Last week I found myself in San Francisco with one free day to do whatever I wanted to do. Now, usually a free day in a place when I’m traveling means I have kids in tow so I usually look for a children’s museum or beach or something to keep them entertained. But me-all alone? What on earth would I want to do in San Francisco all by myself? We actually were in the city last month and I remember walking by Candytopia when it was first being set up. I looked online for tickets and grabbed the last one at a 3:30pm time slot. Because they were selling solo tickets, I decided it would totally be okay to visit by myself.
Staying at the Parc 55 a Hilton Hotel in San Francisco
I stayed downtown at the Parc 55 hotel a hotel by Hilton which is only about a 10 minute walk from Candytopia. I used to be more partial to Marriott hotels but they’ve made some changes to their rewards status and tiers so the Gold Elite Status that I get with my American Express Platinum is not what it used to be. I no longer get lounge status and I don’t get free breakfast at Marriott and it’s a little sad because I’ve grown a little accustomed to the VIP treatment there. But Hilton still gives free continental breakfast with the Gold Status I get with my American Express Platinum and we’ve really enjoyed that perk so I’ve been choosing Hilton hotels more often now when we book our hotels. We were given a high floor room because of our member status and the high floor room was really nice in San Francisco because we were in the heart of downtown and didn’t hear as much street noise.
What is Candytopia?
Candytopia is a pop-up uber-instagrammable candy themed museum much like the Museum of Ice Cream or Color Factory that have been popular in San Francisco and New York. This relatively new museum has a comparable price tag-entry is $34 for grownups and $26 for kids with a $2.50 service fee per ticket. It has a limited engagement right now in San Francisco and will be there until November 30th 2018. In New York, Candytopia will close on November 15th 2018. After that, it is supposed to travel to other locations around the United States and I’m so curious where it will end up. Before you visit, you book a ticket online at their website, show up for the time you booked and then are led through various candy-themed rooms to explore, take pictures and interact with candy-themed art. About 20-30 people seem to go into each room together at the same time but nothing ever felt too crowded and I’m a bit of a claustrophobe.
Do you get Candy at Candytopia?
It is a little unclear on how much candy you get at Candytopia with your entry. In the first room I missed the instructions about taking candy and realized that people were helping themselves to a big dish of candy in the room. In the second room we were instructed to take a Lindt chocolate off a giant structure filled with them and the child beside me announced she was taking one for every child in her class at school. Every room that followed had buckets of candy to sample and it was fun to see what candies would be featured in every room. At the end of the museum experience there is a gift shop where you can buy candy too if you still need more to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Is it worth it to bring kids to Candytopia?
I think my kids would have really liked Candytopia. I definitely would have had more fun taking selfies with them if they were there. I think this place would also be good for anyone who likes fun backgrounds for pictures and creative interactive displays. The price tag is a little steep for going more than once with kids-a family of 4 can get a museum membership at the nearby Children’s Creativity Museum for a full year for almost the same price as a one day visit to Candytopia. That said, this was a fun, creative and whimsical museum to visit and the families I saw all looked like they were having a good time. Visiting Candytopia before Halloween might also be a good idea to inspire kids to create something amazing with all that candy they collect on the big day too!
How long does it take to go through Candytopia?
I was alone and I went through fairly quickly and it still took me about 40 minutes to go through Candytopia. I didn’t do all the selfies or take a ton of interactive pictures-I was more curious about the experience and was surprised it actually took me as long as it did. Alone, I really appreciated a museum-themed room with famous faces and famous artworks created totally with candy. I loved seeing the confetti room and the marshmallow pit-the pit reminded me of Chuck E Cheese’s when we were growing up. If my kids were along we would probably have spent more time on the swings and more time creating some of the interactive photos. We would have also spent a lot more time in the marshmallow pit.
The biggest advice you need for Candytopia?
Close your mouth in the confetti room at Candytopia. I was surprised by a big whoosh of confetti and smiled a big toothy grin which ended up being a really tragic mistake. The germaphobe in me would also recommend socks, long-sleeve shirts and pants for the marshmallow pit. But that is just me. I spent a couple days finding confetti bits everywhere and it was kind of a happy souvenir. I also really appreciated how people working at Candytopia would take pictures for me because I was there all by myself. It felt like a fun party even though I was alone and going to Candytopia was definitely a fun way to spend a solo afternoon in San Francisco.
(PS. There is a Rene Magritte art exhibition going on at San Francisco MOMA until Oct 28th 2018 and this is also something you might want to book ahead before you visit because the day I went it was very busy and lined up too.)