5 Best Escape Rooms in San Diego of 2017

We’re escape room enthusiasts that have done over 40 escape rooms in Southern California and 100+ escape rooms through the United States and Europe. When we travel we usually ask other enthusiasts for recommendations and end up compiling a list of our favorite rooms to write up on our blog.

These are our takes on the “best” escape rooms in San Diego:

  1. Mysterious Stranger – Steal and Escape
  2. Disappearance at Fogmore Manor – The Entrapment
  3. Diner – Quicksand Escape Games
  4. CSI Lab – House of Hints
  5. Lazarus Crystal – Enigma HQ

This list should particularly appeal to small groups of escape room enthusiasts. They all take groups as small as 2 and as large as 6 or 8. For experienced groups, we think the ideal team size for all of these is 2-4, although beginner groups should feel free to go over if needed.

We’d love to hear about your own experience in the comments! As usual, let your host know that EscapeRoomTips.com sent you!

#1. Mysterious Stranger – Steal and Escape

Mysterious Stranger is Steal and Escape’s first game, located in a business park in National City, CA. In this game, you are tasked with infiltrating the house of a “mysterious stranger” who is developing a dangerous explosive device. The story develops through audio as you progress through the game, and for more fun we recommend listening closely and following along!

The game’s core strengths are the puzzles hidden around an otherwise unassuming house environment. The puzzles are varied in nature, and offer some fun physical and mental challenges. As enthusiasts, we’ve seen plenty of escape rooms puzzles before, but the ones here were delightfully unique and offered plenty of fun challenges for our team of two. The physical space is a bit small and the theming is somewhat eclectic, but this is still fun, well-designed, private-group experience for any enthusiasts in San Diego. This earns our recommendation as the best escape room in San Diego. Their second game is in the works.

  • Our Rating: ★★★★★
  • Theme: House
  • Atmosphere: Normal and well-lit. Not scary.
  • Highlight: Puzzles
  • Team Size: 2-6 people
  • Age Limit: 10 and over. Under 16 requires adult supervision.
  • Price: $28 per player for groups of 3-6. $42 per player for groups of 2 (you must pay for 3). Use ANNIVERSARY as a discount code for 10% off.
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Good for Beginners: Yes!
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Play with Strangers: No, the booking style is European, which means that they will never group you with strangers.
  • Open: 7 days a week.
  • Address: 2602 Transportation Ave, Suite B, Nationfal City, CA 91950
  • Booking: https://stealandescape.com/ (use promo code ANNIVERSARY for 10% off until the end of March, found via their Facebook page)

#2. Disappearance at Fogmore Manor – Entrapment

Disappearance at Fogmore Manor is the first game offered by Entrapment, which is located in an office park in San Diego. Before the game, your team is introduced to a fairly elaborate story involving the disappearance of your business partner inside Fogmore Manor. He hints that the mysterious artifacts that he’s discovered has something to do with his disappearance. Indeed, the various artifacts are central to the game.

The highlight of this room is its technology, which manifests itself in every part of the escape room. The tech imbues “magic” into the various artifacts that you’ll be playing with and discovering throughout the game. Seeing this “magic” work first-hand is an absolute blast. Everything comes together to create a mysterious, dark, and creepy “atmosphere” that develops as you access more of the game. There’s a lot of meticulous reading required, but the successful use of tech makes it our recommendation as the most high-tech and immersive San Diego escape room. Their second game is in process of being built.

  • Our Rating: ★★★★★
  • Theme: Manor
  • Atmosphere: Dark, creepy, and mysterious, although not really “scary”.
  • Highlight: Technology
  • Team Size: 2-6 people. They will allow up to 8 if you ask first.
  • Age Limit: No age limit. Under 16 requires adult supervision.
  • Price: $28 per player for groups of 6. Normal $30 per player for groups of 4-5. Discounted $30 per player for groups of 1-3 with promo code ERTIPSTRAP5.
  • Difficulty: Very Challenging. This is the hardest game on this list.
  • Good for Beginners: Yes!
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Play with Strangers: Yes, the booking style is American, which means that if you don’t buy all 6 tickets you might be grouped with strangers.
  • Open: 4 days a week. Closed Monday – Wednesday.
  • Address: 7990 Dagget St, Suite A-10, San Diego, CA 92111
  • Booking: http://www.theentrapment.com/ (use promo code ERTIPSTRAP5 if you’re booking for a group of 1-3. The code will give you a discounted $30 per player instead of $32-35. Promo code only works for Disappearance at Fogmore Manor.)

#3. Diner – Quicksand Escape Games


The Diner is the second game offered by Quicksand Escape Games, located in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego. In this game, you take on a gig from some mysterious benefactors to rob a local diner. They leave you almost no instructions, but say they’re prepared everything for you and you just need to go in and do it. The story develops later in the game in a way that we found quite satisfying.

