This post is not sponsored by Facebook. My visit was hosted through a personal connection. This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.You know those once-in-a-lifetime moments that sneak up on you and say “Surprise!”? The kind where you feel like it would be too good to pass it up and besides…when would you get THAT opportunity again? Well, visiting Facebook was one of those moments for me. My Facebook Headquarters tour was a welcomed surprise and this is how it all went down!
One of my closest friends, Kim (who travels with me some), now works for Facebook. At the time it was still a brand new job for her and she needed to go out to the main campus in Menlo Park for training. She mentioned she would probably go that fall and invited me along.
Seeing as though I was already traveling for most of October, I didn’t think it was going to work. However, the dates turned out to be a couple of days after I got home from Iceland and about four days before I left for Dallas. That wasn’t going to work…or was it?
Sometimes you do what you have to do to capitalize on experiences you may never again get the opportunity to do. Kim had no idea when or if she would have a need to return to the main campus so my Facebook headquarters tour was either now or possibly never. Psshh…adding two more hours to the jet lag difference wasn’t going to matter that much, right? Especially when the hotel and car are already provided for Kim by Facebook. I’m a bonus! 😉
And, just like that, I booked my flight, ignored the fact that my travel dates for October grossly outweighed the days I would be home and told Kim I was on board! Not many people get this opportunity and who needs sleep anyway?
My Facebook Headquarters Tour
Now that I have been a bit dramatic in the re-telling of my decision making, I should mention that there is no Facebook headquarters tour open to the public. Facebook doesn’t offer them and you can’t walk through campus without knowing an employee who is willing to guide you the entire time. And no, sauntering in hoping you’ll get lucky by asking for an exception isn’t going to work.
While you can’t tour Facebook without knowing someone on the inside, you can take a photo with its famous sign! I love the address!
Arrival and Check-In at Classic Campus
We arrived at the Classic Campus and entered Building 10 early since thankfully, we didn’t have any traffic issues in transit from the hotel. Kim had already given my name to Facebook a while back to let them know I was coming.
They verified my ID, checked me in on an iPad and the next thing I know I had my temporary Facebook permit around my neck on a lanyard. It was super easy!
Facebook is anything BUT your typical corporate headquarters. It straight up reminded me of Disneyland honestly. Its very colorful, happy vibe looked a lot like walking down Main Street in Disneyland without all the people.
If I remember correctly, it’s designed to look like the streets of Palo Alto and having visited Palo Alto (on this same trip), I would agree that it does!
We were so early that breakfast hadn’t started yet so we stopped in at Philz Coffee for coffee and hot chocolate while we waited for breakfast to open.
The trees cover a lot of it but EPIC is painted on the cafe
Finally, breakfast was served at Cafe Epic, the main cafe on campus.
It is gigantic. This is just part of the serving area. I won’t get into how much seating the cafe has because it went on for ages.
And let’s talk about the timing of breakfast for a second.
I thoroughly love that breakfast in this workplace is served later from 8-10am. If you don’t like to eat early in the morning ( 🙋♀️), then you can eat after getting a little work done.
They accommodate all diets including vegetarian, vegan and there’s a juice bar too. There were even vegan tater tots which as you can tell I took full advantage of even though I’m not vegan. They tasted the same as nonvegan tots-yummy!
My breakfast buffet included French toast with vegan syrup, eggs, fruit, maple chicken sausage, vegan tater tots, and freshly squeezed OJ!
That freshly squeezed OJ I had? I know that’s a popular term, but this really was just the juice from the orange squeezed into a glass. No other additives. It was amazingly fantastic and reminded me of the freshly squeezed OJ I had all over Morocco!
Welcome to Facebook
Full and happy from a fantastic breakfast, we ventured out and came upon Hacker Square, the main square where movies, parties and even Q&A sessions by Mark Zuckerberg himself are held. Interesting name, isn’t it? I will explain that in a minute but first look closely at this photo.
See the dark gray concrete squares? Those spell out HACK in letters so big you can see them on a satellite view from Google Maps! The one in this picture is the “H”.
Now look on the ground just above the H. Right below the red columns (or in front of depending on how you visualize) is a series of nine dark gray stripes. Those will be important below so keep reading!
I visited in the month of October. Facebook calls it “Hacktober” as it is the name of their annual campaign designed to maintain a security-conscious culture. The campaign runs the entire month and includes everything from phishing tests to contests and workshops.
Exploring Facebook Headquarters
Okay so back to Hacker Square. As you saw previously, there is “The Hacker Company” at the top of the one building. Here inside this building, there is “Hack” followed by motivational snippets.
Hacker Square, Hacker Company, Hack spelled out in large concrete squares on the ground. What is with all the Hacker stuff?
Well, Mark Zuckerberg explains here how they use “the hacker way” at Facebook as a unique company management approach.
And, wondering about those nine dark gray stripes? They are a monument to the illegal crosswalk, an event that happened as a part of an overnight hackathon in 2007. It’s definitely an interesting read!
1.45 billion daily active users | 2.20 billion monthly active users
This was a fun interactive. It showed us all kinds of Facebook information including location information, safety checks, and even case studies!
The Facebook Wall
What’s on your mind?
Yes! There is an actual, real-life Facebook Wall…
My writing on the wall Left: Closeup Right: Bottom, center
and you can write on it. I literally wrote on Facebook’s Wall!!!
Instagram & Facebook Photo Booth Fun
An Instagram photo booth? Absolutely, don’t mind if I do!
