When I first started urban exploring, like everyone else I struggled to find abandoned places near me to explore. All I could find were small single-floor abandoned houses near me which were pretty dull and boring. I wanted to explore the same crazy abandoned buildings that urbex YouTubers were visiting in their videos.
After 10+ years of urban exploring, I can now easily find tons of different forgotten places to explore with no problem. It took me a while to learn the different methods that Youtubers were using to find abandoned places to explore. But I managed to figure it out. With these methods, I’ve found more than just abandoned houses near me.
Abandoned Places Near Me
Over the years I’ve learned several different methods for finding abandoned places near me to explore. I’m going to share my methods so that new urban explorers don’t have to struggle as much as I did. With these methods, I have found and explored everything from abandoned banks near me, to hospitals, schools, mansions, warehouses, factories, hotels, theme parks, malls, and even ghost towns.
I’ve been urban exploring for many years now and I’ve learned these methods from other urban explorers and from doing the research myself. Below I’ll explain in detail each different method and explain how to use them correctly so you can find abandoned places near you to explore. Let’s get started.
Find Abandoned Buildings Using Flickr
Out of all the methods that I’m going to show you in this article, this one is by far the easiest and most effective one I personally use to find abandoned places near to explore. The website that we’re going to be using to find abandoned buildings is called Flickr.
Flickr is a site that’s used by people who want to share their photography with the world. What makes this site unique is a feature it has that allows photographers to ‘Geo-tag’ their photos.
What that feature does is that when someone uploads a photo to Flickr, the ‘Geographical Location’ of the photo is also posted. This means you not only get to see the photo, but you also get to see on a map exactly where in the world that photo was taken.
Flickr LOVES Urbex
On Flickr, there are THOUSANDS of urban explorers who like to share photos of their urbex adventures. Lots of those photos that are uploaded are geo-tagged. If you don’t know what ‘geo-tagging’ means, it simply means that the exact geographical location of the photo you’re looking at is posted right along with the photo!
This is information that photographers like to share with people on Flickr. This site is an absolute treasure trove for urban explorers. If you’ve never used Flickr before, don’t worry. I’m going to show you exactly how to use it to find what you’re looking for. Just follow the steps that I’ve laid out below. Not too long ago I used Flickr to find an abandoned warehouse near me to explore.
How To Use Flickr To Find Abandoned Places
First off, make your way over to Flickr.com. Once there you’ll want to search for ‘Urbex’ or ‘Urban Exploration’.
After that, in the upper left corner of the menu, you’re going to click on ‘Groups’. There you will see hundreds and hundreds of groups all related to urban exploration.
Click on any group that you like. Some groups are location-specific. For example, some of them are specifically about Belgium or Germany or Russia, etc. If you’re not looking for abandoned buildings in those countries, don’t click on those groups.
Find one that you like and that has lots of photos. This gives you a greater chance of finding geo-tagged photos that were taken near your location. Now that you’re in the group, on the top-mid menu bar click on ‘Map’. This is going to show you a world map with pinpoints of the specific location of every single photo in that particular group that is geo-tagged.
Now what you want to do is drag the map to wherever in the world you live. Once the map is in the area that you want to search for, click on the ‘Refresh’ icon button at the bottom middle of the page.
This will refresh the map and show you photos that are in that specific location that you’re searching in. You can zoom in and out and refresh the map multiple times to show more photos.
If for some unfortunate reason you don’t see any pinpoint on the map, that just means that no photos from that group are geo-tagged in that location. But that’s fine, no need to worry. Remember that you’re only searching in 1 single group. There are hundreds more you can search through.
Go back to the groups page where you started and find a different group. Search the map again, zoom in to your location, and refresh. Do this for all the different groups you can find. You’re bound to come across a couple of photos that are geo-tagged in your area or close by.
Click on the pink points on the map and it will show you a photo that was taken in that area. Once you find a photo that you like, all you have to do is zoom in to the pin-point on the map all the way. There you’ll see exactly the address of where the photo you’re looking at was taken.
If you click on the photo that pops up, it will open up on a new page. There you will be able to see a bigger version of the photo with some information about it. Such as when the photo was taken, by who, and any comment they included with the photo, etc…
There’s also the chance that the person who uploaded the photo may be from the same area as you. So what you can do is click on their profile page and check out their other photos. They might have more photos from different locations that are also geo-tagged in your area.
