Quick Review of the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco plus Tips and Tricks

This is a quick review because let’s be honest, there’s not much to it. Nonetheless, like any experience, you make what you want out of it.

I just want to say that I regret not being the one who came up with this concept. When you create something that plays to an Instagram obsessed world, it’s most definitely a cash cow and a viable business.

Word of advice - it’s not a museum. It is a place with cute props that provide an ice cream themed background for your Instagram photos. I would say there were less than 10 ice cream facts posted on acrylic boards and some trivia boxes. So yes, not a museum.

Museum of Ice Cream SF Tickets and other logistics

Cost: $38 plus service fee of $6.50 = $44.50 (kids under 2 years old are free)

Where: 1 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94108

Operating Hours: Monday - Sunday (closed on Tuesdays)10:30am - 8:30pm

 

Tickets

At $44.50 per person, a visit here is more expensive than the de Young Museum! You can’t avoid the service fee as all tickets must be purchased before getting there. You also select your time slot to enter.

So one friend bought all of our 8 tickets and she asked for all our names as listed on our IDs because tickets are non-transferable, non-refundable. I found this a bit interesting, it’s not exactly the Louvre. One of our friends suddenly had a conflict so we reached out to see if another friend’s husband could take one ticket instead. They replied via email reiterating that tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. However, on their last paragraph, they stated that they are actually only going to check one person’s name for the whole party. So as long as there is 1 person in your party that matches a name on the tickets, you’re fine.

 

What comes with the ticket

Once you’re in, you can take as much or as little time in the rooms as you want. What comes with your ticket are 4 places to get ice cream and a cotton candy. You get one scoop first thing, a soft serve at the Marye’s Diner installation, a popsicle at the Rainbow installation, and mint mochi ice cream at the Mint installation. You get a cotton candy at the Cherry on Top installation, but, this is in exchange for showing that you sent a text message to someone special that they are your cherry on top.

 

Bathroom situation

There are no restrooms as soon as you enter, and the first bathroom with only 1 toilet is about 90 minutes in - or less if you find yourself not really into all the pink. It's at the Marye's Diner area. This is also where you can take a little break because there are seats. There is also a restroom towards the end, after the Mint installation, before heading back up to the shop.

 

What to Expect

Okay, so I already mentioned it’s not a museum. It is lots of pink, giant size gummy bears and cherries, and their highlight is a sprinkles pool. You actually only have 5 minutes in the pool. I thought that was not going to be enough, but I got over it after the necessary photos, which were about 2 minutes.

You are ushered from room to room by various “guides”. I feel for these guys and gals. They really try to keep the energy up, and they have to go through their script so many times. If I were them, I’d deviate from the script a bit more and really engage with the visitors. To try to engage, they make you do some stuff to let you through the rooms. Still part of the script. You don't have to partake, except for the part after the vault. I'm not sure if they'll let you through if you don't do a catwalk, dance, or 1 other thing I can't remember.

I did like the part where they have you send a sweet message to someone for cotton candy. I sent a message to my mom and she really was amused. That's worth the cotton candy for me.

We went on a Monday at 11:30 and I would say that was a good time. Not too many toddlers, and therefore not too many parents losing their patience. We were done by 1:30 - probably would have been less if we didn’t linger at the shop and if we didn’t take our time finishing our ice creams.

 

My Take on It

You can opt for afternoon tea at the Rotunda instead of the Museum of Ice Cream, or do both!

Being a museum geek, I really ended up repeating so much that it’s not a museum. But it’s fine, you can get into it by taking some fun pictures. So I love ice cream - I actually have been making homemade ones. For the price I paid, I was hoping more ice cream. I thought for a place centered around it, there should be more than just 4 stops. 

For my husband, Jesus, it was all too pink for him that he was actually able to say “pink” (speech was affected when he suffered a stroke so speech apraxia and aphasia inhibit him from being able to say words). He did enjoy the ice cream though, especially the coconut flavored ones.

Thankfully, we’re quite a fun group so we definitely made the most of it. Took pictures here and there, and of course, I enjoyed the ice cream, albeit scarce.

So, pay a visit if you just want to do something mindless and fun that will be really cute on your instagram feed and stories. Otherwise, afternoon tea around the block at The Rotunda is $45, which we actually did right after.

Bianca is one of the founders of get there | get lost. She is an avid writer and photographer based in Northern California. Her love for history, literature, architecture and food culminate to her passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. She advocates for accessible travel, and continues to explore with her husband and travel partner, Jesús, despite physical limitations. Follow their adventures on Instagram as @gettheregetlost and @coffeeandtherapy.