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.
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 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 suspected or positive case of Covid-19 in the last 14 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.