8 Best Escape Rooms in San Jose 2017

As Bay Area locals, we’ve done 15+ South Bay / San Jose escape rooms and 40+ in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is most of the available local rooms. We’re cataloging all of the South Bay escape rooms here and calling out our top 8 favorites.

Best Escape Rooms in San Jose:

  1. Sorcerer’s Sanctum – Omescape
  2. Remote Chance – Quadra Escape
  3. Pandemic Zero – Omescape
  4. Time Travel Lab – Real Escape Game
  5. Wild West – PanIQ
  6. Kingdom of Cats – Omescape
  7. Detention – Kuma Escape
  8. Wonderland – Paradox Escape

Recommendations based on your group size:

  • Large groups (6+): Sorcerer’s Sanctum, Remote Chance, Time Travel Lab, Detention
  • Mid-size Groups (4-7): Wonderland
  • Small groups (2-4): Pandemic Zero, Wild West, Kingdom of Cats

Recommendations based on style:

  • High-tech: Sorcerer’s Sanctum, Pandemic Zero, Kingdom of Cats
  • Actor-driven: Remote Chance, Time Travel Lab, Detention
  • Set-driven: Sorcerer’s Sanctum, Pandemic Zero, Wild West
  • Classic: Wonderland

Recommendations based on skill level:

  • Beginners: Any game besides Sorcerer’s Sanctum
  • Enthusiasts: Sorcerer’s Sanctum is the clear market standout. Any of the actor-driven ones here have fun novel mechanics

Recommendations based on booking style:

  • Public (strangers): Remote Chance, Time Travel Lab, Detention, Wonderland
  • Private (no strangers): Sorcerer’s Sanctum, Pandemic Zero, Wild West, Kingdom of Cats

Recommendations based on location:

  • Check out the map at the end of this post

If you book any of these games, let your host know that EscapeRoomTips.com sent you!

Last Updated: October 6th, 2017

Full Disclosure: We hope you enjoy this article! Just so you know, we may have received media-discounted or comped tickets to these rooms. The Groupon links are affiliate links, which means we may get a small commission if you book via them. We strongly believe that this should not impact our ratings, reviews, or rankings.

Cover photo (Plaza de Cesar Chavez) by John Pozniak.

#1. Sorcerer’s Sanctum – Omescape

Background

This is the latest and greatest of Omescape’s San Jose offerings, opened in May 2017 and including the most content, most number of rooms, and largest physical area out of all of their San Jose games. Omescape San Jose is in a commercial warehouse area, and Google Maps may route you to the wrong parking area if you follow it.

Story

You and your friends have accidentally stepped into a house occupied by great magicians. Your team work will be crucial in helping you pass through a series of magical puzzles in order to escape from the spell in time!

Highlights

This game takes part in a large space with many rooms and plenty of content. There’s some new fun tricks from Omescape involving fun interactions with the various parts of the environment, and plenty of magical experiences that will delight any group of enthusiasts. There’s lots of content, so make sure you bring your best team and go at a good pace.

Quick Facts

#2. Remote Chance – Quadra Escape

Background

The team who runs Real Escape San Jose has been creating their original series of escape rooms under the name Quadra Escape. Remote Chance: A Cinematic Escape is their first original room in their spacious location near downtown San Jose. We definitely see influences from SCRAP / Real Escape Game’s style, with large-group escape rooms that rely on key actor interactions.

Story

You are visiting the late and great director Alan Smithee’s private offices.  As a fan of movies and mystery, you realize there are clues and directions for a director’s cut of his last masterpiece, Remote Chance.  Decipher the clues and puzzles he left behind to create the director’s cut and make your escape!

Highlights

Quadra Escape adds a fresh take to actor-driven escape rooms, with some fun new actor interactions that make the game special and unique. While the game is low-tech and in a basic (yet appropriate) setting, this is a fun large-group game with plenty of clean puzzles to occupy any group. The hosts are great and this well-designed game is a delight for any large group.

