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Absurdly Spacious Sewer

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Iwata: Wow, I never knew sewer tunnels were so wide and spacious.
Watanabe: But what's strange is how nice it smells down here.

When an urban sewer system is large enough to serve as an underground lair, be it a single dwelling or a colony serving an entire community. Realistically speaking, most modern sewer systems consist of pipes too small for an adult to enter. They typically range from a few inches in width coming from individual properties, to about 2-3 feet wide in the street. Even these largest ones can at best only be crawled through, and then only if they are currently empty. The story seldom cares enough to explain whether the sewer is a storm drain that carries rain and snowmelt to the closest body of water, or a sanitary sewer where, well, shit happens.

Older sanitary sewers may consist of underground canals with narrow walkways on the side. These canal systems are the basis of this trope, but very few creatures, humans especially, would actually be able to survive in sewers for any extended length of time. It's pitch black (sewer workers bring their own lighting), there's little oxygen and a plethora of noxious gases from sewage, making the air highly unsuitable for breathing without specialized equipment, and the effluence in some sewer systems is so toxic that even a drop on exposed skin can require a full decontamination shower.


Sewers featured in video games and any other form of fiction, however, are usually absurdly spacious underground rivers with ample room to move, enabling characters to avoid stepping into the actual sewage (often a good thing, since in many games, contact with sewer water is inherently harmful). These underground passages have more in common with the catacombs of Paris than any actual sewer system. The dim lighting, labyrinthine passages, and resident rats and alligators provide the perfectly suitable setting for heroes to chase criminals and/or monsters through. Occasionally, the place is so big people elect it as their home. It's not unusual to find whole shanty towns built in ludicrously large sewer or ex-sewer canals, coming close to transforming into an Underground City. And somehow there's always adequate lighting, warmth, and breathable air. Presumably, there's no bodily waste down there because Nobody Poops.


Such sewers also tend to be connected to a multitude of locations throughout the city, accessed through manholes with easily removable lids (in real life, manhole covers are heavy and lack obvious handles to prevent this exact thing), granting access directly into otherwise secure buildings; a perfect way for suspicious types to travel without detection, noxious fumes notwithstanding.

In fantasy or historical fiction, this trope becomes anachronistic. While the Romans did have a sophisticated sewage system for the city of Rome and other major cities across the Empire note , the system was too technologically complex for either contemporary civilizations or successor civilizations to replicate. From the Fall of Rome until the Industrial Revolution, the preferred method of waste removal was pouring it into ditches in the street where the rain would wash it away (sooner or later). However, this could be justified by fantasy societies, such as dwarves, that are more industrialized than their medieval human counterparts.

The story may sidestep the issue of living in human filth by having the "sewer" be an abandoned subway, maintenance tunnel, or fallout shelter, especially if it's still accessible from the sewers, thus invoking this trope (and making it seem to outsiders that they still live in a sewer) while giving the characters someplace a little more sanitary to rest their heads.

Real life spacious sewers do exist, either because they need to be spacious enough for people to access, and therefore maintain them, or to acomodate massive volumes of water. See IAMA Drainer. In practice, the "underground tunnel network where homeless people and thieves live" of urban lore does exist in a few industrialized cities. They are usually a system of technical tunnels built to accommodate water from various sources, electrical cables, storage spaces for the underground rail systems, and so on. The reason for its spacious construction is that it has to allow maintenance workers and sometimes their vehicles to run inside.

Compare Unnecessarily Large Interior, Underground City, Dungeon Town, and Air-Vent Passageway.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Behemoth, a massive team in Air Gear, has its HQ in a massive sewer that can hold more than 1000 riders and a massive construction excavator. Possibly justified in that it was a sort of sewage plant, not just a sewer, and it was renovated.
  • AKIRA: In Neo-Tokyo's sewers are spacious enough to patrol them with flying craft.
  • Used plausibly in Berserk, as they're under a rather large castle/fortified town in around the time large sewer tunnels would have been built. Also avoids the "hero doesn't actually have to walk in the sewage" thing, because it's weird to imagine someone fighting for their lives while caked with poop from the knees down. Realistic, though.
  • In Bleach, the only reason Ichigo survived so long was because he was able to move around in Seireitei's ungodly huge sewer system. Although they were also supply routes, which makes a bit more sense. The non-Shinigami members of Soul Society do not need to eat. Which, while not quite at Nobody Poops level, it's more like 5% percent poops. (If even that — everything in Soul Society is just spirit energy, so it's uncertain whether eating results in any waste products.)
  • Ashford Academy's water distribution tunnels in Code Geass are ridiculously huge, considering it only services the school.
  • In the second OVA of Devilman, Akira fights the massive turtle demon, Jinmen, in an even more massive section of the sewer.
  • Digimon Adventure: Considering that the digital world includes such gems of architecture as an upside-down, physics-defying pyramid, an improbably large sewer is the least of their engineering problems.
  • One episode of Excel Saga had everybody traveling in a large sewer underneath F City, all the while being stalked by Puchuus. Which is based on a chapter in the original manga, minus the Puchuus. It makes sense that the sewers would be large, since they have to accommodate ACROSS's headquarters.
  • Fairy Tail: Duke Everlue owns one. Happy goes for a swim in it.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Lan Fan escapes through the sewers of Central after she and Ling fight Wrath. Scar is also shown traversing sewers on multiple occasion. However, this may be justified as the city, including sewer networks, has been created entirely under the rule of Father, and the sewers connect to his underground base.
  • Heat Guy J featured an underground sewer city that leached off of the technologically advanced city above. It was freer, pleasant and considerably more crowded than other examples listed in this trope. (Which is strange, as one would think illness and death would be rampant in a crowded, airless city situated next to a river of raw sewage.)
  • Key scenes in Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade take place in spacious, relatively well-lighted sewers. This is also taken and adapted to Ilang: The Wolf Brigade.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: Iggy fights Pet Shop in one, hoping that the restrained space would give the bird a disadvantage. When Pet Shop transforms the water in the sewers into ice, Iggy realizes how wrong he was.
    • Steel Ball Run: At New York, it turns out the sewer is big enough to accommodate Johnny riding on his horse. And there's still a bit of height left for him to aim his arm upward and fire his Finger Gun.
  • In one episode of Kimba the White Lion, Kimba accidentally gets himself lost in the sewer system in Paris and then has to fight an elderly leopard that has been thought as a monster living in the sewers.
  • Averted for humorous effect in a chapter of Lupin III, where Lupin is seen traveling through a sewer pipe too small for the average person to fit through, presumably as a Self-Deprecation joke about the artist's tendency of drawing his characters as Noodle People.
  • The sewers of Mid-Childa in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS were large enough for the Forwards to have an all-out battle against a swarm of Mecha-Mooks, a summoner, and her allies.
  • The sewer system under Mahora in Negima! Magister Negi Magi is huge. Huge enough for people to have battles against groups of Mechamooks and Spider Tanks. There's even a massive, cavernous room there that contained an invading army of those plus a few Humongous Mecha.
  • The firing range that the main characters of Noir use for target practice is a bulls-eye chalked onto the wall of a sewer tunnel. Given that nobody in the series mentions that they smell funny, they must have found a highly effective brand of soap.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • The episode "Leading A Stray!" (The Stray Hoeruko!)". Ash and friends travel through a sewer large enough for a Wailmer to swim in.
    • In Episode 29 "Sparks Fly for Magnimite!" Team Rocket's first plan apparently requires Jessie and James to swim though the sewers of Gringy City, however the plan is quickly cut short when Grimers and a Muk clog the city intake of seawater, therefore cutting off the city's power, which cuts off both of their air supply.
  • The sewer network under the imperial capital in Pumpkin Scissors is big enough that it contains as many people as the city above. Also, you can drive and drift in it.
  • Sailor Moon: Episode 31 has a chase lead into one of these. At least the smell gets remarked upon. While a cat did it get stuck in there, it was really big, due to being a crystal carrier. Once Luna has pushed the large cat into the pipe, Zoisite has no problems following them.
  • Spice and Wolf features a sewer system big enough to fit a massive wolf in, with enough room left over for said wolf to fight a group of soldiers. This is somewhat justified as they were originally built by the church to use as escape routes.
  • In Wolf's Rain Kiba and Hige spend an ENTIRE night sleeping in one in Episode 3 and neither of them ends up falling sick or anything like that. Later in the same episode the two of them along with Toboe trudge through the sewers with no problem at all with Hige complaining he "doesn't like smelly places" at the most.

    Asian Animation 
  • Guardian Fairy Michel has them in a knockoff New York City in episode 13. They're big enough for giant robots to swim in!
  • One Lamput episode has the docs go into a noticeably roomy sewer on their search for Lamput. They think they've caught him in their net, only to realize they caught a sewer rat instead and have angered it and the other rats that are with it.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The sewers of the city-world of Ravnica are so spacious that they count as cities unto themselves; in point of fact, they are old sections, streets and thoroughfares of the world-city cities have been built over. They're mostly used by the Golgari elves and humans to dispose of waste and grow produce for the surface-dwellers, resulting in swamplike stretches of sewer overgrown with fungus, lichen, mold and moss, and by Dimir and Rakdos criminals as safe havens, although they also have their fair job of wandering monsters — mostly gigantic insects. The place is even referred to as the Undercity.
    • In the shattered world of Alara, the shard of Esper has a sewer system known as the Tidehollow, where the plane's more unsavory elements salvage Etherium scrap. Predictably, most of the shard's black mana comes from this region.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Batman comics, Gotham City has a spacious and labyrinthine sewer system that often serves as a base of operation to villains such as Killer Croc and the Rat-Catcher.
    • Also, in The Long Halloween, Solomon Grundy and Two-Face. Its sequel Dark Victory has Two-Face, The Joker, The Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy...yeah, the sewers are large enough to be a small town.
    • This is sometimes blamed on a lack of proper planning permission system.
      • Said sewers are also connected to the Batcave (and Public Enemies shows that this entrance is guarded by Alfred with a shotgun, leaving Superman to remark "You didn't have a spare Mr. Freeze gun you could've loaned him?"). Those sewer accesses are ALWAYS big enough to accommodate the Batmobile, Batsub and the Batboat moving at outright irresponsible speeds.
      • In fact in Dark Victory, Two-Face and his gang actually stumble into the Batcave by accident, after fleeing through the sewers from their compromised base.
  • In The Beano the Ratz appear to live in a sewer large enough for a number of things and the sewer enables them to easily get into the houses of humans. However the sewers have never been shown to be large enough to fit humans down them.
  • One Blake and Mortimer story has a long underground section in the catacombs of Paris. One of the cops has the bright idea to mention the story of a man who wanted to use the tunnels to get into a monastery's wine cellar, and whose shoes were worn through from walking when his body was found.
  • Diabolik often travels inside Clerville's positively cavernous sewers... That are connected to an extensive net of underground tunnels, inhabited by hundreds of dispossessed and homeless people. Upon learning of the latter and of how huge it is, Diabolik admitted he didn't know it was so extensive.
  • The Eel would make his lair in one of these (seriously, the ceiling has got to be like fifteen feet high) in early Marvel Comics, laying low after his defeat by the Human Torch in his first appearance.
  • In the Hellboy spin-off Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus, the Lobster is able to travel by boat through the New York sewer system. And it's mentioned that there is a subterranean cannibal tribe, though not a bad as the ones under London and Paris.
  • Kraken was a comic serialized in the 1980's Spanish magazine Metropol, and set in the fictional city of the same name. The Metropol Sewer Police had patrol boats to move around, and the sewers themselves were connected to a whole not-quite-abandoned subterranean city, complete with disused factories and all (a reference to the classic Fritz Lang film) Among the inhabitants of this massive underworld were homeless vagabonds, criminal gangs, long-forgotten veterans of an old civil war and the eponymous Kraken itself, an amorphous, all-devouring tentacled behemoth that kept getting bigger and occupying larger portions of the system in spite of all the efforts to contain it.
  • Monica's Gang: Villain Capitão Feio/Captain Fray and his minions live in the sewers, which are large enough to fit the main characters in a few stories whenever they have to explore it. Given that Fray has powers over dirtiness and pollution, it's an appropriated hideout.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: Many times, a mission will require that Mortadelo and Filemón go down to the sewers, which are big enough to fit Mortadelo quite well (canonically Mortadelo is 1'80 metres tall).
  • Nodwick once found enough of space in one to hang a lampshade:
    Yeagar: The sewer system is big enough for you guys to crawl through it?
    Artax: Crawl through? are you kidding? The sewer caverns are huge! You'd almost think the town had been trying to cause the bar's foundation to cave in and wash everything out to sea.
    Barman: Gee, with my upstanding clientele? Go figure.
  • In the What If? type story, The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe, the Punisher's first victims are Spider-Man and Venom, who are fighting in a sewer. Spider-Man is actually able to jump around (meaning he flies over Venom's head by a good five feet) in the sewer. Yet the reason Punisher picks them off there is because they'd have no room to manouver..
  • In Robyn Hood: I Love NY #2, Robyn hunts down a gang of Lizard Folk living in New York's absurdly spacious sewers who have taken to abducting humans off the street.
  • According to Scooby Apocalypse, the sewers of Albany are big enough not only for adults to walk around comfortably in, but also host an entire tent city of homeless people. Oh, and for some reason there's tunnel access right into a mall's basement.
  • The sewers of Sin City are apparently pretty large. Marv is able to swim through them via the harbor and make it to another part of town in The Long Goodbye. Dwight, meanwhile, takes on an IRA mercenary in the sewers in The Big Fat Kill.
  • Superman:
    • During a period in the early 00's, when Applied Phlebotinum had reinvented Metropolis as a 64th century ultra-city, the sewers were a vast network of extremely clean looking waterways, patrolled by genetically engineered creatures who consumed the city's waste and tasted like chicken. Also, a homeless guy who'd found a rubber dinghy and an outboard motor on a pole and reinvented himself as the mythic archetype of The Ferryman. Regular old Metropolis has the Underworld, home to ... humanoid-but-not-human creatures, and a few humans who can't find anyplace better to live. The Underworld is mostly either natural caverns or excavated by the Underworlders themselves, but it does connect with Metropolis' underground public works (subways, technical tunnels, storm drains, etc.).
    • Supergirl (Rebirth): The sewers of National City are huge and spacious. There's enough room for Supergirl to stand up or fly around without bumping into anything.
    • Bizarrogirl shows the Metropolis' sewers are large and wide enough to fit in a rocket ship.
    • In Death & the Family, Metropolis' sewers are wide enough to allow two persons to walk upright and side by side. And then fighting a swarm of giant bugs.
    • Adventures of Supergirl shows that National City's sewer system is large enough to work as a hideout/home for large aliens. As following Rampage, a whole search and capture team descends into the network and starts exploring the underground channels.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Almost every incarnation of the group lives in a sewer spacious enough to have 2-5 bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, a training area, and a garage for the Turtle Van (let's not think about the blimp for now...). It's unclear if Splinter's meditation room and Don's workshop are part of their bedrooms or separate, but the latter's easy to picture considering how huge their underground palace already is. Their sewer lair is larger than any house you've been in (probably) and the tunnels are wide enough to accommodate vehicles like the tank-sized Battle Shell. It is very seldom that the Turtles must come into contact with anything you've flushed. That said, the sewers in almost every section of the franchise resemble the real-life New York storm drain system more than any sewer, and it wouldn't be the first time people have gotten the two terms confused.
    • The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film actually explicitly places the Turtles' home in the storm drains, not the sanitary sewers. Their home base is an abandoned control station, so while there are a couple rooms, they're small rooms.
    • Their gigantic lair in the second movie is a deserted "subway" station (which looks more like a Pneumatic Transit station with a subway car parked inside), not a sewer at all. Some other adaptations (like the 2012 series) adopt the subway station approach, but they're always connected to the sewer system, and said sewers are inevitably big enough for the Turtles (especially Michelangelo) to be able to skate and do half-pipes in the sewer pipes.
    • In the 2003 cartoon, their original lair was invaded and they later got another, even more palatial one. It turns out that their second lair was actually an ancient, abandoned Elyntian outpost. They later moved out of the sewers and into a pumping station.
  • In Issue #23 of the original Wolverine ongoing series, Wolverine has trapped General Coy and Prince Baran in the Madripoor sewers. There is apparently enough room for all three to run around without crouching or bumping into things, and Wolverine is able to leap at his two enemies to scare them into running.
  • X-Men: The New York (and London, and Chicago) sewers are home to the Morlocks.
    • The original Morlock Tunnels in New York were not sewers or storm drains at all, but a long-abandoned Army construction project originally intended to serve as a mass fallout shelter and then abandoned partway through construction due to cancellation of funding.
    • Played straight in the X-Men Legends RPG, in which the Morlock Tunnels are a sewer system, though it seems to be a storm sewer rather than a sanitary sewer.
    • There's also a subfaction of Morlocks who tunnel through the earth nomadically, presenting the flipside to the drain dwellers' coin.
    • Ultimate Marvel's Morlocks have intentionally expanded their tunnels into an Elaborate Underground Base, complete with hydroponic gardens powered by a mutant's electrical abilities. The sewers show up again in All-New Ultimates: the Ultimates try to follow Crossbones there, find and fight Vermin instead, and eventually find a dead cop who is now a zombie.