Which can help you find even more places to explore.
Flickr May Not Work For Everyone
This Flickr method is amazing. I’ve used it for so many years and it’s helped me find so many cool abandoned places near me to explore. But I have to be honest, this method may not work for everyone.
If you live in a small city, there’s less of a chance you’ll find photos that are geo-tagged in your area. Either way, you should give this Flickr method a try, you never know what you might find. If for any reason this method doesn’t work for you, I still have more methods you can try.
Keep on reading.
Browse Urbex Forums
You may have not known this but there are forums on the internet that are solely dedicated to the hobby of urban exploration. On these forums, urban explorers from all over the world come together and share stories about their latest urbex adventures. Lots of these stories that are posted include the location of the places they explored.
It’s worth going through these forums and having a look around. You’ll not only learn about UE, but there’s a chance you may come across valuable location information. Also, some of these forums, like the 2 I’m going to show you below, have a public ‘Directory’ or ‘Database’ of locations. What this means is that they have a huge list of locations of abandoned buildings from around the world.
Below I’ll list 2 of the most popular urbex forums you can check out. They’re both free to browse and don’t require you to sign up or anything like that.
If you didn’t already know, Uer.ca is one of the most popular urbex forums on the internet. It’s also the oldest, as you can probably tell by its ancient design.
Don’t let the age or outdated look of the website fool you though. UER is chock-full of amazing information regarding everything urban exploration. The forum holds a wealth of knowledge about everything you ever wanted to know about urbex.
One feature that makes it stand out from other forums is its ‘location database’. Which is simply an abandoned place directory.
This location database is filled by UER members, which are urban explorers, from around the world. They share the locations of abandoned buildings they’ve explored. The location database is incredibly simple to browse. I’ve used it multiple times in the past to search for abandoned places near me.
It shows locations from multiple countries. From the United States to Canada, South Korea, and even Australia, plus so many more. Seeing how most of the users on UER are from the North American region, there are understandably more areas listed about North America. But you can still find locations in other regions.
Click on whatever country you’re from, and you’ll see the abandoned buildings that are listed for that particular area.
Most of the listing includes the name of the building, photos, the address, the hazards you should be aware of, and even the latest status of the building. You can see if it is still standing or if it has been demolished and is no longer accessible.
Browse around UER’s database and see what you can find. Depending on your location, you may end up finding a couple of different abandoned buildings you can go to and explore.
Similar to UER, 28DaysLater is also an urbex forum. But this forum is primarily about urbex in the United Kingdom and nearby countries. It’s been around for nearly as long as UER and has a treasure trove of information on urban exploration.
It also has lots of info on abandoned buildings. Most of them are located in the UK, but some of them are also in the United States, Australia, Canada, and more. On their ‘UE Site Reports and Discussion’ section, you’ll find a full list of abandoned locations that you can freely browse.
They have documentation on asylums, hospitals, residential buildings, military sites, mines, quarries, drains and so many more. Scan through the site and you’ll likely find someplace that’s close to your area where you can go and explore.
These are only 2 of the most popular urbex forums on the internet. There are so many more out there. In an article I wrote not too long ago, I shared a list of the most popular urbex forums on the internet. Go check that article out to find more forums you can browse.
Find Abandoned Places On Google Maps
Part of the fun of urban exploration is the hunt for the location itself. If you’re just now starting with urbex, you might be getting a bit frustrated because you don’t know how to find abandoned places near you to explore.
Every urban explorer, myself included, knows this feeling all too well. All urban explorers go through this in the beginning, trust me you’re not alone. Don’t let it discourage you from actually taking part in this awesome hobby. When I first started exploring, the only places I could find were run-down abandoned houses near me in shady neighborhoods. You know the ones with missing doors, caved-in roofs, and broken boarded-up windows.
I eventually got tired of these places and had the desire to venture into more spacious locations with more than just a handful of rooms to explore. But the problem was that I had no idea how to find these bigger places. Places similar to those that I saw urbex Youtubers exploring.
I desperately wanted to explore cool locations like abandoned hospitals, ghost towns, mansions, schools, factories, high-rise buildings, or anything that wasn’t a single-story house. I did lots of research, watched tons of videos, and read article after article trying to figure out how to find abandoned places near me like urban explorers on Youtube.
