From the founding of the city through the 1940s, downtown was the true center of Los Angeles, a lively, densely populated, exciting and sometimes dangerous place. After many quiet decades, downtown is making an incredible return. But while many of the historic buildings remain, their human context has been lost. This tour aims to revive the ghosts that cling to the bricks and alleyways.
The Hotel Horrors section is a true crime and oddities tour featuring some of the wildest, weirdest, goriest and most memorable happenings in historic hotels like the Alexandria, St. George, Barclay and Cecil. Get on the bus to see inside some of these legendary locales and find out where Night Stalker Richard Ramirez dumped his blood-soaked clothing and where Canadian tourist Elisa Lam fell off the map, see the hotel that saw a visit from the Skid Row Slasher and the one where two traveling chocolate salesmen laughed so hard they fell backwards out a window to their deaths. You’ll also explore the fiery curse that repeatedly leveled one building. Included are some light hearted stories to help the blood and gore go down.
The Main Street Vice section celebrates the social history of the ribald, racy, raunchy old promenade where the better people simply did not travel, but kicks were had by all who did. Burlesque babes and dirty picture parlors, mummified western outlaws and old time tattoo parlors, wax museums and pawn brokers, “professors” offering sex lectures and magazine peddlers with nudie Marilyn Monroe calendars under the counter, sophisticated steak houses and nickel donut dives — these were the pleasures and the people to be found along Main during the first half of the 20th century. We’ll visit the scenes of some more unforgettable debaucheries and share stories of crime, smut, passion and commerce.
This “downtown double feature” tour is especially recommended for residents curious about their neighborhood’s neglected history, and anyone fascinated by grim crimes and gorgeous architecture.