When people talk about Victorian Los Angeles, they usually bring up Carroll Avenue in Angelino Heights and the lost neighborhood of Bunker Hill above Downtown—and we offer tours of both those neighborhoods. But there are other time capsule residential districts that are just as beautiful and compelling, hiding in plain sight just off Pico and Olympic in the heart of the city.
Esotouric invites you to take an immersive trip back in time exploring the layers of history to be found in Westlake / Pico-Union, on a walk that includes two stunning National Register Districts: Alvarado Terrace and the South Bonnie Brae Tract, as well as the handsome homes and apartment hotels that are their near neighbors.
Starting from the tropical garden courtyard of the elegant William Penn Hotel—now called The Sinclair LA—just south of MacArthur Park, we’ll set out to discover the rich and compelling cultural, architectural and true crime history of these historic residential neighborhoods, and the commercial corridors that connect them.
On this walk, you’ll see gorgeous homes reflecting the eclectic range of styles in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras—Queen Anne, Gothic, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Mission Revival, Chateauesque, Shingle, Chalet and Tudor—and get to know the interesting original residents and the curious characters drawn to their white elephant mansions in later decades. Featured players include a colorful cast of self-dealing politicians, crooked cops, gay physique photographers, cult leaders, civil rights activists, wild teens, do-gooders and lost souls whose stories will stick with you.
This walking tour is illustrated with rare photos you can view on your smartphone.
Tour begins at 10:30am sharp, with check-in time 10am at The Sinclair LA at 2200 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057. Please arrive on time and proceed through the lobby to the central courtyard check in table to get signed in and logged in to the smartphone slideshow. Scroll down for tour rules and recommendations.
The nearest paid public parking lot is at 730 S Lake St 90057. This lot has an attendant to take your payment. The attendant only takes cash.
The nearest Metro station is Westlake/MacArthur Park station on the B and D lines. If using public transit, this link can help you plan your trip.
BE PREPARED: This is a walking hour lasting 2 1/2 to 3 hours, over level ground moving at a casual pace. Wear comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Bring your smartphone so you can view the tour slide show. We will have a cooler with cold water, and you’re encouraged to bring a full water bottle. A restroom will be available at the start and end of the tour. If you need more information about what to expect, please email us.
COVID SAFETY: At this time, we no longer require that masks be worn on walking tours.
CAMERA POLICY: No video- or audio-taping unless it has been pre-cleared with us, please. Still cameras and sketchbooks are fine.
Emailing is the best way to communicate with us, but after 8am on tour day you can call or text Richard on his mobile phone, 213-915-8687.
If you feel like you’re getting sick, if you test positive for Covid-19, or if you have knowingly been in contact with a positive case of Covid-19 in the last 7 days, please do not attend the tour. Let us know not to expect you. If notified at least 72 hours before tour departure, we can refund or reschedule your booking. If notified at least 24 hours before departure, we can honor the booking on a future date. You may also gift your ticket to someone else—we will need their name, email address and phone number to make this switch.