Brain Freeze

It’s very simple: milk and ice cream. A popular treat enjoyed by people of all ages, the milkshake was created in 1885 and first served with whiskey. With well over a century’s worth of creative ingredient additions, this time-honored treat has more than stood the test of time. It’s taken twists and turns with unique flavor combinations, basic and boozy versions, yet it is still enjoyed in its simplest of combinations: milk and ice cream. It’s the perfect one-handed sweet treat on a hot summer day. Contained in a cup, you never need to worry that it’ll drip down your hand, or worse yet, be that ball of creamy goodness that goes plummeting to the ground when you tip your hand ever-so-slightly in the wrong direction. And why bother with a spoon when you can use a straw? It’s really the most convenient way to enjoy your ice cream.

Try these fun places all around town and treat yourself to the simplest of simples or the fanciest of mixes. Just remember to be very mindful when drinking a shake with one of those brightly-colored jumbo wide straws. Get a little overzealous and take it in too fast — brain freeze!

Gepetto Cafe

It’s easy to walk past this small Lawrenceville cafe, sandwiched between Row House Cinema and Merchant Oyster on Butler Street. But if you do, you’ll be missing out on one of the best milkshakes Pittsburgh has to offer. The daytime spot for coffee spins ice cream into delicious, playful flavors: Nutella, banana creme pie, s’mores milkshake, tiramisu, chocolate coffee bean, and strawberry.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

The best part about Handel’s? They turn all 15-plus flavors into tasty, thick milkshakes. Try the graham cracker-studded Graham Central Station.

The Milkshake Factory

It should come as no surprise that a shop named for the sweet treat makes a great milkshake. The Factory—carrying a 100-plus-year legacy of chocolate- and sweet-making with it—has milkshakes in every flavor, from whacky iterations like mint cookies and cream and birthday cake to the classics, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.

Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream

You call the shots at Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream. The shop’s make-your-own milkshakes cover everything from dietary restrictions (Dairy-free? No problem.) to mix-ins, like chocolate chips, cookie dough pieces, and more. Our favorite? Their coffee break ice cream mixed with cookie dough and waffle pieces, then topped—of course—with whipped cream.

Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor

This Strip District 1930s-style ice cream shop will take you back in time…with a great milkshake in hand. Their flavors stick to the classics: mint, butter pecan, peanut butter swirl, and more. Spin any into a milkshake, and sip it from a retro-style tall glass while swirling around in one of their old-fashioned bar stools.

STORY BY STAR LALIBERTE AND MAGGIE WEAVER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY ARVID SKYWALKER

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