Press & Passenger Feedback
“Aggressive historians”– VICE
“For the bookish fan of the macabre.” – New York Times
“Brilliantly dark.” – Vice
“The city’s most interesting tour.” – Los Angeles Magazine
Top 10 Things To Do in Los Angeles – National Geographic
L.A. Weekly Best of L.A. 2017 – Best Podcast About L.A. History
“Discover LA’s lurid and fascinating underbelly on these hip, offbeat, insightful and entertaining tours.” – Lonely Planet
“A wonderfully varied menu of some of the most offbeat and well-researched tours in Los Angeles.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“Led by groups like the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, and Esotouric, LA has a strong community dedicated to historic preservation.” – Curbed L.A.
Los Angeles Magazine’s Best of L.A. – Best True-Crime Tours – “Esotouric [has] built an empire on exposing L.A.’s grim underbelly with twisted joie de vivre and nerdy zeal…. The four-hour outings fly by, leaving you with a dozen open Wiki tabs and a thirst for more armchair sleuthing.”
“The closest thing to a day with the late great Huell Howser that California travel buffs will ever have.” – Pasadena Weekly
“Intensely dark and deeply researched.” – Los Angeles Magazine
“Esotouric reveals an L.A. you didn’t know existed… witty and intellectually stimulating… L.A. came alive like a 1940s noir movie…. I will never view the place of my birth the same way again.” – Bill Johnson, L.A. Register
“You can learn a lot from Kim Cooper and Richard Schave.” – LAist
“100 Things Every Angeleno Should Do At Least Once.” – Los Angeles Magazine
“Coolest First Date Spots in Los Angeles” – Complex City Guide
“[Esotouric] has turned tawdry L.A. stories into its very own brand.” – Los Angeles Times
“Esotouric might be the coolest tour company out there.” – Time Out Los Angeles
“The kings of oddball outings.” –The Rundown
“Best Way to Stroke L.A.’s Underbelly“ – Frontiers
“They should be the official greeters for all new arrivals to the city; you need people like this to get newcomers acclimated to L.A.’s rich history, real and imagined.” –Barry Grey, Movie Places in L.A. blog
“A perfect guide to the world of Bukowski, Cain, Chandler, and Fante, [Richard] Schave is a native Angeleno. He eats, sleeps, drinks, and thinks like a character in a noir film circa 1945, or perhaps more like a noir director, say Billy Wilder.” –BOOM Magazine
“A brilliant idea, appropriate to a city saturated with cultural and seedy social history.” – Spike Magazine (U.K)
“If you’re looking to recapture the Los Angeles of the 1930s and ’40s, Esotouric has you covered.” – Antelope Valley Press
“One of those things that makes me love L.A.” – So. California Travel Examiner
The most fascinating tours in Los Angeles… one of our favorite[s] nationwide. – USA Travel Guide
“The 5 Most Interesting Architecture & Design Tours: The most creative tour company in town. They know lost Los Angeles like no one else.” – The 500 Hidden Secrets of Los Angeles
“Esotouric runs the best tours of Southern California. I know, I know, [guided tours] are intrinsically uncool, but obsessives Richard Schave and Kim Cooper promise to take you into the ‘secret heart of Los Angeles,’ and they deliver.” — Peter Lunenfeld, Professor & Vice Chair UCLA’s Design | Media Arts Department
There’s no better way to experience and learn about the rich history of Los Angeles then to see it for yourself. Esotouric tours you through all the dimensions of Los Angeles, from the social history of the people who moved here, to the architecture they built for themselves to express their new way of life here, and to the real-life politics and crime stories that seem ripped from the silver screen. — Alan Hess, Architect & Historian
“This was one of the most wonderful events I have ever experienced in Los Angeles. I cannot say enough about the level of understanding of history, the deep respect and passion these folks have about all the wonderful facets of Los Angeles. I want to take more tours with Esotouric because my feeling about Los Angeles just went up a hundred percent — what a rich city with interesting stories and people and intrigues — the literary component of the John Fante tour was inspired and engaging. I think everyone who comes to LA should go on a tour to get a foundation of understanding of neighborhoods, how they sprang up, and the politics behind the city. Amazing and I am super excited to go on another one with Esotouric!!!” – Samantha Weaver, guest on John Fante’s Dreams from Bunker Hill
- Despite the Pandemic, Esotouric Still Brings Cultural Vitality to Los Angeles.
