Inside LA

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The Los Angeles Lowdown

For locals who want to experience LA like a visitor and visitors who want to experience LA like a local.

the Los Angeles Lowdown

The Los Angeles Lowdown is designed by us to take you inside LA, whether you’re visiting or you live here. From current-affairs inspired articles on Southern California’s history, to our suggestions on the best things to do in LA every month, via inside information on authentic experiences and events, we give you the essential lowdown on the city of Angels.

And if you’re a visitor looking for more specific information related to your trip here, such as where to staywhere to eata list of the best family activities in Los Angeles or how to navigate the city using public transport, don’t forget to check L.A. Info.

Angels Flight

January 15, 2023

One of downtown LA’s many gems is Angels Flight, a funicular railway that connects Grand Central Market and the Historic Core with the Bunker Hill Financial District. It closed in 2013, due to safety issues, and it felt disappointing to have to explain to guests when we first began doing tours that the neglected, graffiti-covered trolleys were one of the best remaining artifacts of Victorian Los Angeles.…

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The Hollywood Playhouse AKA The Avalon

January 13, 2023

The performing arts building at 1735 Vine Street, now known as the Avalon, has been singularly successful over the course of its nearly hundred-year-old life. When the Hollywood Playhouse opened in the 1920’s most theaters being erected in Los Angeles were being designed for moving pictures, meaning a smaller stage area was needed. The developers…

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Beverly Hills & The Stars Houses Tour

December 12, 2022

The name of Beverly Hills is synonymous with Los Angeles and the movie-star lifestyle. There probably isn’t a single visitor to Southern California who hasn’t heard of this small city, nestled on the slopes of the Santa Monica mountains, in the LA suburbs. It forms one of the four pillars of the city’s praetorian glamor…

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Crime Seen: The Barclay Hotel

November 13, 2022

The Barclay Hotel is, more or less, right in the navel area of the dark underbelly of downtown Los Angeles.The Hotel Cecil has become famous in the last few years, reaching a peak in 2021 with the Netflix mini-series The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. However the Barclay has just as dark a history as the Cecil,…

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Crime Seen: The Hotel Cecil

July 17, 2022

Amongst Los Angeles hotels the Hotel Cecil holds a unique place. It’s a marquee name that not only a lot of Angelenos know, but also many visitors too. It’s been the subject of numerous documentaries, articles and, even, a TV horror series, yet you can’t actually rent a room there (at time of publication). In…

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The Los Angeles River: Past & Future

June 15, 2022

By the 2000′s the Los Angeles River had become little more than a joke in the city to which it gave its name. used only as a post-apocalyptic location for action movies and as a punchline for late-night chat show hosts. Despite the fact that many of Los Angeles’ inhabitants probably still don’t even know of…

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The Ambassador Hotel’s Date With Destiny

June 14, 2022

The Ambassador Hotel is one of Los Angeles’ most famous hotels, which is no mean feat in a city which boasts the Beverly Wilshire, the Biltmore, the Chateau Marmont and countless other famous – and infamous – establishments. The Ambassador’s fame principally comes from its reputation as a place of entertainment and glamor from it’s opening…

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Los Angeles Union Station

April 20, 2022

Los Angeles Union Station is to LA what Grand Central Station is to New York. It’s our major rail terminus, designed and built to reflect the history and feel of the city back at us as we pass through. It opened in May 1939 with much fanfare, ironically just as the US was falling out of…

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What Happened To Los Angeles Streetcars?

April 4, 2022

Did Los Angeles have streetcars guests often ask us on tours, whenever the subject comes up. Many visitors, and even a few Angelenos, don’t even know that we have a Metro rail system, they assume that “everyone drives in LA”. So it comes as a shock to them to learn that in the 1920’s we…

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Toypurina: LA Freedom Fighter

March 15, 2022

For Women’s History Month I want to look at someone from the earliest years of Los Angeles, Toypurina. In many cultures and countries around the world there are legendary historical women, leaders who rallied their people to fight foreign invaders. Examples include Joan of Arc in fifteenth century France, who emerged from a humble background…

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Gamblers & Rum-Runners: Prohibition in LA

March 5, 2022

America is almost unique among developed countries for its ban on alcohol during the 1920’s, known as ‘Prohibition’. Although it’s now synonymous with the corruption and organized crime that it spawned, at the time it was intended to address the harm inflicted on society by excessive consumption of alcohol. This is of particular interest at…

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The Commercial Exchange Building

February 20, 2022

The South Park neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles is undergoing enormous change at the moment, as new apartment and condominium blocks sprout upwards and older buildings (such as the beautiful Herald Examiner Building and the Commercial Exchange Building) are renovated and repurposed, often as lofts or ‘creative’ offices. The Arena and the many restaurants,…

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The Old Los Angeles Chinatown

