Look for: A pastel-colored house off Preston Road that does everything big—hollowed-out pineapples filled with lemonade and topped with Miss Chaquita’s fruit spread; strawberry shakes that look like the love child of Marie Antoinette and Jem (we’re serious); a crazy Dutch chocolate shake in a Mason jar with a veritable slap-bracelet of Fruity Pebbles on the rim and scoops of ice cream, an Oreo cookie, and an actual Klondike Bar erupting from the top. Seven-year-old you is screaming.
Where: 2716 Preston Rd., Pasadena—on the weekends, be prepared to wait.
Look for: A humble little paleta (ice pop!) paradise in a long strip center—kids will want creamy iterations like Fruity Pebbles or cotton candy; adults can go wild with a chili mango.
Where: 13932 Westheimer, near George Bush Park, so take ’em to go. Bonus: these ice pops can travel!
Look For: An attention-grabbing yellow stand with walk-up and drive-thru windows for first-rate custard. Order an old-fashioned freeze, thicker than a float, with vanilla custard and your soda choice of soda (Dr Pepper, natch). Relax on a red bench out front.
Where: 12545 Jones Rd.—make this your stop after sucking down tons of oysters at Captain Tom’s.
Look For: A relaxed strip mall café with bubble tea and snowflake ice that comes with three toppings. We recommend strawberry ice with mango, kiwi, and jelly.
Where: 8606 Hwy. 6, close to Jersey Village’s Senate Avenue Brewing.
Look For: A retro 1950s diner complete with old-school doo-wop and R&B, counter service, and ice cream drinks like the Lime Cooler—lime sherbet complete with flecks of lime zest dunked into a frosty mug of 7-Up—that’ll make you feel like Marty McFly.
Where: 800 3rd St., Rosenberg—a funky downtown area awaits!
Look For: The blue and white signage on the bottom floor of Parkway Village Plaza. Inside, the Filipino shaved ice dessert, halo-halo, comes topped with vanilla and ube ice creams along with all the things: jackfruit, palm fruit, coconut jellies, coconut strings, red beans, and both evaporated and condensed milks. Taste this rainbow.
Where: 1809 Eldridge Pkwy.—don’t leave without also getting a burger and fries.
Look For: A surf shack that serves up Bonsai Pipe-sized Hawaiian shave ice—from ice cream-stuffed specialties (try the Hula Lula, a mix of piña colada, mango, and lemon over vanilla) to classic flavors you can’t resist.
Where: 812 E. Main St., League City—stop and shop at the cute boutiques nearby.
Look For: The pastel pink and lime-green strawberry signage outside the place for frozen Taiwanese treats. The #3 Snow Ice, or as we like to call it, the ultimate kids’ meal, combines creamy vanilla-like milk tea snow ice, Fruity Pebbles, crushed Oreos, and condensed milk (cue Homer Simpson drooling).
Where: 21788 Katy Fwy., #200—stop by after hitting up Katy Asian Town.
Look For: A drive-thru stand that’s cute as a button (and also in a Pearland parking lot) with refreshments, snow cones, and more involved productions like the gummi worm-topped Extreme Chamoyada.
Where: 1807 Broadway St., Pearland—pair this up with a visit to Killen’s Barbecue.