The door locks behind you. You’re stuck in a small room. The clock starts ticking. The challenge: Can you and your friends find your way out?
This is no ordinary night out. It’s a night locked in.
Escape rooms first came to the Boulder-area scene in 2015, and they continue to thrive, becoming a popular attraction in Boulder. In fact, since the first one opened three years ago, there are now six different escape room destinations in Boulder and Broomfield counties, and each of those has multiple escape rooms to choose between, with diverse storylines and varying levels of difficulty.
An escape room is a live-action, interactive puzzle where you’re trapped in a room and must search around for hidden clues to help you find the way out. It’s a dash of detective work, like a real-life movie starring you and your crew. It is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Boulder.
Most escape rooms cap your time at one hour. If the clock runs out, which it often does, the door unlocks and you leave, wondering where your teamwork and creative-thinking went wrong.
Most escape rooms aren’t scary, although they can be suspenseful and thrilling. Some are appropriate for all ages. And some don’t actually lock you in the room (in case that freaks you out a bit). Most tickets cost about $28 per person.
Here’s a look at the Boulder area’s six escape rooms and what kinds of adventure they offer.
1. Boulder Escape Room
1966 13th St., Suite LL60, Boulder
The Boulder Escape Room has two different rooms, each designed for groups of eight. You can also rent rooms for private events.
Although these rooms claim to not be scary and are suitable for all ages, the names are a little creepier than other Escape Rooms in the area. There’s The Psycho Killer with its hidden messages (you pretend to be trapped by a psycho killer who has set up puzzles to test your mental strength) and The Abduction, based on Area 51.
Online, find each room’s success rate to help you determine how hard it is. Warning: Only 22 percent of participants outsmart The Psycho Killer and make it out before the time’s up.
No fear; you’re not really locked into these rooms. You can go out the emergency door at any time, although that counts as a forfeit.
2. Enigma Escape Rooms
1426 Pearl St., Unit 20, Boulder
This was Boulder’s first escape room. It opened on the Pearl Street Mall in 2015. As the most established, it also has the most rooms: four in total.
One of the easier rooms is The Startup (pretend to be working for the competitor of a tech company, looking for the source code backups). Then there’s the Missing Scientist part 1 and 2 (you don’t have to do one before two although it can be fun to combine them for a more in-depth experience). The toughest room is called The Melton Tablets, which can take up to two hours. Unlike other rooms, this one is not timed so you can take your time.
At Enigma, you really are locked in the escape room, but someone is watching you at all times. Not sure if that’s comforting or unsettling.
3. Rabbit Hole
1156 W. Dillon Road, Louisville
There’s only one functioning escape room here at the moment, but two more are on the way. In the Ruins of the Mystic Temple room (with its 34 percent success rate), you’re a treasure hunter who has discovered an artifact that you think will lead you to a lost Mayan temple. But the artifact has been stolen. The mission is to try to find the cube before it’s (dun-dun-dun!) too late.
You can book the Rabbit Hole for private events. These rooms are best for players over the age of 13. Younger players must be with an adult.
Oh, and the door here is never locked. You can leave whenever you want. Kinda takes the pressure off, for better or for worse.
6811 W. 120th Ave., Suite B-1, Broomfield
Themescape in Broomfield has two different escape rooms: Sector X and The Stolen Relic. The doors here are really locked, at least for the hour; they’re designed to simulate a situation where you need to escape.
This escape room claims to have unique room designs, technological puzzles and custom-made props “unlike anything you’ve seen before.” Go on a weekday rather than a weekend to save a few bucks on the ticket.
1 West Flatiron Crossing Drive, Broomfield
Find this escape room at the Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield. It’s also one of the bigger businesses, with four different rooms. The easier options are M.A.S.K. and Hive Mind. It gets harder with Specimen and The Curse. The latter is “based” in an ancient chamber in the jungle of Central America. Puzzah also has a Denver branch.
6. Gone in 60 Minutes
1129 Francis St., Longmont
This Longmont-based escape-room business boasts four different room themes, including one that launched mid-August. There’s Confusionism and Nightmare (despite the names, they’re not scary). Then there’s Kaboom!, which lasts 75 minutes (despite the name of the business), as well as Dead Presidents Part 2. At Gone in 60 Minutes, you can find simpler puzzles and tests for the whole family (kids included), too.
Although some danger may be implied in the storyline and you may be in dark areas, you’ll never be in real danger.