Famous Buildings With Secret, Hidden Places

When you think of famous landmarks, what do you think of? The Eiffel Tower, Times Square, Mount Rushmore, and more, right?

Well, those places are incredible sights to see, and they are among many famous buildings and structures in the world that hold old secrets. From never-explored crypts to hidden apartments that only one person had ever lived in, these landmarks are incredible for more reasons than one.

One Times Square In New York

a picture of One Time's Square
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / Brechtbug
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / Brechtbug

One Times Square is one of those iconic buildings that we all know to see but never really think about, apart from it being that building in Times Square that has all the advertisements on it (like that narrows it down). But behind those screens and posters, there is actually…nothing.

Inside One Times Square is a bunch of abandoned offices and a drug store on the ground floor. The company that owned the building went bankrupt in 1992 and sold the space to an advertising firm that never had intentions of using the insides.

The Tunnels Beneath The Las Vegas Strip

tunnels in Las Vegas
Photo Credit: Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Creative Commons

When you think of the Las Vegas strip, what do you think of? You probably think of bright lights, money, casinos, and lots of fun and drinking. But there is a darker side to Las Vegas…the underside, actually.

Directly beneath the strip is a series of tunnels that have become the homes of many of the homeless in the area. There is no light other than that of flashlights, and anyone brave enough to go down and explore will see little homes with furniture set up throughout the tunnel.

The Bathroom Of Cardinal Bibbiena, Vatican

a secret bathroom in the Vatican
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons Getty Images / Mondadori Portfolio
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons Getty Images / Mondadori Portfolio

Hidden in the papal apartments is a tiny bathroom that is not often seen or used. It was painted by the artist Raphael. While he is famous for some of the most inspiring and beautiful religious depictions ever seen in art, there is something a little naughtier about this bathroom.

The murals in the bathroom are full of mythical creatures and some playful, potentially sexy scenes that many after the Renaissance find to be in poor taste. The bathroom still exists but has been left largely in disrepair.

Cave Of The Evil Spirit, Niagara Falls

devil's hole in Niagara
Photo Credit: Niagara Falls Public Library
Photo Credit: Niagara Falls Public Library

Niagara Falls is one of the natural wonders of the world, and millions of people flock to see it every year. It’s beautiful no matter what time of year it is and offers views like no other. But, close by, hidden from the eyes of the world, is a cave that’s much more than haunted.

The Cave of the Evil Spirit is an off-limits hole in the rock facade that is said to hold the tormented soul of a spirit that got caught in there long, long ago.

Flinders Street Station’s Ballroom, Melbourne

a secret ballroom in a train station
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / Bernard Spragg Creative Commons / Hopkinsii
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / Bernard Spragg Creative Commons / Hopkinsii

Flinders Street Station is the busiest train station in all of Australia, but that isn’t the only thing that makes it so unique. Hidden on the top floor, closed off to the public, is what used to be a grand ballroom.

It opened in 1910 and was originally used as a lecture hall that offered night courses, a lending library, a gym, tennis tables, and more. It was the 1950s and 60s when the ballroom at its brightest, holding large galas that would end just in time for you to catch the last train home.

The Waldorf Astoria Train Station New York

a train station hidden under the Waldorf Astoria
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Reading Tom Creative Commons / Logan Hicks
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Reading Tom Creative Commons / Logan Hicks

Beneath the beautiful and historic Waldorf Astoria is a less than glamorous train station. It currently serves as a storage yard and was built during the construction of Grand Central Station in the 1910s to serve as the power station and heating plant.

The yard was demolished in the 1930s to make room for the hotel. It was then used as a private station to shuttle the world’s elite to the hotel in secret. Now, it sits barely used holding rusting trains.

The Tennis Courts At Grand Central Terminal

tennis court in Grand Central Station
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Grand Central Station is already one of the most iconic and recognizable places in the world, but like any great historical landmark, it has some hidden secrets. On the fourth floor of Grand Central Station are two full-sized tennis courts that have been there since the 1960s.

They are open to the public and don’t require a membership, but court time starts about $200. The courts are open 6 a.m.–2 a.m.

The Apartments In The New York Public Libraries

apartments in the New York Public library
Photo Credit: New York Public Library
Photo Credit: New York Public Library

The New York City Library is an incredible place to see. But one little-known slice of history is the apartments tucked away on the top floors of the building. When the libraries were originally built, they were heated with coal, so someone had to live in the libraries to make sure the furnace didn’t go out. The apartments were built for the library custodians.

When coal heating was phased out, the majority of the apartments were absorbed back into the library, but some still sit alone today as storage or just empty, probably haunted homes.

The ‘Lucky 7 Lounge’ at Pixar Studios

Lucky 7 lounge
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / andyi
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / andyi

The Lucky 7 Lounge is something of an urban legend that is a mystery even to some of those who work at Pixar Studios. It’s a tiny nook that was created by the shape of the building where the air conditioners were located. It was discovered when Andrew Gordon decided to explore a human-sized hatch in his new office.

He decided to turn the space into a speakeasy, which became a favorite hangout spot, including for celebs like Steve Jobs. It has a sliding bookshelf as an entrance and everything.

The Crypt Of St. Mark’s Basilica

the crypt below St. Mark's Basilica
Photo Credit: Getty Images / MARCO BERTORELLO
Photo Credit: Getty Images / MARCO BERTORELLO

While it would make sense that a church like St. Mark’s Basilica would have a crypt, it’s not a space that’s often open for the public to visit and is only available for tours a few times a year.