    Fan Works 
  • In Mass Foundations, the trio of protagonists sneak into the abandoned mining facility to capture Shepard’s body through the wastewater pipe. Downplayed, as mining always produces large quantities of wastewater and the pipes of the size shown (they’re implied to be just large enough to move through) are quite likely to be used. Because the facility processes eezo, the water is radioactive as well; they could only get through because of The Courier's Rad-X.
  • In The Night Unfurls, this is how Kyril infiltrates the Mercenary compound in Ansur per Grace's directions to find Maia. Unfortunately, this is also one of his Trauma Buttons, because it reminds him of a daughter of Gascoigne, whose carcass was torn apart by a boar beast. Poor Kyril is forced to experience his greatest failure a second time upon seeing another girl corpse dumped in the sewers.
  • Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune has the Glast Heim Culverts, wide enough to take eight people walking abreast and then some.
  • The Pokémon fanfic Pickles and Depredation features a vast network of large culverts in the cyberpunk megacity of Camphrier Town. Raozya uses these to escape a task force of Team Flare agents.
  • Episode 19 of The New Adventures of Invader Zim shows that the sewer network underneath Doomsville is big enough not only for people to comfortably walk around in, but for the homeless population to build an entire makeshift city in. The former point is somewhat justified by stating that it's an older system built before modern techniques. The latter point is lampshaded as being completely nonsensical.

    Films — Animation 
  • The secret hideout of the cat gang in An American Tail. Justified for being in New York City in 1885 (they were that big back then) and that from the viewpoints of cats and mice everything is bigger.
  • In Flushed Away we see the sewers only from the rats' perspective, but for their purposes, at least, the sewer is large enough for a sprawling city.
  • Hellboy: Blood and Iron starts with Hellboy fighting a giant mystic bull robot in a sewer system rivaling a cathedral in size.
    Hellboy: It's like a maze down here. A maze of crap.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The Gypsies all live inside a giant sewer system located underneath the streets of medieval Paris. Unfortunately, Frollo uses a Trick-and-Follow Ploy to find out where that location is... Justified because said sewer system actually exists.
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman: In France during The French Revolution, when Peabody and Sherman were escaping from Maximilien Robespierre and his guards, they hide in the sewer under the Paris plaza.
  • In Ratatouille, the sewers house quite a few rats, from whose perspective it's akin to a small city, with cardboard boxes and such in place of houses. In the licenced game, that city serves as a hub area, and can be upgraded through completing a Collection Sidequest in every location.
  • Snowball's lair in The Secret Life of Pets is located in the sewers of New York City.
  • Shrek the Third. This is justified because it was a secret escape route connected to the palace in case of attack. The licensed game ran with it to create an entire sewer level that's used as a prison for Fiona and other princesses by Prince Charming, one full of traps, hostile prisoners and knightly guards.
  • Shua flees the Ecoban law enforcement at the start of Sky Blue. His path takes him through both an Absurdly Spacious Sewer system and the Air Vent system.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • If you thought Alien was the first movie to have creepy monsters being stalked through dark tunnels with flamethrowers, you're wrong. The classic B&W 1954 sci-fi movie Them! climaxes with a hunt through the Los Angeles storm sewer system (including jeeps with mounted machine-guns) for the giant radioactive ants.
  • In Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, the town of Gunnison's sewer system is big enough for two grown men to walk through easily, has ducts big enough for chestbursters to hide in, is easy to access by both humans and xenomorphs, and is the setting of a major fight scene between a Predator and two xenomorphs.
    "Is that a couch?...Its better than ours!"
  • Dutch Film Amsterdamned had the hero police investigator investigate (that's what Police investigators do... investigate...) the source of the bad guy maniac killer's hidden hidey hole... which was a gigantic piece of sidewalk with a pseudo-canal right next to it, obviously filmed on a filmset cause Amsterdam doesn't even have sewers like that, unlike Paris. It was filmed in Utrecht, a different city with canals.
  • The Penguin's hideout in the zoo is conveniently connected to Gotham City's large sewer system in Batman Returns.
  • The Commander's underground lair in Black Mask is located in one such sewer, large enough for Black Mask to take on several mooks in a massive rocket-slide chase.
  • In Blade II, the sewers underneath the city are HUGE. So big, in fact, that scores of Reavers can stand wall to wall.
  • In The Blob (1988), it's wide enough for a bike to go through. The sewers being so absurdly spacious is actually explained in an easy-to-miss bit of dialogue. The "sewers" are actually an aqueduct system built to prevent flooding from the mountains.
  • The sewer at the refugee camp in Children of Men is wide enough to a steer a row boat across.
  • Creep (2004) is a horror movie that starts in The London Underground, and the resident monster was living in a secret Abandoned Hospital but there is your fair share of spacious sewers including one section where he keeps humans in large submerged cages with a catwalk above them. A lot of it was filmed in real, albeit decommissioned, sections of The London Underground, standing in for various bits of underground weirdness. Some sections of the network have been disused for the better part of a century now, and are beginning to look as run down and grotty as a viewer would expect the sewers to look.
  • Cthulhu. A scene beneath the fictional town of Rivermouth was filmed in the real-life Seattle Catacombs, where one of the producers used to work as a tour guide.
  • Bane's hideout in The Dark Knight Rises is in the sewers of Gotham. They are large enough to have action scenes in. Justified by the fact he's been using Dagget's construction company to make it so. Also the hideout seems to be the storm drain system and not sanitary sewers.
  • In Demolition Man, the "Wasteland" is the underground sewer system that is home to San Angeles' undesirables. Justified as most of Wasteland is the ruins of Los Angles after a great earthquake.
  • Averted in the film El Norte. Two siblings from Guatemala want to get to the US. They're in Mexico, and the only safest, fastest route was through an old sewer pipe. Not only is it small and smelly and they have to crawl on their hands and knees most of the way, but it's full of rats. Disease-ridden rats.
  • Seen in The Fugitive. Might be justified as this is out in the country rather than the city.
  • One of the locations of the floating crap game in Guys and Dolls, and remarkably clean, too.
  • In Disney's Hocus Pocus, Max, Dani and Allison have to flee the witches and zombie Billy Butcherson by following Thackery into the sewers, which are filled with spiders and rats, which is what Thackery eats as a cat! Very squicky to the trio.
  • According to the Korean monster film The Host (2006), most of the sewers in Seoul are big enough for torchlight not to be seen on the roof — or, for that matter, for a BIG FREAKING TADPOLE MONSTER to charge through them.
  • The catacombs in Venice in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They don't really look like sewers, and they're called catacombs. And then Indy climbs out of a manhole. This is justified, as several Real Life documentaries state that the catacombs in Venice have access through manhole covers to pipes running through them at points from the sewer system...
  • Justice League (both versions): Some parts of the tunnels beneath Gotham Harbor that the League explores to find Steppenwolf resemble large sewers.
  • In Ladyhawke, Phillipe Gaston (a.k.a. "the Mouse") escapes from a dungeon via its sewer. Played straight in that the sewer is only just big enough for a child, and the guard who finds him gone expresses disbelief. However, a real medieval dungeon would not have a sewer of any size at all.
  • The pipe systems in The Matrix series are described as sewers which are big enough for whole hovercrafts to comfortably navigate through them, and a city inhabited by thousands of people in its lower depths. The sewers were the only remains of the human cities destroyed in the war with the machines. That's just in "The Desert Of The Real". The Matrix itself has a sewer system beneath the Mega-City that rivals the Mines of Moria — chambers hundreds of feet wide and deep connected by twisty catacomb-like tunnels.
  • The catacombs in Metropolis approach this, especially with the scene in the massive cathedral-esque underground chamber where Maria holds her religious meetings. Which warrants the question: how did Joh Fredersen completely miss this system of catacombs while building the city, large parts of which — such as the machine rooms, subway, and worker's quarters — are underground?
  • In Plunkett & Macleane the title characters use large sewer tunnels to escape the law on several occasions.
  • Return of the Living Dead 3: The Riverman lives in one. It's wide enough for a whole group of people to stand in.
  • In the third Rush Hour film, when the guys are taken prisoner. Again, this is justified by the fact that the film is set in Paris, whose sewers really are like that.
  • Averted in The Shawshank Redemption, which has Dufresne escape from prison by tunneling a hole in his cell wall and breaking into a sewer pipe that happened to be right next to it. It's big enough for him to crawl through, but not stand up in; and the film doesn't exactly portray crawling through raw sewage as healthy either.
  • In Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, Moriarty's men attack the police van transporting the necklace from the sewers when it is stopped over a manhole.
  • Averted in Snow White and the Huntsman when Snow White sends the dwarfs to open the gates prior to her attack by sneaking in through the sewers. This is Played for Laughs when two dwarfs are side by side in the tunnel.
    "We move as one. (realise they're stuck) After you."
  • The Jeffries Tubes in Star Trek are always just big enough to crawl through — except in Star Trek V, where they're the size of subway tunnels.
  • S.W.A.T. has a ridiculously roomy sewer in the last chase scene.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett search for their assistant Toby in one of these, which is also featured in the title sequence. While this sewer system is large enough for them to walk upright in, it's also described as being the source of the unusually foul smells of Mrs. Lovett's bakery.
  • In The Third Man, the spacious sewers of Vienna play a vital role. The ending of the film was largely shot in the city's real sewers, and features the villain being chased by a Real Life squad of policemen that existed for the sole purpose of patrolling its sewers!

