Vote for Your Favorite Escape Room!

USA Today nominated 20 escape rooms for their Readers’ Choice 10Best list. Vote for you favorite!

10Best Travel Lists

USA Today publishes 10Best lists to help travelers make the most out of their trips.

According to the USA Today website, for this feature “our travel experts select the top 20 nominees in contests covering food, lodging, destinations, travel gear, things to do… the list goes on. Then it’s up to you to make the final decision by casting your vote.”

We reached out to USA Today for additional information about the categories and the frequency of the list publication.

“10Best launches new Readers’ Choice contests every two weeks, each batch centered on a different theme. Some categories, like cruise, hotels and theme parks, we repeat from year to year. Others we might only run once or every couple of years.

Across the different categories, 10Best is read by 5 million travelers per month. 

USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice 2016 logo

10Best Escape Rooms

For the first time in 2016, Escape Rooms is a Reader’s Choice 10Best list for things to do.

In speaking with USA Today about the selection process they told us, “for escape rooms, we decided to tap into the knowledge of 10Best’s network of Local Experts — writers in cities around the country who have intimate knowledge of the places they live and maintain our 10Best city guides.”

The panel of experts puts together the initial list and then they narrow it down to 20 nominees “by number of recommendations as well as visitor reviews.”

What is the best?

There isn’t a fastest time or highest jump in escape room design. There isn’t an objective, calculable “best.” There isn’t one ranking scale.

We conclude reviews with “should I play” in order to direct players to the games that they will most enjoy.

Still, there are features that make certain games rise to the top. These include puzzle quality, logic and game flow, set design and construction, narrative creation, creativity, and overall customer experience.

USA Today’s criteria included “positive user experience (storytelling, props, variety of puzzles, appropriate clues) and uniqueness of the rooms offered.”

Many of the 20 nominees excel in these areas… there might be one or two headscratchers.


The 20 nominees cover 17 different US cities. There are two nominees each from Orlando, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The list includes companies with multiple games in multiple locations and companies with just one game. It covers a range of challenge from easier to nearly impossible. Some companies offer more family-friendly experiences and others offer more intense or even horror experiences.

We can attest to this variety just across the 8 of these companies that we’ve visited.

The other 12 are companies that we’re heard much about and in some cases even communicated with. In fact, we have upcoming plans to visit a few of them.

Missing companies

We can’t speak to every escape room across the country, but we bring a depth of knowledge in some markets. We could add least one company each in Los Angeles, Portland, DC, Boston and New York City.

The nominees certainly aren’t an exhaustive list of the outstanding US companies. The industry is growing quickly, and with that, great games continue to rise to the top. 20 nominees doesn’t do it justice. That’s a great thing.

Escape room tourism

Escape room tourism is here; there is enough interest for a 10Best list.

It also means new challenges for a budding industry. For example, David recently mentioned concerns about the proliferation of purchased games that aren’t consistently named or labeled that will lead to customer confusion.

In a tourist market, escape rooms aren’t just up against each other. They are up against museums, tours, amusement parks, theater, and everything else that might have a 10Best list in the “things to do” category.

At its core, this vote isn’t about which company is the best. It’s a celebration of how wonderful this form of entertainment can be. The polls close on Monday, September 26 at noon ET. Cast your vote for escape rooms.


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