Vancouver Mysteries runs themed mystery games on the streets of downtown Vancouver. In a Vancouver Mysteries game you and your friends are the heroes of your very own adventure! You’ll navigate from location to location as you find clues, complete challenges, and solve the mystery. We supply the kit, you solve the mystery.
The games are played in teams of up to 6 players – one team can play alone in our daily games (every 30 minutes daily) or multiple teams can compete against each other at special events or during a private booking. Each team gets a game kit with everything they need to play the game: tools, artifacts (clues), a map, and a game book. Each team works their way through the game book, completing challenges and collecting clues along the way. The objective is to solve the mystery using the clues. Points are also earned by completing the game with a 90 minute time limit or – in multi-team games – being one of the first teams back. More info here.
Standard scavenger hunts are played outside and participants are given a list of objects to collect. We like to think we have taken scavenger hunts to the next level. In a Vancouver Mysteries game, players complete challenges to collect clues while a story unfolds. A game book guides players through the story while a map leads them to parts of downtown Vancouver that even locals are surprised to discover! For more information about how Vancouver Mysteries games work, please visit read the How Does it Work? FAQ.
Vancouver Mysteries is not an escape room, although we have some similarities. Players complete a series of challenges and collect clues to solve a mystery. However, Vancouver Mysteries take place outside – you are not locked in a room! Games cover approximately 2 km of downtown Vancouver. Players often return to the same escape room to play multiple times before they can escape successfully within the time limit, while most players only play a Vancouver Mysteries game once. Vancouver Mysteries games are scored out of 100 points. The time limit on an escape room game is generally 1 hour. The time limit on a Vancouver Mysteries game is 2 hours. Escape rooms have a maximum capacity, while at Vancouver Mysteries, we can accommodate 2-40 players for one game or up to 120 players for a Mega Mystery!
If you are looking for an indoor event for smaller groups, we definitely recommend escape rooms. The Vancouver Mystery team played an escape room game as a team building activity in 2015 and it was fun! There are many escape rooms all over the lower mainland to choose from, but there is only one Vancouver Mysteries.
If you prefer to play outside, we can accommodate between 2 to 120 players at a time (40 players can play the same game, so a 120 player game would consist of a Mega Mystery of all 3 games running simultaneously). Please visit our How to Play page to see which game is right for you.
You can find our cancellation policy on our Terms and Conditions page.
You can adjust the number of players up to 24 hours before your game time if necessary – we are very flexible. You can often add players to your game right up to the last minute but always check with us first – we need to confirm we have enough game kits for your additional players.
Outdoor Games: Please note that our minimum for a 2-10 player single team game is 2 players and our minimum for private bookings is 11 players.
You can find our cancellation policy on our Terms and Conditions page.
Outdoor Mystery Games
Unfortunately we aren’t able to transfer our three outdoor games to a different location because the games were carefully designed to use specific city landmarks and buildings as clues.
However, for private games of 10 or more players you can customize your start and end location to a nearby restaurant, hotel pub, or office as long as it is within a short walking distance of the game route. Please contact our Experience Manager for more details.
Indoor Mystery Games
Our indoor games are portable -we bring them to you! You can book our indoor games for your private party (birthday, stagette, house party, game night) or work event (team building activity, conference, ice breaker, staff party). Or, watch for special events – Pop-Up Mystery Games at secret locations in select cities.
Partnerships for Pop-Ups
If your venue would like to host a Pop-Up mystery please get in touch.
Our games are designed to last between 1.5 and 2 hours with the story unfolding as the players attempt to solve the mystery. Unfortunately we cannot remove any part of the story to shorten the game as it will disrupt the mystery and would leave players missing out on clues and answers.
Stagettes, Stags, Jack and Jill Parties
Our games are very popular with stagettes, stags and Jack and Jill parties. Vancouver Mysteries games get everyone moving around and working together.
For more information, check out our Bachelorette page
Yes, private games for 11 or more players can arrange a custom start or end location at a local restaurant, bar, or offices as long as they are nearby.
Email our Experience Manager to make arrangements or to receive a list of nearby restaurants.
You will be asked to agree to our Terms and Conditions during the booking process. They are also available on our Terms and Conditions page.
Subscribe to our newsletter for announcements about new games, special events and receive special offers in your inbox.
Hostelling International Members save money on bookings for 2-6 players. More info here..
If you are a Tourism Challenge Privilege Pass Holder we are still honouring our offer from 2019. More info here..
Yes! If you are reading this message before August 30, 2020 there may be a Groupon Offer for you. Look for it here: https://www.groupon.com/deals/vancouver-mysteries
Otherwise, read this:
Our travel partners may also list us on Groupon but if you compare prices you will see the prices are the same if you book directly here. If you are booking through Groupon, please note that they may list prices in US dollars. Our prices are C$35/player plus fees and taxes.
Our most stroller-friendly outdoor game is Crime in Downtown. Secret Mission and Heroes & Villains both include stairways.
Crime in Downtown is 100% stroller-friendly.
