The Best Escape Rooms in Chicago

These are the most challenging, fun, and exciting escape rooms in Chicago.

There are many ways to test a friendship or relationship here in Chicago, from buying them a shot of Malort and seeing their reaction, to asking about their favorite pizza restaurant, to simply uttering the words “Jay Cutler.” But one of the best ways to truly get to know someone is to invite them to one of our city’s best escape rooms and see how they act when the pressure is on. Will they buckle? Will they lead? Or will they turn instantly into that guy who thinks they have all the answers? Either way, we’ve collected the best escape rooms in Chicago here, so you can find out for yourselves.

Escape Factor - Escape Room: A Puzzling Adventure
Escape Factor - Escape Room: A Puzzling Adventure

Forest Park
Escape Factor is one of Chicagoland’s best-reviewed escape room destinations, and it’s for good reason. They have a plethora of themed rooms, from a Goonies-esque treehouse heist, to a time-bending rescue, to a haunted graveyard adventure. Our recommendation, however, would be to book “Bonus Fun Time Game Show Challenge,” a room that begins with you attempting to win the grand prize on the set of a vintage game show, before you realize that everything is not quite what it seems.
Cost: $50 for room booking, plus $35 for each participant

The Great Escape Room
The Great Escape Room

Streeterville’s Great Escape Room offers a slightly different approach to escape rooms, allowing you to tailor your experience pretty specifically. They offer a variety of rooms, including highlights like an underground maze escape and a Harry Houdini-themed room, but each room description is detailed and granular, offering key information like clear rate, puzzle difficulty, and even how ‘scavenger-hunt-y’ a specific escape room is. They also offer specific scavenger hunt rooms as well, for folks who want a different escape room experience.
Cost: Between $36 and $55 depending on the room

Escape Artistry
Escape Artistry

Wicker Park
Escape Artistry is a Chicago escape-room mainstay, for good reason. Their “Railcar" escape room is impeccably designed with amazing puzzles, and features a great story to boot. The location also features a “Time Gallery”, a themed collection of five distinct escape rooms, each taking place in a different era of American history. Save the world from nuclear destruction in 1954, take down John Dillinger in 1934, or raid the tomb of a ruthless turn-of-the-century Lake Michigan pirate in 1908. Just be sure to have an array of time puns at the ready when the hosts tell you how long you have left to solve the puzzles.
Cost: $99 per session

PanIQ Escape Room
Photo courtesy of PanIQ Escape Room

Multiple locations
PanIQ Escape Room features a whopping eight different experiences for all skill levels, and even has a few escape rooms specially designed for families with young ones—and better yet, every experience is a private one. For those seeking a more thrilling, creepy, and challenging experience, however, we recommend the Medieval Madness experience, an expert-level escape that tasks your group with escaping a dark dungeon, full of macabre puzzles, torture devices, and gore. Maybe don’t bring the kiddos along for that one.
Cost: Between $37 and $42 per person depending on group size

The Escape Game Chicago
The Escape Game

Magnificent Mile
The Escape Game Chicago may be the city's single best escape room business. They have an entire imagineer-like cadre of in-house designers that work around the clock to create amazing room escape experiences with incredible attention to detail. They’re proud of it too, detailing the insane process of designing these rooms both on their website and on their YouTube channel. Our favorite room they have now is Mission: Mars, a hyper-futuristic, puzzle-solving experience that—uniquely for escape rooms—does not feature a single locked door, box, or cabinet.
Cost: $40 per person

'90s-themed escape room
Courtesy of The Quandary

Lakeview East
The Quandary is one of Chicago’s most easily accessible escape rooms, right at the corner of Clark and Belmont by the El stop. That’s not all it has going for it, however, as it boasts three rooms, one '90s-themed room, one loosely based on Jurassic Park, and a third one entitled “Left at Home,” where you play as Cal McKevinister, setting up traps for would-be-bandits as they try to break into your mansion after your parents leave for their vacation without you. Now where have I heard that plot before… Our favorite, however, is the “Escape The 90’s” room, featuring puzzles that will all spark your nostalgia. They even made custom remixes of classic NES games that you’ll need to play to complete the room—that’s dedication.
Cost: From $31 - $41 per person depending on group size

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Sam Greszes is a Chicago-based writer who contributes to Kill Screen Magazine, GameSkinny, and ION Magazine.