Top 5 Escape Rooms in the San Francisco Bay Area

Note: I wrote a post about why everyone should try an Escape Room, so if you haven’t read that yet, you may want to give it a read before proceeding. 


As someone who enjoys playing Escape Rooms, I’m always on the lookout for when a new one is released. With so many different companies designing and hosting these rooms, it could be a bit overwhelming to sort through the list and narrow down potentials. After having done over a dozen rooms around the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve compiled a list and ranked my top 5 Escape Rooms to look into:

(As of Sept 25, 2017)

5. The Penitentiary @ Omescape

The Penitentiary is a prison-themed Escape Room, and compared to the others, this room is of medium difficulty. If you haven’t done many Escape Rooms, you should probably hold off on this one.

The majority of the clues in this room relate to the theme so you really feel like you’re in a prison cell. There were a couple of clues that I felt were out of place, but overall, the room was well-designed and engaging. It also has a unique “feature” that I have yet to encounter in any other rooms.

  • Location: Richmond, CA
  • Difficulty: ★★★☆☆
  • Players: 6-10
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • More info

4. Escape from Alcatraz @ EscapeSF

EscapeSF has a great track record of designing Escape Rooms that truly immerses you into the theme. If you really want to feel like you’re trapped in a prison, Escape from Alcatraz is a must-try. The room itself is located in the basement of an old building in San Francisco’s Chinatown so participants will be experiencing the musty and griminess of a prison. The clues are simple in that it’s not a super high-tech room, but being simple allows this room to keep all the clues relevant to the theme.

Escape from Alcatraz is more of an introductory room for beginners. However, experienced players should still find this room entertaining.

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆
  • Players: 2-5
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • More info

3. Escape from the Mysterious Room @ SCRAP Entertainment

To my knowledge, SCRAP was the first company to bring the Escape Room craze to the US, and Escape from the Mysterious Room was their first room. This was my first exposure to Escape Rooms, and it set the bar high for all the rooms that are out there.

I still remember the anxiety of walking into an ordinary-looking room and not knowing what to expect. Once the timer started, I basically tore the room up trying to find anything that would help us escape. The excitement of discovering a clue or solving a puzzle is something that can only be experienced.

This room is quite difficult, but that could be because it was my first time. I really enjoyed the clever clues and how most of them stayed true to the apartment room theme.

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Difficulty: ★★★★☆
  • Players: Up to 11
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • More info
    (Note: This room has been discontinued in the San Francisco Japantown location, but it’s available in the San Jose location. Not sure if they’re the same though.)

2. The Great Houdini Escape Room @ Palace Games

The production value of the Houdini room is like no other. It has all the bells and whistles of a fully automated room equipped with sensors and switches. When you step into this room, you literally feel like you traveled back to the early 1900s.

This room is moderately difficult and it’s part of the reason why you get 90 minutes to complete this room. The Houdini room can accommodate 6-10 players, but it is recommended to have at least 8 players since there is a lot of content and clues in the room.

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Difficulty: ★★★★☆
  • Players: 6-10
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • More info

1. Blind Tiger @ EscapeSF

Blind Tiger is set in a speakeasy of the Prohibition era. Similar to the other rooms by EscapeSF, this room is well-designed in terms of having decor and puzzles that make the participants feel fully immersed into the theme. It’s not as loaded as the Houdini room, but the types of puzzles and surprises you experience make up for it.

This is EscapeSF’s most complex room so it is definitely not for beginners. You might want to try their other rooms if you aren’t used to the Escape Room scene, but if you’re a veteran, this is definitely a room you won’t forget.

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Difficulty: ★★★★☆
  • Players: 2-5
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • More info
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