The Happy Place: A Guide and Review of L.A.’s Latest Art Installment

December 7, 2017

 

Happy Place is the latest of pop-up experience in Downtown Los Angeles. Created as a special place filled with smiles and happiness, the Happy Place was built for visitors to enjoy themselves and capture Instagram worthy visuals in their decked-out rooms.

This isn’t the first art installment to come to L.A., but it was my first time experiencing one! I tried multiple times to get tickets to the Museum of the Ice Cream and the 29Rooms, but failed due to their vast popularity. The Happy Place came on my radar through an Instagram ad that was served up a couple times on my feed. After the third time seeing it, I thought what the heck, I’ll just buy it! If you are thinking about buying tickets to the Happy Place, check out my review of my experience.

Tickets and Pricing

Tickets can be bought through the Happy Place website; all tickets need to be bought in advance online. General tickets are $28.50 + processing fees per person. Paying for two people the total was about $60, and for me, that was a bit much. I was already setting my expectations high because to pay 30 bucks for photos, it better be a spectacular place.

I will say that the website makes it seem like you only have 30 minutes to go through each room, but you really aren’t being timed. One of the few rules is that you cannot go backward once you have left a room, but you can spend as much time in a room as you’d like. My boyfriend/photographer as I spent a total of two hours in Happy Place, so it did add more value to the price of the ticket.

Location and Parking

Now I can’t really blame Happy Place for this, but damn the parking and location situation is not ideal. It is recommended that you arrive 20 minutes before your timed entry, but I would stress the recommendation of arriving early, so you have time to find parking. If you are driving there expect to pay an extra $10 for parking and a slight headache.

Luckily my boyfriend lives 25 minutes from Downtown L.A., so we decided to take a Lyft and avoid the mess that comes with parking ANYWHERE in L.A. If you live in the area, consider taking a Lyft, the cost of travel would be the money you’d pay for parking. If you can take the train in, the art installment is semi-close to Union Station, you could catch a ride service from there as well.

I took off points because of the location of the venue at night. Making your way through the installment, the exit is all the way on the other side of the building. Now the security guard gave us directions to get back to the front and they made it sound likes it’s around the corner. Oh nooooo, you spend about 10 minutes just to get back around to the front! At night it was dark and a bit sketchy walking around the building, I felt safe because I had my boyfriend with me but if I were to be with my girls, I wouldn’t feel too safe walking around an unfamiliar area with no additional signage or clues or where I was at.

It’s best to park closer to exit than entrance so the trek back to your car is a shorter distance. And always be aware of your surroundings.

Happy Place Experience

We reserved our time at the Happy Place on a Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m., the timing seemed to work well for us because it wasn’t crowded at all! It gave us more time and space to explore the rooms. Now I will disclose that some of the rooms didn’t really fulfill the hype of being a fully immersive, the birthday cake room was quite underwhelming, and the giant pot of gold sounded more like jumping into a pile of hard plastic. I’m skipping those in my review because I skipped them all together.

“Don’t Worry Be Happy” Hallway Entrance

You’ll enter the Happy Place to view a quick intro video, after it finished you can start to make your way down the Don’t Worry Be Happy hallway to the first room. Now I got too excited and started to head down the hallway with the rest of the group! My tip is to hang back and capture the hallway while it’s empty.

Random tip: If you need to use the restroom, go now! There is only one restroom and it’s right at the entrance. Also leave your jackets and heavy sweaters at home, it gets warm in there.

M&M Shoe Room

The first art exhibit features a room with a giant pair of high heels covered in M&Ms. I didn’t really bother taking a photo with the heels because you aren’t allowed to climb inside them. I was more interested in the bright yellow striped walls as my photo background instead! If you are an M&M lover be sure to stop by the small counter for some Happy Place branded M&Ms.

Palm Tree Room

 

There wasn’t much to do in this room, but it did serve as a nice distraction because the next room had a line. The wallpaper was dope, and I sat with my lil’ green friend for a bit. Not much else to say about this room.

The XO Room

Visually this room was one of my favorites because everything felt cohesive. Feel free to ask the Happy Place staff to take a photo, they were quite friendly during our visit and eager to snap a couple photos. One barrier to get over in this room is the giant XO since it’s mirrored you can see the legs and arms of the people waiting in line. When you take your photo sit on the lip couch and zoom in through the heart.

“If You’re Happy and You Know It” Sign Room

I really liked this room! It’s crisp and clean, and plus nobody was in this room at all. I wanted to take a couple of photos and then piece it together for a fun gif.

Birthday Cake Room

Yea, this was my absolute least favorite room. The walls are plastered in gift wrap with a giant birthday cake that you can walk one. When you walk in most people are in line to snap a photo with the balloons and not really interacting with the birthday cake. You can grab a cake pop in this room, but it didn’t taste that good. Finally, the lighting in this room is kinda trash. I would just skip it all together.

Marigold Room

Scoping out Instagram prior to my visit, I was most excited for the Marigold room. Since overall the Happy Place wasn’t crowded the wait for this room wasn’t terrible at all. Everything is on an elevated platform with a couple of holes for visitors to climb through for photos. You have about two minutes on the platform to take whatever photos or videos that you’d like.

 

Have the person taking the photo stand in one the higher or lower holes so you can get an interesting perspective.

Upside Down Teenage Room

 

This room has the best lighting if you stand on the platform! It’s built to make it seem like you are standing on the ceiling of a teenager’s room. Everything is bright and vibrant, I love how my photos came out. Too bad I had to crop out some of my photos because people were standing in the way. Be sure to move around the room.

Mini Installments

The next room had four smaller installations set-up, including the infamous rubber ducky room that you may see on the ‘Gram. There is a long line for the rubber duck room but not much for the others.

My tip is having someone from your group stand in line for the rubber ducky room (it’s the third one), while the rest of your group switches off in taking photos of the other exhibits.

I want to take this moment to give a shout out to the Happy Place staff member with the green hair and glasses! Waiting in line is never fun, and she was very gracious, joyful, and proactive in getting the line moving!

Pot of Gold Room

At first, we stood in line to jump into the pot of gold, it’s one of the few exhibits with a camera to snap a gif of you jumping in. But like mentioned before, you aren’t jumping into a pile of soft materials but thick plastic. Literally the sound of people jumping in sounded painful, we honestly decided to just skip this one to avoid potential pain.

Confetti Angel Room

The next room features two giant lightboxes covered in confetti. All you need to do is lay on the ground, gather the confetti around you, press the big yellow button, look up at the camera on the ceiling while you make an angel. A staff member will hand you a tablet to either email and text the gif to yourself.

Make sure not to throw the confetti! I missed the PSA before I started throwing the confetti around and the staff member had to scold me. Don’t worry you can throw all the confetti that you want in the final room.

Confetti Dome Room

The final room includes getting into a confetti dome for about two minutes for a snow globe experience. Sadly, our memory card filled up, so I didn’t get to capture the full two minutes but be sure to gather as much confetti as possible and toss it around. Once you the final room you’ll be lead to an area with free popsicles, some games, and the Happy Place food truck.

Overall Review

Yes, I would recommend the Happy Place to other people, if you have the money to spend. This place markets itself on being the Instagram Selfie Dreamland, but some of the rooms were a bit underwhelming. But honestly, wherever you go, it’s all about the people you go with and the positive attitude that you bring with you! This was my first pop-up art installment and I had fun.

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