Experience the Rainbow at Chicago’s Color Factory

The immersive art experience is a great way to add a pop of color to your family’s next outing.

A day at Color Factory is an incredible way to add a pop of color to your next family outing. The immersive art experience is filled with colorful installations, activities that will pique all of your senses and fun surprises for visitors of all ages.  

Quick details about Color Factory

Photo credit: Color Factory

  • Address: 320 W. Jackson Blvd., Lower Level 2, Chicago (Inside the Willis Tower)
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday
  • Cost: $39-$43/adults 12-plus, $28-$34/kids ages 3-12, free/children under 3 years old 
  • Parking: Discounted parking is available at Traders Self-Park (326 S. Wells / 329 S. Franklin) and Tower Self-Park Garage (211 W. Adams / 241 S. Franklin). Validation is available in Color Factory’s lobby.

Color Factory has me tickled pink. As a journalist whose job is to discover exciting new attractions for families, I’ve been to my share of truly amazing attractions with stunning views and experiences that are worth every penny. I’ve also experienced the other side of the coin: tacky, over-hyped attractions that are overpriced and a bit of a let down. 

Not only is Color Factory No. 1 on USA Today’s list of best immersive art experiences — it’s No. 1 on mine, too! The attraction goes above and beyond the typical selfie museum to deliver installations that are unique, photo-worthy and, at times, mind-boggling. There is so much more to do here than just snap Instagram photos — although if that is part of the appeal for you, you’ll be thrilled with the selfie stations that are placed throughout the experience. 

Read on to discover the best things to do at Color Factory with kids — including those of us who are still kids at heart! 

Best things to do at Color factory with kids 

From tots to adults and selfie queens to curious minds, there are exciting activities for everyone at Color Factory. 

To get the inside scoop on which activities are best suited for families, I asked Ben Williams, a dad of two kids, ages 6 and 8, and the head of marketing at Color Factory, for his personal recommendations.

The Confetti Room

best things to do when visiting chicago with kids
Photo credit: Color Factory

For littles ages 0-5, Williams recommends The Confetti Room, which he says is “the most tactile room, but not in the way that you would expect.” 

“The Confetti Room is painted with the iconic colors of the Chicago flag. This confetti gently wafts down as you’re sitting and taking in the elements of the room,” says Williams. “We find the 0-5s just love being in the confetti, rolling around in the confetti, throwing confetti, having the confetti on them. It’s a different feeling than you get in many other spaces.”

Chicago River Ball Pit 

color factory chicago
Photo credit: Color Factory

Older kids ages 6-10 will love playing in the iconic Color Factory ball pit — “there’s no other challenger for that age group,” says Williams. 

“[Ages 6-10] are active; they want to do things, they want to run around and throw stuff. Our ball pit is as active as it gets. It has an incredible mural by Adrian Kay Wong called ‘Walk with Me,’ celebrating the greenery of Chicago, from our summertime foliage in Grant Park to the Green River of St. Patrick’s Day.” 

Flavorama

color factory chicago
Photo credit: Color Factory

Williams’ pick for families with tweens and teens is Flavorama — a movie theater for your mouth!

While immersed in a seated tasting room, the exhibit will challenge you to take a guess at what colors you taste, incorporating elements of synesthesia, or tasting colors.

“Kids who are getting to explore the world, who are at the tail end of elementary school or starting middle school, absolutely love this Flavorama moment where they’re guessing what they’re tasting in terms of colors,” says Williams. “This is their moment when they really understand you can cross [multiple senses].” 

Tips for visiting Color Factory with kids

  • Tickets are valid for the date and time slot you choose at checkout. Be sure to arrive on time; guests that arrive more than 10 minutes late may be rescheduled. 
    • Book Flexible tickets. This option is great for families that have other plans the day of their visit — or for families that are chronically late (no shame!)
  • Leave the selfie sticks and photo gear at home! Color Factory’s convenient photo stations make it easy to live in the moment while still capturing tons of fun photos. Simply scan your provided photo card at any of the selfie stations and strike a pose. At the end of your visit, all of your photos and gifs will be emailed to you for free. 
  • Add on a scavenger hunt activity to keep your kiddos entertained and engaged throughout the entire experience. When they complete the activity, they’ll earn a prize! Other activity packers and birthday packages are also available. 
  • Strollers are not permitted due to some tight spaces throughout the experience. Stroller storage is provided. 

Other things to do nearby with kids

best things to do in chicago with kids
Photo credit: Choose Chicago

Ben Williams, head of marketing at Color Factory, personally recommends pairing your Color Factory experience with a trip to Skydeck Chicago. The thrilling observation deck with jaw-dropping views is also located in the Willis Tower on the 103rd floor.

“You can actually craft half a day in the Loop between the Skydeck and Color Factory,” says Williams. “You can put together a lovely half day itinerary…I’ve done it once with my family and it’s a great way to do Chicago with a little room left over for dinner.”

While I personally second this recommendation, there are so many other fun things to do with kids in downtown Chicago. Here are a few budget-friendly, fresh air options that are perfect for the outdoor season. 

  • Play tourist and introduce your kiddos to some of the city’s iconic landmarks, like the Bean in Millennium Park. 
  • Take a stroll on the Chicago Riverwalk and discover public art, great skyline views, restaurants and more.
  • Explore and play at Maggie Daley Park. The massive city park has roller skating, ice skating during the winter months, a climbing wall, mini golf and the popular Play Garden.
  • Check Navy Pier off your bucket list. Take a ride on the Centennial Wheel and enjoy the many kid-friendly restaurants, shops and treats that this popular tourist destination has to offer. 

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Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts
Nikki Roberts is the assistant editor on the Chicago Parent team. She is always on the lookout for the coolest and trendiest new attractions, restaurants and events for Chicagoland families. Her newsletters, online family guides and exciting digital content keep families informed on all the latest happenings around town.

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