The exploration of abandoned and restricted areas is a growing trend in U.S. metropolises. Apparently, more than a few pioneering folks are willing to risk being arrested for trespassing in order to experience the thrill of having new adventures in out-of-bounds zones, and Austin is no exception to this emergent trend.
We were somewhat skeptical that on-camera trespassing is okay or even worth being acknowledged as a thing unto itself, but then we discovered the local underground “urb-exing” community on YouTube. Much as we would urge folks not to follow the examples set here, we were kinda hypnotized by the footage from around Austin.
Still. Trespassing is never cool and could get you hurt or killed or arrested. These videos may be fascinating, but so is watching a train wreck in slow motion. We don’t recommend participating in either, but sitting back and clicking play is still an okay thing to do.
The Late Coxville Zoo
According to Austin Explorer, a local guy named Alvin Cox used to run a gas station and grocery store at Yager and North Lamar. Apparently, his pet monkey would interact with visitors and eventually, Cox started accumulating other displaced exotic critters and eventually opened his own zoo. In 1969, Cox had to close the place down, but some run-down structures and animal cages, now decorated with graffiti, remain.
A Nameless Stormwater Tunnel
In the following clip, several guys explore an unknown Austin drainage tunnel, equipped with a GoPro Hero 5, dependable flashlights, and surprisingly, a 16′ Suzuki DRZ400SM motorcyle — which they actually ride through the dark passage.
See for yourself:
A Motorcross Overview of Austin Graffiti Tunnels
Similarly, we also seriously love this video made by urb-exing motocross riders as they explore some of Austin’s underground graffiti haunts and local trails:
A Real Creepy Former Nursing Home
Instagram user @urbex.austin recently published footage of himself and several fellow URBEX enthusiasts exploring a building that appears to be a former nursing home somewhere in Austin. During their adventure, they discover a room full of furnished hospital beds, along with decorative items like picture frames and vases.
Check it out:
An Abandoned North Austin House
Here, some urb-exers explore an abandoned house in Northeast Austin and were surprised to find a lot of personal belongings left behind, including a hardcover dictionary, a top-loading washer, chairs, and trash-bags full of who knows what. It kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?
South Austin’s Forgotten Lookout Tower
In this two-part video series filmed by YouTube user Dead Explorer, an urb-exer and ghost hunter named Alejandro searches for the remains of a forgotten lookout tower rumored to be located somewhere in South Austin’s woods.
Find out if he discovers the tower here:
Another Deserted Austin Home
YouTube user Expl0re Life and her companions recently uploaded a video of their discovery of a deserted Austin home and overgrown backyard. The house is mostly gutted and empty, but the group discovers piles of junk, an interesting shed, an old payphone, and of course, plenty of graffiti behind the forsaken residence.
Check it out:
Castle Hill aka. HOPE Outdoor Gallery
The urb-exer in this video jumps between multiple abandoned sites throughout Texas, but since he also features a very well-loved street art destination in Austin between 10:42 and 13:25, we were especially interested.
An Interesting Old Cement Plant
This urban explorer discovered an abandoned cement plant in Austin that’s filled with tons of rusty barrels, old equipment, and huge stacks of legitimate bags of concrete. Crazy times!
The Forsaken “Hendrick” Building
Though not technically filmed in Austin, this video of a group of urb-exers exploring and rooftopping an old office complex in San Antonio known as the “Hendrick Building” is totally badass, so we couldn’t resist including it in our list.
You’ll see why:
After viewing these videos, we’re curious to hear what you think. Do urban explorers help Keep Austin Weird, or is urb-exing a dangerous hobby that should be discouraged? This sort of behavior is definitely not something anyone should emulate, but it’s still hard to stop watching once it’s on camera.
Featured photo: Flickr user Andreas Kambanis, CC licensed