For a real brain teaser, consider visiting one of these local escape rooms.

Originating in Japan in the early aughts, escape games have since experienced worldwide popularity. Escape rooms are live, themed adventure games that employ riddles and puzzles, requiring groups to employ logic, cooperation, strategy and problem solving, which makes them a popular choice for corporate team-building.

Ashley Timber and her husband, Nick, a biomedical engineer, opened City 13 in their hometown of Oak Creek in January, 2018. “It’s been a ton of fun,” Ashley said. She added that although some initially believe escape rooms will be scary, most find the experience to be thoroughly enjoyable. “They go in unsure and come out smiling.”

Those prone to claustrophobia need not worry. Although the objective is to use strategy and logic to “escape,” people are free to leave the rooms at any time.

These are some of Milwaukee’s escape room offerings:

1) City 13

Along with an onsite catering option and a player’s lounge with games and a pool table, City 13 features three rooms — The Armory, City Reserve and Cyber Station. Rooms can be booked for 60 minutes, and each shares a common mission: saving a city. Owner Nick Timber, who worked at haunted houses for over a decade, designed and built all of the rooms. A fourth room is scheduled to be added soon. Unlike other escape rooms, no padlocks are used; rather, technological devices are implemented.
6925 S. 6th St. #500, Oak Creek | (414)405-9642

2) Breakout Games Milwaukee

Recover stolen art, escape false imprisonment, become a spy or thwart hijackers in one of five rooms: The Kidnapping, Do Not Disturb (the sequel to The Kidnapping), Museum Heist, Operation Casino and Hostage. Breakout Games also offers package deals, starting at $130, for companies and individuals.
4125 N. 124th St., Brookfield | (262)806-0360

3) Save Milwaukee

Save Milwaukee has three escape rooms-: The Third Ward’s “The Device,” in which participants must disarm a fusion device created by Dr. Dangerfield (which spells big trouble for Brew City if detonated), “The Tailgate,” in which puzzles must be solved in order to raid a fridge full of snacks, and Brady Street’s “McSnooty’s Gallery of Fine Art,” which can accommodate groups up to 20.

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The Device room is particularly good for children, said Save Milwauee owner Shlomo Levin, who feels that his escape rooms (especially McSnooty’s, with its larger capacity) are an ideal venue for families, birthday parties and sports teams. “All of our clues are fun, not grim or gory,” he added.

Two Locations: (414)628-5103

  • The Device and the Tailgate: 207 E. Buffalo St., #312
  • McSnooty’s Gallery of Fine Art: 1220 E. Brady St.

Brady Street’s McSnooty’s Gallery of Fine Art, one of Save Milwaukee’s escape rooms, requires participants to solve colorful puzzles.

4) Escape the Room Milwaukee

Guests can choose from four escape rooms — from a not-so-typical apartment to an Indiana Jones-style archaeological dig to an 1980s style rec room — with an hour to complete puzzles.
222 E. Erie St. #110 | (414)600-9440 

5) Escape Waukesha

Horror fans will appreciate Escape Waukesha’s three rooms: Terror on the Titanic, a thrilling adventure aboard the ill-fated ship; Zombie Outbreak, in the spirit of the TV show The Walking Dead; and Pharaoh’s Revenge, in which players must solve a mystery in King Tut’s tomb. Escape Waukesha is recommended for those 10 and over. Children under 13 must be accompanied by a parent.
2335 Silvernail Rd., Waukesha | (262)232-8587

6) Lightspeed Entertainment

This family fun center offers two high-energy escape rooms: Simon’s Party Room, which fits 12 participants, and the Retro 80s Rewind, which fits ten. Besides escape rooms, families can enjoy go karts, laser tag and arcade games.
4251 S. 27th St., Greenfield | (414)817-8888

7) Lumber Axe

This Waukesha axe-throwing bar also has three escape rooms — perfect for fans of horror and mystery thrillers. Head to the creepy Jack’s Cabin and solve a serial killer mystery, embark on a C.I.A. classified mission or pull off a massive art heist.
2246 W. Bluemound Rd., Waukesha | (262)788-9478

8) Escape MKE

Select one of five missions, from cadet to spy master, including the CIA-themed Mr. Dupree’s Office and The Raid on Dr. Croft’s Museum, in which players work to steal a priceless Egyptian artifact from an extremely wealthy antique collector. In Dr. K’s Lethal Injection, team members must find an antidote to a harmful virus that an evil doctor plans to spread. Each escape room is good for teams of four to 10 players.
3333 N. Mayfair Rd., Suite 314 | (414)301-7183