Left: I like it. 👍 | Right: I love it! ❤️
Keep in mind that although this campus does have visitors, it is not open to the public and was built to provide a positive work experience and atmosphere. Everywhere I looked there were fun things like this to do, places to express opinions or deep thoughts and an environment that promotes comfort. We saw many employees working outside at tables in the courtyard, sitting under trees, or working from the coffee shop and cafes!
Working from the Spa at Facebook
Bet you weren’t expecting that one were you? I knew ahead of time we would be visiting the on-campus spa at Facebook. They had booked Kim in for a pedicure as part of her visit. It’s only for employees though so while I couldn’t get one, they brought me back and let me sit in the massage chair next to her. That was what I needed anyway after flying across the Atlantic and then across the USA in 3 days’ time!
Thank you to the Facebook employee who took this photo because well, you try taking a good selfie in a VR headset!
Right: Kim is better at it than me!
We were both booked into a demo of the latest Oculus. This was my first experience with virtual reality and it was pretty amazing. It had me thinking I was on top of a skyscraper about to fall off. Yes, I knew I was perfectly safe inside a building with a flat floor, but virtual reality makes you think real reality. I thought twice about each step I took and might have let out a tiny scream…or two…or three!
Visiting MPK 20-Bayfront Campus
Crossing underground-you can walk or take one of the many bikes available on campus!
After Oculus, we decided to cross over to the Bayfront Campus to explore one of the newer kids on the block, Building MPK 20. Completed in 2015, there are lots of interesting facts about MPK 20. Designed by Frank Gehry, the architect behind designs such as Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, this 433,555 square foot two-story building has warehouse-style office space with parking below for 1,500!
Above the office space? Eh, no big deal…it’s just a nine-acre green roof! It only includes more than 350 trees and is home to hundreds of local birds. Inspired by the Highline in NYC, there are also work cabanas and cafes. As I said, no biggie!
At the top of the (left) ramp we got this (right) view of the Classic Campus as well as the salt flats.
What about sustainability? Check. The insulation of the green roof plus MPK 20’s energy systems combine to make it 25% more efficient than Title 24 which is California’s tough energy code. That is serious sustainability!
Kim had heard there was a great grilled cheese cafe called Fromage over at MPK 20 so we decided to have lunch there. Gracious, it had been a good five minutes since we’d had anything to eat because Facebook just doesn’t have many options. 😂
I put in my order for their classic grilled cheese, grabbed a bag of chips, and a drink out of the refrigerator and chowed down. Just like breakfast, lunch was quite satisfying!
Return to Classic
We slowly made our way back to the Classic Campus but took a different path out of MPK 20. I’m so glad we did because otherwise, we would have missed this view…
and its beautiful art! Facebook has an Artist In Residence program that focuses on integrating art in the workplace so that people don’t necessarily set it apart from its surroundings. It isn’t meant for the art to fade into the background but instead to become an essential part of the work environment.
The artists are encouraged to immerse in the culture and are allowed to explore the buildings, find where they want to display their art and then are given an entire studio of resources to bring their artistic creation to life. While I’m sure the interview process (as with any hire at Facebook) is extremely selective, how cool is it to have that kind of freedom as an artist?
I wish I had known about the AIR while I was on campus so I could have figured out the artist who painted this. I fell in love with it and photographed it from all angles. We saw a lot of art on the main campus too but inside photography near office workspace wasn’t encouraged. However, you can read more on the AIR and see a photo tour of several of its creations.
Facebook Headquarters Tour Continues
After leaving our artistic high at MPK 20 on Bayfront Campus, we arrived back to the colorful buildings on Classic Campus for more exploration.
Left: Burger Shack | Right: Arcade
Left: The red bridges are painted the same color as the Golden Gate Bridge in tribute to Facebook’s close proximity to San Francisco. | Right: There are even Pop-Up Shops on campus!
Hey, I feel it’s worth mentioning. This is how far Facebook goes with its employee perks. If you need anything at all, it’s right here! Including the really cool toothbrushes that already have the water-activated toothpaste on them!
And because we haven’t had enough to eat, we stopped in for a sweet treat at Sweet Stop!
Triple scoop of chocolate, cherry sorbet, and mint with a cherry on top!
Left: Ship Happens here | Right: Be aware of foxes
That’s right, folks. Ship happens here at Facebook. Wherever you need to send your Ship, they have you covered!
My favorite find? Learning there is a family of foxes that chose to raise their babies in the Zen garden on campus. As this article states, the foxes adopted approximately 2,500 proud parents into their skulk (what you call a group of foxes…who knew?) in the form of Facebook employees!
You better believe I took full advantage of all the Facebook and Instagram swag I could find. Kim had already gotten me a turquoise Instagram shirt. I bought another one in hot pink, a charcoal gray Instagram sweatshirt, a black Facebook shirt, a WhatsApp pen, and a “Facebook Like” magnet.
So, yes, if you’re keeping track, those are all blog colors! 🙌
I also got the cutest little kid’s Instagram and Facebook shirts for my nephew. Even though I purchased larger sizes, he will outgrow them soon and my sister is already begging me for new ones. The problem is they can only be bought from the store on campus. Since they are rare and unique to the public, I should have known she would love them and thought to buy several in much bigger sizes!
Whew, that concludes my Facebook headquarters tour. What a fantastic experience!! THANK YOU KIM!!
Hopefully, this gives you some insight into not only what a Facebook headquarters tour is like, but also the positive working environment that Facebook provides. Hence why I call it the happiest place in tech. Isn’t it amazing to think that this multi-billion dollar global company was started by a student on a college campus?
If you know someone who works for Facebook and they invite you to visit the main campus in Menlo Park, don’t think about it. Just do it. And, if you are one of the few who has had the opportunity for a Facebook headquarters tour, what was your favorite part?
‘Til next time…