It turns out it’s a lot easier than I imagined. Some explorers find abandoned buildings simply by word of mouth, others do it by driving around their city and seeing what they can find. But what most explorers do nowadays is use Google Maps. How exactly they do it, is what I’m going to show you. I hope you find this useful.
Find Abandoned Places Using Google Maps
Google Maps is an urban explorer’s best friend. I and many urban explorers have been using it for years now to find countless abandoned buildings to explore. Several popular urbex Youtubers like ExploringWithJosh, TheProperPeople, and Dan Bell, all use Google Maps to find and scout out locations they’re going to explore for their YouTube videos.
Google Maps on its own doesn’t list buildings as abandoned. I hope it was that easy, it would save us explorers a TON of time! What you have to do is use Google Search in combination with Google Maps to find abandoned places to explore.
You can find just about anything on Google Maps. You may even come across some weird places on google maps. But if you’re looking to do some location scouting, here’s how. Before you head on over to Google Maps, you will first want to do some quick research on Google Search.
What will you be searching for? Type in the following queries into Google Search:
- Abandoned buildings near me to explore
- Abandoned places in “YourCity”
- Places to explore in “YourCity”
- Abandoned building in “YourCity”
- “Vacant buildings” “YourCity”
*Replace “YourCity” with the name of the city you’re wanting to find abandoned buildings in.
You might think it’s pointless to search for “Abandoned buildings near me”, but it’s not.
Unless you’re using a VPN, Google knows your location and will show you search results based on your local area. You might not know it but there could be countless local news websites or local blogs that discuss or mention abandoned buildings in your city.
It is worth going through these pages and seeing what information you can find. Although Google knows where you’re searching from, it still might not show you search results related to your query. What you can do, not many people know this trick, is filter your searches on Google by using search operators.
What search operators do is they tell Google to ONLY show you search results related to the specific keywords you typed in. This is why if you look at the queries above that I asked you to search for, you’ll see some of them have quotations around them.
Specifically the “YourCity” part.
What you’ll want to do is remove the “YourCity” part and type in the name of the actual city you’re in. Be sure to leave the quotations in there. Say for example you’re in Houston, you’ll type Abandoned places in “Houston” or Abandoned places in “Los Angeles”.
Restricting our searches on Google by using search operators to ONLY show search results with our specific keywords, we essentially get rid of thousands of pages on Google that have no value to us. This allows us to only search through the results that mention the words “Abandoned buildings” and “YourCity”, or whatever keywords you used.
Start searching away on Google!
Remember to use quotations (“ ”) around your city name to specify to Google you only want to see search results related to your city. What you can also do is search for your city name in combination with other keywords that will help you narrow your search even more.
Here are some examples you can use:
- Abandoned factories “YourCity”
- “YourCity” Abandoned
- “YourCity” Urban Exploration
- Abandoned Houses “YourCity”
- Derelict Buildings “YourCity”
- Vacant Houses “YourCity”
- Vacant buildings “YourCity”
- Unoccupied Hospital “YourCity”
By using quotations in your keywords, you’re telling Google to display search results that show both of those keywords in a single website. The above queries are just a few examples of combining keywords to narrow your search results. I’m sure you can think of many more. Do as many searches as you can think of.
Get clever with it too. Come up with search queries that you think would help narrow your search. For example, searching for (Burned building “Santa Monica”) would yield search results that mention a burned down building in Santa Monica, California.
You get the idea.
While you’re searching through Google for pages that mention the keywords you searched for, write down any names of a location or an address of a building that you think might be abandoned. Gather as much information as you can on any potential abandoned location you’ve come across.
If you have the name of a building that you think is abandoned, open a new tab on Google and search for the building’s name to try and find its address, be sure to include your city name in the query. For example, if you found a place called Elanor Mansion. On Google, you’ll type (Elanor Mansion “Dallas”).
This tells Google to only show search results that mention “Elanor Mansion” and “Dallas”. If you don’t have a building name but you’ve found an address instead, now you’ll want to head on over to Google Maps and type in the address.
How To Search On Google Maps For Abandoned Places
When you first open Google Maps, you’ll see a 2D overhead view of your location. What you first want to do is go to the bottom left of the page, and click on the “Satellite View” button. This shows you a more accurate map, instead of the default one.
