Top 10 Cities for Urban Exploration

The Packard plant is dangerous enough that the fire department can't even venture inside. ©

Big draw: Packard Automotive Plant

It's no surprise that the parts of "Motor City" abandoned by the motor makers would offer a lot of ghost-town structures. The Packard plant is one of the biggest. It was built in 1903, closed and converted into an industrial complex in the 1950s, closed again in the 1990s, and finally looted down to nothing [source: Detroiturbex].

Now, what's left is the damaged bones -- brick walls, scattered cinderblocks and beams warped by fires no one puts out; frames of the between-building bridges that sheltered workers in the Detroit winter; mounds of tires, rubble and broken glass; and the occasional truck driven into the building to haul away looted materials, oddly left behind.

The structural state of the plant is such that the fire department has been ordered to stay out -- thus the fires burning freely [source: Lam].

More to explore:

  • Belle Isle Children's Zoo: Opened in 1895, closed and then reopened in the 1970s, and finally abandoned in 2002 [source: Preuss].
  • Countless abandoned synagogues, churches, hospitals, fire stations and entire residential neighborhoods.
  • The old Cass Technical High School building: Vacant since 2005, when Cass moved next door, and still filled with desks, bookcases and copy machines. Diana Ross and Lily Tomlin both went to school there [source: Detroiturbex].

Heading now across the Atlantic ...