Heroes and Villains is usually stroller-friendly but in the case where an elevator on the route isn’t operating, your stroller would need some help up a few flights of stairs (good thing you’ll have a whole team there to help!). Secret Mission also has one area that can be tricky for strollers – in that case, one player could be left with the stroller on lookout duties while the rest of the unit completes that challenge.
Yes absolutely! Children under 6 years old can accompany any team for free, as long as two players have paid to play.
For example, an adult might book a game for 2 players. The 2nd player might be any human aged 7 or older (another adult, a child). Up to three more children might also accompany this team for free. The maximum team size is 6 players. Each team must be accompanied by one adult. Two players must pay to form a team.
Note: we rate most of our games as ages 12 and up. The family version of Heroes & Villains was designed for families with kids ages 8 and up.
We don’t have birthday packages, but we do have different promotions throughout the year that we send out in our newsletter or post on our social media.
If you choose to play an outdoor game, there is a big food court nearby that kids love. Or there is Mink Chocolate Cafe – they have some very cool things on the menu including the chance to roast marshmallows right at your table and the best hot chocolate we’ve ever had! (Note: they are not a very big cafe so depending on the size of your group, it might not work.)
We have rated our games appropriate for ages 12 and up based on the difficulty of the puzzles. If our games were movies they would probably get G ratings: there is no mature language, no violence, no nudity, etc. The murder mystery, Crime in Downtown, includes mature subject matter (murder, blackmail, infidelity, gambling). Spy game Secret Mission includes a threat to destroy Vancouver (your mission is to save the city).
We have a game designed for kids 8 and up: superhero game Heroes & Villains Family. We recommend this game for kids younger than 12 years old but of course the selection of which game to play is left to the parent/guardian’s discretion.
Please also read our FAQ about adult supervision.
Each team of minors (players under 19 years old) must be accompanied by one adult (at least 19 years old). If the adult is not playing the game, they can accompany a team of up to 6 minors for free.
The maximum team size is 6 players – games of 7 or more players are divided into teams competing against each other for the top score. Each team of minors requires an adult to accompany them.
Minors (under 19 years old) must be accompanied by one adult (at least 19 years old) during the game. If the adult is not playing the game, they can accompany a team of up to 6 minors for free.
The maximum team size if 6 players – games of 7 or more players are divided into teams competing against each other for the top score. Each team of minors requires an adult to accompany them. Groups can be split into smaller teams upon request for $15/additional team.
Note that our outdoor games take place on the streets of downtown Vancouver. Our Heroes and Villains Family game primarily takes place in plazas, paths and the seawall but the route also includes crossing streets and keeping clear of bike paths.
If each parent/guardian signs a waiver at least 24 hours before the game time, players who are 16-18 years old may be allowed to play independently. Games must be booked by an adult, who will collect waivers from the rest of the parents/guardians. They must be present (on-site) during the game and be responsible for all players during that time. Game Operators will cancel games without at least one adult present and will not allow minors to play if waivers are not signed.
Game time varies by team, depending on the degree of mobility, team dynamics/skills, and the size of the group. Please bear this in mind when planning the rest of your day and allow for 2 hours game time if you are scheduling other activities.
Your booking is for a two-hour time slot. Game time is 2 hours from the game start time you selected. This includes the game introduction and game ending. Please make sure everyone arrives 5-10 minutes early if you want the full time to solve your mystery! All players must return the game kits within the time limit. Late returns disrupt other games. Late charges apply for outdoor games ($70 per game kit). Missing or damaged kits will be charged to the organizer ($300 per outdoor kit, $2000 for full replacement of indoor kit).
Vancouver Mysteries temporarily shut down all operations effective March 15, 2020 (the last games were played on March 14, 2020). When the Government of BC announced its Restart Plan we determined that Vancouver Mysteries was a good fit for Phase 2 and prepared to re-open with the intention to exceed all protective measures. Games are available again starting May 23, 2020.
For more information:
Vancouver Mysteries Response to COVID-19 – Vancouver Mysteries published a blog post on March 12 and updated it on March 16, March 23, May 5 and May 15. It will continue to be updated as needed.
No you don’t have to wear a mask, but as of May 23, 2020 and until further notice we are giving a face mask to every player.
Vancouver Mysteries’ Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee decided that all Game Operators will wear masks so be prepared to see them wearing masks during your game.
Our COVID-19 Safety Plan is on our website here.
Yes! If you want to play one of our outdoor games with friends or family and maintain physical distancing you just need to play in teams. Each team gets their own game kit and you will compete against each other for the top score. Maintaining a safe distance from your friends as well as other people along the game route is your responsibility. Game Operators will follow physical distancing at the beginning and end of your game.
The indoor games require players to gather around evidence which makes it impossible to maintain physical distancing unless you want to book two games to be played simultaneously. Note: our indoor game can also be played outdoors (example: a backyard), weather permitting.
We have a blog post that answers a lot of questions about the black face masks we are giving out to customers who play our outdoor games in downtown Vancouver.