  • Port Blacksand of Fighting Fantasy is built atop the site of Carsepolis, an ancient and much larger city. The ruins have basically become this to the new city.
  • The second Sorcery! book is set in Khare, the Cityport of Traps, with a massive underground sewer system that's more akin to a maze. It's also infested to the brim with Slime Eaters.
  • The Lone Wolf gamebook series contains a few Absurdly Spacious Sewers, most notably the Baga-darooz in Barrakeesh, capital of Vassagonia. This sewer is vast enough to house giant lizards and other nasty monsters, and criminals can be condemned to be locked within. Unlike some other fantasy examples, however, it is described as extremely filthy, smelly and insalubrious — just getting an open wound in contact with the water can give you a horrible disease. (As in, Race Against the Clock to get the next Plot Coupon before you have to hack off the infected arm and/or die screaming.)

  • In the early Neal Stephenson book The Big U, devoted role-playing gamers would enter the sewers to game, with the help of a mainframe computer and a form of Mission Control acting as DM. (See the Mazes & Monsters entry below.)
  • In The Black Echo, it turns out that Los Angeles has a network of subterranean storm drains big enough to drive trucks through. This is how the bank robbers get to within easy access of the bank. They dig the last few hundred yards.
  • Conan the Barbarian novel Conan the Rogue has a sewer system under a corrupt town deliberately altered by thieves to act as transport routes, including hidden entrances and marked locations. Even then, only the main trunk lines are large enough to travel.
  • In the Deathstalker series, the city of Golgotha has an enormous sewer system for the Empire's homeworld. The Rebellion has a foothold there.
  • In the Discworld novel Men at Arms, the characters venture into the capacious sewers of Ankh-Morpork. As in the Futurama example below, this is partly justified because some segments of the sewers are older incarnations of the city itself, now buried and paved over. In fact the sewer system itself was paved over, with the modern day residents oblivious to the fact that it ever existed.
    Detritus: In Ankh-Morpork even the shit have a street to itself. Truly, this a land of opportunity.
    • The entirety of Ankh-Morpork is built on the slowly sinking ruins of its past, making it extremely easy for the native/non-native dwarves to tunnel under the city. Morpork doesn't build out from urban sprawl, it builds UP, and then sinks farther and farther.
  • Subverted and then played straight in the Dora Wilk Series. Dora proposes infiltrating the enemy mansion by its air vent system, but it turns out the vents are too small for a human. Werecat Szelma, though, fits in just fine.
  • Neal Shusterman's young adult novel Downsiders is about a secret community of people who live underneath New York City and are forbidden to go "topside".
  • The Edge Chronicles has a sewer so large that buildings have been constructed inside it.
  • The city of Kae in Elantris has the remains of sewage system created by powerful Elantrians. However, since Elantrian magic hasn't worked for a decade, the sewers are dank, smelly and dangerous. In short, a perfect place for the meeting of forbidden cults, as Princess Protagonist Sarene finds out.
  • Elsabeth Soesten encounters two in No Good Deed...:
    • She climbs up an abbey's privy shaft to sneak inside. On the way back down again she loses her grip and falls into the muck at the bottom.
    • While trying to escape Leyen Castle, she climbs down into the cistern (read: jumps down riding the bucket used to draw up water and ends up falling into the drink when the rope comes up short) used to store water for the castle in times of siege. A doorway inside leads to the base of one of the guard towers on the outer wall.
  • There was an unused part of the sewer underneath the town in Emily the Strange: Stranger and Stranger that was described as having alls up to about twelve feet high.
  • The most realistic examples would include the book Felidae on the Road, where protagonist Francis encounters a tribe that lives in the sewers. Justified in that they are cats (and dogs) and so are small enough, they are described as being filthy and the smell down there being noxious, they eat sewer rats, and they have gone blind from the constant darkness of the sewers.
  • In Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe, some action happens in a sewer, but since there are no walkways they have to do a lot of wading/swimming.
  • Clare Clark's historical novel The Great Stink is all about building an improved London sewer system.
  • The reveal of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is that the monster of the Chamber is a giant snake that gets around the school using the plumbing. Justified because the Chamber's creator was one of the Founders of Hogwarts, who may have planned its inclusion even before his falling-out with the others.
  • Justified to a degree in The House of Night. They're tunnels left over from Prohibition. Still a little too roomy, though.
  • InCryptid:
    • Truth in Television. In modern day New York City, a lot of the sewers are really big, and some of the big tunnels are outdated subway tunnels.
    • The bogeyman population has constructed what look like sewers and drainage tunnels, but are clean and not filthy, to facilitate their nocturnal, agoraphobic, and subterranean lifestyle.
  • In Stephen King's IT, crucial events (in both time periods) occur in the sewers under Derry, which feature pipes big enough for adults to walk in without having to bend down, and chambers large enough for multiple adults to have plenty of elbow room. They call them sewers, but if it weren't wrong, they were really storm drains, which are big enough to walk through.
  • Journey to Chaos: Roalt's sewer system has tunnels that are big enough for two people to walk abreast, and it is also home to some large monsters. During A Mage's Power, Eric spends a Rescue Arc down here. He has to wear a mask, but not because of sewage fumes, rather it's because of magical fumes.
  • Troll city Trollus from the Malediction Trilogy has a complicated network of sewers under the city proper. Justified, as the city itself is buried under the mountain, so without proper sewer system (maintained by half-blood slaves) it would soon become filthy.
  • Marcus Didius Falco: Three Hands in the Fountain (a historical mystery set in Ancient Rome in A.D. 73) is about the hunt for a Serial Killer who dumps the bodies of his victims into Rome's formidable aqueduct system. Also Truth in Television.
  • In Les Misérables, when Valjean and Marius escape through the sewers of Paris. However, as shown by the Real Life entry below — and a very lengthy passage in the book itself — the Paris sewers are really like that. This is mentioned in World War Z. Apparently it made cleaning up the zombies a real bitch.
  • Montmorency revolved around an escaped criminal robbing some of London's richest citizens, then escaping through the sewers. The spacious nature of London's sewers has been referenced repeatedly above.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere the entire fantasy world of London Below exists in the sewers and underground railway tunnels beneath London. However, this is not too implausible; see Real Life section. (It's also implied that much of the London Below doesn't exist in the "real world".)
  • In The Place Inside the Storm, the sewers are big enough to stand in, have catwalks to avoid stepping in sewage, and even have alcoves with taps where the protagonists can pitch their tents and refill their water bottles.
  • In Quantum Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner, the sewers are revealed to pretty much connect together the entire Junkyard — aka, the world. Their interior is also massive. There are walkways on the sides of the sewers and proper staircases, so it is believed In-Universe that they were intended to be used by The Church's Warrior Priests.
  • In the book Reliquary, the sequel to The Relic, much of the action takes place in massive underground sewers, storm drains, maintenance tunnels, abandoned pneumatic train systems (!) beneath New York City. Justified as Truth in Television: New York City is said to stand on seven storeys of underground tunnels, and the authors add a postscript backing the veracity of much of their claims about the extensive tunnelwork below the city.
  • In The Riftwar Cycle, the sewers underneath Krondor are home to the Thieves' Guild.
  • By contrast, there's Stephen King's Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, later filmed as The Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne does get out via a sewer ... but it's a much smaller one than those in It.
  • Rivers of London: The protagonists in Whispers Under Ground not only get to see the London sewers in all their fading glory, but conduct the occasional gunfight and, strangely, practise for a winter Olympic event (the luge).
  • Averted in King's The Running Man (published under Steve's pseudonym, Richard Bachman). Ben Richards sets a fire in the basement of a YMCA to make the oil tanks explode, and makes his escape through a drainpipe. The pipe is so small (and bent at a 120-degree angle) that he almost doesn't make it before being fried. He has to hunch over in the storm drain the pipe empties into, and when he emerges from a manhole, he's so filthy that a small boy thinks he's a black devil.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan absurdly large sewers feature largely in a number of the books most notably an arena of sorts is built in one part of the sewer and the sewers are used as a base of sorts for the mad vampaneze Murlough.
  • In The Magician, the second book of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, Machiavelli and Dee take Josh into the spacious sewers and then the catacombs in Paris to be awakened by Mars Ultor. This is justified because Paris does have an incredibly large sewer system that connects to the catacombs. There is even a special branch of the police force that patrols the sewers.
  • Septimus Heap: An Absurdly Spacious Rubbish Chute serves as the escape path for Jenna and the Heaps in Magyk.
  • In Garth Nix's Shade's Children, which takes place After the End, the sewer system is the primary path of transportation for La Résistance. Averted very slightly by the fact that the difficulties of walking in a curved pipe and the danger of sudden floods are addressed.
  • In the Star Trek Novelverse, the sewers of Ki Baratan (the capital city of Romulus), are apparently rather spacious. Ambassador Spock and the Romulan underground frequently meet down there; in the first Star Trek: Titan novel, Tuvok goes down to find them. It's basically a city underneath a city.
  • In the original Sweeney Todd story, "The String of Pearls", the tunnels below Fleet Street were how Sweeney got the bodies of his victims to Mrs. Lovett for baking into pies, since her pie shop was right across the street from his barbershop. Previously, he'd had a good number of dead dudes down there, since he dispatched his victims by using a trick barber's chair to dump them into his basement, taking his razor to any who survived the fall. And unlike the musical, this eventually got the two of them caught when the Bow Street Runners investigated.
  • Fortress City from Super Minion has these. In addition to an extensive network of actual sewers and storm drains, there are also a lot of tunnels excavated by either supervillains or monsters for their lairs. The actual sewers in E13 are further improved by the presence of "nessies", detritivore monsters that clean the water to the point that the place hardly smells at all.
  • Tales of the Branion Realm: Averted in The Granite Shield, when two children infiltrate a castle by climbing up the privy shaft.
  • One of the Three Investigators books had the young heroes escape the villains in the storm drain system of a very old city. They meet up with some allies rowing a boat through the drain.
  • Tortall Universe: In the second Beka Cooper book, Bloodhound, the climactic battle takes place in the sewage system. Though the tides causing the waters to rise is addressed, so that the final battle is actually in the dirty water.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland entry on sewers: "Despite the presence of so much refuse and squalor, most castles and cities seem nowadays to have sewers. Their use, apart from the obvious one, is to provide access to or escape from the interior. Be warned. Many tours make use of sewers in preference to secret passages. Opportunities for washing afterwards are not always provided. Do not worry, though; most often, within half a day, all trace of stench will have vanished from you and your clothing, almost as if the management had forgotten about it."
  • In The War Between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids, a spacious sewer inhabited by the Bookworms (smart kids and teacher's pets) is the last refuge of the Kid Hero.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain note  novels both subvert and play this straight:
    • Both lampshaded and subverted in Death or Glory. When Cain is trapped in a building surrounded by Orks, he remarks that having sewers and storm drains as a convenient escape route whenever he's trapped is not nearly as common as he would have liked.
    • Played straight in For the Emperor when Cain and Vail go into the city sewers to hunt Tyranids
    • Played somewhat straight in The Emperor's Finest, in which the tunnels under the city are big enough to hold the nearly two meter tall Cain, but not big enough to fit Space Marines.
    • Possibly justified in the novella "Old Soldiers Never Die". The sewers under Lentonia's capitol house a Chaos temple, and even outside that chamber are roomy enough for a full squad of troopers to go revenant-hunting. The section of sewers Cain is traveling through was connected to a previous governor's escape tunnel, though, so might have been improved to make escape easier.
  • In The War of the Worlds, the Artilleryman intended to build a city hidden in London's sewer system (see Real Life).
  • In Tempe O'Kun's Windfall the titular town is built on top of an abandoned silver mine, many of the tunnels were repurposed for sewers and utility lines. But, the protagonists decide against investigating the sewer tunnels after getting a whiff of the air in there.
  • In The Witchlands, the sewers of Lovats are spacious enough to double as The City Narrows — though given that the city sits on top of an intersection of several major rivers, it might be justified.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Batwoman (2019). Averted when Alice and Mouse escape from Arkham Asylum and have to shelter from the subsequent manhunt in the Gotham sewers which are cold, wet, and plagued with rats (and the bats hunting them). Mouse is not happy, given that in Arkham they had proper housing, three meals a day and no-one hunting them.
  • In Beauty and the Beast (1987), a secret society exists deep underneath New York, in relatively fancy trappings.
  • If you believe Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, sewers in both Sunnydale and Los Angeles are so big that vampires can travel all over the town during the day. In Sunnydale alone there's fourteen million square miles of them, not including a lot of natural cave formations and a gateway to Hell. In "Enemies" it's revealed that the Mayor built Sunnydale "for demons to feed upon", so it makes sense that the sewer system is constructed so as to give easy access to the whole town.
    • Lampshaded on Angel in "Fredless" when Fred states: "I could build a condo in these sewers."
    • After watching the entirety of Buffy and Angel, one wonders how those two don't constantly get remarks about their iffy sewage smell. Angel in particular practically lives down there.
    • Averted in the Angel episode "Through the Looking Glass". The sewer Wesley and Gunn invite Cordelia to escape through is small and almost full to the top with...well, shit. Cordelia dithers so long about jumping in that she gets recaptured.
  • Played straight with size, but averted with toxicity in an episode of Casualty. It involves two guys who want to win a bet which involved walking to the pub by using the sewers as a shortcut. The guys have oxygen supply, but then they start to run out... That's when the paramedics are called.
  • Played pretty straight in the various CSIs. In the New York episode, "Manhattanhenge," the team trek through a very large sewer hunting their suspect's living quarters.
  • The true size of some sewers can be seen in an episode of Dirty Jobs. The sewer the host explored was so small and cramped that nobody could actually stand up straight, and had to spend all of their time inside bent over.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Due South episode "Manhunt"; the Chicago sewers are not only large enough for three grown men and a wolf, they are large enough for three grown men and a wolf to paddle a canoe through.
  • One episode of Eureka plays with this, though that wasn't so much a sewer as a sewer and the environmental and recycling center of a town of super geniuses.
  • Game of Thrones: This is how Dany's forces infiltrate Meereen. The tunnels are hallway sized, with thigh-deep water.
  • The Legend of Dick and Dom has a sewer under the Big Bad's castle large enough for the good guys to escape through. They do come out the other side covered in, well, what you would expect. Oddly, this has the opposite of Nobody Poops; there are very few people in the castle, but lots of sewage in the sewer.
  • The Mandalorian. The Mandalorian Covert in Nevarro hides in wide, well-lit sewers. Compounded by the fact that a backwater town in the middle of desert has any sewer at all. On the other hand the sewers were obviously improved by the Mandalorians specifically to serve as their living area and hiding place, with stairs, lighting, and other features not generally found in a sewer. Further justified since "Redemption" reveals that part of their function is to contain, divert and allow transit via lava flows.
  • The New Avengers: "Gnaws". (Yes, the title is a pun.)
  • New Tricks: Justified in "London Underground". The sewer they end up investigating is actually the Fleet River, which has been paved over an turned into a sewer: the lore associated with the Fleet being central to the case they are investigating.
  • An episode of Popular Mechanics for Kids is devoted to this, when they go into a sewer to look for a ping-pong ball. Being a show about science and facts, they remark that you always need the proper equipment and that it can be dangerous to go into a sewer. It was actually pretty spacious in there; almost hallway like.
  • Pushing Daisies has the most cheerful and attractive looking sewers ever seen. At least one character lives in them.
  • On Reaper, Sam, Ben and Sock once had to search the sewers for an escaped soul made of green nuclear-waste goo. The sewers were fairly dank and smelly, but they were easily big enough for three people to walk through.
  • Supernatural:
    • In "Skin", Sam and Dean pursue their quarry into a sewer large enough for them to stand upright, occasionally walk abreast, and a spacious lair for the shapeshifter. Large rusty pipes and large amounts of moisture complete the expected look of an ancient underground despite the episode being set in St. Louis, MO.
    • Averted in the later episode "No Exit" in which the sewers are extremely small and dark with the Winchesters barely able to make it through.
  • The G-Cans System (see Real Life) pops up on occasion in Toku programs. A stand-out example is in Kamen Rider Decade, where Decade has a high-speed battle with Kamen Rider TheBee.
  • Used and averted in The X-Files Season 2, Episode 2 "The Host". Mulder visits an absurdly spacious sewer in Newark, N.J., and later remarks about its size to a Newark sanitation engineer, who confirms that section as being part of the older system, while the newer parts are not more than 24 inches in diameter.
  • One plot on the soap opera The Young and the Restless had Sharon believing she had murdered a man in self-defense (it later turned out she had been framed), and her ex-con friend Larry offered to help her dispose of the body. After weeks of seemingly being haunted by the dead man's ghost, Sharon felt she had to see the body again to be sure he was dead. Larry took Sharon and Nikki to where he left it... down the sewer. It was shown as being a massive underground tunnel, with room enough for all three of them to walk through it.

