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5 Mood-Lifting Museums

The conveyor belt of pick-your-own macarons at the Color Factory in New York.
The conveyor belt of pick-your-own macarons at the Color Factory in New York. Photo: Heather Moore/Color Factory

INSTANT HAPPINESS EXISTS. And it’ll only set you back around $35 a go. Pools of sprinkles, confetti domes, a digital cheese cave—you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the Museum of Ice Cream, the Museum of Pizza and other similarly frothy exhibits popping up in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York were attractions aimed at children. But you’ll find plenty of grown-ups sans kids filing into these new-school museums. What’s the enticement? They’re all-immersive, begging-to-be-photographed fun houses. Most are pop-up exhibits but a few have set down roots, filling a seemingly insatiable need to feed Instagram feeds. Here, five places to chase cheer.

Color Factory, New York

After a run in San Francisco in 2017, the factory arrived in August in New York with 20,000 square feet of interactive color-themed installations. The big-ticket attraction is a dive-in pit filled with 500,000 pastel blue balls. Other top draws: the conveyor belt of pick-your-own macarons and, less delectably, a collection of fake vomit. colorfactory.co

5 Mood-Lifting Museums
Photo: Patricia Chang
The Museum of Ice Cream, San Francisco

Born in 2016 in New York, it traveled as a pop-up exhibit through Los Angeles and Miami before finding a permanent home in San Francisco. In between scoops of frozen dessert, visitors entertain themselves by jumping in a pool of sprinkles, taking selfies with a giant gummy bear and writing ephemeral messages on a wall blanketed in letter magnets. museumoficecream.com

29Rooms, Los Angeles

Launched in 2015 for the 10th anniversary fete for Refinery 29, a digital media company, 29Rooms is now a recurring pop-up affair, with installations created by artists, corporate brands and a few well-known actors. Past exhibits have included a human snow globe and a walk-in womb meant to simulate the in-utero experience. It arrives in L.A. in December. 29rooms.com

5 Mood-Lifting Museums
Photo: The Museum of Pizza
The Museum of Pizza, New York

Through Nov. 18, Brooklyn’s William Vale hotel pays homage to New York’s signature slice. Among the exhibits are some recognizable artworks with a twist—think Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” with added pizza box and pepperoni slice—a “cheese cave,” made of silicone, a “pizza beach,” and a space for “pizza meditation.” themuseumofpizza.org

5 Mood-Lifting Museums
Photo: The Broad Art Foundation. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy of David Zwirner, NY
Infinity Mirrored Room, Los Angeles

People line up around the block for a 45-second look at this wildly popular work by modern artist Yayoi Kusama, on permanent display at L.A.’s Broad Museum. The installation features LED lights reflected endlessly in a mirror-lined room. The museum just welcomed a second Kusama piece, Longing for Eternity, a hexagonal chamber of kaleidoscopic lights, with windows that invite you to stick your head inside. Take a selfie, join the thousands of other #infinitekusama fans on Instagram. You’re just a dot in a million there. thebroad.org

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