Instructables

Urban Exploration, Anyone?

Hello, I like to Urban Explore. I live in an area that has limited opportunities, but we make the best of it. This topic is essentially an open stage for anything about Urban Exploration and things like it.

I will start by asking, what is the coolest place you have explored?

Any tips for fellow explorers?

Cautionary tales?

Looking for places to explore in your area?


Near my town there is a little forest full of Spanish Civil War bunkers, most of them are really big and if you dig a bit you can find ammo and supplies.
ilpug (author)  La cacatua carmesi2 years ago
oh wow, that sounds amazing.
There is also a big but only visible by gps road wich takes you to a command bunker with the artillery and machine guns placements.
freeza362 years ago
Well, ilpug, youve probably seen my instructable, "Exploring Storm Water Drain Systems." Right under an elementary school... Drug dealers, strange men with huge dogs, very questionable graffiti. Its crazy in there. Sometimes you can smell the marijuana. (Which smells absolutely terrible and is disgusting, if you didn't know.) My friend and I have actually found a new system of storm drains to explore, with a huge 30 foot ladder. A new ible will be out asap!
ilpug (author)  freeza362 years ago
Awesome!
themoose642 years ago
there is a forest in the outskirts of the village that I live in. I was on google earth on day I discovered a house with half a roof. It was totally falling apart. I decided to go check it out with my cousin. Turns out it was an abandoned house. We couldn't go inside because the floor and ceiling both fell in. The coolest part about is when you turn the corner. A 1955 Ford Thunderbird is around the corner. What I find weird is that this is in the middle of nowhere and everything is still inside the house like a bunkbed and a fridge. Can you explain this?
ilpug (author)  themoose642 years ago
Well, the car is a clue to the age, for sure. When you say "In the middle of nowhere" how far do you mean from civilization? What usually happens is that older people who die have multiple houses, and their kids who inherit them simply let them collapse.
CheckDavid2 years ago
I just bought a Mountain Bike for this exact purpose. I want to explore, but I wonder how much I can do with a bike. I know I can go far, and into remote places, forests etc.

Do you guys have any tips for me?

I wish I could squeeze into the metro tunnel, but that would be too dangerous lol
Thanks a lot for your reply.

Actually I am fortunate enough to have a very good "exploration team"

They just don't have bikes, they have cars though lol

The only thing we don't do much is take photos.

One thing I find troubling is doing those adventures with a good quality camera. I am afraid to break it lol
ilpug (author)  CheckDavid2 years ago
Okay, let me clarify something: a mountain bike is a good form of transportation to get to and leave an area quickly and quietly,but once you are in most urban locations, using it to explore is kind of useless. Underground it is more of a hindrance than help, unless you are in a monstrous tunnel. In buildings, the same thing applies. Old train tunnels are great, just stay out of active ones whenever possible. Underground the only vehicle that might come in handy is a skateboard.

Basically, three things: go on online forums/urban exploration sites, and get all the info and advice you can there. Then, get a small group of people you can trust who know all the info as well. Once at your chosen location, take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Any other qustions I would be happy to answer.
vicvelcro2 years ago
Coolest place for me was the tunnels under the University of Michigan. Or possibly a tie with the abandoned psychiatric hospital about an hour north of the UofM.



Safety is my mantra. Not just injury preventing safety. Illness prevention (keep your immunizations up to date, carry large tubes of triple antibiotic, and soap or sanitizer). Shower immediately upon your return.



My best tip(s):

Tell somebody *who will not be going with you* where you will be and when you expect to be back. Always. Period and Exclamation Point.

Cell phones don't work in most tunnels and in many remote locations. Plan alternate communications or stay close together.

Don't go with only another n00b explorer your first few times out. I strongly recommend at least one reasonably experienced explorer per n00b/novice.

Take snacks. It sucks to be misplaced AND hungry.

Research your site before you go. You might not get much info, but any is better than none.

Read and join groups and forum sites related to exploring. You'll meet a few cool people and you'll get answers to things you might not think to even ask about.

Perish the thought of romantic interludes on expedition. My pal and her main-dude ended up being treated for all manner of creepy-crawlies due to the environmental conditions around the scene of their indiscretion.

Be safe, have fun.



The safety of your freedom is something to keep in mind. Wear a big-a*s camera (even if it is broken) around your neck and have a mini-notebook with written entries of other explorations (never name places exactly). Be a fluent social-engineer. If accosted by security or police, behave and conduct yourself in a respectful and respectable manner while explaining that you are an innocent adventurer. Note that if you see THEM before they accost you, RUN! Be aware that in cities, the sites you may want to explore could be inhabited by hostiles (territorial homless, gangs, or other no-goodnicks).



Small skateboards make good short-distance escape transportation and are decent for laying on and rolling through constricted areas.

ilpug (author)  vicvelcro2 years ago
I agree with and practice pretty much everything you recommend!

Great advice. As for the research, city records come in super handy.

Also, as far as the social engineering, dress for where you are. Dressing like a hobo helps out tremendously, as does wearing a hard hat and a yellow vest, although in that case you could possibly be charged with impersonation.
caitlinsdad2 years ago
Do you like to trespass or like the thrill of evading the law? In some places, you will get the bill for all emergency services rendered for pulling you out of a predicament. Make sure you have your shots up to date. Me, I am way to big to fit through hatches anymore and have no desire to run into mole people. In NYC, they did have the tour of the sewage water treatment plant and you can see a discovered prototype subway tunnel. I have been in old buildings where the flaking lead paint, asbestos, mold, critters and the feel of the floor and stairs giving way give me the willies. But hey, if you are into ghosts or like to explore abandoned psych hospitals are your thing, I always think about the spores or pathogens lingering around from when they were treatment centers for epidemics. I have a friend that likes to go shoot pictures of abandoned old industrial mill buildings. They always seem to be in some desolate area and in the depressed areas of towns. He gets questioned by the police every once in a while "looking out of place" as he were there to buy drugs or something. Have fun but be safe.
ilpug (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago
Oh, safety is the #1 concern. With regards to the law, In this case I see it as a bit sad that there are laws that make adventure and discovery illegal. I understand that they are there for the "Protection and wellbeing" of the people, but dammit, where is the adventure in that?

With regards to safety, I could list about 100 different things, but to lazy, I will merely say that over the summer I will post an instructable along the lines of "A beginner's guide to tunnel crawling" in which I will rant about safety for some paragraphs.

I admit that it does take a special type of crazy to go crawl around in broken buildings and drainage tunnels for the lulz, but since I have that kind of crazy, I enjoy the hell out of it.