  • In The Men from the Ministry episode "Night We Crept into the Crypt" Lennox-Brown and Lamb have to get to the House of Commons while it's being surrounded by the police and military, and they do it by traveling through a sewer which is big enough to house them both.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Any sewer in Dungeons & Dragons is spacious and comes complete with whole thieves' guilds, secret wizard labs, and lots and lots of specially adapted monsters (like the Otyugh and the Cesspit Ooze).
    • Module I9 Day of Al' Akbar: the sewer under the city of Khaibar.
    • Supplement Adventure Pack I, adventure "The House of Long Knives". The sewers are 20 feet wide and 15 feet high.
    • Module A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity. The sewers under the city of Highport are 20 feet wide and 10 feet high.
    • Module FR1 Waterdeep and the North. The sewers of Waterdeep can be as large as 20 feet across and high enough for humans to walk through them.
    • Module Avengers in Lankhmar. The sewers of the city of Lankhmar are so tall that characters can walk upright in them with plenty of headroom overhead (approximately 8 feet high). They're also about 20 feet wide.
    • Dragonlance SAGA System supplement Palanthas. The city of Palanthas has sewer tunnels up to 30 feet high.
    • Dungeon magazine
      • Issue #11 adventure "The Dark Conventicle". The Temple of Anthraxus is hidden inside the sewer system of a ruined city. The sewer passages' ceilings are up to 10 feet high.
      • Issue #61 adventure "Jigsaw". The sewer tunnels beneath the streets of Lausanne, Switzerland are round tunnels eight feet in diameter.
      • Issue #81 adventure "Skulking Below". The sewer tunnels under the city are twenty feet wide and fifteen feet high.
  • Gamma World adventure "Evansburgh" in Polyhedron magazine #79. The title town has sewers are two meters high by three meters wide. The Player Characters must explore them while searching for kidnapped children.
  • Marvel Super Heroes Deluxe City Campaign Set Campaign Sourcebook. The sewers of New York are described as being up to 30 feet (10 yards) across.
  • Paranoia once had an section simply named "Sewerworld!" in the Send in the Clones adventure. In the pictures that depicted the Troubleshooters exploring, the tunnels were shown as being quite large, approximately 10 yards wide and 10 feet high.
  • Pathfinder: The city of Korvosa has an extensive sewer system home to criminals and thugs, the city's poor and homeless, Giant Spiders, giant rats, bands of goblins, Sewer Gators, and garbage-eating monsters known as otyughs — these last are usually kept in closed-off pits to dispose of the city's garbage, but often escape their pits into the wider sewers and occasionally burst through the surface and into the streets of the city proper.
  • A necessity on Rocket Age's Mars, not to simply remove sewage, but mainly to provide somewhere to sweep the sheer amount of sand that blows into the streets. The one city that didn't have working sewers required gigantic radium-powered fans to keep the streets clear.
  • Not surprising since they're based on the ones in Paris, but in 7th Sea, the sewer system in the city of Charouse in Montaigne is quite spacious and filled with surprises, including possibly a Stargate. The Paris underground is complicated by the presence of a network of catacombs under the city.
  • In Shadowrun, the sewers under Denver happen to not only be rather spacious, but also open up to a maze of former subway tunnels and other cloaca, sites which attract communities of ghouls, rogue spirits, coyotes, and the occasional aspiring thaumaturgist. This is actually rather common in Sixth World sprawls. Seattle features the Ork Underground, built on the old Seattle Catacombs, the bus tunnels, old basements, and lots and lots of sewer tunnels. Justified in the new Manhattan setting, where the city built right over the remains of an earthquake and just sealed off the old subway system in favor of suspended monorails.
  • In SLA Industries, the planet of Mort boasts a generously spacious sewer system, one vast enough to hide hordes of serial killer gangs and other monsters.
  • Chaosium's Thieves' World boxed set said that Sanctuary's sewers were large enough for armed troops to pass through them.
  • Traveller The New Era supplement Vampire Fleets, adventure "Promise". In the Downbelow beneath Star City the sewer tunnels are up to 4 meters high and wide.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade has sewers spacious enough so clans of vampires can live in them, along with libraries. So not only are they spacious, but dry.
    • Given that said vampires have covertly directed human affairs for thousands of years, one might think this trope justified there since one of the vampire clans prefers living in them.
    • This did not significantly change in the New World of Darkness; they turn up occasionally in Hunter: The Vigil.
  • Warhammer is even worse: there are skaven, mutants, and chaos cults. The only solace is that all the shit is on surface. Played straight in the first Gotrek & Felix omnibus, where the eponymous pair become sewerjacks (patrolmen, but for the sewers.) That's right, the sewers are so massive they require law enforcement (again: skaven, mutants, and chaos cults). It's specifically noted that the sewers under the city of Nuln were made by master Dwarf artisans, and the system includes cathedral ceilings in some of the central tunnels.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The next-to-lowest levels of the Underhive of the Hive Cities resemble this trope. According to Necromunda the very lowest level (AKA "the Sump"), is a literal sea of various human and chemical wastes, patrolled by diamond-eyed spiders the size of battle tanks. Justified since it's stated many times that these mega-cities grow by new generations building on the ruins of the old ones. So those deep levels are actually remains of streets and buildings that have become enclosed on all sides, and therefore seem like tunnel systems.
    • The lower decks of the Imperium's miles-long starships are about a fifty-fifty mix of Absurdly Spacious Sewer and Eternal Engine.

  • In Guys and Dolls, the New York sewers have enough room for a full dance number!
  • The sewers in Urinetown are large enough to hold the rebel "base". And one song with a full dance section. As Urinetown is essentially a Troperiffic pastiche of musical theater, this is hardly surprising.
  • We never actually see the sewers per se in Les Misérables, as they're in most productions just represented by shafts of light that Valjean walks through, but everything is covered in Literature and Real Life.

