Though the haunted alleys, crumbling subway tunnels, and blood-stained storefronts of Fear City are creepy enough, they aren't the reason why visitors tend to leave screaming. This ghastly municipality has more than 100 citizens—including deranged nurses and blood-covered asylum inmates.
These are just some of the scares that await within Fear City's 40,000-square-foot sprawl. The indoor attraction consistently places on hauntedhousechicago.com's top 13 rankings, and the city's always looking for new recruits: visitors are encouraged to dress up, join the madness, and take home whichever crazed clown they think would make a good roommate.
Curious about what else might lie in store? Click here to see videos that delve deeper into the city's secrets.
A Haunted House Actor Explains the Scares
A Fear City "fright actor" talks the art of haunted-house acting and the psychology of scares.
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Adrenaline rushes often lead to addiction. Having developed a tolerance through many a marathon and obstacle course, the elite athletic team of Adrenaline Games wanted to capture the thrill of the first rush. To that end, they crafted a treacherous trail that gets the pulses of even the most hardened adrenaline junkies pumping. The details of the course are kept top secret as not to spoil the element of surprise, but it can be revealed that elements of mud, foam, and water play their part in keeping competitors adrenalized and dirty as they vie for the top Junkie prize. After the finish line has been slathered in mud, participants can catch their breath while celebrating their victories with food, drinks, and live music.
Chicago's flat terrain may be ideal for runners, but it can leave rock climbers in the lurch. Enter First Ascent Climbing, an indoor climbing gym with two locations in the Windy City. Though the two spaces—decked in bold, geometric patterns and a vibrant array of grips and footholds—have distinctly different offerings, they share the common goal of providing climbers a reprieve from their prairie-land surroundings.
The larger of the two, the Avondale location, boasts a full climbing wall with sustained overhangs, roofs, slabs, and cracks up to 60 feet tall. Here, a team of experienced climbers teaches guests to belay with a top rope and read routes while building footwork skills and balance. Meanwhile, the Uptown location, with its cavelike confines, focuses solely on bouldering, a more powerful style of climbing on shorter structures. Bouldering classes offered here arm students with the skills to navigate caves and overhangs. Both spaces provide unique—nay, seemingly impossible—challenges for even the most experienced climbers or bored geckos with grips on the ceiling. To keep climbers in top physical form, both locations also offer yoga and fitness classes.
Vertical Endeavors has been helping visitors reach new heights for more than 25 years. Top rope courses, bouldering areas, and other climbing challenges await guests at locations scattered around the midwest, with routes that cater to climbers of all experience levels. For first-time wall-scalers, seasoned instructors lead a series of courses that can acquaint them with the equipment and techniques they need to successfully reach the top, while more experienced climbers can sign up for a one of the company's guided adventures, such as an ice climbing excursion or other outdoor trip.
Sponsored by Men's Health, the coed Urbanathlon race and festival is a fitting representation of the magazine's "work hard, play hard" mentality. Indeed, the courses are hard work. Whether competitors run the 3- to 5-mile sprint course or the 10- to 11-mile classic course, occasional obstacles, such as monkey bars, stairs, tires, barricades, and stacks of unfinished tax returns, stand in their way. But don't be too intimidated—Urbanathlon has created 4- and 12-week training plans to help participants get in shape for the race.
All the hard work will pay off though, thanks in part to a post-race party with DJ sets, refreshments, and swag from sponsors. Plus, competitors will have the opportunity to donate to the Challenged Athletes Foundation upon registration or with the $15 suggested donation for hair trims at the Paul Mitchell tent.