You have one hour to take down alien life forms, break out of Alcatraz, or retrieve a priceless relic. Are you ready?
Welcome to the world of escape rooms, a thrilling and creative shared experience. Here's how they work: as a group of four to 10 people, you are given a limited amount of time—typically an hour—to crack clues and solve a series of puzzles in a themed space before the clock runs out. While you can physically leave the room at any time, your task is to work together to break free by completing each stage. In this interactive, live-action game, you become part of the storyline, whether it entails stopping the Cold War or preventing a mob hit. Some rooms are private—reserved for only you and your friends—while others are booked per person, so if you can't rally the troops you can still join other like-minded players keen on unlocking the puzzle.
But with so many escape rooms to choose from, it can be difficult to decide where to start. To help you get going, here are a handful of the West's newest and most inventive options, all of which are family friendly (though most aren't recommended for younger kids). What are you waiting for? Get ready . . . get set . . . get cracking!
Escape Chandler in Chandler, Arizona
Choose between originally designed rooms like the Pawn Shop—a 60-minute rush to retrieve a pawned laptop packed with $2 million in stolen diamonds before the original owners take matters into their own hands—and the mob-themed Tony's Bistro, a heart-pounding race against the feds. Chandler's first escape room is also gearing up to open its newest addition, the Cabin, where your wilderness vacation goes awry, and you're forced to be shrewd puzzle-solvers in order to survive. From $28/person.
Entropy LA in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is packed with escape rooms, but you don’t want to miss Entropy. The name means “lack of order,” and that's just what this escape room is—a chaotic world that players must push through to help create a wormhole through space and time. You're given 90-minutes to complete the task at hand, which involves three adjoining portals (rooms) that rely more on atmosphere than storyline and avoid unnecessary high-tech features, opting instead for more classic lock-and-key-style puzzles. $28/person.
Alcatraz, the Breakout in San Francisco, California
Think you have what it takes to escape The Rock? You'll have an hour to pull off the ultimate breakout from San Francisco Bay's most notorious penitentiary like the criminals Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, and Frank Morris did back in 1962. It's the very first escape room for Madame Tussauds, known for its wax museums around the world, and garners bonus points for being located a mere mile from Alcatraz Island where the actual escape took place. From $175/group of 8 people.
Escape 307 in Casper and Rock Springs, Wyoming
With two stand-alone locations and a handful (and counting) of individually-themed rooms, Wyoming's Escape 307 offers a little something for everyone. In Casper, Temple of the Moon gives participants 60 minutes to retrieve a priceless relic before a legendary eclipse runs its course. Rock Springs has three escape options ranging from the difficult-to-solve Alien Takedown set in space to a more beginner-friendly, carnival-gone-wrong breakout. From $25/adult.
Idleyld Lodge in Idleyld Park, Oregon
Once a historic B&B, the owners of Idleyld Lodge have recently transformed their property into a full-on event space, complete with three distinct escape rooms. Their first—the Time Traveling Magician Room—opened in January 2018. If escaping the mad magician’s study isn't your thing, you can now put your skills to work and recover a cure for the zombie apocalypse or solve a murder mystery instead. From $25/person.