Things to Do in Boston: Happy Place!

I recently spent an afternoon at the “most insta-grammable place in America”. The Happy Place! After sold out runs in other major cities (LA, Chicago, and Toronto) it’s here! Thats right, Happy Place has come to Boston!

So, if you’ve got some free time on your hands and are looking for a fun, photo-centric activity for the whole family, come to Happy Place!

I had a chance to experience Happy Place this past Saturday and it did not disappoint! If you are interested in learning more and checking it out, keep reading for the details!

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What is it:

Happy Place is a pop up experience featuring several larger than life themed installations and multi-sensory rooms. It’s a layout of roughly 12 different rooms designed to evoke happiness and jump start your happy emotion.

When is it:

Happy Place will be in Boston from April 6th through June 2nd. They are closed most Tuesdays.

Where is it: Happy Place is located at 500 Boylston St. in Back Bay. The large space was previously used as a retail store.

Tickets:

You do need a ticket to enter Happy Place. Exceptions are for children under 3.

You can find ticketing information and purchase tickets online HERE. Tickets are roughly 30 dollars (plus a $ 2.50 ticketing fee) most weekdays, and 35 dollars (plus a $ 2.50 ticketing fee) on Fridays and weekends.

When you purchase your tickets, you have the opportunity to choose a time slot for entrance. Time slots are not interchangeable or transferrable, so double check your availability before you purchase. The Happy Place is wheelchair accessible but strollers are not allowed inside. (There is a corral for all strollers just outside the entrance.)

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What to expect:

Happy Place has been referred to as the “most Insta-grammable place in America”. So expect expect each area to have a vibrant color scheme and imaginative background for selfies. The art and walls allow you to capture amazing photos to tell your visual stories. Think: bright colors, oversized props, and loads of confetti!

We had tickets for early afternoon on Saturday. They were running a few minutes behind for our time slot, which was the theme throughout the day. I didn’t really mind though, as they only sell a set number of tickets for each time slot.

They also have a small queue out front prior to entering the exhibit to allow people to begin their experience in smaller, staggered groups. This ensures you get enough time to get the pictures you want, without a massive rush of people.

What to wear:

The outfits at Happy Place ran the gamut from monochromatic styles, to bold prints, and even dresses. The footwear was also anything from sneakers to high heels.

Personally, anything you like to be photographed in and feel confident wearing is a good choice. I chose a more muted outfit (a plain white top and denim jeans with flats) that would really allow the props and colors of each room to stand out.

There is some walking and standing so I am not sure that high heels would be the most comfortable. Also there is an opportunity to jump into a large pot of ‘gold’ at the end of the Happy rainbow, so those ladies wearing dresses or skirts had to navigate that more delicately. Overall, there isn’t a perfect outfit that will go well with every single room, but aiming for something in the neutrals could give you the most flexibility and least likely chance of totally clashing with the backgrounds.

The good:

If you are shy in front of the camera, this is the place to come to conquer that fear! If you don’t know how to pose, or worry what other people will think, this is definitely the place to come practice those insta-modeling skills.

There are people everywhere, trying different poses, trying new and fun photo angles, and just enjoying themselves. The Happy Place is a fun place and there is really no judgement as long as you aren’t destroying the installations or decorations. You can feel free to be yourself and take all the selfies you want!

Bring your camera or phone for pictures. There are no tripods or selfie sticks allow, so if you want some varying photos, enlist the help of a friend and trade taking pictures for each other. Be wary of getting caught up in the ‘I have to get the perfect image’ mindset.

The Happy Place is a great for photos but there lots of backdrops and different rooms and you want to make sure you get through them all. Plus there are loads of people trying to move through the different areas. Depending on how badly you need that perfect shot, you could easily spend longer than the average hour most people stay here. It’s not designed to be an all day event! Which brings me to my next point…

The not so good:

To be honest, we actually skipped one room entirely to “move ahead” of a small group of girls who were monopolizing the installations in each area. The rooms are set up sequentially so you kind of progress through the entire exhibit with the same group you start with in the queue.

They were taking their pictures and after each photo, would immediately edit and captioning them and upload them to Instagram. Not a huge deal, but during this editing/captioning time, they wouldn’t move out of the way or let anyone else take photos in case they needed “just one more”. Spoiler, they always needed “just one more”.

After following this group for about 5 rooms, we decided we would rather skip a room and “pass them in line” than stay behind them and risk making this afternoon trip a three hour ordeal. Hence why we just ‘skipped one’. I absolutely feel we made the right choice.

We did notice several families with small children enjoying Happy Place. The kids seemed to be loving the installations and the pictures were adorable! I did notice that some of the kids were so excited to play in the confetti or with the balls in the rubber ducky tub for instance, that they often made a bee-line for those rooms without their parents.

There were more than a few harried parents running around to retrieve their children. They also spent a fair amount of time trying to explain to the little ones why they needed to ‘wait their turn’. It was a little sad to see them have to wait so someone could finish taking their perfect selfie, but I feel that’s an unavoidable situation with the setup and the appeal to all ages of something like Happy Place.

Perhaps it would be a good idea in the future to have specific days or time lots more geared toward children and then others for those who are more serious about taking that perfect photo. It may not completely solve the problem, but it couldn’t hurt to try.

The takeaway:

Overall I truly enjoyed the afternoon here. I definitely recommend it if you are in the area and looking for a fun way to spend an hour or so. If you are looking for new material for your IG feed, this is also the place for you!

A nice bonus is that there are a couple of sweet snacks to accompany the themes/rooms. Once you are finished, you are funneled out to an area that has a gift shop and some fun snacks and drinks available for purchase.

One parting thought:

Wash those hands! I did give my hands a good scrubbing after we left. I know the Happy Place is vigilant about cleaning the ball pits and keeping the confetti areas clean and fresh, but I felt there were so many people (and small children) funneling through the exhibits that I couldn’t take any chances. I just don’t want to get sick.

If you are interested in checking out the Happy Place, you can see a preview of what to expect on the official Happy Place instagram at @wearehappyplace or check out the hashtag #wearehappyplace  It might just inspire you and your next Instagram photo!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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