Downtown Los Angeles

Sid Grauman Million Dollar Theatre

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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Angels Flight

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 Barclay Hotel

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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Los Angeles Union Station

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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Commercial Exchange Building

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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Chinatown poster

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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Biddy Mason

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, The Blue Dahlia

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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