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- In Brazil’s Universo Online, Fernanda Ezabella reports on dark tourism at the Cecil Hotel, and our tours that use historic true crime stories to explore the cultural history of Downtown Los Angeles.
- How Downtown L.A.’s Cecil Hotel Went From Lively Destination To “Hell On Earth.”
- Pandemic Brings Changes, Closures for LA Tour Companies.
- The Century-Old Neon Sign Tearing Up LA Conservationists.
- Richard Schave and Kim Cooper of Esotouric: How tour guides for hidden L.A. have gone virtual.
- The Iconoclast Remaking Los Angeles’s Most Important Museum
- How To Take A Time-Traveling Tour Of Historic LA Without Getting On A Bus/DeLorean.
- The Journal of Alta California: Santi Elijah Holley takes the Charles Bukowski tour to find out what fans take away from the writer’s work today.
- Alta: Mystery novelist Denise Hamilton joins us on the Mansonland tour, just one stop on a deep dive into the Charles Manson Industry.
- Los Angeles Magazine: From Hip-Hop History to Haunted Places, These Offbeat L.A. Tours Aren’t Just for Tourists. Daniel Smith finds our Pasadena Confidential “an intensely dark and deeply researched experience.”
- Spectrum News 1 video: Tag along on Detective Mike Digby’s occasional tour about the 1910 Los Angeles Times bombing, and the sprawling nationwide investigation that changed labor, California and the newspaper forever.
- Spectrum News 1 video: A sneak peek of some of the sites that flesh out the lost world of psychedelic Los Angeles, as featured on our new Mansonland true crime tour.
- SoCal Pulse: A tour with Esotouric is like being in a Thin Man movie, minus the booze.
- Los Angeles Magazine: Where Laypeople Learn About L.A.’s Most Gruesome Crimes – Esotouric’s Forensic Science Seminars are not for the faint of heart.
- Los Angeles Magazine: Enjoy the Most Eccentric Tour of the City – From literary hot spots to scenes of the crimes, this one is not for the average tourist!
- Los Angeles Magazine 2017 Best of L.A. issue – Best True-Crime Tours
- Fodor’s rates The Real Black Dahlia one of the 10 Creepiest True Crime Tours in America.
- EYE ON L.A. Best ways to celebrate Halloween in SoCal.
- Los Angeles Times feature on our special event tour with Detective Mike Digby about the 1910 bombing of the newspaper.
- Fodor’s: David Smay shares insights gleaned from watching Downtown Los Angeles gentrify over ten years of Tom Waits tours.
- Kim Cooper talks with KPCC’s Take Two about the Black Dahlia murder on the 70th anniversary.
- Vice Munchies digs our Blood & Dumplings true crime tour.
- Hooray for Hollywood! A Day with Esotouric – Retrolandia
- LA’s Most Notorious Crimes with Kim Cooper – Citizine interview.
- The Lady Novelist meets the Black Dahlia, finds it a refreshingly respectful tour.
- Our dark Downtown crime tours are featured in the Lonely Planet guide to quirky LA.
- “At Last, an L.A. Tour Company For the Morbidly Curious.” – Travel + Leisure digs our atypical excursions.
- Esotouric’s Kim Cooper & Richard Schave talk with the 99% Invisible podcast about the magical Bradbury Building.
- Emma E. Kemp gets under the hood of David Smay’s Tom Waits tour.
- L.A. Morgue Files digs the Wild Wild Westside tour.
- Pasadena Weekly says our Route 66 tour is “the closest thing to a day with the late great Huell Howser that California travel buffs will ever have.”
- BOOM Magazine writes of literary shrines, and calls our Richard Schave “a perfect guide to the world of Bukowski, Cain, Chandler, and Fante.”
- On our Raymond Chandler tour for L.A. Review of Books, Tyler Dilts is “struck by how thoroughly and effectively the tour has deconstructed Chandler the writer and replaced him with Chandler the man.”
- A. Wolfe says our Pasadena Confidential tour is “a full-immersion campfire story.”
- Esotouric’s Kim Cooper discovers a lost comic operetta by Raymond Chandler, gives TheGuardian the scoop.
- Michelle Mills gets her kicks talking about our Route 66 tour.
- Bill Johnson of the Los Angeles Register is “more than a little blown away” by our Raymond Chandler tour.
- Esotouric’s Kim Cooper and Richard Schave shared some L.A. lore on the Delta Bravo video podcast.
