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, 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.
MASK & COVID SAFETY POLICIES: Attendees must bring a medical-grade mask (i.e. N95, KN95, KF94) to wear when checking in (or ask us for one), during those portions of the tour when the group is gathered close 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. 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.
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.
Click the “+” button for the number of tickets desired, then click “Get Tickets” to check out.