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A Guide to Philly’s Best Water Ice

Despite what visitors may know, Philadelphia is home to signature foods other than the cheesesteak. While famous sandwiches play a part in the city’s culture, there’s really no other place for the best water ice.

Widely known as italian ice in others parts of the nation, water ice is just (another) one of the things that Philadelphians do best. Rita’s Water Ice has represented the city well all across the nation, but it’s the local shops that truly perfect the Philly flavor. If you’re in need of a treat to cool down this summer, check out this guide to Philly’s best water ice! 


John’s Water Ice Shop

701 Christian Street 

President Barack Obama eats a lemon water ice at John’s Water Ice, Thursday, June 30, 2011, in Philadelphia. Standing right is Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., and left behind Obama is Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Since 1945, John’s Water Ice Shop has been the go-to spot for local patrons all across town. Their flavorful ingredients transform fruit and sugar to water ice in ways that beats out the competition. Even former President Barack Obama has enjoyed a cool treat from the South Philly water ice mecca. We recommend sticking to the classic lemon flavor like the former POTUS. Though you can choose from many more options. Be sure to follow their Facebook for weekly specials.

Mon – Sat: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sun: 1 p.m. – 10 p.m.


Dati’s Homemade Water Ice

2235 W. Passyunk Avenue 

Dati’s local shop has been apart of the water ice community since 1989. Fans can speak to their one-of-a-kind takes on flavors like watermelonand mango. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, take a chance on the signature Kiss of Bliss shake with a blend of pineapple, mango, and vanilla softserve with strawberries.

Sun – Mon: 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.


Pop’s Water Ice

1337 W Oregon Avenue

If you’re looking for the authenticity of having fruit chunks in your water ice, Pop’s is the place for you. This summertime mainstay has been making a name for itself dating back to 1932! Filippo “Pop” Italiano began his business vending out of a street cart. Now the South Philly shop is joined by three other suburban locations. The original South Philly spot is open until 11 p.m., making it the perfect post-Phillies-game spot for indulging!

Sun – Sat: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.



5901 Belfield Avenue

At the conclusion of WWII, two Italian immigrants came to the U.S. with a dream. Fast forward to almost 50 years in the making, Nobile and Olimpia Tranzilli still maintain the classic and homegrown taste at this Germantown staple. All 25 of the flavors truly embody the ingredients of the true taste of traditional Philly water ice.

Mon – Sat: 12 pm to 8 pm, Sun: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Philly Flavors

Multiple Locations

With over 30 flavors to choose from, Philly Flavors makes for one of the largest water ice selections in town. With something for everyone, you can even guiltlessly enjoy sugar-free flavors. Visit the for the full menu and locations. 


Visit Philly 



Where is your favorite Philly water ice place? If we missed it, let us know in the comments why you love it so much!