    Video Games 
  • A lot of video games have this kind of level. For a more comprehensive list, look here.
  • Air Force Delta Strike had you flying through Absurdly Spacious Subway tunnels.
  • The Nerd finds himself in a giant sewer full of shit in The Angry Video Game Nerd II: ASSimilation.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: Beneath Freeway 42 prior to the Abandoned Laboratory is a large sewer system with spacious large enough to connect with an Underground City with dwellers that survived the deadly after-effects of the Mechanika Virus. The surrounding area is shown to have grown fauna, and contains wreckage of ships that made its way below.
  • The second level of Apocalypse takes place in a sewer large enough to contain waterfalls. Its also infested by crowds and crowds of sewer mutants (since the sewer is built atop a prison which doubles as a bio-lab, most of the chemicals ends up being dumped in there) complete with a massive Sewer Gator as it's stage boss.
  • Armored Core is a fairly egregious example: the sewers aren't just human sized, they are in fact mech sized. Combine this with the fact that the mechs in Armored Core are shown to be at least two stories tall, and that these sewers are spacious in relation to the ACs themselves, and these are some very spacious sewers.
  • Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles features repeated trips through sewers with moving platforms and water that gushes out of pipes at repeated intervals for no apparent reason.
  • Assassin's Creed II: There are a number of catacombs and Assassin tombs to navigate. When they're not within churches, Ezio returns to the city proper via manhole.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: All of Clanker's Cavern is a massive sewer. To put it in perspective, the central room contains the level's eponymous whale-sized robot shark. Clanker's Cavern itself is accessed through one of the many similarly large sewers of Gruntilda's Lair (though they're comparatively small).
  • Freeware RPG Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden has one as the location of a community of furries.
  • In true Batman fashion, Batman: Arkham Asylum reveals a massive complex of catacombs and sewer lines hidden in the deep caves of Arkham Island, one such system housing Killer Croc. Sure explains why Arkham is such a Cardboard Prison.
  • Battle for Wesnoth: One scenario in The Rise of Wesnoth takes place in the Sewer of Southbay, which is big enough for Haldric's entire troops to pass while fighting monsters sent by two banished mages.
  • Betrayal at Krondor, where the sewers under Krondor were so large that they had 2 whole floors, and several different gangs all living and operating out of them.
  • In Beyond Oasis, the sewer-like area underneath the Castle. This is explained as being the storage place for an ancient power, which Silver Armlet sends you down to get.
  • There is one of these in the second Black Mirror game.
  • BloodRayne 2 has sewers big enough to do acrobatics in.
  • Many levels in the SNES and Mega Drive platform game Boogerman. Or at least the bonus areas, which are accessed by flushing yourself down a toilet.
  • This is how the YouTube comments section is portrayed in BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm. Surprisingly, the game never goes for the obvious YouTube Poop joke.
  • Chrono Trigger: The Sewer Access in 2300 A.D., which you must fight and navigate through in order to reach Keeper's Dome.
  • City of Heroes:
    • Paragon City has a huge sewer system choked with all kinds of villains (mutated cultist gangs, decidedly amoral surgeons and their scientifically animated zombies, just for starters...), and an abandoned network that's home to even more dangerous villains (extradimensional alien invaders, giant mutated monsters). Even generic missions have an instanced sewer map for this trope.
    • The Rogue Isles, in City of Villains, have their fair share as well.
    • Averted in the Praetorian Underground from the Going Rogue expansion — this insanely spacious tunnel system (complete with faction bases and offering an alternate way of getting from zone to zone fast) is not a sewer, but an abandoned subway network.
  • Claws of Furry: The second area of the game is set in one of these, which is populated by alligators who aren't too happy that you're there.
  • Comix Zone's sewers have enough room for our hero, Sketch Turner, to suspend himself from pipes to avoid low attacks.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: The Poo Cabin is located close to a scatological part of the Windy chapter. Inside, Conker has to scale a large cyllindrical facility where excrement is being processed. After defeating Bugger Lugs (a bull) and forcing some cows to defecate inside the facility, it will be flooded with their fecal debris, thus combining this setting with Down the Drain.
  • Crash Bandicoot:
    • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back: The Eel Deal, Sewer or Later and Hangin' Out levels are tunnels large enough to contain Crash, electric eels, robotic cleaners, mechanical mice, rolling barrels, tons and tons of TNT, Nitro crates, and Lab Assistants working with welding torches. Hangin' Out prominently features red-hot pipes and lava as hazards set below overhangs. They can have rather difficult alternate routes, but the level design is fair otherwise. Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure, borrowing heavily from Crash 2, also has a few levels of this type.
    • Crash Team Racing goes further with pipes at least ten storeys tall that are raced in.
  • A Dance with Rogues, a NWN mod, gives us the Betancuria sewers, which stretch under the entire city of Betancuria and are used as secret passageways by the local Thieves' Guild (even their main hideout is there) and as a Warp Whistle by the player. The sewers are large enough to host a plethora of monsters and a bunch of quests actually requires you to go there (or to be dumped there with no gear or clothes).
  • One of levels in a Flash game, Dangerous Dungeons, is called explicitly "Absurdly Spacious Sewer".
  • The very first dungeon in Dark Chronicle is the sewers of the hero's hometown. While it is an easy level to blow through in less than an hour, it's notorious for being THE most frustrating area in the game to play the golfing minigame Spheda, due to the small gutters along the walls that like to trap your "ball".
  • Parts of the Depths in Dark Souls are like this, filled with rats, slime monsters, and Hollows.
  • In the Darkwing Duck Licensed Game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Liquidator's stage takes place in the sewers.
  • In the Dennis the Menace Licensed Game for the SNES, the fourth world takes place in a sewer. Enemies include alligators, bats, fish, and ninja turtles. Dennis also has to jump across bubbles that rise from the water to cross big gaps. The boss of this world is a giant fish with disappearing platforms.
  • In Devil's Dare, one of the four stages is a sewer that is more than large enough to fit the bill.
  • Along with vents and maintenance tunnels, a common way to safelynote  get from point A to B in Deus Ex. One sewer junction has a bioweapons laboratory built into it. The prequel, Human Revolution, continues this trend, to the point where hobos, street gangs and conspirators, make routine use of the sewers of Detroit and Hengsha. While the lack of reaction to the harsh environment might be explainable by Adam being augmented, the fact that this is supposed to be the distant future of major metropolises still makes it patently absurd.
  • Though perhaps cramped by video game standards, Diablo II has several underground areas that are far roomier than might be reasonably expected. Act 2 under the desert town and Act 3 beneath the jungle cities are two prominent sewer examples (justified in both; deserts get huge flash floods at times that can sweep away the sand a town is built on, and rainforest get rain all the time and need the sewers). And although not technically a sewer, the chapel basement of the original Diablo is absurdly larger than the building itself. . . even discounting the encroaching levels of Hell.
  • Dishonored has you traversing through a few of these. All of them are incredibly filthy, with rats and corpses littered about, and are big enough to walk and swim through.
  • Distorted Travesty dares to place its giant sewer... inside a train.
  • In Dragon Age II, Darktown is an under-city that runs beneath Kirkwall, connected by old sewers and former mines, where the beggars and refugees that are too poor for even Lowtown have been forced to dwell.
  • Dragon Quest VI: The wells in this game can get ridiculous. Some have houses in them with their own wells next to them. Somnia Castle's well is a dungeon cavern accessible by boat.
  • Somewhat justified in Dungeons & Dragons Online. Most of the game takes place in city of Stormreach, built on the ruins of what used to be a giants' city. Sewers/storm drains date to the original city; they are spacious enough for humans and would just barely fit a giant.
  • Dwarf Fortress features one under each and every city despite its medieval fantasy setting. However, parts of it are usually completely filled with water and do not have a sidewalk.
  • EarthBound (1994) and Mother 3. The former notably averts the "not walking through sewage thing" (and for some reason, even has little ladders leading into the muck. Eww.)
  • The Elder Scrolls series has several Justified examples:
    • In Morrowind, the sewers of Vivec are quite spacious with walkways on the sides and a deep waterway in the middle. Justified, since Vivec is a City of Canals, the sewers double as flood controls and the extra space is needed. In the Tribunal expansion, the sewers of Mournhold are even more spacious. Justified once again, as the sewers are actually part of the original (destroyed) city which the current city was build over.
    • Justified in Oblivion. The Imperial City has insanely massive sewers, but it is explained in the in-game literature that the whole infrastructure is an abandoned Ayleid city, so the sewers apparently have just lost their former purpose.
    • In Skyrim, the Thieves Guild operate out of a spacious sewer in Riften known as "The Ratways", though parts of it appear to have been originally built as underground warehouses and basements, which would justify some of it.
  • While Eternal Sonata is notable for having a sewer in which there is thriving plant-life. The plant life actually made sense in context since the sewers were also absurdly well-lit for no apparent reason.
  • In Everquest II the sewers of Qeynos have vaulted ceilings so high and well lit that it practically looks like you're in a cathedral.
  • Eye of the Beholder takes place, technically, in the sewers of Waterdeep. Though after the first levels, the sewer-ish feel is replaced by dwarven tunnels, drow mazes, thri-kreen hives and an underground palace.
  • Fable III has sewers that are comfy and dry. In fact, they're so clean your dog can sniff out a wedding ring somebody dropped down there.
  • In the post-apocalypse Fallout universe entire societies grow and thrive in the sewers because they are one of the few structures left that have all their walls and lots of space to move around in. Fallout: New Vegas, for example, have the North sewers beneath Las Vegas. It is in fact a lot safer than living on the surface as the only gang there is weak and there are little to no animals attacking.
  • A recurring trope in the Final Fantasy series
    • First appeared in Final Fantasy II as the Bafsk Sewers, which housed the hangar where the Dreadnought, one of the largest airships in the series, was being built. Talk about absurdly spacious...
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Don Corneo uses a Trap Door to drop the party into the Sector 6 Sewer below Wall Market in Midgar.
    • Final Fantasy VIII's Deling City Sewers double as The Maze, which Quistis' squad accesses via a Bookcase Passage in General Caraway's mansion.
    • While never stated to be a sewer, Final Fantasy X's Via Purifico certainly resembles one, a watery, labyrinthine and supposedly inescapable dungeon underneath Bevelle.
    • Final Fantasy XII's Garamsythe Waterway is a labyrinthine series of tunnels that are at least thirty-feet tall and much wider. Some rooms are large enough to fit basketball courts, and these naturally, are the sites of boss battles. This is, however, heavily implied to be an actual waterway, designed for the purpose of bringing water into the desert city of Rabanastre.
  • Final Fantasy Legend II has one in Venus' world. With MAGI and perfectly usable items, no less!
  • Giana Sisters DS: The castles' storm drains are big enough to house large numbers of critters and monsters. Giana has no trouble walking comfortably upright through the network of half-drowned tunnels.
  • Sewer areas in Glider PRO are just as tall as other kinds of rooms.
  • Global Agenda gets in on the action with a mission in the subterranean waterways in North Sonara (Recursive Colony Update). It's the sort of spacious that some of the shorter-range turrets can't cover its width.
  • GoldenEye (2010) has the Sewer map in multiplayer. It's pitch-black almost everywhere, making it very difficult to see anything most of the time.
  • Thugtown’s sewers in Guns, Gore & Cannoli 2 are so spacious they house a secret Nazi submarine base.
  • Gynophobia: The Dead Hunger game you play at the start begins in a sewer.
  • Subverted in Half-Life 2. Despite taking place in an Eastern European city 20 Minutes into the Future, much of the sewer system is horribly cramped and dangerous and extremely difficult to maneuver through.
  • Twoson Sewers in The Halloween Hack. It's covered in hippies and rats. Varik enters this place to head for the monster's location. At one point, the water is replaced with blood, the hippies become zombies, and blobs and roaches join the fray.
  • The future city of New Mombasa depicted in Halo 3: ODST doesn't just have your average sewage system. It is also home to an extensive maintenance system that runs ten floors deep, an underground lake, dozens of Bottomless Pits, and a supermarket-sized AI construct.
  • The sewers under St Petersburg in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin.
  • Hot Wheels: Velocity X has Underworld, a sewer system which is so big that you can drive and stunt inside it without any problem. It even houses a compound with a giant supercomputer.
  • inFAMOUS sometimes has your character traveling down huge sewers to learn new powers, and bring electricity back to the city.
  • Several games in the Jak and Daxter series, particularly Jak II: Renegade and Jak 3, have levels that use this trope extensively. The Haven City sewers are large enough that in Jak X they can use them as race tracks.
  • Jet Set Radio Future features a positively palatial sewer system including vertical shafts several stories tall. (The player's choice of Rudie can skate right on up using his/her rocket-propelled inline skates.)
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, the Hobopolis Clan Dungeon takes place in the sewers beneath Seaside Town.
  • The Last Remnant has at least one example of this in the Nagapur Aqueducts, it is so spacious that Giants live down there.
  • The Last Story has the party exploring several unexpectedly large underground environments, one of which is the sewers under Lazulis Island, which are apparently large enough to shelter the entire population plus leave plenty of dank monster filled corridors for our heroes to explore.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails has numerous big sewer systems throughout the series.
    • Trails In The Sky: Grancel's sewers are a huge complex maze with space big enough for training to occur. Along with a hidden passage connecting to the castle the team uses to rescue the royal family.
    • Trails From Zero: The Geofront complex under Crossbell is a high-tech combination of sewage treatment and recycling, power distribution and the location for all the cabling and many access terminals for the experimental Orbal Network. It's designed on a large scale to permit easy access, repair and expansion.
    • Trails of Cold Steel: Heimdallr is riddled with underground waterways dating back to the Middle Ages, including secret passages allowing one to cross between districts and occasionally pop up in unexpected locations.
  • Left 4 Dead has a pretty big sewer system in the third chapter of "No Mercy", aptly named "The Sewer." It's large enough for hundreds of zombies, a Tank or two, and has the space for a Smoker to easily launch his huge tongue at the survivors from a good distance. There are a few cramped ventilation ducts that you might find a Witch in if you're unlucky, but otherwise the actual sewers are pretty open.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Link and Zelda escape from Hyrule Castle trough the underground sewers. They reach the backside of the Sanctuary, which is located northwest of the castle, and from there Zelda remains safe (for a while) with the loyal sage who resides there.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: The Bottom of the Well is set within a large underground sewer located several meters below Kakariko Village. It's stated in game that someone's house used to be where the well is, so that Mini-Dungeon is presumably his basement. Located here is the Lens of Truth, which comes handy later in the Shadow Temple.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: The Bombers' hideout is located in Clock Town's large sewer system.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess features one of these twice in the game: the same location appears as the training level for Link's wolf form, as well as later, after the third dungeon. While not a huge area, it's still absurdly spacious, and seems to double as a prison of some kind. Said area is apparently inside Hyrule Castle, and clearly above ground level.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: Hyrule Castle has a sewer system that, much like Twilight Princess, doubles as a prison and, much like A Link to the Past, served as an escape route for Link and Zelda in the backstory. The fact that it empties into the moat makes it convenient as one of many possible paths for Storming the Castle.
  • In LEGO Batman, the Gotham sewers aren't just big enough to walk through; they're so big that you need a flight suit or a high jump just to reach certain parts of it. However, this network is not very well secured. Penguin and Killer Croc use the sewer system to break out Catwoman by coming up through the toilets in the police station. And yes, there are alligators.
  • The sewers underneath Shine City in Lethal League are cavernous enough that submarines and Sea Monsters can be spotted traveling through the waters.
  • Lost Souls MUD has a couple of these, in the major cities of Losthaven and Liathyr.