Now in the search bar, type in the address you’ve found in Google Maps and press enter. Google will search for the address you’ve given it and you’ll be able to see if it’s an abandoned building or not. What’s also great is that you can use “Street View” and have a clearer view of the location you’re searching for.
To access Street View, simply drag and drop the little yellow human icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the page, towards the inside of the map.
You’ll be instantly taken into Street View where you can see a better view of the location as if you were standing outside it yourself. Do this for as many locations as you can find and I guarantee that you’ll have an almost endless variety of abandoned buildings to explore.
No More Excuses, Go Out And Start Exploring.
As I mentioned at the start of this article, finding places to explore when you’re starting out with urban exploring can be a little frustrating. Hopefully, not anymore! Using the method that I’ve shown you in this article, you should now know how to find abandoned places to explore no matter where in the world you are.
Generally speaking, almost all cities in the world have abandoned buildings. Companies always go broke and have to shut down, people stop going to churches which prompts them to close, and factories burn down in accidents. All these places have one thing in common, they all leave an empty building behind.
Buildings are left to decay and eventually be reclaimed by nature. Perfect places for us to explore. You just have to go find them. Which is something you now know how to do.
Browse Urbex Blogs
Urbex blogs are another fantastic way to find buildings to explore. Similar to the urbex forums, urban explorers from all over the world have their very own blogs where they share their personal stories and photos of the amazing places they’ve explored.
Lots of these blogs also include the exact locations of the places they have been to. Which is golden information to us. Urbex blogs exist in the thousands, possibly in the millions, all over the internet. You just have to go out and find them.
Below I’ll show you 4 different urbex blogs that I think are worth checking out.
One of my all-time favorite urban exploration blogs on the internet is urbex.nl The mastermind behind the blog is named Andre Joosse, from Europe. He’s a firefighter and freelance photographer, and also an urban explorer.
I’ve learned so much from this man’s blog. Plus the places he explores and photographs are simply jaw-dropping. I recommend anyone reading this to visit his blog and read his content. You’ll love it. You’ll also love the fact that he shares the location of almost all of the abandoned places he explores.
The only issue is that he’s from Europe so almost all of the abandoned buildings listed in his directory are located in Europe. This is only an issue for my non-European readers. For my European readers, you’ll find his directory incredibly useful. Andre Joosse lists hundreds of abandoned buildings on his website.
They include the name of the location and lots of photos of the buildings. Even a description of the locations’ history and their current status. Though some of them don’t have the exact address of the location, just the name of the place is all you need to hop on Google and start searching away.
I know this blog isn’t too useful to my non-European readers, but I do have lots of readers from Europe so I decided to include this blog to help you guys out. 🙂 Browse through the urbex.nl location database and see what you can find.
Sylvain Margaine is the writer behind Forbidden-places.net He’s a long-time urban explorer with almost endless knowledge about urban exploration. Similar to Andre from urbex.nl, Sylvain also shares the locations of places he explorers on his website. Though he only has 86 locations listed on his directory, the abandoned buildings in his list are simply incredible and worth checking out.
All listings include photos, names, locations, and status of the buildings. Even if you don’t find a place near you to explore, take a couple of minutes to go through his photos and appreciate the places he’s explored.
As the name implies, DetroitUrbex only shows locations from Detroit, Michigan. The once famous city of Detroit experienced mass population loss and decay unlike any other city in America.
Thousands upon thousands of residents of Detroit have left their homes, business, and schools behind. This, in turn, has made Detroit a hot spot for urban explorers.
DetroitUrbex has a directory listing of lots of abandoned buildings. From schools, churches, parks, and even entire neighborhoods, all of which are completely abandoned.
On their location database, you can browse buildings and see all of the abandoned places that are listed. If you’re from the Detroit area or are planning on visiting, DetroitUrbex is your go-to site for finding places to explore.
Yet another amazing urban exploration blog. This one centered mostly around Ontario, Canada. The man behind Freaktography is a professional photographer and urban explorer.
He documents abandoned buildings through his amazing photography skills. What’s great about his blog is that he shares the names of the places he explores. In each blog post, you’ll get to see both the pictures of the locations he’s visited and the names of the building.