One of the reasons it’s not often open is because the crypt can sometimes have a blanket of water across the floor, as the area is prone to flooding. As you can imagine, that’s dangerous and makes the area more vulnerable to damage.

The Ancient Chambers At Drum Castle

drum castle in Scotland
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / MSMcCarthy Photography
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / MSMcCarthy Photography

Drum Castle is a favorite place to visit in Scotland. In 2013, it became even more exciting and mysterious than it was already thought to be. In a restoration effort of the tower, an archeologist found an old, Medieval chamber complete with a toilet!

It had always been a suspicion that there were some hidden rooms and passageways because there were windows on the outside of the tower that were not accounted for on the inside, but finding a bathroom was beyond what they imagined they would find!

Secret Apartments In Cinderella Castle

a suite inside inside Cinderella Castle
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / PatrickRich
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / PatrickRich

The Magic Kingdom in Disneyland is an incredible place to be, but it’s another place that’s full of little secrets. One of the biggest and most beautiful is the apartment in Cinderella Castle. It’s big enough to sleep six people and styled in the indulgent style of the late 1400s.

It was originally created for the Disney family and executives, but Disney died before it was completed. It was left unfinished for quite some time. Eventually, it was finished, but it still holds some mystery. You can’t book a stay there, you can only win one or be given one.

Mount Rushmore’s Hall Of Records

mount rushmore's hall of records
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / CarShowShooter National Park Services / Public Domain
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / CarShowShooter National Park Services / Public Domain

You would think it was something out of National Treasure, but it’s true, there is a secret Hall of Records in Mount Rushmore. The door is situated behind the head of Abraham Lincoln. The room was designed by the creator of Mount Rushmore, and in it, he started collecting the entire history of the United States but sadly died before he could finish it.

The room has since been sealed off because it’s too dangerous to get to. It could also be because it’s full of secrets, but we will never know.

A Prison In The Doge’s Palace

the hidden prison in Doge's Palace
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / antonychammond Creative Commons / Prof. Mortel
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / antonychammond Creative Commons / Prof. Mortel

The existence of the prison in the Doge’s Palace is quite well known, but it is still special because it’s not a place that a lot of people have been able to visit. Visiting the prison is not included in your standard tour of the palace.

The prison was known for being notoriously difficult to escape, with only one person being able to do it in its entire 400-year history.

Gustav Eiffel’s Private Apartment

apartment hidden in Eiffel Tower
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / szeke Tour Eiffel
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / szeke Tour Eiffel

Living in Paris is the height of a lot of people’s dreams, but could you imagine living in the Eiffel Tower itself? At the top of the Eiffel Tower, there is an apartment that has only ever been lived in by one person, Gustav Eiffel himself.

He refused to ever sell the space to anyone else, no matter how much money they offered him, but he didn’t keep it under lock and key. He often hosted small parties in his one-of-a-kind apartment.

Secrets Under Vatican City

st peters basilica
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / cliff.hellis
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / cliff.hellis

It should come as a surprise to one that Vatican City is full of secrets, probably more than we could ever imagine. From long lost tunnels to secret libraries, it’s been said that the Vatican has it all. But one of the most chilling of these secrets is the giant catacomb that serves as a second city for the dead deep beneath the ground.

It’s rumored that the first-ever Pope, Peter, is buried down there along with Jesus’s disciples.

Hidden Room In Washington Arch

Washington Arch in New York
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / skibler
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / skibler

The hidden room in the Washington Arch sounds like something from a fantasy. You can only get to it through a tiny door that leads to a tunnel that will take you to a creaky set of spiral stairs. If you follow the staircase, you end up in a dark, long attic of sorts with tons of red exposed brick.

Sadly, there is nearly no chance that the average person will be able to see it, as the attic and roof were not made to support a lot of weight—it’s just there for maintenance.

Magical Room In Hogwarts At Universal Studios

hogwarts castle theme park
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / Scott Smith
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / Scott Smith

There is a magic room in Hogwarts at Universal Studios because, well, of course, there would be. Apparently, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey roller coaster ride has the bad habit of making a lot of people sick, so the park installed a secret room near the roller coaster for people to be taken to if they’re feeling unwell.

Rumor has it that if you make your way to that secret room and end up being sick, the staff will give you a set of Hogwarts gym clothes to change in to.

The Secret Rooms Of The Pyramids

pyramids
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / dungodung
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / dungodung

OK, this one seems kind of obvious, but the more we learn about the pyramids, the more we see that there are far more secret rooms, halls, and passages than we could have imagined. For example, in the Pyramid of Khufu, a 400-foot-tall secret chamber was discovered in 2016.

We know there is much more to be discovered in these ancient wonders, and it’s certain they will only continue to surprise.

Our Lord In The Attic, Amsterdam

church in the attic of a house
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / Xin Li 88
Photo Credit: Creative Commons / Xin Li 88

From the outside, Our Lord in the Attic looks like your traditional Queen Anne style house. It’s beautiful, quaint, but nothing particularly special. But what makes Our Lord in the Attic so special is exactly what its name suggests: an adorable, fully functional church in the attic.

It has a marble altar and enough pews to seat 150 people. It was hidden in the 17th century due to the prosecution of Dutch Catholics.