Urban Exploration, more commonly known as Urbex, is the practice of visiting sights that have long since been abandoned and are falling into decay. Urbex can be done anywhere that an abandoned building or space exists. You may not even need to leave the city you live in, in order to find what you’re looking for.
It’s also great for travelers on a budget or those who are just curious about days gone by and how a building can go from a bustling hub of activity to witnessing the slow decay and takeover of nature in a once-pristine space. Basically, this is a fun, cheap and often quite easy way to see some really cool stuff, but if you’re not quite convinced yet, then here are four more reasons to go on an Urbex adventure.
1. It’s Fun And It’s Free
What’s more exciting than a slight air of danger and mystery? Not spending your hard earned cash on an over-priced, over-crowded, noisy tourist attraction. If you’re dying to get off the well-beaten path, then checking out a deserted bowling alley should end up at the top of your list. The most money you'll have to spend on this visit will be the snacks you bring and transportation costs, which likely will not end up being terribly expensive. Plus, who wouldn’t love having a nice afternoon picnic with friends in the middle of the lanes of an abandoned bowling alley?
2. To Get An Impression Of The Past
Whether you’re visiting a dilapidated Ballroom or an abandoned hospital asylum, letting your imagination run wild to try and catch a glimpse of the past can be a fun exercise. Imagining what it may have been like to do the waltz in a stunning gown across the dance floor or walking the halls of an eerie psychiatric ward can stimulate the mind and your interest in past events. There was once life happening in between these walls and while your imagination may not paint a completely accurate historical picture of the local haunt, it still can serve to spark your interest in some later research.
3. To Witness The Perseverance Of Nature
Humanity loves to leave its mark on the world and society in order to prove their existence and greatness. Some tend to fall under the impression that our massive architectural undertakings can last a lifetime, but even the great pyramids and other architectural wonders require regular upkeep in order for them to remain safe enough for public visits and viewing.
It’s funny to see that even after just a few short months, you can start to see nature creeping its way back in. Without routine maintenance weeds grow in cracks, vines find their way through open windows, rain rots away wood, and animals of all sorts start creating homes and nesting in walls, cozy corners, and the rafters. No space is safe from the takeover of nature and it’s a beautiful reminder that no matter how hard humans try to tame the world around us, nature will survive and persist despite us.
4. To Let Out Your Inner Artist
These abandoned urban spaces tend to create the perfect atmosphere for people who want to let creativity take hold and let their imagination run free. Whether you’re looking to stage the perfect whimsical fashion shoot, filming you’re next zombie apocalypse movie, or just want to try your hand at spray painting a wall for the first time, these spaces allow for such freedoms. You’ll often see artists, amateurs and professionals alike, at these sites creating and practicing their craft. You might as well feel free to do so as well!
Urbex Is Fun, But Beware
If you’re feeling inspired to go exploring, then it’s worthwhile to note that Urbex can also be dangerous for various reasons. These areas have long been abandoned, and once they fall into disrepair, it can prove to be very dangerous to walk up those rotting wood steps or duck through the window with shards of broken glass poking out. It would be beneficial for your safety to explore with a friend or small group and have some drinks, snacks, and basic first aid supplies on hand for your journey.
An added challenge is that many of these places are boarded up in an attempt to keep the general public out because of the harm that could be caused to potential adventurers. This means that depending on where you are exploring, police could come at any time and ask you to leave the premises.
Lastly, it often happens that people who are experiencing homelessness will find refuge in these buildings and make a home there. It shouldn’t have to be said, but please do not move, damage, or disrespect them or their property. Be mindful and if they ask you to leave them alone, then respect their wishes and move on to a different space.
If possible, you should check to see if there are any firsthand accounts from those who have recently visited the site that you plan on going to. Some cities, such as Berlin, even have communities that create websites dedicated to cataloging all Urbex sights and updating any curious souls on the safety and condition of the place one might desire to visit. So, if you’re cautious and would like to get a glimpse of what you’re getting yourself into, then try a quick google and see what you can find. Besides that, we wish you many happy and safe explorations!