Escape rooms are a relatively new phenomenon, in which people pay money to get locked in a room. Sounds crazy, right? We say don’t knock it until you try it! You’ll be with a group, and you’ll typically have about an hour to work together to use clues and get out. Escape rooms are so versatile – you can head to one with co-workers as a team building exercise, or put someone to the test on a first date. People are also starting to visit escape rooms for special occasions like birthday and bachelorette parties. If you’re ready to see what all the hype is about, these are the best spots in Philly to try to escape:

  1. The Originals

Escape the Room Philly and Room Escape Philadelphia are classics. The former has four room options with fun themes – The Dig, Three Mile Island, and two Agency settings. The Dig is exactly what it sounds like, and Three Mile Island, for you youngsters, is a reference to PA’s 20th Century nuclear accident. In the Agency rooms, you and your gang are part of a top-secret mission! You’ll have to complete the mission to get out of the room. This is like living a childhood dream people. Well, maybe for some of us. Moving on…Room Escape also has exciting choices. You can channel your inner pirate on a Caribbean treasure hunt, or attempt to break out of Alcatraz. Again, for the younger set, The Rock was a famously impenetrable prison that closed last century. It’s good to know before you go that sailing the high seas is for smaller groups of 4-8, while escaping the slammer is for crowds of up to 14.

Ticket prices at both venues are $28 per person. They are each located in Center City, so we suggest having a nice dinner in the area beforehand to calm everyone’s nerves!

  1. Travel Back in Time

Time hop with the incredible Escape the 80’s from Steel Owl Room Adventures! You have 60 minutes to get out of the locked room, but this time you’ll be immersed in the 1980s, trying to make it back to the present day. Frankly, if we were locked in the 80s, we don’t know if we would come back! In this case, you’ll be trapped in a “mall”, and you’ll need to use old-fashioned gadgets like push-button phones to receive clues. This venue is a bit different from the average escape room, in that your group will have to get through FOUR individual rooms in the “mall” so make sure you bring your most ambitious friends! Tickets are $28 for individuals, with packages available if you decide you want to host a private get-together. Escape the 80’s is located on East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly.

  1. Night at the Museum

The Franklin Institute may not be the first place you think of when your friends ask if you want to try an escape the room challenge. Don’t let the fact that the museum is new to the room escape arena keep you away! The brains behind that giant 80s mini-mall, Steel Owl, designed the rooms at FI. There are two choices – Island Escape and Intergalactic Escape. The first features a strange billionaire who requires you to beat his game to get off the island. In typical escape room style, there will be puzzles and hidden secrets that stand in your way. Intergalactic Escape begins when you enter a wormhole, and work your way through space and time to restore balance in the universe. You’ll need at least 6 people for these rooms, and tickets are $28 per person.

Franklin Institute members can score escape room tickets for $25 each. What better way to end your day at one of Philly’s beloved museums? The institute is adjacent to the Ben Franklin Parkway, and has an on-site parking garage for added convenience.

  1. Run for Your Life

For those who want a truly frightening room escape experience, Philly has you covered. Trapped PHL has three pretty creepy rooms, but the weirdest is “The Attic”. Your small crowd of 2-4 people will have just 30 minutes to break out of a locked attic (during a thunderstorm for extra creep factor) before the scary old lady comes home. This one is a bargain at $15 per person. Looking for fun of the more… deadly variety? Mind Escape Room will be debuting a brand-new room, slated for the end of February, where you will have to escape Jack the Ripper. We’re going to skip the explanation for this one – we think it’s safe to assume that everyone has heard of London’s most famous killer. As the room is still being built, information is limited, but we expect this will be the stuff nightmares are made of. Keep an eye out for details about pricing and availability.

You’ll find Trapped PHL right off I-95 in South Philly. Mind Escape is in Queen Village, and a super close walk to South Street. Both are great locations if you’re looking for entertainment outside of Center City.

  1. Be a Rebel

Pretending to be a Prohibition-era outlaw is a popular choice among Philly residents. Escape Entertainment puts you smack in the middle of the Roaring 20s in “Prohibition Pandemonium”. Basically, your team will have to make your way out the back door of a speakeasy before the cops bust in 60 minutes after your arrival. At Escape Entertainment, individual tickets are $29, or you can book a private room for up to 10 people. Prices range from $50 per person to $29, depending upon the size of your group. Escape is in Center City on Chestnut Street. For those who want to be part of the original American rebellion, Liberty Escape Rooms offers you the chance to save Philly’s iconic Liberty Bell from the British in just 60 minutes. In this room, 2-8 people must find where the Liberty Bell has been hidden, before the redcoats do. Liberty is one of the pricier venues at $33 per ticket, but hey, you’re influencing history here! You’ll find them located in Old City at 325 Cherry Street.

Speaking of history, this room escape round up is starting to feel like social studies class! Honestly though, doesn’t all this sound more entertaining than listening to a lecture? We think so!

Now that you know where to go, get out of the house this weekend to get locked inside a whole new world! Pro tip: most – if not all – venues offer advanced online booking. Grab your tickets before you go, and be sure to consult the FAQ page for details about the experience. You’ll typically need to arrive about 15 minutes early, but times vary per location. Enjoy your escape, and we hope you make it out before your time’s up!