the rise of homemade ice cream, which quickly became a popular treat among locals. Over the years, the city’s ice cream scene has evolved, with artisanal ice cream shops popping up across the city, each offering unique flavors and creative twists on the classic dessert.

The Artisanal Ice Cream Movement

The artisanal ice cream movement in Portland is characterized by a commitment to quality and creativity. Local ice cream makers source their dairy from Maine’s farms, ensuring the freshest and richest flavors. They also experiment with unique ingredients and flavor combinations, resulting in a diverse array of options for ice cream enthusiasts.

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream

Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, a favorite among locals and tourists alike, is known for its inventive flavors. From the classic Maine Sea Salt Caramel to the adventurous Bay of Figs, each scoop is a testament to the shop’s commitment to quality and creativity.

The Gelato Fiasco

The Gelato Fiasco, another popular spot, offers a taste of Italy in the heart of Portland. With flavors like Mascarpone Pistachio Caramel and Dark Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt, this shop takes gelato to a whole new level.

Classic Ice Cream Shops

While Portland’s ice cream scene is marked by innovation, there’s still plenty of room for the classics. These shops offer traditional flavors that have stood the test of time, providing a nostalgic taste of childhood summers.

Beal’s Ice Cream

Beal’s Ice Cream, a Portland institution since 1978, is known for its classic flavors like Maine Blueberry and Old Fashioned Vanilla. The shop’s old-school vibe and delicious ice cream make it a must-visit for any ice cream lover.

Red’s Dairy Freeze

Red’s Dairy Freeze, a family-owned shop that’s been serving ice cream since 1952, is another favorite. Known for its soft-serve ice cream and iconic lobster roll, Red’s offers a quintessential Maine experience.

Ice Cream Festivals and Events

Portland’s love for ice cream extends beyond its shops. The city hosts several ice cream-themed events throughout the year, offering locals and visitors alike a chance to celebrate and indulge in this sweet treat.

Maine Ice Cream Trail

The Maine Ice Cream Trail is a summer-long event that encourages participants to visit ice cream shops across the state. With over 30 stops, including several in Portland, it’s a fun and delicious way to explore Maine’s ice cream scene.

Portland Ice Cream Festival

The annual Portland Ice Cream Festival is a day-long celebration of all things ice cream. The event features local ice cream vendors, live music, and plenty of activities for kids, making it a perfect family-friendly outing.


Portland’s ice cream scene is a reflection of the city’s commitment to quality, creativity, and local sourcing. Whether you’re a fan of artisanal flavors or classic scoops, Portland offers a sweet retreat for every ice cream lover. So, the next time you’re in Maine’s dairy capital, be sure to indulge in the sweet delights of Portland’s ice cream scene.

Experience delectable dining at Baxter State Park restaurants, adding flavor to your Maine wilderness adventure....

Explore Abbot and Guilford, Maine's hidden gems. Your ultimate guide to serene stays and tranquil charm in these quaint towns....

Discover Monhegan Island in Maine: Top 5 activities including hiking, art exploration, bird watching, lighthouse visits, and local cuisine....

Explore Paris, Maine's hidden gems. Journey through time and nature, uncovering the town's rich history and stunning landscapes....