Candytopia Comes to Town



Looking for a sweet escape? Pop over to Candytopia, San Francisco’s latest immersive, Instagram-worthy pop-up experience that pays homage to all things sugar.

On the heels of the Color Factory and the Museum of Ice Cream (located just across the street), this “interactive candy wonderland” opens Sept. 6 in the space of the former Neiman Marcus Last Call on Market Street.

It features a series of rooms decorated with and dedicated to sweet treats – from a candy art gallery where you’re encouraged to touch the artworks (“Just don’t bite or lick them,” we were told) to an optical illusion-themed photo room and a vast pool where you can launch yourself into 250,000 foam faux marshmallows.

It’s all designed for the perfect photo op, as evidenced by more than 99,000 Instagram followers – and counting. You can even scan your phone on giant lollipops to have your photo snapped and sent to you.

While Candytopia debuted earlier this year in Santa Monica and is also open in New York, San Francisco’s outpost has plenty of nods to the Bay, from a Golden Gate Bridge seesaw to the Warriors’ championship trophies crafted from candy to a Steve Jobs’ portrait made of black licorice and coconut jellybeans.

The “paintings” – from the Mona Lisa to The Scream to Cardi B – are reminiscent of the artworks at Fairfield’s Jelly Belly Factory. But Candytopia takes it to the next level with huge 3-D sculptures including a sphinx made of 27,500 yellow gummy bears and other candies that took 317 hours to create. Each work is labeled with the number of candies and hours it took to create, along with its sugar content.

Other rooms include the entrance library, where you’re greeted by a Willy Wonka-esque character and a clock descends with an unexpected treat, a candy playground with actual swings and toadstools made of gummies, an under-the-sea room with sharks and mermaids, and a rainbow-hued room with a storm of colorful confetti. Lest you nibble on the sets, there are free samples of candy in each room, from Lindt truffles to Pixie Stix. And if you haven’t had your fill, you – of course – exit through a candy store and gift shop.

Candytopia is the brainchild of Los Angeles event planner Jackie Sorkin, whose candy creations were showcased on TLC’s Candy Queen, along with CEO John Goodman, a San Francisco retail veteran whose previous gigs included West Seal and Mervyn’s, and design expert Zac Hartog.

Like its predecessor pop-ups, Candytopia is a little spendy for an hour’s worth of silly fun, but it’s bound to be popular. After all, who doesn’t want to run amok like a kid in a candy shop?

Candytopia is scheduled to run though June 6, 2019. Timed tickets are available online for $34 adults, $26 ages 4-12, under 4 free. 767 Market St., San Francisco. https://www.candytopia.com.

Janine DeFao is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.

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