- Reed College alums dig us: “Esotouric changed my life. Owners Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are art historians, archivists, writers, and information detectives. Their brains are encyclopedias; they know everything about Los Angeles, much of it arcane, all of it fascinating. They are serious about their subjects (crime, noir, art, architecture, city planning), but present it with flair, style, and humor.”
- Complex City Guide calls Esotouric one of L.A.’s coolest first date spots.
- At Maximum Fun, Colin Marshall tunes in to our podcast, and finds that “for seemingly every square mile in and just beyond greater Los Angeles, no matter how marginal, they know a story uniting the historical, political, social, and architectural layers that lay sometimes above but mostly beneath it.”
- Which Way, LA?’s Lisa Napoli takes our Skid Row history tour.
- Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times takes our Boyle Heights & San Gabriel Valley cultural melting pots tour.
- Carlton Davis recommends our Raymond Chandler tour “If you love LA, or are just interested by this shining, colorful, full of sin city.”
- Richard Schave’s free Broadway walking tours for LAVA are featured in Mike Sonksen’s KCET Departures report, “Punk Rock, Poetry, and Public Policy.”
- Silver Birch press gives our Bukowski tour a most auspicious rating.
- The Jewish Journal calls us “Docents of downtown’s dark side.”
- Our Richard Schave talks about Grand Central Market on KCRW’s Which Way, LA? (section starts 11:27).
- Barb Cabot takes our Raymond Chandler tour.
- Gillian Jacobs of Community recalls an Esotouric tour on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.
- The 2013 edition of our once-a-year Tom Waits tour is L.A. Weekly’s Go >> L.A. pick of the week.
- CNN previews Cecil Hotel death lore from our Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice tour.
- Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice tour creator Kim Cooper talks about the Cecil Hotel’s grim history on CBC Canada (link), on CNN (link),on NBC4 (link), on KNX (link),in The Sun (link) and in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (link).
- Los Angeles Magazine says “History buffs, sync up your iPods” as our podcast debuts.
- Los Angeles Magazine digs our year-end historic preservation list.
- Toni P thinks Esotouric offers “the most exciting guided themed events in Los Angeles.”
- Sarah Spitz says “there’s one couple dedicated to a deeper appreciation of Los Angeles, its social history, crimes, literature, architecture and more.”
- Leonie Cooper of The Guardian got an emotional weather report on the once-a-year Tom Waits tour.
- Alissa Walker (KCET’s The Nosh) soaked up the atmosphere at the LAVA Salon at Musso & Frank.
- Gary Singh digs the LAVA Salon at Musso & Frank.
- “The sold-out [LAVA Salon at Musso & Frank] crowd spoke to our hunger for a Southern California literary history.” – Larry Wilson, Pasadena Star-News
- Ashedit takes The Birth of Noir tour.
- NBC takes note of the 65th anniversary Real Black Dahlia tour.
- Sanden Totten from KPCC’s Madeleine Brand show tags along on the Pasadena Confidential tour (video feature).
- CNN recommends our literary tours as an alternative the usual Hollywood excursions.
- Barb Cabot loved the Birth of Noir tour.
- LA Weekly interviews Charles Bukowski tour host Richard Schave to compile a list of L.A. sites that were important to the writer.
- Slake wonders if the Charles Bukowski tour is “‘Fawlty Towers’ on tour.
- Barry Gray is “in heaven” on the Raymond Chandler tour.
- Hollywood Patch covers the Raymond Chandler tour.
- Spike Magazine digs our literary tours.
- San Francisco says our occasional Tom Waits tour is worth it.
- Dave’s Travel Corner climbs aboard the Weird West Adams tour.
- The Daily Beast’s Sean Macaulay takes James M. Cain’s nightmare express.
- Novelist Anna Stothard explores the hidden gems of Los Angeles for the London Guardian, including our Bukowski tour.
- The Idea Generator took the Blood & Dumplings true crime tour.
- Annenberg News Radio covers our Charles Bukowski tour in a video/slideshow.
- Curating L.A. takes our East Side Babylon tour.
- Pasadena Weekly picks Hotel Horrors & Main Street Vice to click.
- Daily Mail: My search for the La-La land of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.
- Whole Life Times: Maja D’Aoust’s Spiritual Day Trippin’
- Meet Crimebo the Clown: “Crime-Loving Clown Shows Off LA’s Top Murder Spots”
- A Weekly takes the Tom Waits tour.
- Allon Schoener explores The Lowdown on Downtown.
- Travelin’ Local on the blog-ish birth of Esotouric.
- Noela Hueso of Pasadena Weekly gets up close and personal with Crimebo on Pasadena Confidential.