Quick Facts

#3. Pandemic Zero – Omescape

Background

Omescape (a local franchise of a Chinese company) brings by far the most high-tech escape rooms to San Jose, and Pandemic Zero is no exception. This is the 4th of Omescape’s San Francisco Bay Area offerings. The location is a bit hard to find – Omescape San Jose is nestled in a commercial warehouse area.

Story

Mankind is dying from a deadly pandemic and you must access a secret underground laboratory in order to synthesize the cure and deliver it across the world. However, the laboratory can only be reached through the sewers… good luck!

Highlights

This linear journey will take you through multiple rooms that help progress the story. Pandemic Zero is especially appropriate for small groups who want to play together, especially since Omescape doesn’t group you with strangers. There are some high-tech surprises in this well-built and well-engineered escape room.

Quick Facts

#4. Time Travel Lab – Real Escape Game San Jose

Background

This is one of the oldest escape room games in all of North America (first opened in San Francisco in November 2013 and reopened in San Jose in November 2015), but still stands the test of time as one of the most impressive in San Jose. Real Escape Game San Jose is a local rendition of the Japan / San Francisco based international franchise. The same people who run Real Escape Game San Jose also produce their own original games in the same building under the name “Quadra Escape”. See full review.

Story

You and your friends find yourselves stuck in the lab of a time traveller. You must unravel the secrets of the time travel lab and find the key to escape, else you will become stuck in the Spatiotemporal Distortion!

Highlights

SCRAP-designed escape rooms are especially appropriate for large groups and beginners. This time-travel mechanic is pure joy to experience, especially with the energy of the staff. The staff will trigger various actions in the game that leads to plenty of surprises.

Quick Facts

  • Location: 701 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95112 (Japantown / Downtown San Jose)
  • Staff Involvement: Staff in room as actors / actresses and to monitor
  • Best for: Large teams (we recommend 8-11) who love good, novel game mechanic
  • Room Opened: November 2015 (San Jose Location)
  • Price, Size, Duration: $29 per person, 11 people max per team (maybe strangers), 60 minutes
  • Make a Booking: http://realescapegame.com/sjttl/

#5. Wild West – PanIQ San Jose

Background

This is the newest (opened September 2017) franchise location of PanIQ. This one operates independently and features different games than the San Francisco PanIQ location. They opened with 3 franchised games, of which Wild West is the one that they seem to be the most proud of. This is the newest room on this list.

Story

You and your fellow outlaws have been locked into a jail cell in the Wild West. The Sheriff is out for a ride and left his key in his room. Now’s your time to escape!

Highlights

Wild West has a fully-built out western-themed set. There was one particular room that we thought was absolutely lovely and true to the Western vibe. This room had a mix of physical tasks and standard escape room puzzles and we think will be fun for small groups of beginners and experienced players alike!

Quick Facts

#6. Kingdom of Cats – Omescape

Background

This is one of 7 of Omescape’s offerings in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our ranking of San Francisco Bay Area Omescape games goes: 1. Sorcerer’s Sanctum 2. Pandemic Zero (San Jose), 3. Forgotten Treasure (Richmond), 4. Kingdom of Cats (San Jose), 5.The Penitentiary (Richmond), 6. Dark Altar (San Jose), 7. Omega Room (Richmond). 8. Joker’s Asylum (San Jose)

Story

The honored King, Austin Schrödinger, throws an annual tournament in the Kingdom of Cats to celebrate and crown the wisest cats in the kingdom. As humans, you are somehow transported into this cat kingdom and must exercise your feline skills to escape.

Highlights

This is a delightfully whimsical escape room game that’s especially appropriate for beginners and small groups. Expect some high-tech surprises, some crawling, and a fun puzzle that will test your sense of smell…

Quick Facts

#7. Detention – Kuma Escape

Background

Kuma Escape has been around the Bay Area for a while (since 2014) and Detention is their third (and in our opinion their greatest) escape room. This game isn’t really high-tech, but expect the staff to trigger some key events in the games.

