The Run Down

Explore what’s left of an abandoned grain silo just Southwest of the city. Here are the guide highlights.

1. Getting to the Damen Silos*
2. Entering the Silo Grounds
3. Silo Basement

*Exploring the Damen Silos is technically illegal, so I wouldn’t recommend just walking up to the entrance from the main road. Scroll to the next section for details on the best way to get there.

Damen Silos Map


The Damen Silos sit right on the outskirts of downtown Chicago and for many, it serves as an unofficial landmark representing a moment in time when the city was a center of agriculture and manufacturing. 

Getting to the Damen Silos was a bit easier than expected. It’s located on 29th and Damen on the banks of the Chicago River. This was my first time going so I had my car and drove around a bit looking for an entrance. The Damen Silos are bordered by a highway to it’s south and private warehouses to it’s north so I had to do a few laps to find an inconspicuous place to park my car. I ended up parking about a half mile away in a Target Store parking lot which was the perfect cover.

2018 Update: Thanks to Mackenzie M. for this recent update.

The property is guarded by security; a car was sitting in the driveway between the tower and the silos. The best way to get into the gated-off property is to park in Target’s parking lot, then get on the bridge and walk down the 29th street ramp. This will lead you directly in front of the silos, however it is gated off. If you keep walking EAST (away from the highway) on 29th street on the railroad tracks, you will see that the fence cuts into the property and away from the road. If you walk into there, there is a sketchy dirt path leading around the fence and towards the warehouse. Walk on the side of the warehouse that is facing the business to the right of the property. There is a big door that you can wedge yourself through. I suggest touring the warehouse and making your way to the silos on the back road but staying low, otherwise you are bound to get caught. 


There is a gravel path that leads you in between the Silos, and the first thing you’ll see is a perfectly framed view of the downtown Chicago. It’s actually quite amazing to see Chicago’s past set against the backdrop of its future. It reminds me a bit of those dystopian future movie archetypes where the world is distinctly split between the haves and have nots. Perhaps that isn’t so far off from reality.


As you circle around the Silo, you’ll notice that a portion of a wall has been cut out which leads to the Silo basement. In the basement is a maze of hallways lined with graffiti from top to bottom. While the sun makes it’s way through small windows along the basement’s outer edge, as you make your way deeper, the light eventually fades to black. If you want to get to the top of the Silo, I heard the access point is somewhere in the basement. I wasn’t able to find it, but I also was by myself so I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the basement for obvious reasons i.e. monsters



Adjacent to the Silos is a beautifully broken warehouse. After wandering around the premises, I found a set of stairs leading up to a second floor with a half standing roof. The stairs seemed to be in decent shape, so I felt safe going up. Since the second story was exposed to the elements, the ground was covered with plants starting to sprout with the spring weather. This was the last building I decided to explore as the sun was beginning to set.