  • Majesty, being an Affectionate Parody of just about every fantasy trope ever invented, naturally plays this one utterly straight. Once you've met certain conditions, "Sewer entrances" will spontaneously appear in the vicinity of your settlement, which cannot be destroyed and periodically spawn Giant Rats and Ratmen. If certain other conditions are met in the Expansion Pack, a "Broken Sewer Main" will appear and start spawning better-equipped and more dangerous Ratman units, and siege engines. (Luckily you can send your heroes to destroy these.) Between that and a mission in the single-player campaign in which the player has to fight off a full-scale invasion by a whole kingdom of Ratmen who've set up shop down there it's safe to assume that every sewer system in Ardania is one of these, or possibly that parts of the "sewers" are really naturally-occurring underground caverns full of monsters that the humans are emptying their latrines into.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo, you get to fully explore the Mega-City's sewers and they truly are huge, there's more than enough space for a whole team of SWAT to run around, gaps over ten feet wide that you have to use focus to make the jump without dying and platforms that have Bottomless Pits, or very close to them, under them.
  • MechRunner has a segment set in a sewer big enough for your mech to fly through.
  • The futuristic setting of Messiah has sewers big enough that an entire community of insane cannibals thrives in there.
  • Metal Gear:
  • The fifth stage of Metal Slug 2 sends the PF Squad in what appears to be New York City. The stage ends in a sewer battle with a submarine.
  • Might and Magic VI has the Free Haven Sewers, VII has the Erathian Sewers. Both need to be explored for plot advancement and/or character promotion.
  • Stage 3 of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Licensed Game on the SNES was one long sewer.
  • In Mirror's Edge, multiple highrise buildings can be stuffed into the city's storm drains. The sewers are based on the real Tokyo Underground Drainage System, which is built that way because it's meant to handle tsunami flooding.
  • In one stage in Nanostray 2 you are flying a spaceship through a sewer system and when you look at the background you can see how ridiculously huge the sewers are.
  • Neverwinter Nights: the player visits the sewers of Neverwinter, and, later, the sewers of Luskan; true to form, both of them more closely resemble a spacious network of extremely clean canals. The Neverwinter sewers even have bridges and a guy who lends you a boat.
  • Laurentia (and in a previous season, St. Germaine) in Nexus Clash has a huge network of sewer tunnels under the city, capable of holding an unlimited number of player characters and their stuff and riddled with Graffiti of the Resistance. The series makes it clear that the large tunnels are storm sewers, as would be expected since their cities are No Celebrities Were Harmed counterparts to the rainy Pacific Northwest and Caribbean, respectively. They're still pretty filthy.
  • No One Lives Forever not only has this, but it even contains a sign reading "Obligatory FPS Sewer Section".
  • Odin Sphere: The Three Wise Men's hideout in Titania Capital is evidently big enough for a huge serpent dragon to move in freely.
  • Both Parasite Eve games with New York City sewers and a sewage passageway between the shelter and the motel.
  • In Path of Exile the sewers of Sarn feature tunnels big enough to walk upright, open rooms, and expansive plazas big enough to fit dozens of mooks. It's mentioned that one of the organizers of the Purity Rebellion had hid his cell in the sewers. It's justified in that Sarn was built on top of the ruins of the capital of the Vaal civilization, and the larger open spaces are the interiors of old buildings.
  • The Sewers map in Perfect Dark multiplayer qualifies for this. You briefly have to enter a storm drain in the Chicago level in singleplayer. What little explorable space there is happens to be quite large and open, aside from some small tunnels you have to duck to enter.
  • In Phoenotopia, the city of Daea has extensive sewers. Gaining access to them is the only way of breaking into the jail, which is on the same level. This is expanded in the remake, Phoenotopia : Awakening, where the sewers are shown to be a former subway system which stretches all the way to the Cosette region.
  • Planet 404 has one that is conveniently located under a jail cell.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Ranger: Fall City's sewer system. It's big enough to have a few Pokémon living inside it.
    • Castelia City's sewers in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are even bigger. People can walk down there comfortably and there are lots of Zubats, Grimer, Muk, and some Unova Pokémon.
  • The last section in Police Quest II The Vengeance. Which is sort of odd, considering that the games' main selling point is being so scrupulously realistic. It is semi-justified by being beneath the city, and it is definitely not safe: lethal pockets of methane gas make traversing the sewers hazardous at best.
  • In Portal, Chell travels through what appears to be an open-topped sewer... barefoot.
  • Postal 2 has a hidden one. It leads to a hidden Taliban base containing nukes.
  • Professor Layton and the Last Specter: The city has pipes and water all over the place that are connected in long networks of pipes that are seen sticking out from the edges of the street. There's a Black Market right below the market area that is accessible through the sewers.
  • Project: Horned Owl has the third stage, a sewer system large enough for enemy robots to fly around inside.
  • Radiata Stories has Jack, the player character, traverse the sewers underneath his guild in a couple of missions, which also double as The Maze. The game averts the whole "not actually stepping in sewage" deal, to Jack's horror.
    Jack: Gross, it's in my shoes!
  • Ragnarok Online has Culvert dungeon, a 4 stories deep huge sewer dungeon.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal has a large sewer on Aquatos big enough for Ratchet, Clank, and Skid to break in, a multi-layered area hiding ninety-nine sewer crystals at twenty thousand bolts apart, and a humorously named weapons dealer of questionable credentials.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Raccoon City in Resident Evil 2 also had some absurdly spacious sewers, with features such as an elevating bridge and offices for sewer workers.
    • In Resident Evil 4, Leon falls through a trap door to a massive sewer system beneath Salazar's castle, complete with giant Plaga-cockroaches. For some reason it features several liquid nitrogen cylinders, which comes in handy when fighting Verdugo, Salazar's right hand.
  • The video game of Robots has a mazelike sewer that is inexplicably set up like a huge pinball machine. You actually have to use a transport pod to traverse this level.
  • Romancing SaGa had two: Estamir and Melvir. The sewers of Estamir were catacombs that could connect North and South Estamir; had a graveyard, and a temple dedicated to a Stronger Sibling of the Big Bad. The Sewers of Melvir was a labyrinth that could allow one to enter the palace and had a temple dedicated to the Big Bad himself.
  • Scooby-Doo! Unmasked: While in Chinatown, Shaggy gets trapped in the sewers, and Scooby has to travel through several large areas down there to get Shaggy back.
  • Serious Sam series:
    • Serious Sam: The First Encounter has the "Memphis — Sewers" level, set between the "Memphis — Suburbs" and "City of Memphis — Metropolis" levels. In spite of its size, it has fewer enemies than the usual SS levels.
    • Serious Sam II has the Royal Sewers level, set between Kingsburg and Castle of Rock. Sam lampshades this tendency:
      "I knew it! There ain't no games without sewer levels."
  • Shadowrun: Dragonfall has a massive one as a story mission. You're sent down there to "fix the pipes." It's... not really that simple.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse has Ye Royal Sewers under Sequin Land Palace, which is large enough to contain snakes, a Cacklebat, large mushrooms, waterfalls, several platforming elements, and a secret training ground filled with monsters of various kinds.
  • Shining the Holy Ark: When the heroes get kidnapped they use a secret passage and escape into the sewers. It appear to be one massive space under a vaulted ceiling, with multiple levels, that is actually bigger than the castle above it. Maybe justified as there were more than one secret entrance to the castle and it's implied that soon of the royalty is entombed the sewers.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the Great Underpass of Ginza.
    • In Digital Devil Saga, the Samsara Tunnels from the first game. Unlike most examples, this one doesn't need to have any explanation as to why it's so huge since the entire world is a virtual reality.
    • In Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, the sewer is massive. Semi-justified in that it's connected to the Underground Science Lab, and The Conspiracy is more likely than not responsible of funding the companies responsible for the construction.
  • In Silence of the Sleep, a sewer section appears near the end of the game.
  • Skies of Arcadia features such a sewer under the capital city of Valua that the protagonists must go through in order to rescue their friends in the middle of a public execution. Partly justified in that it used to be catacombs. However, it's never explained why a city floating above a limitless abyss would need sewers in the first place instead of, you know, piping all their waste straight into said abyss.
  • In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Bentley's section of the level is set in the Paris sewers beneath the museum full of mooks laser security and computer hardware.
  • In Snoopy's Grand Adventure, the "Parisian Underground" levels take place in the sewers of Paris, where the goal is to rescue Pig Pen. Enemies in this world consist of slime monsters and fish. The boss of this world is a giant slime monster, whom Snoopy must escape from by climbing to the top of its level.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Sorcerer University of The Spellcasting Series has a large and complex sewer system beneath it, which Ernie must use for rapid and/or secretive transit. The tunnels are large enough for an elephant to walk through without issue. Unlike a lot of video game examples of this trope, though, Ernie doesn't get the luxury of walking on nice clean ledges and pipes. The smell in some areas is said to be more than Ernie can bear, and occasionally, even more than a bear could bear.
  • In Genesis' Spider-Man (also known as The Amazing Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin) second stage, you fight the Lizard in one stupidly spacious sewer.
  • In the true ending to SPY Fox 2: Some Assembly Required, Napoleon LeRoach has a secret base built in one, including an escape pipe to Fiji, as well as one to SPY Jail, of course.
  • Star Wars:
    • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has one of these when you're searching for Zaalbar, the resident wookie. It's large enough to hide a Rancor in! Probably justifiable, though, since the city covers most of the planet. That's a lot of sewage.
    • Shadows of the Empire has a level where you have to infiltrate the Big Bad's palace through the sewers. There are some sections that are easily bigger than a football field.
  • Suikoden II has a traversable sewer area under Two River City, where a recruitable (and less-than-hygienic) character lives.
  • In Summoner, the sewers of Lenele are huge. Even great big Golems have plenty of room.
  • The Super Mario Bros. series frequently uses this for the famous underground levels. You could argue that the entire Mushroom Kingdom is a giant sewer system from the abundance of green plumbing pipes. In fact, the Ur-Example for video games is the original Mario Bros., which is where the Mario Bros. themselves actually made use of their plumbing abilities.
    • Paper Mario:
      • Paper Mario 64 has one beneath Toad Town.
      • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has Rogueport Sewers. Its massive interior is because it's the original ancient town that used to be there before its cataclysmic destruction led to it sinking beneath the ground.
      • Paper Mario: The Origami King has the Graffiti Underground underneath Toad Town. Mario must traverse the sewer while fiddling with the water controls in order to get to Princess Peach's Castle, as the bridge connecting the castle and the town is broken. As the name suggests, there is also a lot of graffiti on the walls which gets added to as you progress through the game.
    • Piranha Plant Slide in Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8.
    • Mario & Luigi:
    • Ricco Harbor's Sewer in Super Mario Sunshine where the Blooper race takes place has quite a bit of room to drive around.
    • New Donk City in Super Mario Odyssey has extensive sewers Mario must traverse to restore the city's power grid. Word of God says that the city on the surface is the setting of the Donkey Kong arcade game, and the sewers, with their abundance of green pipes, are implied to be the setting of the Mario Bros. arcade game.
    • Lots and lots of examples in the Wario Land series. The level Arabian Nights in Wario Land 4 for example has sewers big enough to fly a flying carpet through, and have various secrets hidden near the ceiling and under the water. Crescent Moon Village apparently has two separate sewer systems, both of which are much larger than you'd expect from the design of such a level. The Golden Passage in said game also has some kind of underground canal running all the way from the start of the level to the end, as some kind of place Wario lands in when he misses a jump.
  • La Tale is notable for having a sewer that is several stories high.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Zelos takes everyone through the Meltokio sewer, which is spacious enough to allow giant rats to roam it freely, and has multiple levels, computers, and trash compactors. And despite the trash compactors implying the area is normally used by workers, it can't be travelled without using a magic honey-we-shrunk-ourselves ring, walking on spider webs and patching up gaps in the walkways with blocks of garbage.
  • Team Fortress 2: Anywhere there are sewers / underwater pipes, they're big enough for even the Heavy Weapons Guy to run and/or swim through without trouble. 2Fort is the most well known example, but other Absurdly Spacious Sewers can be seen in Doublecross, Hydro, Well, and a number of custom maps.
  • Toki Tori has Slime Sewers. The levels are covered in bright green waste and crawling with slugs.
  • Tormented Souls: The Sewers level contains standard-issue wide tunnels with narrow walkways along the sides. Someone used to live down there.
  • Trail of Anguish's sewer is so big you can build and fly a hovercraft through it.
  • The sewers Drake and Flynn use to enter the museum at the beginning of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
  • As befitting its tabletop source material, the sewers in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines are very roomy and connect to almost everywhere — luckily for those Nosferatu players who need to move around without being seeing by mortals.
  • Vanish: The game is set in one of these. It's a complex underground tunnel with long corridors. Possibly justified in that it's not actually a sewer, but rather an underground generator and water main.
  • In what is perhaps the game's (barring the walkers) biggest deviation from realism, this is present in the fourth episode of The Walking Dead's first season.
  • The Witcher has the Vizima sewers, which are large enough to house dozens of undead, a monster boss (which is, in fact, you very first mission mark in chapter two), and a whole bunch of conspiratorial meetings you get to crash in chapter three.
  • In Wolf's Gang, the Goodhero City Sewer is a fully explorable area that's spacious enough to walk around and have battles in.
  • Wonderland Adventures has the Wondertown Sewers.
  • Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries: One of the levels is set in a sewer system inhabited by the Peid Piper.
  • The end-game stage in The World Ends with You is a perfect representation of this trope, and Truth in Television: that sewer really does exist in Shibuya.
  • In World of Warcraft, the city of Dalaran has a sewer area with spacious tunnels and halls that are big enough to contain several buildings and a small lake. There's even an inn down there! Other than said lake there's not much running water, and no waste other that some junk lying around in piles of rubble.
    • The Undercity is built out of the sewers and catacombs of the city of Lordaeron.
      • Both are justified: Undercity was in the process of being converted into Arthas' new throne when he had to leave and Dalaran's sewers intersected with their prison complex.
    • The sewer entrance to the Black Temple raid from The Burning Crusade is absurdly-spacious even by the standards of this trope. The pipes are large enough to contain massively-sized water elementals and a gigantic Naga serves as the boss.
  • XCOM 2 has several mission types that take place in sewers, some of which are big enough to have an office in them.
  • In The XCOM Files in Cyberweb hideout missions. Wide enough to drive several X-COM vans. Judging from occasional large halls with pools and non-Cyberweb machinery, they are located in some kind of processing facilities.
  • The sewer in Xenogears, where you can lose yourself eternally and forever and be assaulted by a giant mutated skeleton.
  • Yakuza has 3 examples.
    • Yakuza 0 has Kiryu traversing through one of these in order to get away from the Dojima Family. Kuze catches him, and in a Moment of Awesome, attempts to batter the everliving shit out of Kiryu with a pipe while riding a bike.
    • Yakuza 4's Saejima primarily gets around the city through traversing the sewer tunnels. It's pretty much the only way he can travel for much of the game due to being a wanted man.
    • Yakuza 6 has Kiryu Kazuma and Shun Akiyama fight Ed in the sewers, where Akiyama is apparently homeless again.
  • The city of Springdale in Yo-Kai Watch has a massive underground sewer system you can explore. You need to poke your head in for one of the mandatory watch-leveling challenges, but exploring all of the sprawling passageways, opening enough doors to connect the entire city together, and finding and beating the Bonus Boss hidden in them is entirely optional.
  • Yoshi's Story features two levels set inside giant sewer pipes. The first level, Jelly Pipe, is loaded up with mysterious gunk that clings to the sides. The second, Torrential Maze, is full of rushing water to sweep you away.
  • Your Bizarre Adventure: The sewers below Naples have a very high ceiling and host several underground creatures (including zombies, vampires, and Kars).
  • The tutorial level of zOMG! features this with a lampshade hanging in the in-game manual.

