Tickets to San Francisco's The Color Factory are about as difficult to get as a mid-90s Tickle-Me-Elmo, so after being in a virtual queue with hundreds of others, I felt like I'd won the lottery when I secured weekend tickets for the whole family for the limited run pop-up event.
The Color Factory, which opened in August and has been extended through at least February 2018, is an interactive exhibit located in a two-story building near Union Square, in downtown San Francisco.
Taken by one of the Color Factory cameras
For those of you who were lucky enough to score tickets for this next round, here are a few family-friendly tips for making the day just that much more enjoyable!
1. Parking: Park at the colorful Sutter/Stockton garage, located on the corner of, you guessed it, Sutter and Stockton Streets. Each floor of the parking garage is a different color so it's a fun little warm-up to the main colorful event. It's a short walk along Sutter to the Color Factory, which is located at Sutter between Powell and Mason.
2. Bathrooms: Chances are if you are there with a toddler, someone will need to use the bathroom. Public bathrooms in San Francisco can be notoriously hard to find and once you do find one, your picky toddler may exclaim at the sight of a not so clean toilet, "ew this is dis-gusting!" So use the bathrooms at The Color Factory! They are part of the exhibit and are fun to explore. Plus they are clean. Parents of potty-training toddlers know access to a clean bathroom is a big deal, so thank you Color Factory for watching out for us.
3. Take a Rest: There are benches on the second floor, between the Selfie Room and the Confetti Accumulation Room. Take a minute to sit down and rest, take in the day so far, and enjoy the rainbow colored stain glass windows. The Color Factory takes most people about an hour, but you could easily stay for more. Don't rush it.
4. Enjoy a Snack: Before you enter any of the rooms, you can grab a sweet treat off a rotating wheel. When we were there they were offering glitter dusted meringues, but I've also seen colorful macarons. Next, wash it down with a charcoal (black) lemonade -- it tastes like lemonade but is black, whaa? Once you've worked up a sweat in the Yellow Ball Pit, cool off with a tiny yellow soft serve cone (when we were there they were serving coffee flavored).
5. Take Pictures: Take lots and lots of pictures. Take selfies. And don't be self-councious about doing it! Don't forget to grab a card when you check-in so you can get all of your selfies taken with their cameras emailed to you. That's right, they have cameras in some of the rooms that take amazing free photos and are automatically emailed to you. Best photo ops are the Blue Balloon Room, the Confetti Accumulation Room and the Yellow Ball Pit (hint: all three have selfie stations in them).
Another Color Factory camera
6. PLAY! This place was built for play so take advantage of it! I was a little skeptical about bringing little ones since I'd mostly seen adults on the @colorfactoryco Instagram feed, but we all had such an amazing time! I think it was way more fun with the kids (but I wouldn't mind going back again without them). Kids really have a way of encouraging you to let loose and play. Although there were a few times when my toddler just wanted to make a dash out of the room which I would have preferred to stay and enjoy for a little while longer. Oh well, so goes life with a toddler.
Last two photos courtesy of Jeff Lo