- Chinashop takes The Real Black Dahlia true crime tour.
- Hipster Travel Guide: Walking in a dead woman’s heels (The Real Black Dahlia).
- Toronto Star: “Dorothy Parker once described Los Angeles as 72 suburbs in search of a city. Thanks to Schave and his friends that may finally be changing.”
- USA Travel Guide: Murder, greed, lust, gangs, ghosts, backhanded deals, cover-ups, Chinese food – whether it’s LA lore or certifiable fact, Esotouric tours have the skinny that only years of research could realize.”
- Travel & Leisure blog: L.A.’s Dirty Secrets Found: “You can have your Homes of the Stars tours, but you’ll find me looking for vestiges of a less-documented city where grifters, platinum blonde widows, lonesome detectives, and career girls once trod.”
- Marco Mannone on the Charles Bukowski tour: “This is a terrible way to simplify the tour, filled with so much wit and insight into not only Bukowski, but lost parts of Los Angeles.”
- Girls Gone Wild took the Charles Bukowski tour.
- Gary Singh rode the John Fante tour.
- Jason Burgess says “Esotouric re-introduce LA in a way most tours fear to lay their tread.”
- Mary McGrath takes the South LA architecture tour.
- AP feature: Tour keeps spirit of author Raymond Chandler’s L.A. alive.
- PopMatters: Mikita Brottman takes a tour.
- Who Walk In Brooklyn interviews Kim Cooper.
- Palisadian-Post feature on Raymond Chandler’s Bay City.
- The U.K. Guardian reveals LA’s top 10 cult locations, Esotouric-style.
- Zach Mroczkowski takes the Bukowski tour.
- John Flinn of the S.F. Chronicle takes the Rock History Tour.
- 52PerfectDays takes the Rock History Tour.
- Daily 49er: In search of the ultimate barfly, Charles Bukowski.
- Terence Lyons of the Santa Monica Mirror on Raymond Chandler’s Bay City.
- Michelle Mills on Pasadena Confidential: Sinister past emerges in an unsolved mystery tour.
- DaBelly takes the Blood & Dumplings San Gabriel Valley true crime tour.
- National Post (Canada): More than just mystery, murder and mayhem lie on the seamier side of L.A. history.
- Downtown News feature “The Unordinary Tour Company: Esotouric’s Smart, Dark and Funny Excursions Into Lost Downtown”.
- Frank Stoltze’s KPCC radio feature on Weird West Adams.
- Worldhum interview “Touring Literary Los Angeles: City of Chandler, Bukowski and Fante”.
- L.A. Times feature on the John Fante tour: “Author’s bygone L.A. comes to life for fans on walking tour.”
- BBC 5 Pods & Blogs radio interview on The Real Black Dahlia tour.
- The Christian Science Monitor takes the Raymond Chandler tour.
- AP feature: Crime tours take guests through LA’s criminal past.
- Pasadena Weekly: Killer Ride (cover story).
- L.A. Times: Perfect Year for a Slay Ride.
- L.A. Times – Steve Harvey’s Only In L.A.: Past Horrors Await, Provided Today’s Don’t Intervene.
- Copley News Service: Wheels of misfortune, tours Dahlia haunts.
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More Passenger Testimonials
“The West Adams Crime Tour was an edifying and energizing odyssey through local Angeleno history, one of the best tours that I have ever experienced anywhere.” — Maurice Kane
“Just wanted to once again compliment you (and your crew) on yet another wonderful, interesting, thought-provoking, exciting and entertaining tour! Today’s Magical Excursion showed me parts of L.A. that’s I never knew existed, expanded my horizons and opened my mind to exciting new people and experiences…. some of which I plan to revisit on my own. Thank you for the hard work and attention to every detail that makes your tours a fun and unforgettable experience.” — Holly Witham
“Your tour was wonderful!!! I learned more about my home town last Saturday that I ever expected to know. Richard Schave is not only exceedingly knowledgeable, but has the grace and ability to make each guest feel special and recognized. Everyone associated with this tour became perfect hosts for our group. I appreciate the work you are doing for our downtown and am quite grateful. Thank you for one terrific job!” — Joie Magidow, guide c. 1979 StarLine Tours of Hollywood
“What an interesting way to see the city.” — Jennifer Smith
“Thoroughly enjoyed the Pasadena tour. It was really fun, thought-provoking and interesting.” — Sheryl Smith
“We had a great time and are looking forward to more True Crime Tours as they become available.” — Jill Black