11 Candy Factories You Can Actually Visit
Whether you're a sucker for sour candies or melt over the sweet taste of milk chocolate, it's hard to say no to a visit to a candy factory, especially when tours include free samples.
Jelly Belly Candy Co. in Fairfield, California
Aficionados of these candies that come in 50 flavors and every color of the rainbow flock to the Jelly Belly Factory, halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento, where a free, self-guided tour includes a stroll along an elevated, quarter-mile-long platform and provides a bird’s eye view of the bean-making operation. For $47 per person, the Jelly Bean University Tour gets you on the factory floor, where you’ll don a lab coat, a hair net, and gloves to watch the master confectioners at work. Afterward, browse the Jelly Bean Art Gallery and nibble on free samples at the Chocolate Shoppe and Fudge Center. When you’re done touring the candy factory, have a seat at the Jelly Belly Café, where everything from burgers to pizza is made in the shape of the bean. Don’t miss our ranking of the best Jelly Belly flavors.
Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pennsylvania
You can spend an entire day at this theme park-style attraction—or you can take the free 30-minute tour, where you hop into a moving ride to watch singing cows give an adorable rundown of the cocoa bean’s journey to becoming chocolate. If you choose to stay awhile, there’s plenty to see, do, and taste. You can create your own candy bar, an experience that includes designing the wrapper, too; take a trolley tour of the town built on chocolate; watch the interactive, family-friendly, 4D-Chocolate Mystery show; or sit for a tasting of all the varieties of chocolate. Everything beyond the 30-minute tour requires admission, but bundle prices are available.
PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, Connecticut
Check out the ultimate eye candy: the world’s largest PEZ dispenser, a 40-foot-tall working replica of the real thing, at the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, Connecticut. Step into the viewing area of the production facility to learn how the world’s only interactive candy is packaged into those cute dispensers, play candy-themed games, and view a mini-museum of the most comprehensive collection of PEZ memorabilia anywhere as you explore this 4,000-square-foot headquarters. Before you go, browse thousands of PEZ dispensers for sale in a variety of categories, including movie characters and presidents. Find out about the most popular candy the year you were born.
The Sanders-Morley Chocolate Factory in Clinton Township, Michigan
Fred Sanders Schmidt opened his first chocolate shop in Detroit in 1875. Today, Morley Candy Makers owns the Sanders brand and continues to produce everything from hot fudge sauce to cakes and, of course, mouth-watering chocolates. One-hour guided tours of the candy factory include a stroll along an observation walkway, where you can look down to see confectioners making the candies by hand and a video presentation provides a nice history of this 143-year-old candy maker. Plus, at the end of the tour, there are plenty of samples. For free, self-guided tours, just walk through the Chocolate & Ice Cream Shoppe and peek into the candy kitchen, where confectioners are at work packaging the sugary treats. Even if you can’t visit the factory, you’ll be interested to know how Smarties are made.
Theo Chocolate Factory Tour in Seattle, Washington
If you love chocolate as much as you love companies committed to practicing sustainability, a visit to the Theo Factory Tour is a sweet idea. The first organic and fair trade chocolate factory in North America, Theo offers tours that include an engaging presentation on the social and environmental issues that affect cocoa farming, a walking tour of the factory itself, and yummy samples. Plus you get 20 percent off purchases in the retail shop. Daily tours last one hour and cost $10. Weekly kid-friendly tours cost $8, last 45 minutes, and include story time.
Hammond’s Candies Factory Tour in Denver, Colorado
Watch how chocolate bars, candy canes, and pinwheel-shaped lollipops are made at Hammond’s Candies in the Mile High City, which produces more than 4,000 pounds of candy each day that gets shipped around the world. Complimentary 30-minute tours run every half hour and last about 30 minutes. Plan a candy factory visit around a birthday or anniversary and reserve the party room; celebration packages include private, guided tours, a candy-making experience, lunch, and plenty of sweet treats.
Spangler Museum, Store, and Trolley Tour in Bryan, Ohio
Since 1906, this family-owned candy factory business has been delighting candy connoisseurs with iconic treats such as Dum Dums, Smarties, and more. Join a guided trolley tour for a 30-minute romp through the receiving warehouse, past the assembly lines inside the lollipop wrapping room (12 million Dum Dums are made daily!), around the candy packaging area, and into the final area where the candies are prepped for shipping. Inside the on-site museum and shop, interactive displays are perfect for little ones while short video presentations provide adults a more in-depth look at the making of this piece of Americana. Learn about the 50 American small towns known for the weirdest things.
Sweets Candy Tour in Salt Lake City, Utah
This family-owned company has been churning out sweet treats since 1892. From saltwater taffy and sours to cinnamon bears and chocolate sticks, Sweets produces a wide variety of candy from its original headquarters in Salt Lake City. Free tours are available weekdays by appointment only and include a tour of the facility, fresh samples, and educational and interactive stations. Check out these other old-fashioned candies that deserve a comeback.
Long Grove Confectionary Co. in Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Chocolate lovers will melt for Long Grove Confectionary Co. in a quaint village just outside of Chicago. Entrance is just a couple of bucks, and visitors will be met with the sweet smell of chocolate and buttery caramel as they learn how the locally owned company makes its famous “Myrtles” (made with chocolate, caramel, and pecan) and other tasty confections. Entrance is just a couple of bucks, and every guest gets to sample their own chocolate treat.
Raaka in New York City
This $15 adult-friendly candy factory tour is only open for visitors eight and up. Raaka touts “virgin chocolate” with an emphasis on environmentally and socially responsible dark chocolate, and you’ll get to snack on samples as you learn the company’s process. But the real reason to visit just might be the two-hour chocolate-making class, booked separately for $75. You’ll start from learning how to taste and crack unroasted cacao beans, then make three chocolate bars to enjoy at home. Tours and classes only take ten to twelve guests, so book early! Without leaving your house, you can still learn 50 things food manufacturers won’t tell you.
Kimmie Candy in Reno, Nevada
Arrive early for a guided tour of the Kimmie Candy factory behind Sunbursts, ChocoRocks, and PretzelBites. Prefer to be a free agent? You can also make your way through the self-guided mini-tour to learn at your own pace. Factory tours are only on weekdays and require a reservation, but the free entry and free samples are worth it. Don’t miss these other 100 amazing things that are made in America.