What you need to know!

  • Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable and passionate about giving us all information in a clear and concise way. The tour was very well planned and organised and was not tiring.

    Hp108 Trip Advisor
  • We did the Hollywood tour and loved it! The tour was at a great pace and the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable and made the tour fun. Thank you

    Lisa Montesanti Google
  • Booked the Wild Wild West To Now tour, our guide Terry was great! (He) was very knowledgeable and the tour brought us to some really cool DTLA areas we've never been to which was so much fun! Definitely worth the reasonable price. THANK YOU TERRY!

    Irene O. Yelp
  • We had an Amazing Murder, Mystery & Ghost tour with Damien and Dante... thank you very much from Italian Girls... very interesting and funny… absolutely recommended!

    Lucrezia Scamarcio Facebook
  • My boyfriend and I took the Heart of Hollywood Tour and had a wonderful experience with Stuart. Really helpful for personal questions, funny, full of knowledge and a passion for Hollywood. Can't recommend this enough!

    E D Trip Advisor
  • Angela took us inside some beautiful Broadway theaters, told us about LA history and was very enthusiastic about her city. The great thing was that she actually took us inside the buildings. Plus after the tour we went for the 35cent cocktails! Great tour and great guide!

    Helena Cardoso Google
  • I did the Historic Core Tour!!! It was an awesome walking tour and very informative even for this Angeleno!! I am downtown daily and drive past this area and never knew the history of various locations of the city!! This provides that!! 

    David Cook L. Yelp
  • My son and I booked and completely enjoyed a private tour. We had a wonderful evening! Damien took us on a fun, informative tour. My son loves photography, and Damien did not disappoint, as he took over 300 photos!

    Laurie Thompson Facebook

10 Movies Set in Downtown LA

movies set in downtown LA

Tens of thousands of movies have been filmed in Los Angeles – it’s the capital of the movie industry in America! However, that’s way too many to work through and some of them, frankly, weren’t that good, so we’ve brought you a list of ten great movies set in downtown LA. If you’re visiting downtown LA consider watching these movies – they’re all classics and you can probably stream some of them on Netflix (or Youtube). It’s fun to spot places that you’ve been when they’re being used as locations in movies – and you can show off to your friends if you’re watching with them and you see a location that you recognize.

The Kid (1921)

The Charlie Chaplin classic was filmed around the old Chinatown (where Union Station is now) and on Olvera Street (for the final chase scene). He needed a slum area as a location and at the time this neighborhood looked perfect. We visit the area on our LA: Wild West to Now tour. He also used downtown LA as a location in his 1931 classic City Lights when he drives through Pershing Square.

Safety Last! (1923)

Another comedy classic, starring Harold Lloyd, in which he has to climb the outside of an office building to see his girlfriend. The film used numerous locations throughout downtown and provides a great insight into what it was like back in the 1920’s (kind of what New York looked like). Harold Lloyd himself used to live in the Bradbury Mansion on the old Court Hill (now demolished) in front of City Hall.

Double Indemnity (1944)

So many movies set in downtown LA seem to be noir movies, and Double Indemnity is no exception. It’s also, along with Chinatown (see below), widely regarded as one of the greatest film noirs ever made. Fred McMurray’s shady insurance salesman’s office is on Pershing Square and he visits Olvera Street for dinner (and it still looks almost the same today).

Criss Cross (1949)

Burt Lancaster (with a very early appearance by Tony Curtis) is the star of this noir movie, made just after the Second World War, in which a femme fatale (played by the seductive Ava Gardner) tempts him into doing something you know he shouldn’t. The movie uses a host of downtown LA locations, including many that no longer exist, such as on Bunker Hill (when it was a residential district) and Union Station.

Chinatown (1974)

Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway and John Huston give career defining performances in this story drawn from the real life history of Los Angeles – the ‘Water Wars’. It’s often forgotten now, but this was when ‘the syndicate’, a group of rich and powerful local businessmen, took the water from the high sierra and brought it down to a thirsty Los Angeles – and made themselves even richer than they already were. Apart from just being highly watchable, this is a great movie for the historical perspective it gives the viewer of 1920’s Los Angeles.

Blade Runner (1982)

Harrison Ford, Sean Young and Rutger Hauer star in this neo-noir tale of a detective hunting super-androids through a future, dystopian, Los Angeles. It used a host of downtown locations, including the Bradbury Building, Million Dollar Theater and Union Station and it’s one of the most influential movies made in the last fifty years. The movie is set in 2019  – and we still don’t have flying cars – but it did prefigure certain scientific developments, such as the increasing use of artificial intelligence.

Pretty Woman (1990)

You thought this movie was set exclusively in Hollywood and Beverly Hills? Wrong! Several downtown locations appear in this romantic comedy classic – the Cicada (where Richard Gere and Julia Roberts have dinner), the Bank of America Building (the location for the business meetings) and Grand Park (where Richard Gere and Julia Roberts read poetry). Do you need an excuse to watch this movie again?

L.A. Confidential (1997)

A brutal love letter to Fifties Los Angeles, this movie, starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kim Basinger filmed several pivotal scenes in downtown LA, including City Hall, the Pacific Electric Building and the location of the Nite Owl. It’s also shines a light on corruption at the L.A.P.D., which was rife in those days, opening with the real-life ‘Bloody Christmas’ scandal of 1951. Hush hush!

Collateral (2004)

Almost a companion piece to Heat, director Michael Mann’s earlier movie that was also set in Los Angeles, in which the city also almost plays a character in the movie. Collateral stars Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx and much of it takes place in downtown, including the memorable denouement in which Cruise’s hitman chases Foxx’s taxi driver down into the Metro system at 7th St Metro Center.

500 Days of Summer (2009)

Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel appear in this kind-of romantic comedy set mostly in downtown. Los Angeles is never specified as the place where the movie takes place, but it’s almost a love letter to the city and uses locations such as the Bradbury Building (again), the Eastern Columbia Building (which we go to on our Central Downtown LA tour) and the Civic Center.

La La Land (2016) – Bonus Movie

For the final entry in our list of movies set in downtown LA how about this fun throwback to type of musicals that Hollywood made in the 1950’s? Mia and Sebastian dance around the Angel’s Flight Railway on Bunker Hill. Want to know how influential this La La Land has already proved? After 4 years of languishing in limbo the city managed to get Angel’s Flight up and running in 4 months because of the level of interest that was created in it by this movie.

downtown l.a.