February 15, 2022

With this month marking the date of the Lunar New Year (as celebrated in China and much of Asia) we wanted to take a look at the birth of Chinese-American culture in Los Angeles and, specifically, the history of LA’s Chinatown. The oldest surviving Chinese building in Los Angeles is the Garnier Building (not to…

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Bridget ‘Biddy’ Mason: Los Angeles Pioneer

January 26, 2022

In honor of Black History Month we’re remembering an all time Los Angeles legend, Bridget ‘Biddy’ Mason. An African American woman who was born in the old South, Biddy was brought to Los Angeles in the 1850’s (much against her will), only to become a free woman, and then a property developer and much beloved…

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Film Noir: A Dark Side Of The City Of Angels

December 8, 2021

There is something particularly LA about Film Noir. In the same way that the novels of Charles Dickens recreate the feel of Victorian London, Film Noir captures the aesthetic of 1940’s Los Angeles. The city’s varied demeanor (from sunny, beautiful, beaches to downtown concrete jungle) was the perfect foil for these dark stories, as the paranoid protagonist falls into a hellish labyrinth of his own making, lured…

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Los Angeles’ Hispanic Heritage

September 12, 2021

People from the Spanish-speaking countries of Spain, Central and South America have had an enormous impact on Los Angeles. Which isn’t at all surprising when you consider nearly fifty per cent of the population of Los Angeles today has a Hispanic background. In fact Los Angeles County’s five million people of Hispanic descent works out…

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The Los Angeles Chinatown Massacre

June 19, 2021

Los Angeles has a lot of fascinating history – many great things have happened here – but, then again, a lot of VERY bad things have taken place here too and one of the things we strongly believe in at The Real Los Angeles Tours is talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly.…

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Musso & Frank Grill: Hollywood Institution

May 7, 2021

This week Musso & Frank Grill announced that they are reopening on May 10, for Mother’s Day celebrations, and having originally opened up just as the Spanish Flu pandemic was finally petering out in 1919, it seems hugely appropriate that this venerable and much loved institution should be one of the first to reopen as…

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Outbreak: Spanish Flu In LA in 1918

February 20, 2021

It’s hard to think about anything other than Coronavirus or Covid-19 right now. It’s taken over the news cycle and our lives. Los Angeles is almost entirely shut down – schools, movie theaters, restaurants, bars and most businesses (including The Real Los Angeles Tours). Most of us have never experienced anything like it before. Life…

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San Fernando Valley: A Fascinating Place

March 18, 2023

The San Fernando Valley is, in many ways, underrated. Sure, it has some big attractions, such as Universal Studios, but it’s often derided as a suburban sprawl that’s generally way hotter than the rest of Los Angeles and much less interesting. It’s not seen as having either the cultural might of Hollywood, nor the theme park riches…

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Sid Grauman & His Theatres

February 24, 2023

When the TCL Chinese Theatre opened in 1927 it was known as Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and some older Angelenos still call it such. Directly opposite, across the Walk of Fame, is the El Capitan Theatre, now owned by Disney, but when it opened in 1926 it was a Broadway style theatre that was part-owned…

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Hollywood Sign: Hiking & History

August 8, 2022

The Hollywood Sign is such an iconic structure that it never needs an introduction or description to first-time visitors who are guests. They know it well, having seen it untold times in movies, TV shows and news pieces. They’ve almost certainly seen a picture of it many times too. Interestingly if you next ask them…

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Venice LA: Westside Meets Seaside

July 24, 2022

Since its founding 117 years ago this month Venice Los Angeles has always attracted visitors, both from the region and, later, world. Conceived as a Disneyland – before Disneyland existed or had even been conceived – it was a crucial developmental stage between the early amusement parks, like Coney Island, and the huge adventure parks…

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The Sunset Strip: Los Angeles’ Playground

May 2, 2022

In 1890 Victor Ponet, a Belgian businessman and diplomat, bought 240 acres of the old Rancho La Brea. His new estate consisted mostly of poinsettia fields and was just west of a small village that was only just becoming known as Hollywood. Eventually Ponet had a six-hundred foot long dirt road cleared to connect the…

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A Day In Griffith Park: From Stars To The Stars

April 26, 2022

Visitors may not know Griffith Park by name, but you would struggle to find anyone in the world not familiar with its best-known landmark, the Hollywood Sign. Its 4,300-acres make it five times the size of Central Park in New York (it’s not a competition – but if it was, we’d win). On any given…

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A Day In Santa Monica: LA’s Beach Resort

April 5, 2022

Santa Monica has long been considered the beach resort for Los Angeles. Now the city is practically part of LA, but until the 1950’s it was separated from its much larger neighbor by open farmland. Angelenos, and visitors, would come to Santa Monica to swim in the cool Pacific waters and frolic on the beach.…

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Charles Chaplin’s Los Angeles Today

January 1, 2022

In the end, everything is a gag. Charles Chaplin Charles Spencer Chaplin, or ‘Charlie’ for short, is one of the most influential figures from the early days of Hollywood and one of the entertainment industry’s first, and greatest, superstars. Not only do his pioneering silent films endure the test of time, with six of his…

