8 Trippy Experiences Around the Globe

Looking to suspend reality for a bit? Video games, movies and now, virtual reality headsets, can only get you so far. So step away from the graphics and into the IRL light, with our top picks for time travel, post-apocalyptic horror, and Willy Wonka wonder.

See recent posts by Christine Ajudua

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Photo by Mike Massaro


Run from the Infected

Secret Cinema doesn't just screen films in covert spaces– it turns them into full-fledged, fantastical worlds and features you in the story. Last summer, the company created an intergalactic city in an abandoned London site, inviting Star Wars geeks everywhere to join the Rebel Alliance. Now, it's bringing post-apocalyptic zombies to life with Danny Boyle's cult classic 28 Days Later, delving into horror for the first time.

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Photo by Ann Charlott Ommedal


Breathe In a Boozy Cocktail Cloud

Looking to get your drink on? In London, you can literally step right into it. Enter Alcoholic Architecture, the world's first breathable-cocktail bar, which just launched on the site of an ancient monastery in Borough Market. It's the latest installation from the Willy Wonka-esque food designers Bompas & Parr, with a cloud of booze so potent you have to wear a protective suit and can only stay an hour. There's also a menu of normal if monastically inspired cocktails (see Benedictine, mead) whose flavors are enhanced by the spirits in the air.

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Escape the Room

IRL “escape room” games have been popping up around the globe, with various spins on the same interactive premise: players are locked in a room and have to solve a bunch of puzzles to get out. In Berlin, challengers are tasked with finding a secret, circa-Cold-War tunnel through the wall at The Room. Teams only have 60 minutes to collect clues and solve puzzles in order to find a way out – so buddy up with intelligent pals who work well in a pinch.

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Party With ABBA, All Night Long

Mamma Mia! The Musical may be ending its Broadway run this September, but the show will go on—not only on stages around the world, but also as Mamma Mia! The Party. Former ABBA member Björn Ulvaeus has been transforming a beer garden in Stockholm's Gröna Lund amusement park (across the street from ABBA The Museum) into a Greek taverna with a fountain and olive trees – like the ones in Skopelos, where Mamma Mia! the Movie was filmed. Basically, it'll be a big fat Greek wedding with an ABBA soundtrack, and you're invited.

English show July 27 through August 21.

RELATED: Find Your Perfect Greek Island Getaway

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Fly Amid the Northern Lights

No luck seeing the Northern Lights? Board Icelandair's recently launched Hekla Aurora plane – the one with the Aurora Borealis painted on its exterior – which flies transatlantic everyday as part of the airline's Stopover service. You'll be treated to a moody light show once in flight, with a soundtrack of Icelandic music.

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Photo by Rick Ochoa


Fall Down the Rabbit Hole

150 years after Lewis Carroll published Alice in Wonderland, the children’s classic is being re-imagined in appropriately trippy ways. We already told you about Alice’s Adventures Underground, in the Vaults under London’s Waterloo Tube station. Now the Brooklyn-based immersive theater company Third Rail Projects is staging Then She Fell. In short: you are Alice, and the rabbit hole is an eerie, three-level, century-old institutional facility in Williamsburg. Expect to imbibe mysterious elixirs.

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Conquer the Crystal Maze

Just this year, The Crystal Maze – Britain's favorite 90s-era TV game show – decided to mount a come back in the form of a live experience, allowing participants to try their hand at an array of tasks and trials thought to have been lost to television archives. The revived gauntlet spans four time zones – Aztec, Industrial, Futuristic and Medieval – and challenges contenders to feats of physical and mental endurance (completed tasks = more collected crystals/time to complete your last challenge), culminating in a final test of spirit in the Crystal Dome.

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Alter Space and Time

London's recently launched Time Run: The Lance of Longinus (if you can't tell...the city's super into IRL games) sends players on a time-travel mission to help an Edwardian scientist, Luna Fox, and her robot assistant Babbage. Teams of 3-5 are transported through history and tested by obstacles and puzzles whilst on the hunt for a mysterious relic in need of safekeeping. Should you fail the mission and allow the artifact to fall into corrupt hands, the thread of time could be altered evermore (and who wants that on their shoulders?).

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