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Cubic Escape Room
Photograph: Courtesy Cubic

The 6 best escape rooms in San Jose

Are you clever enough to beat the best escape rooms in San Jose?

Written by
Clara Hogan
Contributor
Shoshi Parks
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On paper, being strapped for time and trapped in a room sounds like a perfect nightmare, but the best escape rooms in San Jose seem to have a lock on thrill-seeking locals. For more than a decade, escape rooms in the Bay Area have made it their business to hatch complex plots that test problem-solving skills and people skills all in one: locked in a room with your closest friends, you’re forced to work as a team to solve a puzzle (often in less than 60 minutes!) to win your freedom. Obviously, it’s an ultimate adrenaline rush.

You’ll find quite a few escape rooms in downtown San Jose (not to mention several more escape rooms in San Francisco) that range from uber-immersive adventure rooms to kid-friendly versions, too (believe it or not, Off The Couch even has an upcoming escape room set inside the videogame world of Assassin’s Creed). Whether you’re looking for a clever date idea, a thrilling party plan, or something to do on a weeknight after dinner at a restaurant in San Jose, the best escape rooms in San Jose will fit the bill.

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Best escape rooms in San Jose, ranked

If you go to one escape room in San Jose, it doesn’t get much better than Omescape. The massive 5,500-square-foot space has five puzzles to choose from, starting with The Kingdom of Cats, a novice-level tournament of champions devised by a king named Schrodinger (insert physics joke here). For a real challenge, though, enter the Joker’s Asylum, a mystery devised by the DC supervillain. Omescape is perfect for big groups and small groups alike; two of the rooms can be entered with only two to three players (if you dare).

Cubic’s escape rooms tell a fully immersive story as a series of riddles keep the narrative moving forward. There are currently two escape rooms open: Project Delta, a family-friendly space adventure (for kids 10 and up), and Room 2217, a 90-minute race to find a missing person. Unlike some escape rooms, these are private — you’ll never have to share your experience with strangers no matter the size of your party.

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Breakout Studios excels at creating challenging, mysterious narratives and detailed, all-encompassing spaces. In Time Breaker Challenge, the more challenging of Breakout Studios’ two rooms, you and your friends are split into two groups to tackle tests created by “some of the greatest minds of science.” War of Rogue Machines, a slightly easier escape room, takes groups of two to six people into the future as they combat out-of-control A.I. attempting to take over the world.

This international escape room purveyor crafted three unique spaces for its South Bay venue. Two of the puzzles, a Wild West jailbreak and mysterious whodunnit, are rated family-friendly for ages ten and up. But if you like your escape room with a bit of terror mixed in, you’ll want to make a beeline straight for Insane Asylum, a mystery set in a 1950s mind-control experiment. All three rooms are quick 60-minute riddles with space for up to seven players—perfect for getting in and hopefully out!

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If you’ve got a competitive squad, head to Beat the Lock where groups can race the clock—and each other—in simultaneous themed escapes. Challenge your friends to two different puzzles: The Spy Room (where you must discover the identity of your mysterious neighbor) and Secrets in the Attic (where there are, in fact, secrets in the attic). Beat the Lock can also do a kid-friendly version of both escape rooms, customized for a variety of levels between the ages of 10 to 15 years old. Their rooms require a minimum of six players, so if you’re a small group, be prepared to make some new friends on-site.

Players of all levels will find their perfect escape room at Santa Clara’s Play Live Escape. On the easier side, Wizard’s Castle is a puzzle set in a Medieval fortress; in order to escape, you simply need locate five magical cards. On the other end of the spectrum, Escape from Gnomes is less whimsical than its name suggests and harder than it sounds, too. The challenge posed by the two other escape rooms—Police Station and Special Forces—falls somewhere in the middle.

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