In many cities, there is an acknowledged "bad part of town": a place where outsiders just don't go. This trope is what happens when characters who don't belong find themselves in this bad part of town.
This trope can play out in a number of different ways. In more hopeful works, the characters could discover that not everyone in The City Narrows is a bad person and learn a lesson about judging by appearances. In other works, the characters will face a nail biting adventure as they find their way out and back to more familiar ground. In Crime and Punishment Series, they might just end up dead.
In a military / warfare context, this can be lethally serious. As in the inhabitants of this side of town / this side of the front lines want to kill the character.
- In The Lion King, when Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands, he informs Simba that the Elephant Graveyard is beyond their waters and they must never go there. Scar coaxes Simba to go there by telling him only the bravest lions are allowed to go there, and Simba tricks Zazu into bringing him and Nala there by telling him they're going to the water hole. When Simba, Nala, and Zazu reach the Elephant Graveyard, they get chased by the hungry hyenas, until Mufasa arrives and saves them.
- Doctor Aki Ross from Final Fantasy The Spirits Within dares to venture outside the protected zone, and into the abandoned areas where the deadly phantoms lurk, seeking key pieces that she believes will solve the mystery of the phantoms. The Deep Eyes elite strike team routinely has to cover her butt while she's gathering her MacGuffins.
- Lady and the Tramp: After being fitted with a muzzle, a distraught Lady runs away and gets lost in the inner streets of town. She is chased by stray dogs and cornered in an alleyway when Tramp jumps in and fights off the dogs, rescuing her.
- This is what happens to Chris and the kids in Adventures in Babysitting. Her car suffers a flat tire, stranding them on the South Side of Chicago. In getting out, the encounter a variety of locals, both helpful and hindering. Meanwhile, Brenda suffers a similar experience stuck in the downtown bus station.
- Behind Enemy Lines: The hero has obtained evidence of war crimes before being shot down over hostile territory.
- This is almost the entirety of Judgment Night. A group of friends pile into an RV to go to a boxing match. They take a detour to avoid a traffic jam, get lost, and witness a murder. They spend the rest of the film trying to escape the killers.
- After Hours is Paul Hackett's odyssey to survive one night in New York's [SoHo] district while the world decides to make him an incredibly dark example of the Butt-Monkey (as in, "he may end up lynched by an angry mob that mistook him for a thief" kind of Butt-Monkey). At one point he even begs the universe to tell him what he did wrong and when he witnesses a murder near the end, he's so far into Giving Up on Logic that he can only snark that the lynching mob will blame him for it somehow.
- Jedi Academy Trilogy has one part where toddlers Jacen and Jaina Solo wind up in the dark underbelly of Coruscant, where they encounter malfunctioning worker droids, cannibalistic street wraiths and various other unsavory types.
- Cauldron of Ghosts: Early in their infiltration of Mesa, Victor Cachat and Thandi Palane are accidentally routed through the Lower Radomsko district, the poorest and most violent seccy district of Mendel, and promptly attacked. Since we're talking about Cachat and Palane, the trope is then promptly reversed onto the attackers instead.
- The Bonfire of the Vanities: Bond trader Sherman McCoy and his mistress Maria Ruskin accidentally enter the Bronx while driving to Manhattan from Kennedy airport. Finding the ramp back to the highway blocked by trash cans and a tire, McCoy exits the car to clear the way. Approached by two black men whom they perceive — uncertainly, in Sherman's case — as predators, McCoy and Ruskin flee. Having taken the wheel of the car, which fishtails as they race away, Ruskin apparently strikes one of the two.
- Whenever Discworld characters finds themselves in the Shades, (the most infamous and crime ridden slum in the city of Ankh-Morpork) it's essentially a countdown (usually a very short one) until multiple crooks try to mug and/or kill them.
- CSI: "Getting Off" starts with the Victim of the Week driving a BMW into an area under the freeway. The next scene has him dead; his wallet, watch and shoes; and his car missing.
- CSI: NY: In "Blacklist", the killer hacks the GPS of a CEO's car and sends him into the worst part of New York. He then activates the car alarm to attract the attention of the bad element.
- In Arrow, there's the Glades, the "wild side" of Starling City, which is like a ghetto which occurs most of the common crimes of the city. Thea Queen, the protagonist's little sister appeared oftenly for the Glades by various reasons (partying, working on Laurel Lance's CRNI or flirting with Roy Harper), and in most than one time she was attacked there, being saved by various people, included his own brother (as Arrow/The Hood, without knowing about his Secret Identity) and her boyfriend Roy.
- Subverted in Manuel Samuel, where Death sends Sam into a part of town that is torn apart by gang wars. But to his surprise all gang members are already dead, and the few left get put down by War.
- Persona 3: The protagonist, Yukari and Junpei at one point investigate the back alleys of the Port Island Station area, against the protests of Junpei who knows that's where all the delinquents hang out. They get into a tight spot with said delinquents but then are saved by Jerk with a Heart of Gold Shinjiro.
- The Simpsons: In "Lost Our Lisa", Lisa gets stranded on the Wrong Side of the Tracks after getting on the wrong bus. She has to trek back through Springfield's surprising number of bad neighborhoods while Homer searches for her.
- Daria: The plot of "Legends of the Mall" is driven by the Fashion Club having to catch a bus from the mall and winding up getting off in a less salubrious part of town. Of course, this being Lawndale, the 'bad part' of town isn't too bad.