Travel

The Best Escape Rooms in Nashville

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

Breakout Games
Breakout Games
Breakout Games

Escape games are a great form of entertainment that can help with team building or discovering the hidden personality traits of someone you might be dating as you work together to solve a puzzle and escape from a room within a set amount of time. The venues have seen a boom over the past decade as a way to flex your brain muscles and challenge your problem-solving skills. A fun activity for locals and tourists alike, Nashville has a plethora of these fun rooms that feature variously themed rooms to encourage return visits. Here are some of our favourites.

The Escape Game Nashville
The Escape Game Nashville
The Escape Game Nashville

The Escape Game

Berry Hill, Downtown, and Donelson
The OG of Nashville escape rooms has three different locations in Nashville, each with multiple rooms and themes. Individual rooms are decorated to help set the stage, from a prison cell escape scenario that many players consider the most difficult of the lot to Mission: Mars that allots players an hour to figure out how to launch their marooned space ship from the surface of the Red Planet before a catastrophic solar flare wipes out the whole crew. The good news is that whether you solve the puzzles or not, they’ll let you out after sixty minutes.
Cost: $36.99

Breakout Games
Breakout Games
Breakout Games

Breakout Games

Franklin
Every game at Breakout Games is a private experience just for the group you showed up with, so there’s no worry about looking stupid in front of a bunch of strangers if you can’t figure out how to free yourself from your blindfold and handcuffs in The Kidnapping Game or complete The Island Escape before lava flows over the beach. Of course, a bunch of randos that you’ll never see again wouldn’t have the chance to rib you for the rest of your friendship for letting The Runaway Train loaded with explosives barrel into downtown because you couldn’t solve a middle school math problem.
Cost: $42.99

Escape Experience
Escape Experience
Escape Experience

Escape Experience

Downtown
Escape Experience features a pair of prison break games, so even if you broke parole after your first trip over the wall, you can still come back and try again. The plotline of The Inheritance: Mystery Room revolves around carrying out your fictional uncle’s final wishes in an hour to claim your stake, and Vaccine: The Search for a Cure is ripped from the headlines and may just be a little too soon to play around with?
Cost: $32

Trapped Escape Game
Trapped Escape Game
Trapped Escape Game

Trapped Escape Game

Berry Hill
Trapped offers several different experiences with different difficulty levels and multiple puzzles to be solved over the course of each game as you work with your team to find your way out of the Bellevue Insane Asylum, break out of Alcatraz or survive an Apocalypse of flesh-eating zombies. Trapped operates rooms in both Nashville and Pigeon Forge, so you can give it a second try while on vacation in the mountains if the zombies got you in Music City.
Cost: $28.99

Escape the Trap
Escape the Trap
Escape the Trap

Escape the Trap

North Nashville
The name of this escape room is a nod to the trap music phenomenon that started in Atlanta, and the original Escape the Trap is actually associated with the fantastic Trap Music Museum in Hotlanta. The Nashville location is in the historic Jefferson Street District near HBCUs Tennessee State University and Fisk University, so it’s also immersed in the musical culture of the neighbourhood. The game takes players through multiple rooms as they solve puzzles and immerse themselves in the culture of trap music, so it’s entertaining and educational at the same time.
Cost: $30

Great Room Escape
Great Room Escape
Great Room Escape

Great Room Escape

Madison
Although the name sounds like you’re trying to get away from your family unwrapping presents around the fireplace during the holidays, Great Room Escape actually encourages friends and family to work together by ensuring that all participants already know each other as part of their private escape experiences. The puzzles to solve revolve around fairly common escape room themes of being trapped in a haunted cabin in the woods and escaping from a zombie horde by using your brains before they get eaten. But Great Room Escape also features an option to add-on a session of ax throwing.
Cost: $28.99

Extreme Escape Games
Extreme Escape Games
Extreme Escape Games

Extreme Escape Games

Franklin
Franklin is a sleepy little suburb south of Nashville, but things can get intense at Extreme Escape Games. The largest escape game facility in the state boasts six rooms hosting different games that corporate groups can use for team building, or six to 10 friends can book it for their own private brain-teasing fun. The game themes range from sniffing out a secret agent to figuring out the secrets of a mad scientist’s laboratory to finding and returning The Book of Secrets to a master magician. Oh, and a zombie apocalypse scenario. Who knew Nashville had such a zombie problem?
Cost: $32.00

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Chris Chamberlain is a food, drink, and travel writer based out of his hometown of Nashville. Find him on Twitter @CeeElCee.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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