When exploring different colleges over the summer and trying to decide which one to make your future home, the most important item on your pro/con list should be the local ice cream selection. Well, maybe not the most important thing — second, of course, to the local coffee shop ratings.

Obviously that is my opinion, but I think most would agree. Don’t you? 

Winona Gems

Winona is home to many of the typical chain ice cream stops such as Dairy Queen, McDonalds, A&W and Culver’s. Although these chain restaurants are appreciable, they often overshadow some of Winona’s greatest gems: Lakeview Drive Inn, Penguin Zesto and Nate & Ally’s Frozen Treat Creations.

Lake Lodge Recreation Center

My friends and I decided to take a tour around Winona to visit all three locations. To do so, we stopped by the Lake Lodge and used our $20 annual pass to borrow a tandem bike for a few hours. Don’t wait to get your annual pass. With it, you can rent bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, ice skates, snowshoes, etc.

If you have never been to the Lake Lodge before, head down Main Street toward East Lake Winona or punch the following address into Google Maps:  

113 Lake Park Drive West
Winona, MN 55987

Lakeview Drive Inn

The first stop on our ice cream tour of Winona was Winona’s oldest restaurant since 1938. Lakeview Drive Inn has many ice cream and old fashioned root beer float options. Many people love the twisted flavor burst rainbow combo cones. That’s a mouthful, but they sure do taste as good as they look (featured in the video).

Lakeview has a beautiful of the iconic Sugar Loaf and is located at: 

610 E Sarnia St
Winona, MN 55987

Penguin Zesto (East and West) 

There are two Penguin Zesto locations in and near Winona — Penguin Zesto East and West. For the second stop on our ice cream tour, we visited the Winona Penguin Zesto but there is also another one located in our neighboring town, Goodview. 

Zestos has an array of ice cream treats as well as classic American food. My personal favorite is a chocolate ice cream cone dipped in toasted coconut hardshell. It tastes like German chocolate cake in a cone!

Penguin Zesto is sometimes hard for people to find. If you are looking for the Winona location, head towards the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church pictured below, you can’t miss it.

Winona Penguin Zesto: 
602 E 3rd St
Winona, MN 55987

Goodview Penguin Zesto: 
5355 W 6th St
Goodview, MN 55987

Nate & Ally’s Frozen Treat Creations 

Last but not least, Nate & Ally’s. From FroYo to edible cookie dough, this downtown parlor has many frozen treat options for a hot summers day or a finals week pick-me-up. They have quite the topping bar too! 

Insider scoop: Nate and Ally’s has “No Weigh Wednesdays” where you just pay $5 for as much ice cream and as many toppings as you want! Don’t miss out, check it out:

109 E 3rd St
Winona, MN 55987

Grab a Friend

Two is always better than one, hence the tandem bicycle. Be sure to grab a friend, borrow a bike from the Lake Lodge and get yourself some delicious ice cream! This would be a really fun way to bond with your roommate this summer, during June Registration or when you arrive in the fall!