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A Day In Culver City: Movieland To Outlooks

October 27, 2021

Culver City isn’t by any means considered one of Los Angeles County’s best known cities. Sitting on the Westside, almost completely surrounded by the city of LA, at first it can seem like it’s in-between a lot of other, much more interesting, places such as Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Venice, Koreatown and even downtown. However,…

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Crime Seen: The Black Dahlia

May 16, 2021

The Black Dahlia is one of the most famous unsolved murder cases in criminal history and a subject for numerous documentaries, books, TV episodes and movies. Law enforcement agencies, criminal experts, on-camera presenters and amateur sleuths have all attempted to solve the case – all without success. Rather like the Jack the Ripper murders in…

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Los Angeles On A Layover

April 28, 2021

If you’re booking a flight and the chance presents itself to visit Los Angeles on a layover, or stopover, you probably aren’t going to refuse the opportunity, especially if you’ve never been here before. LA is a place that most people would like to visit, at least once, in their lives. And why not? Forgetting…

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A Day In Hollywood: Myth & Reality

March 3, 2021

In 1923 when the Hollywood Sign was erected, the town below was home to what was by then already the fifth biggest industry in the US, moving pictures. The sign was a billboard, not for the film industry (which was at the time only just becoming known as “Hollywood”), but for the housing tract in the hills under the…

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How To Guarantee Seeing A Celebrity In LA

February 20, 2021

Some people have become obsessed by “celebrities”. It can get very unhealthy and the news is full of stories of celebrities who’ve found themselves being stalked by overly-fanatical fans, so the first thing to know about famous people is that they’re just people, exactly like you and me (well not exactly like me – I’m not rich…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA In April

March 22, 2023

“Ah! Los Angeles in the Spring”: said absolutely no one. But they should – LA is a great time to be at this time of year. The rainy season is behind us, the nights are longer, it’s nice and warm, but it still hasn’t gotten hot yet. Things are starting to gear up for summer…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA In March

February 26, 2023

There are always a ton of things happening in Southern California, but what are the best things to do in LA in March? As Winter turns to Spring events and opportunities are popping up like flowers pushing their heads up! From Infinity Rooms to Saint Patrick’s Day parades at the beach, via marathons, secret gardens…

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Sunset Strip Tour

February 1, 2023

The Sunset Strip is one of the most famous streets in Los Angeles – and that’s saying something, bearing in mind that Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame are just a few miles to the east. First gaining prominence in the 1920’s, when speakeasies and gambling joints began to appear along its length, the…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA In February

January 30, 2023

February is a surprisingly good month in LA for events, there’s the Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day, Bob Baker Day AND numerous other things going on. It may only be the second month of the year, but we’re not hanging around in Los Angeles, we aren’t wasting time – we’re creating amazing events. If you’re…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA In January

December 29, 2022

There are lots of great events in Los Angeles this month. Christmas and the New Year don’t slow us down at all! The month starts off with a bang, with one of the most famous festivals in the U.S. and it doesn’t let up. There are cultural celebrations, art exhibitions, comedy shows, interactive TV show…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA In December

November 30, 2022

December is always a busy month and there are always a lot of demands on our time, especially now. Rushing here, rushing there, trying to do all the Christmas shopping, get all the food, do the social rounds etc. Maybe you’re looking for something different to do with friends or family, maybe you want to…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA In November

October 31, 2022

Great things are happening in Los Angeles this month. From fairytale forests to hiking the peaks of Los Angeles, via red carpets, we’ve got the lowdown for you here. Every month The Real Los Angeles Tours produces a list of ten of the top events or attractions in southern California for visitors or residents of…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA In October

September 29, 2022

October, for most people here, means Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos. As you would expect there are a ton of those events happening this month in Los Angeles. However not everybody wants to do a Halloween themed event, and certainly not every event, so I’ve included a range of events in this list of…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA In September

August 28, 2022

There are some great things happening in Los Angeles in September – from al fresco cinema to Korean festivals, via art and music shows and Mexican Independence Day celebrations. Every month we produce a list of the ten best things to do in LA that we know we’d love to do – and we think…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA, August 2022

July 30, 2022

August is a popular time to visit Los Angeles and, as always, there are a ton of things going on here this month. What we, at The Real Los Angeles Tours, try to do here is break it down and give you a list of a selection of activities that we think would be totally…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA, July 2022

June 30, 2022

As summer – and pool party season – get into full gear, so to speak, we start the month off with THE most ‘merican of celebrations, Independence Day. There are always a lot of things to do in Los Angeles this month, but what I’ve tried to do here is suggest a bunch of them…

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10 Best Things To Do In LA, June 2022

May 31, 2022

As we continue a slow return to normality (whatever that is :-), more and more events are returning, after being on hiatus for the last year or two. In the meantime new diversions and experiences are appearing, meaning there’s a good range of different events happening in Los Angeles this month. So what are the…

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