Technically, it’s already National Ice Cream Month — Ronald Reagan declared it as such in an official Presidential Proclamation in 1984 (in which he also called ice cream “a nutritious and wholesome food,” a presidential decree I’m happy to use each time I justify my own indulgence in this sweet treat).
But restaurants and stores love to run promotions for national food days (see: National Donut Day, National Pretzel Day and National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day), and a month is a long time to give away free stuff, so the third Sunday of July has also been declared the more specific National Ice Cream Day.
This year, National Ice Cream Day falls on Sunday, July 19, and we’ve got the scoop (get it?) on the best places to get free frozen treats. (You’ll also want to check your local area for any regional offers and events, like San Francisco’s National Ice Cream Day Festival.)
Friendly’s is celebrating its 80th birthday on Saturday, July 18 and National Ice Cream Day the following day with a “B-Day BOGO Bash” — buy one single-scoop dish or cone for $1.99 and get one free from 11 a.m. to close all weekend long.
Carvel offers buy-one-get-one cups or cones (soft serve only) on July 19, which includes their new Reese’s Peanut Butter flavor. Offer is good for any size.
Visit a participating Dippin’ Dots store or shopping center location on July 19 and get a free sample of their latest flavor, Redberry Sherbet, made with Sour Patch Kids candy.
Sunday is “Sundae Funday” at nine participating Six Flags Theme parks, where the first 200 guests to buy a double-scoop ice cream at Six Below stands (featuring Breyers) will get a free upgrade to a sundae and a free single-scoop sundae. Offer is good between noon and 5 p.m.
Cold Stone Creamery
Join the My Cold Stone Club rewards program and you’ll qualify for a buy-one-get-one deal good for their ice cream “creations,” shakes, smoothies and new frappés.
Baskin-Robbins is celebrating National Ice Cream Month by offering a free waffle cone with any double- or triple-scoop ordered through the end of July, including its flavor of the month, Oreo ’n Cake.
They’re sweetening the deal on July 31, when all sundaes will be 31% off as part of their “Celebrate 31” promotion honoring the chain’s 70th birthday.
While its name might not mention it, Your Pie also serves gelato and will give away free scoops on Sunday. Look for locations in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.
If you follow @yourpiepizza on Instagram, take a photo of your free scoop and add the hashtag #YPFreeGelato to potentially win free gelato for the rest of the year!
The chain is being hush on any nationwide deals, as most franchises are independently owned and operated, but it did tell one writer at Thrillist that people can call up their local DQs to see if they’re running any National Ice Cream Day promos of their own.
Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s already had its own Free Cone Day in April, and so far no plans have been released for Sunday. That said, if you sign up for their email newsletter, you should be one of the first to know if they do announce any last-minute promos.
No word yet on whether Sonic Drive-In locations will have a special promotion for National Ice Cream Day, but they are currently running a “½-Price Shakes After 8“deal, so if you find yourself still yearning for more after a day of freebie-grabbing, you can always finish up here.
Don’t forget your four-legged friends! PetSmart PetsHotel locations across the country will be offering free four-ounce servings of pup-safe ice cream from noon to 4 p.m.
Your Turn: How many of these sweet deals will you be hitting up this weekend?
Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.