Everything You Need to Know About the Jelly Belly Factory Tour
There is no shortage of fun to be had in the city of San Francisco. But that fun doesn’t stop at the city limits! The entire Bay Area is packed with attractions and entertainment, including the Jelly Belly Factory. The factory is located about an hour north of San Francisco, at 1 Jelly Belly Lane in Fairfield, California.
The Jelly Belly Factory Tour is a forty-minute free tour that visitors can take to learn all about how Jelly Belly jelly beans are made. The factory is a Willy Wonka-esque rainbow-colored paradise with trays and bins filled with jelly beans. It’s great for all ages and is a full sensory experience of sights, smells, and sounds. Plus, the tour is free, so it’s a great option for families on a budget.
While public transportation via BART and bus is available, the majority of visitors drive to the factory because it’s the most convenient way of visiting. If you don't have a car, you can always rent one.
The factory tours are offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except major holidays.
The self-guided tours are free and no reservations are needed; just show up ready to enjoy the experience! The Personal Guided Factory Tours are $39 per tour and can include up to 6 people. There are no age restrictions and the tour is wheelchair accessible. To take the Personal Guided Tour, you will need to book reservations up to 6 weeks in advance.
What to Expect on the Jelly Belly Factory Tour
The first room of the visitor center is a large, vibrant cafeteria. You can order jelly bean-shaped fast foods and they also have private party rooms. Next, you’ll find the retail area and the waiting area for tour-goers. Here, you can see a large portrait of President Ronald Reagan made out of jelly beans! While you’re waiting for the tour, you can inspect it up close and try to figure out which of the jelly bean flavors were used to get the president’s features just right.
When the Tour begins, you’ll be given paper hats to wear while you walk (as a health and safety mandate). No pictures are allowed on the tour, so don’t worry about being photographed in your new headgear! When you make your way to the second floor, you'll be able to see down to the factory floor where all the jelly beans are produced. Giant bags of sugar, rows of spinning tubes of colored beans, and racks of bean formula portioned out in their own little squares waiting for the next step of jelly bean production are all part of the tour experience.
Walk the perimeter above the factory floor and observe videos while the guides help explain what is going on. They'll offer tidbits of jelly bean trivia and, of course, free samples. One of the best parts is the stop above one of the storage areas, where a row of large jelly bean portraits are displayed, including Johnny Carson, Joe Montana and George H.W. Bush.
Jelly Belly doesn’t just make jelly beans; they also make everything from chocolate-covered fruit to seasonal candies. You can see a lot of different products being made on the tour.
Since pictures aren’t allowed on the tour itself, it’s a good idea to snap some pics with the Ronald Reagan portrait in the waiting room, or once the tour finishes and you return to the retail area and cafeteria. The main entrance of the Jelly Belly Factory also serves as an impressive photo op.
Jelly Belly Candy Store
After the tour, you'll be directed to the candy store where you can buy all the different flavors of jelly beans, as well as other sweets and candies they make at the factory. You can also buy “belly flops,” which are the candies that turn out a little irregular, but taste just as delicious! The candy shop also sells Jelly Belly plush toys, school accessories, apparel, and other fun souvenirs to take home.
Jelly Belly Factory Cafe
Drop by the Jelly Belly Factory Cafe for a pre- or post-tour snack. In addition to classic diner favorites, you'll find a variety of bean-shaped burgers and pizzas on the menu. The Jelly Belly Factory Cafe is open everyday for breakfast from 9 to 10:45 a.m. and for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Nearby Points of Interest
The Jelly Belly Factory is only a short drive from Napa Valley, so adults who like wine tasting can head on to the vineyards after stopping by the factory for a tour. Vacaville is also a popular attraction; it has a terrific selection of outlet stores where you can do some shopping. The center features stores like Banana Republic, Gucci, and Michael Kors and is just about a 15-minute drive from the Jelly Belly Factory.