What you need to know!

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

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

    Lisa Montesanti Google
  • Stuart was so knowledgeable & was worth the day with him. I had been to LA multiple times before but this is the first time I had taken a tour - so thrilled to have this experience with my mom & sister. I would recommend this tour again & again.

    Steph S. Yelp
  • We had an amazing DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Damien & Dante... thank you very much from the Italian girls... very interesting & funny… absolutely recommended!

    Lucrezia Scamarcio Facebook
  • This tour was awesome! Stuart is very knowledgeable, likeable & fun. The stops on the tour were very interesting & I learned a lot. I’ve been on quite a few tours of this nature & this was one of my favorites - highly recommend!

    Passport17369220499 TripAdvisor
  • Did a walking tour of LA (LA in a Day). Vicky started us off with the Hollywood tour & Damien (who is also the owner) was our guide for the rest of the day. The entire day was awesome, I suggest this tour. There isn't that much walking, to be honest. It's very fun!

    Mel L Google
  • My boyfriend & I took the DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Stuart as our guide & had the most amazing time! We had experiences we will never forget! We were able to see parts & people of Los Angeles that we never would have without Stuart. I give this 10/10. If we visit again, this will be at the top of our to do list!

    Michelle B. Yelp
  • Absolutely amazing! Highly recommend taking both The Real Hollywood Tour & the Central Downtown LA tour! Our time in LA wouldn't have been the same. Great way to learn about the city, see it from a different angle, explore the local life & learn about its history & filming industry. Damien our guide was fantastic!

    Sara Pozueta Facebook
  • Sylvie was our host & was fantastic. She had a lot of local knowledge & gave her unique perspective as someone who had moved to the area many years ago, so she had an outsider's as well as an insider's perspective. The tour gave us a great overview of Santa Monica & Venice & set us up for a great rest of the day.

    Gregory Airbnb
  • We took 2 tours, the Santa Monica & Venice Bike tour (with Sylvie) & the Real Hollywood tour (with Damien). Both were great & highly recommended. Sylvie & Damien were informative, knowledgeable & easy to talk to. They were like you were with friends. We were traveling as a family of 4 with 2 boys (15 & 12). We all enjoyed the tours.

    Paula Lindgren Google

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 a fine example of the genre. It is in fact, 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 blink and you’ll miss him 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 neighborhood) 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 Angel’s Flight on Bunker Hill. Want to know how influential La La Land has already proved? After four years of languishing in limbo the city managed to get Angel’s Flight up and running in four months because of the level of interest that was created in it by this movie.

downtown l.a.