This is a first-generation escape room, which means that there aren’t any maglocks or custom high-tech components anywhere. However, the general decor and retro atmosphere of this Diner is absolutely charming, and the owners have gone great strides in finding appropriate large furnishings that complement the whole theme. The puzzles are all relevant to the theme as well. All of the elements of this room put together makes this the most fun theming of an San Diego escape room. They have a “Speakeasy” escape room as well, but if you can only do one we definitely recommend the “Diner” room for both beginners and enthusiasts alike.

  • Our Rating: ★★★★
  • Theme: Diner
  • Atmosphere: Well-lit and not scary. Retro.
  • Highlight: Theming
  • Team Size: 2-8 people
  • Age Limit: 12 and over. Under 15 requires adult supervision.
  • Price: $26 per player for groups of 8. $27 per player for groups of 7. $28 per player for groups of 6. $29 per player for groups of 5. $30 per player for groups of 4. $33 per player for groups of 3. $50 per player for groups of 2 (you must pay for 3).
  • Difficulty: Moderate. This is the least difficult game on this list, but far from “easy”.
  • Good for Beginners: Absolutely yes! This is our top recommendation in San Diego for beginners.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Play with Strangers: No, the booking style is European, which means that they will never group you with strangers.
  • Open: 7 days a week.
  • Address: 1001 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109
  • Booking: http://www.quicksandescape.com/

#4. CSI Lab – House of Hints

CSI Lab is one of the three escape rooms available at House of Hint’s San Diego location. The story is something that people who have played many escape rooms will likely have run into before – there is a biotoxin released, and your team of scientists must work together in order to create the antidote and save yourselves and all of humanity.

This is a first-generation escape room as well, which means that there aren’t any maglocks or custom high-tech components anywhere. However, this room is absolutely packed with lab gizmos and miscellaneous lab equipment, including some large pieces that you can turn on. The CSI part of the name seems to be somewhat of a misnomer – this isn’t really about crime, it’s much more about solving puzzles in a lab environment. For enthusiasts, the story, style, and puzzle types will all be things that you’ve seen before, but the execution here is great and this is a bunch of fun. We tried their JD Beckett’s PI Office room as well, but if you can only do one, we would definitely recommend the CSI Lab. House of Hints is also opening up a San Marcos location – some games there are available for booking already.

  • Our Rating: ★★★★
  • Theme: Lab
  • Atmosphere: Normal and well-lit.
  • Highlight: General experience
  • Team Size: 2-6 people
  • Age Limit: 9 and over. Under 18 requires adult supervision.
  • Price: $24 per player for groups of 6. $26 per player for groups of 5. $29 per player for groups of 4. $32 per player for groups of 3. $48 per player for groups of 2 (you must pay for 3). 15% discount code if you solve the puzzle on the bottom of every page on their website. These puzzles are usually quite difficult!
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Good for Beginners: Yes!
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Play with Strangers: No, the booking style is European, which means that they will never group you with strangers.
  • Open: 7 days a week.
  • Address: 5575 Magnatron Blvd, Ste H, San Diego, CA 92111
  • Booking: http://www.houseofhints.com (15% off promo code available if you solve the puzzle on the bottom of their website).

#5. Lazarus Crystal – Enigma HQ

The Lazarus Crystal is the first game offered by Enigma HQ, located between Downtown and Little Italy in San Diego. Before the game, a short video will explain the mission of Enigma HQ, which is to track down special artifacts with magical power. As Enigma HQ agents, you must enter a room to try to retrieve the Lazarus Crystal. The story develops during the game and finally getting the Crystal itself is quite satisfying.

Enigma HQ advertises their games as “missions” rather than traditional escape rooms. Indeed it’s different – the game revolves around certain “tasks” that you need to do to trigger neat video sequences that progress the story and game. We enjoyed the increased feeling of agency, since we could play a role and be part of the action. The puzzling itself is lighter and less varied, but in exchange the tasks are quite fun and make this experience unique. This is great game for people looking for something different, for both enthusiasts and beginners alike. They have two copies of this room in case you have a large group (up to 16) but still want everyone to play the same game.

  • Our Rating: ★★★★
  • Theme: Supernatural
  • Atmosphere: Normal, mysterious, and somewhat dimly lit.
  • Highlight: Something different
  • Team Size: 2-8 people (They have two copies of the room, a smaller one for teams of 2-6, and a larger one for teams of 2-8.)
  • Age Limit: No age limit. Under 11 requires adult supervision.
  • Price: $25 per player for groups of 6-8. $27 per player for groups of 5. $30 per player for groups of 4. $33 per player for groups of 3. $40 per player for groups of 2.
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Good for Beginners: Yes!
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Play with Strangers: No, the booking style is European, which means that they will never group you with strangers.
  • Open: 7 days a week.
  • Address: 1446 Front Street, San Diego, CA, 92101
  • Booking: http://www.enigmahq.com/

More Resources

Before you go, check out our Top 23 Tips & Tricks to Win Escape Room Games. If you’re travelling to Los Angeles in the future, also check out our recs for the best escape rooms in Los Angeles!

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