There are only so many movies you can see, beaches you can bonfire at, and stores you can stroll around before that inevitable question plagues your friend’s group chat: “Ugh, what should we do?”
Well, the hours of volleying “I don’t know” back and forth are finally over. Because we here at So Diego Tours have done countless San Diego tours to find the best of the best and have found the best escape for your boredom. Don’t get trapped watching reruns of Friends again. Instead, trap your friends (and yourself) for an hour and laugh, scream, and cry together as you attempt to solve riddles and escape.
Following the clues, here? We’re talking about escape rooms. Not just any escape room though; we’re talking about the best escape rooms in San Diego. Escape rooms offer a fun experience for everyone with clues, puzzles, and games that everyone must solve together!
What’s an Escape Room?
For a short amount of time, you and some friends can pretend you’re in your favorite film… that is, if your favorite film is Saw. If you don’t know what an escape room is, don’t worry; it isn’t as creepy as it sounds.
An escape room is a real-life adventure game where a group of people needs to collaborate, solve puzzles, and discover clues in order to escape a locked room. It’s often thematically tied to a narrative where you’re breaking out of prison, escaping the clutches of a serial killer, or stopping a vengeful scientist on the brink of destroying your city. Escape rooms will bring you into an alternative world where you must find your way out as a team.
They’re also notoriously spooky. So, put your nerves (and your relationships) to the test as you work together to answer riddles and try your best not to get murdered… All in good fun, of course. Check out our list of the 5 best escape rooms in San Diego:
1. Enigma HQ
Photo Courtesy: Enigma HQ
What’s in a name? Well, a reliable indicator that you’re in for a mind-boggling encounter. Enigma HQ has two locations: Downtown and Little Italy. Although, in the new Downtown HQ, you can explore both physical and virtual escape rooms.
Virtual might be the way to go for smaller parties, especially for dates. (Speaking of, need more unique ideas for outings? Guarantee a second date with our date night ideas in San Diego.)
These are the available virtual games and experiences:
- Ritchie’s Plank Experience (available for free!)
- Everest VR
- Serious Sam the Last Hope
- Job Simulator
- Skyfront VR
- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
- Arizona Sunshine
- Cloudlands Mini-golf
For a description and trailer of these options, check out their website.
2. Escape Games SD
Photo Courtesy: Escape Game SD
Perfect for a team-building exercise or even as a fun activity for bachelorette parties in San Diego, the Japanese Thriller room at Escape Games SD is an extremely popular choice, not recommended for the faint-hearted. This themed room is one of the most challenging rooms on our list.
What’s the plot? You are a contestant on a Japanese reality escape game competition and must find your way out of the apartment of an infamous serial killer, Futoshi Matsunaga. Try to flee the abandoned residence said to be haunted by his tortured victims.
Gauge your level of nerves with one reviewer’s encounter: “the introduction video had one girl crying and another not wanting to go in with us.”
All you have to do is:
- Select an available time.
- Read the introduction.
- Fill out a consent form.
- Complete the booking online.
- Get to playing (1 hour)!
- Wrap up with some photos to commemorate your time.
Scary not your thing? Don your cape or robe because there are also Superhero Adventures and Wizards and Spells themed rooms!
Photo Courtesy: Escapology San Diego
Escapology has escape rooms down to a science. Travel to locations through three different storylines:
- Antidote – Difficulty 6.5/10. Help uncover an antidote to the virus, TS-51, created by a chemical weapons specialist. The twist? While investigating the lab in Nevada, vials of the contagious virus were knocked over. You must cure the entire team, and within one hour, before the facility decontamination protocol triggers a self-destruct function.
- Budapest Express – Difficulty 8.5/10. Don your detective cap because you’re all aboard a trans-European train when a murderer strikes. Be sure to solve all the riddles and hints before you’re the next victim.
- TH3 COD3 – Difficulty 7.5/10. You’ve been set up! Come up with the kill code before Nitr0, the greatest hacker alive, pins the biggest virtual heist and crime in American history on you.
Escapology also offers group packaging for:
- Birthday parties
- Breakfast morning (brain food included, of course)
- Corporate events/team-building exercise
Save the date so that you can save the day. Secure your spot through their online reservation system here! These group packages are perfect for bachelorette parties in San Diego as well. Bring your girls out for a night of ridiculously fun problem-solving adventures.
4. House of Hints
Photo Courtesy: House of Hints
Sixty minutes in seemingly innocuous scenarios, discover what the angle is and what you must do to succeed. The Game Masters are not only experienced but entertaining moderators that enhance the immersive experience!
The House of Hint’s most popular option is the CSI Lab—a classic case everyone has envisioned themselves solving. Or, get competitive and try the racing option for High School Detention. Haven’t we all wondered if we could manage to change our grades secretly?
More seasoned escape artists may enjoy bargaining in the black market in The Pawn Shop room or finding an assassin before the curtains are raised Back Stage. Pick your part and reserve your spot(s) now.
5. Lockdown Escape Room
Photo Courtesy: Lockdown Escape Room
Lock down a perfect activity for your weekend getaway in San Diego by grabbing a private escape room! Finally, get an idea of which of those in your friend group would hit the chopping block first in a horror film. After all, there’s nothing better to cement the bonds of friendship than testing them under a high-pressure, time-sensitive situation. This is the perfect way to spend a girls weekend in San Diego.
At Lockdown Escape Room SD, you can take your pick from four themed escape rooms:
- Medieval (easy difficulty)
- Western (medium difficulty)
- Voodoo (medium difficulty)
- Science (extreme difficulty)
In addition to hosting special events (e.g., birthdays, bachelorette parties, corporate excursions, and school field trips), Lockdown can help you plan your proposal! While your partner may enjoy riddles of the unknown, your future together doesn’t need to be a mystery any longer. Work together through these team-building exercises to design an unforgettable and rewarding experience!
Hint #1: Escape the Expected
When was the last time you challenged yourself? Reading this article instead of asking Alexa doesn’t quite count, sorry. Get your blood pumping, brain whirring, and bum off the couch by trying your hand at this unconventional activity. Choose any of the above for the best escape rooms San Diego has to offer.
And worry not. What happens in the escape room can stay in the escape room. No one needs to know how long it took you to get past the first clue. These puzzles challenges are a great time for friends looking for an immersive experience.
At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun!