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Top 5 Places for Urban Exploration in the United States

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Forget the trails and mountain tops. Today, we’re trekking off the beaten path and checking out dark alleys, abandoned buildings, and some seriously creepy places in the United States. This nation is full of places to urban explore (not sure if that’s a good thing), and we have the list of the best cities to do it in. So, strap up your hiking boots, grab your backpack and don’t forget your pair of polarized sunglasses. These are sights you don’t want to miss.


The Entire City of Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is, inarguably, one of the best places to urban explorein the United States. After claiming the title for having the highest median income of any major city, Detroit came crashing down hard. Thousands of people lost their jobs as the automobile industry came to a halt, which resulted in just as many being unable to pay for their house. The only option was to leave, and that’s what they did.

Today, Detroit is full of abandoned homes, schools, churches, train stations, office buildings, hospitals, factories, stores, gas stations – you name it. But these aren’t just any regular abandoned buildings. Since the economy was so booming back in the day, the architecture is absolutely mesmerizing. These abandoned buildings are full of beautiful sadness and enriched with history; everyone needs to take their urban exploration to Detroit.


The Freedom Tunnel in New York


A trip to New York to do some urban exploring will also provide beyond your expectations but with millions of places to see, some of the best are easy to miss. So, make sure The Freedom Tunnel is one of your first stops because you definitely don’t want to miss this ride.

The Freedom tunnel dates back to the 1930s where an underground train system was overrun by the convenience of automobiles. Today, you can find it abandoned underneath Riverside Park and it home to, not only the homeless but also, to 3 miles worth of some of the best graffiti art you’ll ever see.


Murphy Ranch in Los Angeles

Similar to New York, you can’t ever go wrong with a trip to L.A. It always provides and the opportunity for urban exploration is never-ending but there’s one place in particular that you haveto check out.

Murphy Ranch is an abandoned Nazi commune that’s open to the public. You can hike or bike through the many ruins and graffiti-decorated structures that now make their mark in history.


Griffith Park Zoo in Los Angeles

While in Los Angeles, don’t forget to check out Griffith Park Zoo. Founded back in 1920, this now abandoned urban exploration destination was once a popular zoo, complete with some of the world’s most astonishing animals.

Today, it’s left as if nothing has changed, sans the animals and zookeepers, of course. Some picnic tables have even been added inside the exhibits, so you can get a true feeling of what it’s like being trapped in an abandoned Los Angeles zoo.  


The Burning Centralia, Pennsylvania

If there’s any place to urban explore in Pennsylvania, let it be Centralia. This ghost town was once a mining town, home to a couple hundred people. In 1962, someone lit the landfill on fire, unbeknownst of the old mine pit underneath it, which caused the tunnels to go in in flames, taking the town with it. Even today, you’ll find smoldering roads that are hot to touch, as the fire continues to burn underneath. The coal in the mines is believed to keep Centralia burning from underneath for the next 250 years.



Turn on your Google maps, grab your polarized sunglasses and start the car. It’s time for a road trip to these top urban exploration destinations.


Shop Public Sunglasses for handcrafted sunglasses designed for the urban explorer.