Chill Out: Take a break at one of Miami’s great ice cream parlors

We’ve all been there. It is late afternoon, and you’ve been staring at the textbook page in front of you for half an hour, failing to absorb a single morsel of information. Luckily, UM is situated amongst a proverbial treasure trove of ice cream shops, all of which are easily accessible and offer a delicious and relaxing alternative to a break at Starbucks. And with new, healthier options, ice cream is no longer the occasional, somewhat junky treat of our childhood.

Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream offers not only great ice cream, but a retro atmosphere complete with throwback candy-striped awnings and outdoor picnic tables. Serving South Miami for over twenty years, Wall’s is a favorite of local families and UM students fresh from dinner at The Big Cheese. Offering over 20 flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt and more elaborate treats such as giant banana splits and root beer floats (all at reasonable prices), Wall’s truly is a blast from the past.

Though the shop is lacking in interior space in which to enjoy your treat, being forced out into the open air to enjoy a cone or cup is not the worst thing in the world. The servers are welcoming and will provide anyone with almost unlimited samples and suggestions and the “Mom and Pop” friendliness is exuded by the staff. Plus, the shop’s pint-sized patrons are enough to keep anyone coming back for more.

If you are out shopping or enjoying a movie near Sunset Place, your best bet might be to stop in at Whip ‘N Dip Ice Cream at 1407 Sunset Drive. This homey ice cream parlor offers a variety of flavors (over 50, to be exact), and is reasonably priced. Varying fat and sugar contents are available in case you are watching your figure for the beach. Cake, cookies and other sweet indulgences are available if you are not in the mood for ice cream, yet Whip ‘N Dip’s creamy mint chocolate chip flavor is almost too good to pass up. Though often crowded with local families, the service is quick and efficient-great if you need to rush back to the Club Richter to resume your cramming.

Perhaps one of Miami’s most famed institutions, Bacio, a gelateria with locations in Coconut Grove and on South Beach, is a favorite for its authentic Italian gelatos in every flavor from Kiwi to White Chocolate Coconut for more exotic tastes. Gelato, the Italian term for ice cream, signifies creams that contain a low percentage of air injection and a minimum 10 percent butter fat. However, Bacio’s preparations guidelines go above and beyond-cream flavors contain only 4-8 percent fat and fruit flavors are fat-free.

Though it tends to be more expensive than run-of-the-mill ice cream, the price tag is well worth the expenditure. Bacio’s delicacies are significantly smoother than American ice creams and you won’t have to make a guilty trip to the gym afterwards. Located conveniently at 1655 Collins Avenue in South Beach and at 3462 Main Highway in Coconut Grove, Bacio is a worthy pitstop for any leisurely day at the beach or night out in the grove.

Kate Koza can be contacted at