The Instagram friendly museum known as The Museum of Ice Cream is the latest San Francisco hot spot. Here's what you need to know.

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May 13, 2019
The Instagram friendly museum known as The Museum of Ice Cream is the latest San Francisco hot spot. Here's what you need to know.

Everything You Need to Know About San Francisco's Museum of Ice Cream

The Museum of Ice Cream has now become a permanent fixture here in San Francisco and it's the only such museum in the world, having outlasted its sister locations in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles.

This favorite new attraction is in the Union Square area at 1 Grant Ave. in the 1911 Neo-Classical architectural masterpiece that formerly housed Giorgio Armani.

Tickets continue to be a hot item, and are on sale online.

About the San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream

MOIC SF's changing seasonal exhibit and experiential displays, there is always a reason to come back and visit. Keep an eye (and a tastebud) out for partnerships with top San Francisco ice cream producers, including the Mission District's famous Bi-Rite, the West Coast's sensational Salt & Straw, Berkeley-based but now going nationally viral CREAM and the old school San Francisco ice cream sandwich legend It's-It. Products from these producers often play prominently in the exhibition.

Tickets are $38 per person (all ages) and private tours for groups up to 20 are offered daily at 10:15 a.m. Entrance does, of course, include lots of samples of ice cream and other fantastic creations. MOIC is open past 8 p.m. most days, so it's a great option to round out the evening on a fun note. Check out avialble timed entry slots here.

What to Expect at the San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream

The favorite and most photographed exhibit -- the sprinkle pool -- which holds over 100 million custom-designed sprinkles that visitors can dive right into, is here, but there are also a whole slew of additional rooms and delights. From a magical candy garden to a push pop installation and even a Pop Rocks-themed cave, the museum artistically re-imagines many of our sweet tooth’s favorite treats on an epic scale and in full immersive style in terms of flavors and smells.

Previous MOIC pop-ups have included giant Popsicle palettes, a rainbow-colored celebration of Gummy Bears and an interactive gallery of suspended bananas, so get ready for some serious devotion to the art. Tickets to the San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream will not be available at the door, so go online to buy them as early as possible. They were going for up to $100 a piece on Craigslist for the sold-out show in NYC, and San Francisco foodies are sure to be just as hyped up about the event.

The History of the Museum of Ice Cream

MOIC was founded by Mary Ellis Bunn and Manish Vora, who decided that New York had run out of new things to do and nothing would connect millennials with an experiential art project more than an ice cream-themed event. The first Museum of Ice Cream took place in July to August 2016 in a 5,000-square-foot space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. It sold out in three days after the initial press release was sent out. Smelling the sweet aroma of success, the dynamic duo behind the Museum of Ice Cream next set their sights on Los Angeles. Opened in April in La-La Land’s downtown Arts District, the pop-up museum is doing so well it is scheduled to run through October.

How to Get to the San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream

Located blocks from Union Square and right off of Market Street, the San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream is easy to get to on foot from any point in downtown San Francisco, especially since it's just steps from both the Powell and Montgomery BART and Muni stations. Street parking is tight in the area but there are several hourly garages within a block or two of the museum.

Attractions in the San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream Area

  • Union Square – Shopping is a serious sport in the Union Square area, home to high-end department stores and boutiques, as well as tourist-friendly souvenir shops. The plaza itself is an urban oasis that hosts events – everything from live music to movies – and is a prime people-watching spot any time of the day or week. This is also the city’s theater district, with San Francisco institutions like the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) and the Curran theater hosting locally produced drama and Broadway musicals, respectively.
  • Chinatown – Just four blocks up Grant Ave from the Museum of Ice Cream lies the Dragon Gate, the entrance to San Francisco’s legendary Chinatown. From dim sum samples and tea tastings to shopping for jade artifacts and herbal remedies, Chinatown is an endless adventure that simply should not be missed by visitors to San Francisco.
  • SoMa – The largest concentration of art and museums on the West Coast await visitors just across Market Street from the Museum of Ice Cream. From the world-class San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to smaller but culturally unique institutions like the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, this area is a museum mecca like nowhere else on earth. Don’t forget to stop by Yerba Buena Gardens, downtown San Francisco’s most lush and relaxing green space and host to the city’s top summer free concert and performance series.


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