    Web Comics 
  • Subverted in Antihero for Hire, where Shadehawk escapes capture through the Underground Non-Sewer Pathway System.
  • Dregs: Lampshaded when Chub suggests a systematic search for the nudist.
    Chub: This place isn't that big, right?
    Coney: Beats me!
  • Aversion: The Council team must navigate a proper storm drain that nominally catches rainwater from a nullah in the first story arc of Elf Blood.
  • In Everyday Heroes, one such sewer is the home of the part-time villain Hornswoggle (and family).
  • Averted (not surprisingly) in Freefall: Sam is planning to infiltrate the Ecosystems Unlimited but is forced to abandon the sewer route. Not because he couldn't use it, but because Florence isn't too excited about the thought of having to remove a few bones from her body to fit through the ten centimeters narrow pipes. Sam himself doesn't have any bones so he could technically do this.
  • In Girl Genius, the sewers of Sturmhalten are not only large enough to walk around in, they're large enough to support a deeply alarming ecosystem. Sturmhalten is home to at least two Sparks, with it being implied that they're just the most recent crop. Once this is realized, the ecosystem — and the sewer system itself — starts to make sense. And besides that, the latest ruler of Sturmhalten had an alliance of convenience with the Geisterdamen — he was hiding them in a level under the main sewers. If there wasn't enough room for them to trek through and haul their Lady's equipment around with them, he would've redesigned things so that there would be. Although the comments from the two guides rather implies that the sewers have always been that way. Also, Sturmhalten is an old European town, and nothing in the series to date suggests that any of the European towns have modernized their sewer systems, although considering that said modernization would probably come at the hands of a Spark...
    • That's not unique. But deys not all as extensive as under Mechanicsburg. Or else Europa would collapse after a hard rain.
    • Paris has a sewer system that's more like an underground country — albeit a small one, given that the palaces of two particular warring factions are only two hundred meters apart. Just because someplace is spacious doesn't mean it can't be crowded.
  • The sewers beneath Brassmoon City in Goblins have sculptures.
    • The sewer outlets are absurdly small compared the size of the tunnels inside, but the goblins do in fact complain about the smell and pass on eating the foodstuffs that were in their bags when they trudged through the sewage.
  • In the Narbonic Director's Commentary, Shaennon Garrity openly admits that the design of Helen's sewer-based underground lab comes entirely from the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
  • In one Nodwick comic Nodwick and Piffany sneak into the Fang and Flagon to rescue Yeagar from the occupying elven forces through the sewers. After Yeagar expresses amazement that they were able to fit down there Artax (about seven feet tall) pokes his head in and states that the sewer caverns are huge "you'd almost think the city was trying to get it to collapse and send the tavern out into the sea".
  • The Order of the Stick mocks this trope: Azure City not only has such sewers, but three tunnels within are clearly labeled "Ocean", "Anachronistic Sewage Plant", and "Obligatory Sewer-Themed Labyrinth".
  • In Sluggy Freelance this is how Torg and his resistance movement get around during the "That Which Redeems" arc. The sewage even smells like flowers, and the various gross things living down there are all very friendly and polite. The Dimension of Lame is just that sort of place.
  • The sewers of Rio in Vinigortonio are large enough to sail a boat down. Lampshaded by the characters
    Jose Carlos: I had no idea sewers were so large!!
    Vinicius: You'd be surprised at how much they hide from us.

