As the historic heart of Los Angeles, Downtown is a complex and confusing ecosystem, where the old town and the new city collide and the past is always present.
Join Esotouric for an immersive time travel trip that aims to give you the tools you need to actually understand how Downtown got this way and anticipate where it might go next, as you explore Victorian time capsule interiors, Prohibition-era speakeasy tunnels, and modernist redevelopment towers, ride a funicular and explore the ruins of an elevated people mover system that never was, all on a three hour tour like no other.
Starting from Grand Central Market, a culinary destination for more than a century, we’ll set out to explore the original Jewelry District, seek out remnants of the streetcar system, admire prominent Broadway Theater District and fashion industry landmarks, make a rare interior visit to Arts & Crafts tile master Ernest Batchelder’s Dutch Chocolate Shop and pay tribute to architect John Parkinson in his namesake square and at the hardscape Pershing Square where his beloved 1910 park design is still all anyone wants to talk about.
Then it’s all aboard Angels Flight Railway to ascend to the new Bunker Hill, where historian Nathan Marsak, author of Bunker Hill Los Angeles, Bunker Noir!, and Marsak’s Guide to Bunker Hill and native son Gordon Pattison will be our guides hunting for the ghosts of the lost Victorian neighborhood hiding among the shining modern towers. You’ll track the ragged path of the Bunker Hill Redevelopment Plan, see hidden gardens, art installations and landscaped public plazas, and learn about the Angelenos who were displaced and the planners and builders who sealed their doom.
This walking tour draws on original research to tell the real stories of Downtown Los Angeles and is illustrated with rare photos you can view on your smartphone.
Tour begins at 10:30am sharp, with check-in time 10am at the patio outside Grand Central Market at 324 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013. Please arrive on time and proceed to the check in table to get signed in and logged in to the smartphone slideshow. Scroll down for tour rules and recommendations.
There are numerous paid public parking lots around Grand Central Market, including GCM’s multi-level lot at 308 South Hill Street Los Angeles, California 90013. The nearest Metro stations are Civic Center/Grand Park and Pershing Square. If using public transit, this link can help you plan your trip:
BE PREPARED: This is a walking hour lasting 3 hours, over a mix of level ground and occasional hills and stairs 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, the middle, and at the 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, with the exception of when we visit cramped and unventilated basement tunnels and the Dutch Chocolate Shop space. Please bring a mask to wear for this portion of the tour. If you forget your mask, we can provide one on check in.
CAMERA POLICY: No video- or audio-taping unless it has been pre-cleared with us, please. Still cameras and sketchbooks are fine.
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.