We all Scream
for Ice Cream

Must Try Ice Cream Stops in Helena, Montana

By Anna Strange

Ice cream lovers have had the perfect excuse to indulge in their favorite treat this month as July is “National Ice Cream Month.” Who knew there was such a thing? An entire month dedicated to enjoying your preferred sweet, mixed dairy treat; sounds like the perfect hot weather combatant to me. With national ice cream month in mind, I present you the following Best Of Helena ice cream stops.

Best old-fashioned milkshake: The Parrot Confectionery

Founded in 1922, The Parrot Confectionery is an idealistic early 1900’s soda fountain and candy shop. When you step through the door, you feel like you’re stepping back in time. The Parrot is known for their delicious hand-made chocolates, but did you know that their ice cream is homemade and hand-packed? On a recent visit to The Parrot, I documented the milkshake making process. Here’s how it happens: they take 3 scoops of homemade ice cream (handmade by owner Brian Ackerman). Next, they add in syrup. All of the syrups are homemade except the Coke syrup. Lastly, add milk and into the retro Hamilton Beach mixer it goes! The Parrot’s dedication to not only hand making the ice cream but also the syrups wins this shop the title the “best Old fashioned milkshake.” My milkshake? ‘The Parrot’ ice cream with chocolate syrup. Yum!Fun fact: Our Hamilton Beach mixer is dated May 12, 1941, that makes it over 70 years old.The Parrot Confectionery

Find them at 42 N. Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT | Open Monday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (soda fountain closes at 5:30), Closed Sunday

Best late night spot to get ice cream: Big Dipper Ice Cream

Big Dipper ice cream is located in the heart of Downtown Helena at the corner of 6th Avenue and Last Chance Gulch. Big Dipper has a wide selection of ice cream flavors ranging from Mexican chocolate to huckleberry. Select your ice cream flavor and get it in a bowl, cone, sundae, or milkshake. Whichever you choose is guaranteed to be delicious. Big Dipper is the “best late night spot” because of it’s fantastic hours. Did you know they are open every day until 10:00 pm? The next time you’re craving a late night treat, come on down to the Big Dipper. Not only is their ice cream delicious, but with friendly staff, an inviting atmosphere, and great trucker hats you can’t beat this spot.


Find them at 58 N. Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT | Open Monday – Sunday, Noon – 10:00 pm

Best kid friendly spot to get ice cream: Great Northern Carousel

From their fantastic selection of Wilcoxson’s ice cream to riding the carousel, it should come as no surprise that the Great Northern Carousel is awarded the ‘best kid friendly spot to get ice cream’ award. It’s the perfect summer activity for the entire family. Wilcoxson’s is a Made in Montana brand, whipped up in Billings. Bring the entire family down for an ice cream cone and a ride on the Great Northern Carousel.Fun fact: Did you know that the stained glass rounding boards on the carousel were made by Helena artist Mary Harris?Great Northern Carousel

Carousel Ice Cream
Ice Cream Buddies

Find them at 989 Carousel Way, Helena, MT | Open Mon, Wed, Thurs 11:00 am – 8:00 pm; Closed Tuesday; Fri, Sat 11:00 am – 8:30 pm; Sun 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Best ice cream alternative: The Frozen Moose

As if the delicious self-serve frozen yogurt options weren’t enough at The Frozen Moose, you can also enjoy self-serve sorbet. This makes The Frozen Moose the ‘best ice cream alternative’ in Helena. As someone who sometimes has a hard time digesting the richness of ice cream, I am a huge fan of frozen yogurt. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, frozen dairy without being too heavy. My all-time favorite frozen yogurt flavor is white chocolate mousse. Top it with fruit, or indulge a bit more and cover it with candy. Either way, it’s delicious. The Frozen Moose offers the perfect environment, it’s a great place for a date night or to take the entire family (kids included) to hang out.


Find them at 1015 Boulder Avenue, Suite 1D, Helena, MT | (Summer Hours) Closed Monday, Tues-Thurs 11:00 am – 10:00 pm; Fri-Sat 11:00 am – 10:30 pm; Sun 11:00 am – 9:00 pm