Story

You and a group of friends are put under detention right before the bus leaves for your high school senior trip to Paris. Your teacher takes away your precious plane tickets, and you must find some way to get out of detention and make it to France!

Highlights

We’ve played a lot of escape rooms, but this escape room still managed to surprise us in novel ways. The theming is on-point and the puzzles are creatively classroom-themed. The interaction with the “teacher” in this game is a whole lot of fun (and maybe even hilarious!).

Quick Facts

  • Location:  3777 Stevens Creek Blvd. #340, Santa Clara, CA 95051 (Santa Clara)
  • Staff Involvement: Staff in room as actors / actresses and to monitor
  • Best for: Large-sized teams (we recommend 7-10) that like lots of puzzles and a fun staff-as-actor mechanic.
  • Room Opened: May 2015
  • <strong”>Price, Size, Duration: $30 per player, 6-12 players (maybe strangers), 60 minutes
  • Make a Booking: http://www.kumaescape.com/games/

 

#8. Wonderland – Paradox Escape

Background

At the time of writing, Paradox Escape is the newest escape room facility in the San Francisco Bay Area. They’ve launched their first room, Wonderland, and is planning to launch their second room (The Vault) in December 2016. They’re located on the second floor of a commercial building in San Jose’s Japantown.

Story

You return back from your journey from Wonderland and can’t wait to tell all of your friends about it. However, you are submitted for psychiatric evaluation, and must figure out how to escape back to the magical world of Wonderland.

Highlights

Fans of the Alice in Wonderland series will love this one – there are plenty of puzzles and even more locks inspired by various parts of the Lewis Carroll classic. You don’t need any prior knowledge of the series in order to do well here.

Quick Facts

  • Location: 168 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112 (Japantown / Downtown San Jose)
  • Staff Involvement: Staff watches remotely
  • Best for: Medium-sized teams (we recommend 4-7) that like lots of puzzles and locks
  • Room Opened: September 2016
  • Price, Size, Duration: $30 per player, Up to 8 players (maybe strangers), 60 minutes
  • Make a Booking: http://www.paradoxescape.com/

All San Jose Escape Rooms

Directory

All of these will happily accommodate corporate, team-building, and private events. Email them to work out availability, details, and pricing! Sorted alphabetically.

Beat the Lock (Santa Clara)

  • 1171 Homestead Rd, Suite 280, Santa Clara, CA 95050
  • 2131 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126
  • Contact: contact@beatthelock.com or (408) 915-6258

Castle Escape Room (San Jose)

  • 1967 O’Toole Way, San Jose, CA 95131 (2nd Floor)
  • Contact: castleescaperoom@gmail.com or (408) 991-3411

Escape Game 911 (San Jose)

  • 20 Harold Ave. C5, San Jose, CA 95050
  • Contact: escapegame911@gmail.com or (408) 899-9485

Kuma Escape (Santa Clara)

Omescape San Jose (San Jose)

  • 625 Wool Creek Drive, Suite E, San Jose, CA 95112
  • Contact: sanjose@omescape.us or (408) 622-0505

Paradox Escape (San Jose)

  • 168 Jackson St. San Jose CA 95112
  • Contact: info@paradoxescape.com or (925) 357-0555

PanIQ San Jose (San Jose)

  • 2240 Quimby Rd, San Jose, CA 95122
  • Contact: sanjose@paniqroom.com or (415) 530 9120

Room Escape San Jose (San Jose)

  • 1620 Oakland Road, Suite D203, San Jose, CA 95131
  • Contact: roomescapesanjose@gmail.com or (408) 755-0768

Real Escape Game San Jose / Quadra Escape (San Jose)

San Jose Area Escape Rooms Map


If you’re interested in more Top Escape Room lists, also check out:

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