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.
Our priority is to provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere for our guests and guides on these outdoor walking tours. Because guides will not be masked when telling stories, and because different people have different levels of risk tolerance, we have strict mask policies for attendees. Your understanding and cooperation are appreciated. These simple rules are being implemented for the benefit of all attending. Anybody not abiding by these rules will be given one chance to shape up, then asked to leave the tour if it happens again. There are no refunds or exchanges for anyone removed from a tour for violating the rules.
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, a hat and a medical-grade mask. 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.
MASKS & SOCIAL DISTANCING: Attendees must bring a medical-grade mask (i.e. N95, KN95, KF94) to wear when checking in, during those portions of the tour when the group is gathered together listening to the tour guides (who will not wear masks when telling stories), and when talking with the tour guides one-on-one. If you are more comfortable not wearing a mask while walking between tour stops, you’re free to remove it, while maintaining physical space from anyone not from your household. Masks must be worn properly, covering mouth and nose completely, and not have any exhalation valves, vents or holes of any kind. Thank you for working with us to keep guests and guides healthy, and please let us know if you have any questions about these policies.
ARGH, I FORGOT MY MASK: Wave to us from a healthy distance at the check in table and point to your cute face. We’ve got you.
VACCINATION: We do not require proof of vaccination for outdoor walking tours.
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.