The 5 Best Escape Rooms in San Jose

As Bay Area locals, we’ve done 10+ South Bay / San Jose escape rooms and 30+ in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is nearly all of the available local rooms. We’re cataloging all of the South Bay escape rooms here and calling out our top 5 favorites:

  1. Time Travel Lab – SCRAP / Real Escape Game
  2. Pandemic Zero – Omescape San Jose
  3. Kingdom of Cats – Omescape San Jose
  4. Detention – Kuma Escape
  5. Wonderland – Paradox Escape

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

#1. Time Travel Lab – SCRAP

SCRAP

You will actually get to time-travel in this game!

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) and impressively stands the test of time as one of the best in the Bay Area. SCRAP San Jose is a local franchise of the Japan-based SCRAP that notably introduced the first ever escape room to North America in 2012 (Escape from the Mysterious Room). 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’s escape room games 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

  • Our Rating: ★★★★★
  • Theme: Time Travel Lab
  • Beginner-friendly: Yes!
  • Staff Involvement: Staff in room as actors / actresses and to monitor
  • Best for: Large teams (we recommend 9-11) who love good, novel game mechanic
  • Room Opened: November 2015 (San Jose Location)
  • Location: 701 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95112 (Japantown / Downtown San Jose)
  • Price, Size, Duration: $29 per person, 11 people max per team, 60 minutes
  • Play with strangers: Yes, if you don’t book all the tickets you may have to play with strangers.
  • Make a Booking: http://realescapegame.com/sjttl/

#2. Pandemic Zero – Omescape

pandemicOmescape

You’re the only one who can save the world.

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 latest and (in our opinion) the best out 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

  • Our Rating: ★★★★★
  • Theme: Sewer / Lab
  • Beginner-friendly: Yes!
  • Staff Involvement: Staff watches remotely
  • Best for: Small teams (we recommend 2-4) who want an well-engineered, high-tech escape room
  • Room Opened: August 2016
  • Location: 625 Wool Creek Drive, Suite E, San Jose, CA 95112 (Near San Jose Fairgrounds)
  • Price, Size, Duration: $90 – $180 per game, 3-6 players, 60 minutes
  • Play with strangers: No, Omescape does not add strangers to your group.
  • Make a Booking: https://omescape.us/sanjose/book/

#3. Kingdom of Cats – Omescape

The most memorable puzzle of the game!

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. Pandemic Zero (San Jose), 2. Forgotten Treasure (Richmond), 3. The Penitentiary (Richmond), 4. Kingdom of Cats (San Jose), 5. Dark Altar (San Jose), 6. Omega Room (Richmond). 7. 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

  • Our Rating: ★★★★★
  • Theme: Cats
  • Beginner-friendly: Yes!
  • Staff Involvement: Staff watches remotely
  • Best for: Small teams (we recommend 2-4) who want fun puzzles in a high-tech room
  • Room Opened: December 2015
  • Location: 625 Wool Creek Drive, Suite E, San Jose, CA 95112 (Near San Jose Fairgrounds)
  • Price, Size, Duration: $60 – $180 per game, 2-6 players, 60 minutes
  • Play with strangers: No, Omescape does not add strangers to your group.
  • Make a Booking: https://omescape.us/sanjose/book/

#4. Detention – Kuma Escape

Flyers on the door to Kuma's waiting room.William | Escape Room Tips

Flyers on the door to Kuma’s waiting room.

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

  • Our Rating: ★★★★
  • Theme: High School Classroom
  • Beginner-friendly: Yes!
  • Staff Involvement: Staff in room as actors / actresses and to monitor
  • Best for: Large-sized teams (we recommend 8-10) that like lots of puzzles and a fun staff-as-actor mechanic.
  • Room Opened: May 2015
  • Location:  3777 Stevens Creek Blvd. #340, Santa Clara, CA 95051 (Santa Clara)
  • Price, Size, Duration: $30 per player, 6-12 players, 60 minutes
  • Play with strangers: Yes, if you don’t book all the tickets you may have to play with strangers.
  • Make a Booking: http://www.kumaescape.com/games/

#5. Wonderland – Paradox Escape

wonderland_paradox_escaoesWilliam

The psychiatrist will see you now.

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

  • Our Rating: ★★★★
  • Theme: Office / Alice in Wonderland
  • Beginner-friendly: Yes!
  • Staff Involvement: Staff watches remotely
  • Best for: Medium-sized teams (we recommend 5-7) that like lots of puzzles and locks
  • Room Opened: September 2016
  • Location: 168 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112 (Japantown / Downtown San Jose)
  • Price, Size, Duration: $30 per player, Up to 8 players, 60 minutes
  • Play with strangers: Yes, if you don’t book all the tickets you may have to play with strangers.
  • Make a Booking: http://www.paradoxescape.com/

All San Jose Area Escape Rooms

Directory

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

SCRAP San Jose (San Jose)

Omescape San Jose (San Jose)

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

Paradox Escape (San Jose)

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

Kuma Escape (Santa Clara)

  • 3777 Stevens Creek Blvd. Suite 340, Santa Clara, CA 95051
  • email contact form
  • (no phone number)

Beat the Lock (Santa Clara)

  • 1171 Homestead Rd, Suite 280, Santa Clara, CA 95050
  • contact@beatthelock.com
  • (408) 915-6258

Room Escape San Jose (San Jose)

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

Castle Escape Room (San Jose)

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

Escape Game 911 (San Jose)

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

San Jose Area Escape Rooms Map

Conclusion

There’s a mix of locally owned escape room companies and international franchises in San Jose. This mix brings some great options for escape rooms in the San Jose area.

Our top choices for escape rooms in the San Jose area are run by the international franchises: SCRAP / Real Escape Game (originated in Japan) and Omescape (originated in China). These franchises offer polished experiences, but make sure you check out the locally run businesses as well (like Paradox Escape and Kuma Escape from this article).

If you’re interested in more Top Escape Room lists, check out our other articles:

Happy escaping!

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

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