He doesn’t post the address of the places he’s explored. But with the name of the building which he provides, it’s more than enough for you to search for it on Google and see where exactly it’s located. He’s explored hundreds of abandoned locations over the years so the possibility of you coming across an abandoned building that’s near you, if you’re in Ontario, is quite high.
ShotHotSpot – Photography Location Website
This website is primarily used for photographers to find places to photograph, some of them abandoned. What’s great about this website is one little feature it has that’s incredibly useful to us urban explorers. That feature is the ability to filter and search for abandoned locations in a city.
I know it sounds too good to be true. But it’s not. It actually works. I’ve used it so many times in the past. When I travel and want to do some urbex but don’t feel like browsing through different blogs/forums. I check this website first and see what abandoned places near me are in the area I am in.
The site is updated all the time by photographers so new places are popping up all the time.
Give the site a try, it’s simple to use. Simply search for the city you’re in. There you’ll see all the locations available to photographers.
What you’ll want to do is filter that list of locations to only show ‘Abandoned Areas’. All you have to do is tick the “Abandoned’ box on the right side area of the map and you’ll be shown all the abandoned buildings in your area. There you have it, a couple of free websites that showcase abandoned buildings in your area that you can possibly explore.
These are only a handful of sites on the internet that we can use to find abandoned buildings. There are soooo many more out there. You just have to go out and find them. Which isn’t at all difficult to do. They’re all just a google search away.
Drive Around Your Neighborhood
Sometimes, the best way to find abandoned buildings is to just get in your car and drive around looking for them. You know your city better than I do so I can’t really tell you where to go.
But some advice I can give you is for you to take roads that you normally wouldn’t take. Drive on backroads or small side streets in your city that you’ve never been to before. Low-income neighborhoods tend to have so many abandoned houses, businesses, and schools.
These overlooked places can be filled with so many abandoned buildings and you may not even realize it. Pull up a map of your city and decide what area you’re going to go drive around on. Choose someplace that you’ve never been to before.
Also, it’s a good idea to take a friend with you. That way you can safely keep your eyes on the road while driving. It also helps to have an extra set of eyes.
No matter where in the world you live, you can use this method to seek out and discover hidden places that may have otherwise never have found.
Use Your Contacts To Your Advantage
This method is as easy as it gets, all you have to do is ask. Message your friends or family and simply ask them if they know of any abandoned buildings in the area. They, just like you, have to travel every day to work or school and may drive by abandoned buildings.
So there’s a chance one of them may know of a cool place you can explore. If you don’t want your friends or family knowing you explore abandoned buildings, then you’ll have to make friends online in the urbex community. Get on Twitter or Instagram and search for the #urbex hashtag. Befriend other urban explorers and ask them where they’ve explored.
You’re bound to come across a friendly fellow explorer that will gladly share the location of places he/she has explored. You can also join Facebook groups from your area. Search for ‘Urbex YourCityName’ groups on Facebook.
Join those groups and befriend the members. Don’t outright ask people to share the locations of places they’ve explored. First, become an active member of the group. Comment on posts, share photos/videos, and post relevant information to the group. Give some sort of value to the group first before you ask for anything in return.
Once you’re friends with some of the members of the group, then you can ask if they can share location information with you. Or if you can join them in their next exploration adventure. Leverage your contacts and you’re bound to find someone who will share with you exactly what you’re searching for. You can also check out some urban exploration apps that might be useful.
There you have it, the many methods I use to find abandoned places near me to explore. No other blog on the internet has this kind of information posted for free to their readers. At least none that I know of.
I don’t know if it’s because they’re trying to keep new urban explorers from learning about urbex because they think UE is some kind of secret underground hobby. I rarely see other urban explorers share this kind of information. That’s why I decided to write this incredibly long and detailed post.
I really hope you found this article useful and it’s helped you find your first, or next, abandoned building to explore. If I could ask you for a quick favor in return, please share this article with your friends or anyone else that may be new to urban exploration.
I think this article can be considered the ‘Ultime Guide’ when it comes to finding abandoned buildings for new and even experienced urban explorers/photographers. So if it’s not too much trouble, please share the link to this article on social media or with anyone that you think might find it useful.
Thank you for reading! 🙂
P.S. If you know of any more methods I can use to find abandoned places, please leave them in the comments below! I’ll be sure to share them with everybody in my next blog post.