San Francisco, CA

The Color Factory | San Francisco, CA

*This post was originally published on my old blog and carried over to Chit Chat With Katie.

So I just got back from an amazing quick little weekend trip up to San Francisco and am already planning my return trip! Honestly the 30 hours I was there was not nearly enough but I was able to cram some preeeeeety cool stuff into my trip! (Don’t forget to check out my LA recaps too! but now back to SF…


The Color Factory is literally an Instagram dream.

The Color Factory is a two-story pop-up experience celebrating color & material. As soon as the museum opened in August, tickets for remaining dates in August & September immediately sold out. Hopefully they’ll extend and have some October dates available!

Each room is a different color or theme and you’re free to walk around and experience or interact with the room before moving on to the next color.

Exhibits include work by artists and collaborators like Jacob Dahlgren, Tom Stayte, Geronimo Balloons, Tosha Stimage, Stanton Jones, Andrew Neyer & Andy J. Miller, Carissa Potter, Jessica Hische, Rebecca Wright, Randi Brookman Harris, Leah Rosenberg and Erin Jang.

On their FAQs they list that the whole experience takes a little over an hour. We were there for an hour and a half and trust me – took a million photos – and never felt rushed. Unlike the Museum of Ice Cream where most rooms are self paced but the sprinkle pool is timed, the “big” attractions at The Color Factory (selfie room, confetti room, and yellow ball pit) are all self timed.

We had 7:30pm reservations and were 5 minutes late (sorry but there was THE coolest bar across the street) and we walked right in. I honestly never noticed more than 10 people in a space and most rooms only had 4 or 6 people in them at a time – it was awesome.

Now for the grand tour!

When you first arrive, you’ll check in and you’re given a Color Factory card that you register to your email address. Certain rooms have Selfie Stations where you can scan your card and receive an emailed copy of your photo! So neat!

Then after our first official picture (which for some reason I slanted my shoulders and now have this weird double boob glob – please disregard) but BEFORE you continue into the exhibit is the smell wall! If you’re not paying attention you could totally miss it. We had so much fun smelling the different scratch & sniff pads that corresponded to different colors. Grandma’s perfume – light pink, wet gym socks – moldy green… Not all the scents are great but it’s like when you try something gross and then immediately look at your friend and are like “you have to try this!” We also covered some of the labels and tried to guess the scents.

Then at the end of the check-in station was a 360 degree spinning macaroon serving station. I mean I neeeeeeed one of those but with non-stop coffee. All the samples in The Color Factory are from local SF restaurants or vendors and they did a great job talking about the company and displaying product signage. The internal marketing person in me did a happy dance!

Then it was off to the black and white room for some pressed charcoal lemonade (which is totally my jam) before heading into the ORANGE room. And I’m not talking like a little bit of orange. I mean a TON OF ORANGE. There were all different orange things on the wall and a cute photo station setup.

Next up was the blue balloon room sponsored by Alaska Airlines by Geronimo Balloons & Jihan Zencirli. It was one of the smallest rooms and was filled by balloons of all different sizes and a selfie station. The smell of latex was making my friend Allison anxious (I mean popping balloons did enter my mind a time or two) so after a quick photo, we were ready to move on to the next room, the Disco room! (btw I am 100% just naming these rooms as I go.. I have no idea what they’re actually called)

The Disco Room had holographic flooring, a bunch of hanging disco balls, and concrete walls. The lighting was perfect for laying down selfies, which if you have EVER attempted to look cute while laying down (you know not having 77 chins) it’s not easy.

At the end of this room was a quick giant interactive Lite Brite set up. I, of course, had to channel current pop culture trends and put my initial in the set-up in red so I could cleverly caption my photo “look what you made me do” later in the day.

Next up was the Green room where you really got to color on the walls with large oversized green markers. Allison chose the snake (we can’t resist the Kim K/Tay drama but that’s for another post) and I chose the avocado because guac is extra and so am i. #icrackmyselfup

Next up was an interactive art display of 10,000 ribbons. Boomerang central! Just watch out for other people in the ribbons doing the exact same thing! Haha I want this in the front entrance of my apartment now. If you know me, you know that’s not an empty wish, consider yourself warned, it looked easy enough to set up.

After snooping around on the internet before our visit we knew we couldn’t pass up a stop to the bathrooms. Then it was up the neon pink staircase to the second level of the exhibit.

A long multicolored lit hallway served as the perfect backdrop for a million more dramatic Boomerangs before finding ourselves outside of the back to back selfie and confetti rooms. We chose the Selfie Room first since it was empty.

#Selife by Tom Stayte was a light purple room with a singular computer and thermal printer in the middle of the room. Every twelve seconds an image posted to Instagram using #selfie is printed, piling up on the floor over time. Insider tip – If you post a photo on Instagram and use #tomstayte you move to the front of the line. I was able to stand and watch as my selfie immediately printed.

This room was one of my favorites in a dark way. Here are all these photos on the floor that I’m legit walking all over when these people spent god knows how many minutes editing, Facetuning, filtering, and finding the perfect caption. I loved it. It really spoke to the vanity and pressures of keeping up an online image. It also made me realize after adding my selfie on the ground that this “online rat race” also connects us all. Behind every single photo on that floor was a real person who was sharing themselves with the entire world. On the surface, this was such a silly room and subject matter but it had such a real meaningful impact on me. I love art and experiences like this for this exact reason.

Up next was the AMAZING Confetti Room by method.

Gotta show love for the people & brands that make this sort of stuff possible. Coming from a marketing background, you obviously do things like this for general goodwill and branding presence but I’m telling you, I am 100% more likely to continue purchasing method products because they support art & initiatives like this!  PS – If you aren’t familiar with method, please go check them out! Their mission statement says it all “we have big plans to make the world a cleaner, greener, more colorful place…”

The Confetti Room has another Selfie Station and two large continuously rotating containers on the ceiling so it RAINS CONFETTI!! IN REAL LIFE!! Even with a good number of people in the room, there was always space to take a video or photo and you weren’t given a time allowance, you could spend all day in the confetti room if you wanted to (tbh – we wanted to).

Once we got our fill of confetti – seriously, it was in my booties once we got home – it was off to the last room – the yellow ball pit room!

This was the largest room in the exhibit and was a giant pool filled three feet deep with bright yellow balls. There was a cool ceiling selfie station (pics below), some inspirational and funny wall art, and plenty of space to spread out and relive your childhood.

We spent a few minutes in this room but were pressed for time and had a dinner we wanted to make before they closed at 9:30pm– Tadich Grill (recap coming soon) and honestly my inner germophobe was kinda secretly freaking out. There was some mini soft serve fro-yo to enjoy as you exit and then it was off in an Uber to our next amazing San Francisco experience!


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