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 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 an abandoned hospital, 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 other urban explorers were finding these cool abandoned places to explore.
It turns out it’s a lot easier to find these places than I imagined.
Some explorers find abandoned buildings 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 to find abandoned buildings near them to explore.
How exactly they do it, is what I’m going to show you in this article.
I hope you find this useful!
How To 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 off 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.
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 what are called 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.
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 into 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.
Like 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. 🙂