Escape Rooms are kind of funky. Asheville is kind of funky. Ipsi facto, Escape Rooms suit Asheville particularly well. As a result, there’s a plethora to choose from, but that’s as much of a problem as it is a benefit—too many choices spoil the soup, as the old saying goes.
Luckily for you, dear traveler, what lies before you is nothing less than a systematic breakdown of five such choices, their relative advantages, and the local information to make the most of whichever Escape Room you choose.
So, without further ado, I invite you to read on and familiarize yourself with the Escape Rooms in Asheville.
Your Attention Please: Unfortunately, since the writing of this article, entries 1 and 4 (now marked with asterisks) have been closed. Rather than erase all mention of these escape rooms, I've chosen to let them stand as a testament to how things once were and how they may be again.
Conundrum, Noun: a confusing and difficult problem or question. Quite a fitting name for an Escape Room. After all, they sell themselves on intellectual adrenaline, the victory of a puzzle overcome. However, this Room particularly encompasses its namesake, in terms of both spirit and literal translation.
The Conundrum isn’t just an Escape Room, it’s a subterranean cocktail lounge, a music venue, and it offers “comedy wine tastings held in complete darkness.” If all that sounds more date-night than family vacation, note that The Conundrum also offers family-focused events.
To summarize: The Conundrum covers it all. Its not just an Escape Room in Asheville, its Asheville in an Escape Room; it encompasses the essence of the city’s offerings, all in one evocatively decorated locale.
In Context: The Conundrum’s on the edge of downtown proper, right around where you tend to find parking when all else is lost. Usually this would leave you stranded quite distant from wherever you meant to go. This of course, isn’t a problem if The Conundrum is your destination to begin with. Furthermore, there’s crepes within a five-minute walk. Enticed? The specifics are at the end of the post.
Want a Challenge? Complete one of The Conundrum’s rooms while only speaking backwards to your teammates.
If you’re looking to escape downtown’s hustling bustle, A-Escape is the Room for you. In contrast to The Conundrum’s retro-urban aesthetic, a drive down to A-Escape trades high-rises for suburbia and pay-by-the-minute parking for free parking. That’s right, free parking. Absolutely delicious, I know. Combined with prices discounted over the Summer, A-Escape holds a firm position among the more low-key, low-cost Escape Rooms in Asheville. In terms of timing, Wednesday and Thursday are fairly slow compared to A-Escape’s busier weekend hours. Plan your visit accordingly.
In Context: It’s pretty distant from Asheville’s cultural-economic heartland. While it may not be as congested as downtown, correspondingly, there’s less to do in the area. However, there is a corn maze nearby.
Want a Challenge? Leave your kids in the aforementioned corn maze, while you try out A-Escape. Whoever escapes their respective predicaments first gets to go home, while the other is stranded for all eternity. Don’t have kids? Leave whomever is youngest among your friends/co-workers/spouses/etc. in the corn maze instead.
Stay outside of downtown, follow the compass south, and you’ll find yourself in the vicinity of Fox-N-Otter's South Asheville location.
What do diminutive canines and water-loving mammalians have to do with escaping a room in 60 minutes or less? I’d say its their primal, animal craftiness; their determination to solve any puzzle, no matter how overwhelming it may seem at first. I’d say it’s their will to thrive and survive the brutal trails of Mother Nature, no matter the cost.
All that aside, one of their six rooms is specifically calibrated for children, making this escape room in Asheville the premier family option. Then again, the other five rooms are nothing to sneeze at, and Fox-N-Otter's establishment assures me that one does not need offspring to enjoy their offerings.
In Context: Speaking of animals, Fox-N-Otter is located directly above Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack. It’s a bit of a local staple, and for good reason. The lines may be long, but if you visit Fox-N-Otter beforehand, there should be plenty to reflect on while you wait.
Want a Challenge? Complete one of Fox-N-Otter’s challenges while pretending to be an animal of your choice. Remember: most animals don’t have opposable thumbs. Or a concept of math. Or language. They probably don’t like being trapped in rooms very much. Take on these parameters, and Fox-N-Otter may just become one of the most challenging Escape Rooms in Asheville.
Now that I’ve established the downtown/suburbia dichotomy, let me throw you a screwball: Escape Out Asheville has locations both in downtown and south Asheville.
The downtown location pretty well encompasses out-of-the-way; it’s the sort of place that you can walk right past, and not even notice. If you’re looking for a Room which evokes intrigue, one which may conceivably be involved in some actual cloak-and-dagger shenanigans, note that the downtown location is certainly on the grimmer side.
Alternatively, if you aren’t quite ready to bet your life in a game of wits, then the south Asheville location may be for you. It has a parking lot, plenty of windows, and room themed after a chocolate factory.
In Context: While walking to Escape Out’s downtown location may feel like wandering off the edge of the city, it’s actually in a pretty nice part of town. There’s a Brazilian steakhouse on the very same block (details at the end). Likewise, Escape Out’s southern locale is nestled between Stone Bowl and Iannucci’s, offering Korean and Italian fare respectively.
Want a Challenge? Find the secret tunnel which links Escape Out’s two locations. They tell me its not real, but I know what I saw. Something’s definitely afoot.
Journalistic objectivity aside, Breakout wins this writer’s award for the best Escape Room in Asheville. So long as you don’t mind sojourning into Asheville’s beating heart, you’ll find Breakout hits just about all the right notes.
With a wide variety of rooms, easy booking, private-only events for up to 8 people, and an amicable staff, I think you’ll find Breakout is worth its relatively high rates.
Open seven days a week from 10am to 11pm, there should be plenty of time to fit Breakout into your schedule, while avoiding its busier Friday and Saturday hours.
In Context: Breakout is located on one of downtown Asheville’s best street for eating. Whether you’re in the mood for Mediterranean, Chinese, curry, bar fare, or classic Southern delicacies, you’ll find all such options within walking distance from Breakout.
Want a Challenge? Beat the 42 minute, 22 second record for Breakout’s Casino room, set by yours truly (and some friends who may or may not have carried me through it). If the record has already been broken by the time you visit Breakout, beat the new record. I must be avenged.
1 Battle Square, Asheville, NC 28801
12 Balance Lane Suite 20, Asheville, NC 28806
Fox-N-Otter Adventure Escapes (South)
3749 Sweeten Creek Rd Unit 2, Arden, NC 28704
Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack South
3749 Sweeten Creek Rd, Arden, NC 28704
Escape Out Asheville
12 Lawyers Walk, Asheville, NC 28801 (Downtown Location)
1987 Hendersonville Road Suite I, Asheville, NC 28801 (South Asheville Location)
Brasilia Churrasco Steakhouse
26 E Walnut St, Asheville, NC 28801
Stone Bowl Korean
1987 Hendersonville Rd A, Asheville, NC 28803
60 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801