Escape rooms! Also known as puzzle rooms, room breaks, and mystery rooms. You don't know someone for real until you've locked them in a room and watched them struggle with a 10-key for forty-five minutes. We've selected a handful from around town that are worth visiting at least once. Excuse the lack of photography at some. A couple of these places treat themselves like they're Fort Knox. They're not. Or are they?
SmartShanghai's Escape Room Pro-Tips
- All escape rooms in Shanghai require some degree of Mandarin proficiency.
- All of these places ask you to put your phones in a locker before entering the rooms.
- All of these places require you to book well in advance, particularly for those coveted weekend spots, and arrive ten minutes early. Check on Dianping / Meituan for the best deals.
- All of them are some degree of grimy, whether for ambience or for lack of care. Dress appropriately: sneakers and pants are your best bet.
Price: 238rmb/person (during off-season, the price goes down to about 198rmb/person)
How long do they give you: 90 mins
Group size: 4-10 Though it's a little out of the way (you'll have to take a crowded elevator into a sketchy office block near Xujiahui) House of Kaidan manages to deliver with the small space that it has. There are three different themes with budget-creepy decorations and next to no light, creating an unsettling haunted house atmosphere. One is a more traditional escape room, where they separate one member from the party, and have an actual Sadako stalking the corridors. The other two are heavy on roleplay and require a lot of local knowledge. Clues and story lines are all in Chinese, but they said if you book in advance, they'd be happy to find someone who can translate. If your group is small, they might ask you if you could pair up with another group, but you're free to say no. They give you 90 minutes, but it's pretty pricy, about 238rmb/person during peak periods.
Price: 180-240rmb per person
How long do they give you: 90-120 mins
Group size: 4-12, though staff suggest no more than 8. Think Mr. X, but cheaper and less expat-friendly: they have six rooms, which vary widely in size, as well as English-friendliness. There are five different locations around town, but the most popular is this one in Jing'an. Their most popular one is Dungeon, a vampire themed room which is less audiovisual fancy foofery and more very tricky puzzles. Good if you're more interested in a brain-twister than a theatrical experience. Big, big plus here is that if you fail to complete a room within the allotted time, you can talk to the staff and they'll help you schedule another time for your group to play a second round free of charge. They give you 90-120 minutes to finish a room, and rooms are 180-240rmb per person, depending on the room.
Price: 199rmb-329rmb per person
How long do they give you: Between 90-120mins
Group size: Minimum 6, but they're likely to match you with another group A longstanding favorite amongst locals and expats alike, with good reason — the quality is consistently high and there’s a wide variety of themes and storylines. The space is large, with a cafe-type lobby full of sofas. It’s probably the most foreigner-friendly option in the city. You might remember Alcatraz as an excellent and atmospheric choice, while Silent Hill was disorienting, but not as scary as you'd like. If you haven't been back recently, now's a good time to go: they've gone through a major overhaul, offering four new themed rooms. Their most popular one is currently the 120 minute escape room ??1, an immersive supernatural murder mystery set in ancient Japan. They also released a "part 2". Both pricy, clocking in at 329rmb per person. Definite downsides are the large minimum group size and the high likelihood they'll match you with another group to reach 10-12. If you want the room to yourself, you'll have to pay for the empty slots. They give you between 90-120 minutes per room.
Price Range: 138-288rmb per person
How long do they give you: Escape rooms are 60 mins, roleplay experiences take 80-90 mins
Group size: 2-9 One of the more expensive escape room options in Shanghai, but it’s worth it — Pulupulu is known for the "immersive" horror escape room experience. Not for the faint of heart. The space is large and well-decorated, with an impressive Harry Potteresque main hall. They currently have 13 different rooms, and the most popular is the gruesome 29118. Some of the rooms are classic "escape room" style puzzles, while others are roleplay experiences, with actors guiding you through it. To get the full impact of the story lines, you're going to need Chinese skills.It's about 138-288rmb per person, and they give you 60 minutes for escape rooms, 80-90 minutes for roleplay experiences.
Price: 100-200rmb per person
How long do they give you: 60-80 mins
Group size: 4-8 MC has 4 different locations around the city (including one in Pudong!), and is quite cheap, at a measly 100-200rmb per person. Consequently, it's on the janky side: a fair number of puzzles involve peeling print-outs glued onto surfaces and rooms have "bookshelves" made of low resolution posters, but the physical puzzles are decently put-together. If there're a lot of people waiting, there's a good chance they'll team you up with another group to reach 8 per room. They give you 60-80 minutes depending on the room.