Description Insert Westlake

When Los Angeles was young, Westlake was a favorite pleasure park, with boating, a mini-zoo and exotic trees for lovers to spoon under, surrounded by grand mansions and elegant hotels. Then in 1934, Wilshire Boulevard punched through the lake, marking the ascendency of the automobile. Westlake would never be the same.

Esotouric invites you to take an immersive trip back in time exploring the layers of history hiding in plain sight in and around Westlake (MacArthur) Park.

Starting from the tropical garden courtyard of the elegant William Penn Hotel—now called The Sinclair LA—we’ll set out to discover the rich and compelling cultural, architectural and true crime history of this fascinating L.A. neighborhood.

On this walk, you’ll learn about the legendary booksellers and influential art academies that thrived here, see where cult leader Jim Jones lost his cool, visit a little known monument to detective novelist Raymond Chandler, learn where a bomb was set for the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, thrill to the offbeat goings on at the Elks’ Lodge, plus enjoy early pleasure park lore, silent film locations, mysteriously mummified infants, and a stop to admire the only art nouveau castle home in Los Angeles, a rare domestic commission by master architect John Parkinson.

This walking tour is illustrated with rare photos you can view on your smartphone.