Pigments of My Imagination: Visiting the Color Factory

You’ve seen it on Instagram and all other social media everywhere: Color Factory, Oh Happy Day’s playful, colorful (and Instagrammable) space in San Francisco! With the success of Museum of Ice Cream in two locations, Color Factory seemed to be San Francisco’s answer to a cool space to have fun and take pictures in. Color Factory was created to inspire nostalgia of being a kid – whether its from all the fun colors, nostalgic games like light bright, or the gigantic ball pit. I luckily got my tickets when they were announced, so I didn’t have to deal with the crazy virtual queues! You can see the entire whimsical experience in my latest vlog below, especially because this was an experience that’s hard to capture through still photos (but don’t worry, plenty of words and photos ahead)!

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My time slot was for a Monday evening, and I luckily got into San Francisco without much difficulty. It’s so exciting walking up to the building. I love that they even decorated the outside of it. It feels so festive and fun – which is saying something for eclectic SF. We ended up there pretty early, so we had to wait a bit in line, but once we got in it was smooth sailing.

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Right away, you’re greeted by these super fun, colorful steps leading down to all of the rooms and activities. You head down to the first exhibit, where first you see a a little booth with a camera. One of the staff members hands you a card that can be scanned at each of these booths, and it’ll take a photo of you that can be sent to your email. It’s such a cool feature since you get a nicely lit photo. Along the walls of the exhibit are a bunch of different scratch and sniff scents. Some are so specific but they’re accurate – such as a melted chocolate bar or extra popcorn at the movies! It was a really cute way to start off the experience.

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Once you’re done with all of that, you work up an appetite. Luckily, Sift Bakery is there to save the day! Along with the different rooms and the photo booths, the Color Factory has several food stations from local eateries in the Bay Area. Earlier in the month, Chantal Guillion was serving up macarons, however when I got there, Sift was giving out these really cute sprinkled cookie sandwiches. The confection changes up, so it’s always a bit of a surprise to see what you get!

From all of this color, we transitioned into a black and white striped room. I happened to be wearing black and white stripes, so this was totally my room. If you feel kinda dry from the cookies, don’t worry, because Pressed Juicery has your back. They were serving up little cups of charcoal lemonade. However, I didn’t personally try them because activated charcoal can interact with medications, my sister said it didn’t taste any different.

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From there we enter color once again, with an all orange themed room. It has all of these nostalgic objects that range from item from back to school related to things that just evoke childhood memories. It’s so cool to see all of the little details that made up this all orange room and how everything was so cohesive.

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From all of the brightness, it gets a little dark. There’s this fun room with a holographic floor and from the ceiling are hanging dozens of disco balls ranging in size and length – and they’re all spinning! One of the walls has buttons where you can change up the music, and of course each songs had to do with reflections and mirrors. So we got to hear a little bit of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” as well as Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Those disco balls were pretty mesmerizing, as you can see. Behind it, is the balloon room, where there are dozens of blue balloons in different sizes and shades artfully put together. It’s cool to see how they just made this work, and I Was in awe of the creativity behind this space.

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Although all of those rooms were super cool, I think the next room, with the giant life size Light Bright, was my favorite! For some reason, this was one toy I never had growing up even though I always thought about how much I wanted it when I saw the commercials on TV. And that jingle was so catchy. It’s such a simple but effective room. It was so cool moving around the life size pieces to make patterns!

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I also think the green room is up there with one of my favorites. It’s a giant coloring book on the walls! The staff members draw the outlines onto the wall, and then all of us visitors are left to fill it in with the giant, larger than life green markers. And once it’s all filled up, they refresh the room by drawing it out all over again! Their staff works hard to bring this experience to life. I also saw someone doing a photo shoot here, so that was interesting. Fun fact: that marker is as tall as me.

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Then we headed on over to the vertical hanging stripes, which is a prime Boomerang moment. This is definitely something worth seeing on the vlog since a static picture of it just isn’t that fun. We headed up onto the top floor next, where two of the biggest and iconic rooms are – the confetti room and the ball pit. Even the hallways are decorated to bring joy.

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There was a long line for the confetti room – which was expected. I will say one (little) negative thing about the Color Factory. Because it’s in an old building that they converted for this experience, it got H O T. I was sweating through all of my pictures. Being in small rooms with other warm bodies and a bunch of lights didn’t help either. So, we wanted to wait a little bit for the line to die down. Instead, we headed into the selfie room, where if you use the hashtags on Instagram, your selfie will get sent to the printer and become a part of the exhibit!

We headed back out and took a bajillion pictures and boomerangs in the confetti room – or well, I did, heh. That’s another thing that is worth watching in the vlog because it’s funny to see how hard everyone is trying to get the perfect picture and boomerang! The ball pit is way more bigger than I expected. It’s a decent sized pool for a lot of people to get around in and have fun! I’ll admit I was a little grossed out by this just because it’s pretty germy. I was never a fan of ball pits as a kid either tbh. Again, make sure to check out the vlog because it’s hilarious watching everyone pop in and out of the mound of balls!

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And sadly there is where the whimsy ends. You exit into a yellow themed room aka the gift shop, and you get a farewell snack for the road! Garden Creamery is serving up baby soft serve cones of ice cream. You can get vanilla or Japanese milk coffee, so I opted for the latter. They describe it as “just like milk coffee out of the can.” It’s very sweet with hints of coffee flavor.

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And here is where the adventure ends – inside the building that is. Color Factory hands you a map on the way out that has different interactive art installations throughout the city! I think this is super awesome of them, especially for people who didn’t get a chance to get tickets. It’s another great way to get in on the fun! I have yet to go to one, but I hope to make it out soon. Overall, this was a really fun way to spend an evening, it’s fun being able to play with installations and get into the spirit of the whimsical nostalgia.

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