Forsaken Philadelphia: The Coolest Abandoned Places in the City

We know Philadelphia may or may not be haunted, and we sure do love our history (especially when referring to the storied past of our favorite bars). But the bygone days of Philly descend much deeper than destinations on a tourist map. The city is populated with many sprawling, abandoned buildings that could satisfy your need for adventure, so we rounded up the most essential ones that you should go check out right now.

Willow Steam Plant

419 N. 9th St
Just a stone’s throw from the Electric Factory, the Willow Steam Plant sits on the edge of Center City with no signs of renewal. The space was erected in 1927 with an overabundance of pipes, gauges, and all the other industrial edge expected in a plant. Today those mechanisms give off a menacing quality as the towering structure is adorned with graffiti and too filled with asbestos to attract any investor in fixing the place up.

Beury Building

North Broad St & West Erie Ave
The 14-floor Art Deco building was designed in the late 1920s with intention to house North Philadelphia’s bank. Today it is better known as “Boner Forever,” thanks to some charming graffiti adorning the buildings’ sides. It continues to loom over North Philly and was even placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, though it has sat vacant for over 20 years.

Divine Lorraine Hotel

Broad St & Fairmount Ave
Not too far from the Beury, the Divine Lorraine is slated for a fix-up very soon, which means you only have a limited time to sneak in and adorn your Instagram with hidden-Philly photos. Ten stories high, the structure sits at Broad & Fairmount with a design still as striking as when it was built in 1894, but showing the wear and tear of old age. A renovation deal was struck earlier this year to restore Lorraine to her original divineness, so chances are North Broad Street will start to look a whole lot brighter.

Jimmy O'Donnell

The Budd Plant

Aramingo Avenue and Tioga Street
Budd closed in 2002 and signaled a finality to Philadelphia’s industrial past. It opened in 1912 to create steel bodies for cars, which was quite a marvel back when they were still mostly made of wood. It also yet another abandoned North Philly jewel, this time spreading on over 75 acres in a conglomeration of 20 buildings.

Reading Viaduct Park

1398 Noble St
Like the Divine Lorraine, big plans are in store for the Reading Viaduct. Today it’s an elevated space with non-running train tracks, overgrown with plants and natural greens. Some Philadelphians have rallied together and push to turn the abandoned space into Philly’s own version of NYC’s High Line. While the finished project is sure to be great, make sure to check it out in its natural state before it’s too late.

Hale Building

1326 Chestnut St
The Hale Building sits in Center City at Juniper & Chestnut Streets, and has had an ongoing back-and-forth from different potential owners on what the building could hold. Previously it has housed banks and bath houses, but was just sold to a new owner last July with rumblings of using the space for various creative offices.



A photo posted by Jessica Rose (@jessplayssynth) on

Mount Sinai Hospital

400 Reed St
Mt Sinai Hospital was open from 1927 to 1998 and essentially closed due to bad money-making decisions. After sitting vacant for 17 years, a developer snatched up the space, which means your days are numbered to climb the fence at Mt. Sinai and explore. Be careful though -- demolition is already rumbling in to make way for a slew of fresh new townhouses where it sits in Pennsport.

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Marielle Mondon is a Philly-born freelance writer. Follow her @MarielleMondon on Twitter and Instagram.