Escape rooms are one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment in the U.S. and that shows in the sheer amount that have popped up here in the Twin Cities. The creativity that has gone into all the various rooms is astonishing—you have to experience it for yourself. I myself have done four escape rooms at four different locations and have loved my experiences at all of them. If you’re looking for a fun activity with friends or coworkers, I recommend spending an hour finding clues, decoding hints, and solving puzzles in an escape room. Here are some of my favorite escape rooms that I loved or am excited to try, as well as tips for first-timers.
Escape The Room Minneapolis
Located on Nicollet Mall, Escape The Room Minneapolis is the No. 1 escape room experience in Minneapolis. Whether you’re trying to improve your team building skills or just looking for a fun Friday night activity, Escape the Room is the perfect place to do it. Choose from one of their three rooms: The Agency, The Dig, or The Apartment.
Mission Manor Escape Rooms
Mission Manor Escape Rooms was recommended to me by an escape room connoisseur and I’m glad I took his advice and gave it a try. Mission Manor claims the best reviews and best prices in the Twin Cities and is located in trendy Northeast Minneapolis. They have three escape rooms: Inheritance, Countdown, and Asylum. I was lucky enough to do the Asylum room and my friends and I escaped! The room was definitely on the high end of escape rooms—it was very detailed and the puzzles we solved felt not too difficult but also not too easy. Even the lobby was top notch and created an immersive experience right when you stepped through the door.
Trapped Puzzle Rooms
What makes Trapped Puzzle Rooms special is their unique themed rooms in St. Paul and the North Loop, and their supernatural puzzle house in Uptown. There are rooms based on Harry Potter, the Marvel Universe, and Toy Story. The Legend of Lyndale House, one of just a few puzzle houses in the U.S., is a three-floor house in Uptown that you must escape in 90 minutes. I personally did A Very Potter Escape Room as soon as I heard that it existed. I went with a big group of muggles and we escaped with time to spare! It was such an enjoyable time and the nice part is that you don’t have to have any knowledge of Harry Potter to participate.
Escape MSP has locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul with seven different rooms to choose from. I’m interested in trying out this place because of the sheer amount of options that all seem very intricate and well thought out. The two that interest me the most are The Raid on Mr. Croft’s Museum, where you and your fellow thieves invade a billionaire antique collector’s museum and try to steal the staff of King Tut, and the Secret of Skully’s Cabin, where you and your team of FBI agents search an abandoned cabin for clues after hikers start vanishing in the area.
The Escape Game Minneapolis
The first escape room I ever did was Mission: Mars at The Escape Game Minneapolis at the Mall of America. Only two of my family members had done an escape room before, so most of our team had no idea what we were getting into. Unfortunately, we did not make it out, but it was still a really fun experience. I would recommend The Escape Game if you want to feel like you are on a movie set. It was more high tech and had a more impressive production value than I’ve seen since. Besides Mission: Mars, the other themes The Escape Game features are The Heist, Gold Rush, Prison Break, and Special Ops.
Zero Hour Escape Rooms
Zero Hour Escape Rooms in Plymouth peaks my interest because of the variation in room themes that it offers. You can defeat the Red Queen from the classic Alice and Wonderland story, investigate the nefarious activities going on at a local hangout, escape from prison, or participate in a mad hunt for gold. If you’re looking for team building activities for your employees, Zero Hour Escape Rooms helps your team build trust, share ideas, and have fun together. They also have another location in Duluth with different themes to try out.
With Riddle Room in the St. Anthony Main neighborhood, you can prevent nuclear annihilation, go back to the medieval era and defend your prince’s right to the throne, find evidence to prove you have been falsely accused, or join the resistance in a dystopian world. I recently tried out the Utopia room with a few friends and unfortunately, we did not escape. We found out once we arrived that it was the most difficult room they had and that it had a 43 percent escape rate. The room was very impressive and really immerses its participants in the dystopian world they’ve created. I would recommend Utopia to anyone, especially someone looking for a challenge.
Tips for First Timers:
Pick a room that’s right for your experience level. As I mentioned above, my first escape room was at very difficult for my family since we were thrown into a level we were not ready for. I would recommend starting off with an easier room to get your feet wet. Then, once you have some experience, try a harder room.
Split up your team. At the start of your escape room experience, make sure to split up your group. Especially if you have a larger group, it’s good to have everyone doing something productive, instead of standing around while precious minutes pass by. Additionally, if there are enough people working on something, go look around for other clues or puzzles.
Communicate! This is so important and is often easy to forget. Once you’ve split up and each group starts finding information, like a four-letter code for example, share it with everyone. The information you find could very well solve the puzzle the other group is working on.
Don’t hesitate to ask for clues. In any escape room, you will be given the option to ask for clues during your 60-minute (or more) experience. I have been told by multiple escape room employees that people who refuse clues tend not to make it out. Let go of your pride and accept that you may need some help. You will be thankful that you did. I would also mention that asking for too many clues could cause you to feel unsatisfied, so try to find a happy medium.
Pay attention to the clock. Pay attention to how much time you are spending on each puzzle. If you’ve spent too much time on something and are not getting anywhere, ask for a clue. The first time I did an escape room, we spent so long in the first room that we had no chance of getting out. I now know we should have asked for help much sooner.
Every item you find could mean something and probably does. Anything from a picture on a wall to an item such as a hat probably has some sort of purpose. Almost everything you’ve been given is a clue of some sort, so don’t just throw things aside and forget about them. In one escape room I did, we were given an item pretty early on, but we did not know what it’s purpose was, so we set it aside and stopped thinking about it. Then when we finally remembered it and tried to use it to find a combination for a lock, we did not have enough time. The answer had been right in front of us but we had not been paying attention.
Have fun! Don’t forget that it’s meant to be fun. Don’t take it too seriously and don’t get super bummed if you don’t make it out.