Go shawty, it’s shertbertday! Last week week, I took a quick break from winter and checked out the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) in San Francisco. Having previously visited their pop up location in Los Angeles a few months ago, I knew I had to come back for seconds! I thought it would be fun to compare the two. NorCal vs SoCal rivalries are nothing new, but MOIC fosters less of a competitive atmosphere and more of a sugar-loving, brightly colored dream! Born and raised in LA, I am a true LA girl at heart, but I’ll admit that I have grown to love living in the Bay Area over the past few years. I also picture my future here so I’ll try to be as un-biased as possible.
First, there are some basic rules and similarities found in all MOIC locations. The self-guided tour is unidirectional, meaning once you proceed to the next room you can’t go backwards. This allows the flow of people to move according to their ticket times. However, there is no time limit, so you can indulge in your sweetest fantasies! Some rooms also offer treats to taste from candy to ice cream to mochi. Again, you can take your time to finish what you’d like but you have to toss out any extra food prior to proceeding with your tour. While there are a few designated exhibits that you are not allowed to touch, there rest of the museum is fair game for photo ops!
Now let’s talk about LA – My husband and I arrived shortly before the call time on our tickets. We first lined up outside with the rest of our group. The crew in LA was awesome from the moment we arrived! Before we were allowed to enter the museum, the staff pumped us up and had us screaming for ice cream. Once we entered, we were welcomed with our first treat – Dove chocolate squares. After being briefed with the house rules, the rest of the tour continued.
Not to give too much away, each room was (obviously) so fun and creative. The LA-native in me especially appreciated their quirky homage to local hot spots around LA from Hollywood to Venice Beach. One room also had one of my favorite MOIC treats, which was a signature ice cream with pop rocks and sprinkles. It definitely satisfied my sweet tooth but was unique, nonetheless.
Other rooms were themed with mint, rainbows, self-love, hanging bananas, swings, jumbo gummy bears, and huge popsicles. We enjoyed different ice cream flavors, mint mochi, and even more candy! Of course, the finale was their iconic sprinkle pool! There are lockers to store your shoes, jackets, and purses. Then your group has about 4 minutes to jump right into the pool and live out your sprinkle dreams. FYI, the sprinkles are not edible. They’re made of plastic, and you will be finding them in places you’d never imagine haha! I had sprinkles popping up on my car seats for days. Throughout our tour, I loved how the crew was dancing, singing, and having a great time in every room.
Now on to SF…
383 miles north, I was excited to re-live my ice cream lover’s dream in SF but also intrigued to see how this location would match up to LA. Plus, this was a much appreciated break from our chilly weather up here in the Bay Area! While each MOIC location shares the same aesthetics, some exhibitions are site specific to capture the spirit of the city they’re in. Located on 1 Grant Avenue, this venue is a city landmark, so it maintains some original features including a bank vault.
Similarly to LA, we joined a queue outside of the museum with our group. We cheered and began our tour with Dove chocolate. One of the first rooms in SF was actually quite fun with a carnival/celebration theme. We played ring toss, trying to land a plastic ring around whipped cream bottles. If you landed 2 rings, you were rewarded with a discount coupon for their gift shop at the end of the tour.
MOIC SF was noticeably larger than LA, which likely contributed to the higher ticket prices ($38/person in SF vs $29 in LA). This meant we had more rooms to explore and more sweets to taste! Oddly, there was only one exhibit that really paid homage to SF. It was the rainbow nook with prism lights – sadly a bit underwhelming considering how many great aspects of SF could’ve been highlighted instead. Nonetheless, the other rooms included a pink diner counter where they served caramel pretzel ice cream, a gummy bear garden, cotton candy clouds with giant cherries, a pop rocks cave, a disco ball room, and a rainbow room with a unicorn! One of my favorite rooms had magnetic letters all over the walls like the ones we had one refrigerators as kids. I also loved having cotton candy with glitter (yasss!) and more mochi!
Of course, there’s no MOIC tour without a dip in the sprinkles pool! Same rules applied here in regard to what you can or can’t wear as well as the time limit. However, I would say that the MOIC team here wasn’t nearly as fun as the crew in LA. Maybe it was because it was later in the evening and their sugar rushes had left them crashing at this point. We were reminded that like fake friends, the plastic sprinkles can hurt us. With that warning taken to heart, I tried to make the most of my 4-minutes hanging out in sprinkles! Afterwards, you could take an air shower to blow off any extra sprinkles to help keep them from littering city streets.
In SF, you could also take a swing under hanging bananas and whipped cream bottles, though this seemed more of an afterthought at the end of the tour.
Overall, here’s the rundown:
- Highlights various local neighborhoods and highlights the fun spirit of LA
- Amazing, fun, friendly, energetic staff – They were the cherry on top of this fun experience!
- Winner between the two locations!
- Mo money, mo mochi … and candy (more treats than LA, including pop rocks and freshly made cotton candy)!
- Larger venue with more exhibits
Currently the Museum of Ice Cream is still open in San Francisco and its newest location, Miami. Where would you like to see them go next???