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6 iconic American factory tours

I have friends who travel to eat, shop and visiting historical landmarks. But have you considered factory tours as a fun way to interact with a new city. Plus, isn’t it so interesting to see how things are made?

Here are a few iconic American factory tours you should check off your bucket list.

 

Crayola Crayons Factory  – Easton, Pennsylvania

 

The factory tour that started it all… at least in my mind! I remember Mr Rogers walking us through the creation of a yellow Crayon, and I was mesmerized by the process. Plan on spending 3-4 at this downtown Easton beacon– it’s bigger than an NFL football field!

The Crayola Experience feels less like of a “factory” and more of a Crayola showcase and history museum. There is a lot of history to soak up; after all, the company has called Easton home since 1903. This tour is super kid friendly, with four floors of interactive exhibits, indoor playgrounds and, of course, coloring projects. You can even make and name your own crayon.

 

Harley Davidson Motorcycle Factory

York, PA |  Kansas City, MO  |  Menomonee Falls, WI

Harley may be based out of Milwaukee, but you can see them on the assembly line in three places. Their York facility produces touring motorcycles. In Kansas City, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the street family of motorcycles.

However, for the mack daddy of them all, make a reservation for the Steel Toe tour at Harley-Davidson’s 849,000 square-foot facility in Wisconsin. This two-hour experience lets you get up-close and personal with the assembly line, powder coat process, cold testing, and steel and aluminum machining. This tour comes with a bona fide costume: a safety vest, safety glasses, and steel toe protection, all of which are provided. Afterward, grab a bite at the museum restaurant, Motor, which actually has delicious grub. Think cheese curds, brats and beer. This is Wisconsin, after all.

 

Jelly Belly  – Fairfield, CA

A quarter-mile of jelly beans? Count me in! This free, self-guided tour allows you to stroll through this iconic factory at your own place. In addition to gaining a bird’s eye look at candy making, you’ll get plenty of free samples. Check out the interactive exhibits and games along the tour lane.

If you like vino, be sure to check out the Jelly Belly Chocolate and Wine Experience. Sample five local vintner wines paired with decadent chocolate. If you’re traveling with kids, fret not—they do have non-alcoholic pairings as well.

 

Ben & Jerry’s  –  Waterbury, VT

6 iconic american factory tours

Whether you’re a Cherry Garcia fan, a Phish Food lover or more of an Americone Dream-er, Ben and Jerry’s probably holds a place in your heart. Tour their Vermont facility 7 days a week, 362 days a year. All tours are guided, last 30 minutes and are offered (including the sample!) whether or not ice cream is in production. If you haven’t gotten your fill of the frozen stuff by tour’s end, you can get a scoop or three at their onsite scoop shop.

Be sure to walk through the Flavor Graveyard and pay your respects to the “dearly de-pinted” flavors of years past. Tour Tickets are available on a first-come first-serve basis, and they do occasionally sell out in the summer, fall and over the holidays. Go early!

 

FILSON  –  Seattle, WA

Outdoorsmen and women: This one’s for you. For over a century, Filson’s attention to detail and quality makes them unparalleled in the business. Take the free 30-minute tour to see craftspeople take the world’s best raw materials and turn them into garments, bags and gear that last for generations. You may even catch a glimpse of an item in-production—maybe something you’ll need to add to your camping repertoire.

 

Gibson Guitars  –  Memphis, TN

Do you every take a look at a product and say, “I could make that myself.” Well, that’s probably not going to happen at the Gibson Beale Street Showcase in Memphis. Tour this legendary guitar factory, complete with an intimate viewing of the facility as Gibson’s skilled luthiers (aka someone who build instruments) craft some of the finest guitars in the world. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. Reservations aren’t required, but are recommended. Be sure to check out the onsite store. Who knows, you may leave so inspired that you bring a piece of Gibson history home with you.

Have another not-to-be-missed factory tour? Share in the comments!

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Getting a behind the scenes look at how an iconic brand is built can be a really fun way to interact with a new city. Plus, isn’t it so interesting to see how things are made? Here are a few iconic American factory tours you should check off your bucket list.

This Post Has 12 Comments
  1. We own a Winnebago motor home, which are made in Forest City, Iowa. You can take an informative, free tour of how Winnebago RV’s are made (no prior reservations needed). A few interesting communities are near by too, like Clear lake…has the Surf ballroom ( which is still a music venue) remembered as the last concert for the”Big Bopper ” and Ritchie Vallens and one other 1950’s entertainer.
    Thank you for all your travel experiences, hints and recommendations.

  2. The Tabasco Factory tour in Avery Island, Louisiana was GREAT as a kid. For the adults, distillery and brewery tours are where it’s at.

  3. In my opinion 2 iconic ones that missed the missed are the The Hershey Factory in Hershey, PA and The Coca-Cola Factory in Atlanta, GA.

  4. Sam Adams in Boston!!!! Short, but informative. Admission is whatever donation you wish to make to the charity of the day. When we went, it was for the families of local firefighters who had been killed in the line of duty days prior. We sampled special beers like the “Black and Gold” that was delicious and dark, and only served at the Garden during Bruins playoff games, and the “26.2”, that was only being served in towns that the Boston Marathon passed through. Samples were served by the pitcher full, and you are encouraged to keep your tasting glass as a souvenir. We have been on other brewery tours, but this one stands out for it’s generosity to the community and the customers.

  5. The Boeing plant tour in Everett, WA (north of Seattle) is a must see if you’re in the area. The size and scale of the place is mind boggling.

  6. Definitely Hershey Park! The town smells of chocolate, has those cute Hershey kisses street lights. You will be singing….its the milk in it… form the tour ride. Alos CapeCod potato chips. Takes about five minutes but

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6 Iconic American Factory Tours
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