    Web Original 
  • Averted in Aventures where they had to leave a castle by the sewer. They had to walk in line, barely had the place to move, and fighting a single spider, which would have been normally easy, proved extremely hard.
  • Partially subverted in Catacombs of New York. The sewers there are approximately the size that the real sewers of New York are, until you get to the buried underground Indian settlement.
  • In Curveball, Farraday City's sewers were apparently built specifically for people to travel through — complete with secret rooms for the travelers to hole up in. Later on, we find out that the water that flows through them during a storm forms a magic rune the size of the entire city.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: Taken Up to Eleven, as usual for 40K, with the "Canals of the Emperor's Unwanted", a sewer system dedicated to removing waste products from the Golden Thronenote . The floor is so deep underground that a specially modified Land Speeder is required to reach it from the manhole (which is so large construction equipment is needed to remove it), it's inhabited by several tribes of mutants, and the waste products sometimes form psychic monstrosities.
  • In Mother of Learning, many town sewers are made out of sealed-off parts of The Dungeon, an enormous underground maze of tunnels.
  • The Scavengers of Next Breed of Thief have their base in such a sewer system.
  • The Lower Sewers of Overlord Ascendant are spacious and expansive, filled with monsters. Of course, they were made that way deliberately.
  • RWBY: In Volume 6, the underground waterways beneath Brunswick Farms can be access by jumping down the well and through a broken wall in the side of the farmhouse's underground wine cellar. The waterways are huge structures, held up by stone and wooden frames, with underground streams running through the centre of each tunnel.
  • Spoony has expressed a hatred of sewer levels in videogames. He was especially disgusted by the game that's all sewer levels.
  • A sanitary sewer like this appears on the island used for version two of Survival of the Fittest, spanning the entire island underground, but from the vague descriptions it's implied that people can only just barely move across the walkways on the sides, and that otherwise it's fairly cramped.
  • The sewers of The Town are also infamously large, spacious and full of random monsters including rat shaped robots and Xenomorphs.
  • In the story "Boston Brawl" in the Whateley Universe, the Boston sewers are big enough to get lost in. Phase gets stuck in the pitch dark, knee-deep in.. ugh, don't even think about it. Then she gets attacked by hundreds of The Necromancer's zombies. In the pitch dark. Ick.
    • In "Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again", Merry spends a lot of time in the city sewer to try and keep out of sight — and then ends up going deep enough that she finds a man-made cavern with a very powerful computer hidden inside. The reasons for this, and what else is hidden in the cavern may qualify for a partial AI Is A Crap Shoot. Or possibly a subversion thereof, since Palm was deliberately going for humanity-unfriendly AI.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In "Exquisite Corpses", Francine, Jeff and Roger's tour bus is hijacked by a crazed murderer, who forces them to head to the sewers - via driving through a tunnel big enough for the whole bus to easily fit through (which passenger Craig Robinson lampshades).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: When the gang needs a way to sneak into the newly-occupied Omashu, Aang shows them a secret way through the sewers, which is large enough to hold nearly the entire population of the city. More realistic than most, given it's full of sticky smelly goop that Aang and Katara are able to bend away from them, but that Sokka gets covered in — and gets a little too closely acquainted with some of its denizens as a result.
  • Several villains in Batman: The Animated Series based themselves in the sewers, requiring Batman to go there in search of them, like the Sewer King and his legion of children, and Killer Croc. The Penguin also briefly had a hideout in one, likely referencing Batman Returns.
  • Likewise, Batman Beyond ventured into a downright cavernous sewer system in at least one episode.
  • The sewers in Batman: Gotham Knight are just effin' enormous, one area seems to be several stories tall.
  • In Bob's Burgers, the episode "The Belchies" features a large sewer system underneath an abandoned taffy factory, tall enough to fit the entire main cast (including the adults) and with a waterway large enough to fit even a small boat. It's justified in that the tunnels were originally designed to store bootlegged alcohol during Prohibition, and were simply repurposed afterwards.
  • Stock Animation in Code Lyoko often has the heroes skateboarding through some very spacious sewers. Then again, the series is French... Since the water is flowing directly into the river, it is more of a storm drain tunnel than a sewer.
  • One of the many cliques featured in Craig of the Creek is a group of kids who hang out in the sewer by the creek, and it's absolutely enormous. The "Sewer Queen" actually asks Craig to map the sewers in one episode.
  • Danny Phantom had one episode where the sewer system was big enough to support one ghost boy, his currently possessed love interest, and thousands and thousands of big ass vines gunning towards him. Has some incredibly clean water, too.
  • Detentionaire has a few, under the school, Green Apple Splat factory, and Brandy's condo. Some parts of them are a little more high tech than most sewers, though.
  • DuckTales (1987): In "A Drain In the Economy", Scrooge's money washes into the (storm) sewer, explicitly referred to as a "storm drain" by Big Time Beagle. Huey, Dewey and Louie pursue it through the storm sewer system. The drain ends up going into the Duckburg reservoir and directly into the city water supply.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, the sewers beneath the cul-de-sac, as seen briefly in "High-Heeled Ed" and more extensively in "Boom Boom Out Goes the Ed", are pretty spacious.
  • The Fairly OddParents has the episode "Ruled Out" where Timmy has to go into the sewers to save Cosmo and Wanda from the long fabled Sewer Gator. In Season 9's "Gone Flushin'" Timmy, Cosmo and Wanda, all in fish form have to escape the sewers, which would be realistically big if you were the size of a goldfish.
  • Family Guy:
    • "Breaking Out Is Hard to Do" ends in a sewer that is wide enough to fit two TIE fighters.
    • Notably averted in The Shawshank Redemption parody, where Peter (Andy) barely squeezes through a half mile of dirty sewage escaping.
      Cleveland (Red): Andy crawled to freedom through 500 yards of foulness I can't even imagine. Andy Dufresne, the man who crawled through a river of poop came out clean on the other side.
  • Freakazoid! used this until it became a running gag, with more than one character complaining about "poo gas".One character Roddy McStew notes they're called "crud vapors" in his native Scotland.
  • In The Fruitties episode "Voyage to Paris", Roly and a couple of other Fruitties traverse an unrealistically large sewer, where they encounter Monkus the Mad Scientist monkey.
  • Futurama really played with this one in a few episodes. New New York's sewers are home to a community of mutants, who mention off-hand that they have a sub-sewer system (home to a community of sub-mutants, according to sub-urban legend). It helps that New New York's sewers connect with the subterranean ruins of old New York. Reality ensues, however, when the Planet Express crew gets lost down there and Fry says that the only way out is through... a tube that's at most only a few inches wide ("Don't worry, it gets wider after about a mile").
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!, Arnold drops his grandfather's watch down a hole to the sewer (which somehow didn't break even though it fell for three seconds before hitting the ground: a drop). He descends into the sewer to retrieve it only to find it has been taken by the "Sewer King," a man who lives in the sewer and claims sovereignty over it.
  • Hilda: The sewers of Trolberg are a big, underground complex of tunnels.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: The sewers of Miseryville are apparently big enough to house a secret lab for the resident Mad Scientist.
  • This seems to be the deal with the sewers of Mellowbrook on Kick Buttowski as Kick manages to operate them quite well, even with Kendall riding with him on his skateboard. They also appear to host crocodiles or alligators.
  • Kim Possible has done the sewer gig more than once, even twenty years into a dystopian future. In their defense, they actually had to walk through some of the sewer fluid.
  • Arlen sewers in King of the Hill episode "Serpunt" is big enough to walk on when Dale and Hank hunt down the escaped snake.
  • In "Verb Dog, When Action Calls!" on Martha Speaks, Martha and Dr. R. try to hide in one of these, but it doesn't work for long.
  • In Milo Murphy's Law, Milo's familiarity with his town's sewer system, where he frequently ends up on his way to school, often comes in handy for himself and his friends.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: There are a few instances where the heroes travel through the sewers, which are shown to be very large, most notably in the Season 2 finale. In a Season 3 episode, a room full of lockers is accessible from them.
  • Mr. Bogus:
    • The hideout of the weasel mobsters in the first act of the episode "Bogus Private Eye" is a sewer large enough to conceal all of the smuggled goods that they've been stealing from available sources.
    • In the first act of another episode, Bogus, Brattus, Ratty, and Mole end up in another sewer, with Ratty and Mole meeting up with a group of biker rats after Ratty accidentally takes out their previous leader, while Bogus and Brattus are rowing down another area of the sewer, before they get eaten by an alligator.
  • In PAW Patrol, the sewers are so large, they could be mistaken for a subway path, thus making it easy for the PAW Patrol to drive their vehicles through them.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Candace is required to battle a sewer-dwelling alligator/crocodile to get one of her Fire Side badges.
    • During the song "Subterranean Crocodile Apprehension Expedition", the usual gang along with Irving and the Fireside Girls, all of them riding a total of 4 jet-skis; try to chase Candace and a crocodile, both in an airboat; doing a race on the sewer rivers that include several tunnels, water curves, crossings and sidewalks wider than a truck. It even has a ladder up to the subway stations and the subway railway itself.
  • PJ Masks, in "Halloween Tricksters", the sewers underneath the town are revealed to be this when the PJ Masks track down the Night Time Villains there.
  • Mainframe in ReBoot was shown to have sewers in one episode. Why digital lifeforms require them is a mystery.
  • The Simpsons episode "Two Bad Neighbors" has walkable sewers running perpendicular to the street when Bart and Homer attempt to sneak into Bush's house.
  • In Sonic Underground, the only way to get very deep into Dr. Robotnik's empire was in... the sewers.
  • South Park:
    • The small town of South Park even has spacious sewers big enough for the boys (and Mr. Garrison) to walk in when searching for Mr. Hankey in "Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls" Obviously, the presence of a magical talking piece of crap means the "no poop" rule is averted.
    • Even ignoring Mr. Hankey, the show is one of very few works to acknowledge the disgusting nature of sewers in general. In one gag, Cartman sneezes on Kyle, who complains that sneezing on others is gross and unsanitary. Cartman responds, "oh, sorry, you wouldn't want to get exposed to germs while you're knee-deep in human feces."
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Flint Marko and Alex O'Hirn flee the scene of a robbery by busting through the store's basement wall, and escaping into marvellously cavernous sewers, only to be promptly caught by Spider-Man. Later, Spider-Man traps the Rhino in a steam-tunnel created from ruptured sewer pipes. Quarters are tighter, but the hulking Rhino can still maneuver relatively freely. Half the Sinister Six pursue a fleeing Spidey through these sewers as well.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has the episode "Sewers of Bikini Bottom" where SpongeBob and Squidward are forced to enter the sewers (through the toilet) to retrieve the safe for the Krabby Patty formula after it gets flushed down the toilet.
  • Anakin and Obi-Wan wade through one of these in Star Wars: Clone Wars as part of a Dungeon Bypass.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • In "Vision of Hope", the Ghost crew go through Lothal City's sewers to get to the old Republic-era government building for a meeting. They also use them as an escape route when the Empire ambushes said meeting. There's no water thanks to Imperial rationing, but they still smell terrible.
    • In Season 4, the sewers reappear, and turn out to connect Lothal City with other municipalities like Jhothal. The planet's rebels use them as passageways during the increased Imperial occupation.
  • The sewer in the Talespin episode, "Bringing Down Babyface" is (just barely) big enough for Baloo to fly his plane, the Sea Duck through.
  • Teen Titans: In "The Beast Within", The Titans encounter the Man-Beast and Raven in a sewer large enough to sustain pitched combat, and the Man-Beast finds an even larger subterranean structure during the battle.
  • In The Tick, Sewer Urchin lives in an enormous apartment in The City's sewers, and on some occasions provides the other heroes with goods that are otherwise difficult or impossible to acquire, claiming "You'd be surprised what people throw away, yeah, definitely."
  • Total Drama World Tour has one of these in the episode "Broadway Baby". The cast rides speed boats through it.
  • The Transformers: In "City of Steel", the sewers under New York City are apparently large enough that Autobots can walk through them transformed and fully upright.
  • In Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, as Carmen Sandiego leaves a clue for Zack and Ivy in the Sewer of Paris.
  • The sewers of Bayville in X-Men: Evolution are fairly sizable, large enough for characters to more or less walk upright in most places, but in most circumstances the characters have to walk through the dirty water. Still a big enough space for a camp for the Morlocks to live in, though.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television for almost any city of significant size, although what most people would consider "sewers" are actually storm drains that are for carrying excess rainwater away from the city to prevent the streets from flooding.
  • London's sewers are in places as spacious as computer games would suggest, having been built on a massive scale in the 19th century to accommodate future population growth (though the network has grown a hundredfold since then). note The Victorian-era section of the London sewer system is huge, with several million tons of brickwork and tunnels up to nine feet in diameter. Most are designed to be be (and are) cleared manually of blockages such as wet wipes and congealed fat. There are also many kilometers of unused underground tunnels built for other purposes, ranging from railways to military bunkers. A proposed upgrade to London's sewers involves adding a section the size of the Channel Tunnel. It mostly follows the route of the Thames itself, but is being bored out deeper than any sewer or tube line.
  • ... and Moscow sewers. Many of them actually are rivers enclosed in pipes.
  • The sewers of Vienna: Most of the sewer system has sidewalks, there are even big storage rooms down there.
  • Parts of Japan have been integrated into the G-Cans project -- a stormwater system so huge it can be favorably compared to the Mines of Moria.
  • The Sewers of Paris — famed in song and story — are a major tourist attraction.
  • Beneath Saint Paul, Minnesota there is a extensive network of several tunnel systems, including both active and abandoned sewers. These sewers also interconnect with several natural and abandoned man-made caves.
  • Some old cities have large underground cisterns, design to collect and hold rainwater, which reach the sizes of some of these fictional sewers. For example, the Byzantine Basilica Cistern beneath Constantinople (nowadays' İstanbul). You may have seen it in From Russia with Love, Assassin's Creed: Revelations and the film adaptation of Inferno.
  • Truth in Television: There are whole communities living underground in New York City and Paris, to name a few, and obviously, there's more than enough elbow room. In Paris, there are even illegal theaters and passageways to the catacombs via sewers.
  • Many of the much older major cities, especially the ones in Europe, have vast underground networks of tunnels and rooms that are leftovers from the city's previous development age. For example:
    • Rome is built over many ancient buildings, Berlin has numerous World War II era bunkers, and Chicago has a labyrinth of secret rooms and passages built during Prohibition.
    • The parking lot in front of Baltimore's City Hall has the old Jones' Falls River Bridge buried under it. When the river was moved to build Downtown, whoever was in-charge decided to bury the bridge instead of tear it down. This has the unfortunate side effect that as much as the city would like to sell the land for another skyscraper, they can't because the bridge protects much of the main sewer, water, and electrical lines running through the area (making it too expensive/inconvenient to remove) and with the bridge there it destabilizes the ground and any potential foundations laid there.
    • The Brussels Premetro (tram line which goes part underground like a subway under modern Anspach Boulevard) runs in a former riverbed which had become an open sewer in the 19th century and later got drained, covered and built upon.
  • Not technically a sewer, but Toronto's PATH is made up of numerous underground tunnels and walkways, often housing retail stores, connecting many of the major office buildings downtown and linked to the subway system. Even more so with Montreal, which has a of tunnels/underground complex doubling as one massive shopping mall spanning most of downtown (The so-called "Ville Souterraine", or "Underground City" to Anglophones, is the largest underground complex in the world). Built because the extremely harsh winters tend to drive pedestrian indoors. Further, there are sections of both Toronto and Montreal's sewers that you can walk comfortably in standing upright. People have done it (and gotten arrested), but it is definitely large enough to fit a man standing upright. Some of Toronto's sewers are underground creeks and rivers, encased so they could be built over.
  • Montreal is home to the first collection sewer constructed in North America, similarly a river covered up and used for waste water and rain runoff until 1989. Visitors to the Pointe a Calliere Museum walk through a section of it regularly to get from one building to another.
  • Rochester, MN also has an underground walkway network that serves a large part of the city. I believe this type of infrastructure is common in cold cities.
  • Osaka, Japan has a network of pathways which connect several of the subway stations. The subway stations in Tokyo could count in their own right: several are huge sprawling complexes where multiple subway lines cross. Sapporo has a pedestrian tunnel system under the inner city measuring 1.7 kilometers from north to south and 1.1 kilometers from east to west.
  • The subway system in Seoul, South Korea features sections where several stations have become connected by underground pedestrian tunnels filled with stores and small restaurants. It is possible to walk a good length of the city without ever coming above ground.
  • Seattle had a major fire in 1889, and to make sewage flow out into the sea (at high tide, it had a habit of... going the other way from outhouses) they simply rebuilt everything on top of the old foundations. That means today there is a sort of small town buried beneath downtown's streets. Highly unsafe in most of it though.
  • In Cologne there is a huge hall with two candelabra in it. It was build for a visit from Kaiser Wilhelm II [1]
  • In the Warsaw Uprising the quarter separated by Nazi forces tried to communicate with each other using the sewer system. It could be described as anything but spacious and clean. In one case a whole quarter (both soldiers and civilians) was evacuated by these means. The Warsaw Uprising Museum has a real-size, accessible replica of a Warsaw sewer.
  • The street level of Atlanta is today one story above where it was a century ago, due to a system of viaducts built to raise it out of the way of the railroad lines. When the lower level was "rediscovered" in the 1960s, it was turned into a shopping and entertainment mall. (What else?)
  • Not technically a sewer, but Las Vegas has an underground flood channel system that homeless people actually live in. The system has hundreds of miles of tunnels ranging from a few feet in diameter to large enough to drive a truck into.
  • Texas A&M University has the "Steam Tunnels", a system of underground utility tunnels under the main campus originally built to pump steam from a central plant to the various buildings' basements to heat them during the winter months. Now it is used to run water and sewage pipes, electrical and phone lines, and network lines. Campus lore says that there used to be a few student "lounges" set up in intersections of the tunnels where there was a bit more space, but nowadays the access grates to the tunnels are padlocked, and exploration of the area is discouraged by the university officials. The University of BC in Vancouver has a similar system, but they're still easily accessible if one knows how. However, nobody goes into them but repairmen and engineering students mucking around.
  • Chicago has the Deep Tunnel project, which is a pretty massive-scale water handling project that includes storm flow as well as sewage. Some of the tunnels are easily wide enough to walk through, and it's even possible to get to some of those areas via manhole.
  • While not technically a sewer system, Chicago also has the former railway tunnels of the Chicago Tunnel Company, a narrow-gauge railway network used to make deliveries and remove coal ash from coal-fired boilers and furnaces. They accidentally became this in 1992 after a pile being driven into the bed of the Chicago River penetrated the ceiling of one of the tunnels, flooding the network (and the basements of buildings adjoining them) with 250 million gallons of water.
  • While not a sewer, and certainly not as extensive as the other examples on this page, Quebec City's Laval University has built a tunnel system under it's campus to link every buildings. A student could theoretically pass the whole year without ever needing to go outside, as almost every kind of services and stores are available in at least one of the university's buildings.
  • Lakehead University in Thunder Bay has a similar system of tunnels (both public access and service) for the same reason; it gets really cold in the winter. Sadly, the university has outgrown the public tunnels and only the main buildings are connected, making for a chilly walk to some classes or back to the campus residences.
  • Harvard University has fairly extensive tunnels, though their accessibility varies depending on the building you're in. In some cases there are sections of buildings (like the philosophy section of the Widener Library stacks) that can only be reached through the tunnels.
  • Most older large university campuses have a fairly extensive network of tunnels underneath them, generally built to pipe steam from the main physical plant to other buildings (it's cheaper and more efficient to build and run one enormous boiler, or even several smaller ones in a single location, than separate ones for each building). The tunnels were made large enough for maintenance workers to access and repair the pipes if necessary.
  • MIT's steam tunnel system is particularly well-known — the video game The Lurking Horror is based on it.
  • Fugitive Raoul Moat evaded capture by the police in Northumberland for eight days, apparently by hiding in Rothbury's network of storm drains, popping out of manhole covers occasionally to steal vegetables from allotments, and for a stroll in the High Street.
  • St. Louis, MO has a fairly large underground made up of sewer systems, old railway tunnels, various tunnels for other purposes, and lots and lots of caves (that have been mostly sealed off). Very few people (if any) in the city know exactly how extensive they all are and it is very illegal to go down into them, and for good reason. The sewers, tunnels, and caves are so full of toxic gas build up that going down into them without a copious amount of protective equipment is practically suicide, and that's assuming a collapse doesn't kill you (since the older ones aren't exactly easy to maintain).
  • Most of the outer suburbs around Detroit have no sanitary sewer system; wastewater goes into septic tanks and runoff goes into a network of drains and lakes. Most of these drains are above ground and some of them are basically artificial rivers over 10 feet wide and 6 feet deep.
  • Mexico City is a city suffering subsidence (sinking of buildings) at a rate of 30' per year (a lot), including their old sewage system, which is starting to flow back on itself as a consequence. Their sewage system is old fashioned in that it combines all of the sewage, instead of having separate drains for hospitals, industry, etc. To cope with this, they are currently building a huge sewage pipe which will be several meters in diameter and be able to pipe out 450 million liters of sewage per second.
  • The cisterns beneath Fort San Cristobal (Puerto Rico).
  • The underground tunnels of Bucharest are relatively spacious and a favorite refuge for homeless people, beggars and petty thieves. Due to the construction fever of the Communist government in the 1980s, most of the city's ground had been drilled and large concrete housings and tunnels built, for the subway system, electrical cables, hot water pipes and so on, from small 3 ft wide ones to some large enough to drive a truck inside. Some homeless people had built literal underground homes, illegally tapping the wires and pipes for hot water, electricity and even broadband Internet.
  • A methamphetamine lab was found in a storm sewer underneath a Wal-Mart in Amherst, New York.


Video Example(s):


The Mandalorian Covert

Established beneath Nevarro, The Covert serves as the home to The Children of The Watch.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / AbsurdlySpaciousSewer

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