Historic Sites in Los Angeles

Historic Sites in Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Historic Sites

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Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
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Tours, activities and experiences bookable on Tripadvisor, ranked using exclusive Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, popularity, user preferences, price, and bookings made through Tripadvisor.
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What travellers are saying

  • Abeer H
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates1,160 contributions
    Although it was just a ride up and down on the hill but took it because of historic significance. It is over 100 years old railway. Only charges $2 for round trip.
    Written 3 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • MidwestLiketoTravel
    Midwest366 contributions
    Having been to Will Rogers museum in Claremore, OK, we were close enough to the ranch in Pacific Palisades that we wanted to stop here. Glad we did. The ranch house tour was very interesting and amazing how great it looked - just like when Mrs. Rogers left in 1944. Beautiful day to walk around the park too. It was only about 15 minutes from Malibu and Santa Monica pier. If you don't know much about Will Rogers, the guide will fill you in. Needless to say, he was the biggest American celebrity of the 1920s and 30s until his death in airplane accident.
    Written 23 February 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Alaninphoenix
    Phoenix, AZ163 contributions
    Took the outdoor tour where we learn a lot about the history of the house from the Docent. The outside is not typical of FLW but then you get to the inside: Wright at his best. Beautiful interior design. Lots of docents inside to answer your questions. Have been to a lot of FLW's homes. This one is as beautiful as the others with some unique features.
    Written 15 March 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Mohammad R
    Glendale, CA75 contributions
    Good, healthy, light mixed fajitas and meatball soup. Everything was really good there including the service. However, the parking fee ($17.50) was unexpected and exorbitant!!!
    Written 18 December 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • wireless_in_CA
    United States4,516 contributions
    First of all park along E 107 St versus Santa Ana Blvd. Its closer versus having to cut through the park (avoiding some sketchy people just hanging out) and walls were decorated versus the unfinished side facing the park. Street parking was limited so we only stayed for about 20 minutes. The structure was fenced in and still locked but at least the netting mentioned in earlier reviews were down so the towers were in full view. Due to COVID the completion date of Spring 2020 was long overdue but nowhere was there an updated sign when restoration would be completed. The towers was made by hand and was the singular focus by its creator Simon Rodia over 34 years. It looked like only concrete, rocks, seashells and tiles were used. He never finished it and deeded his property to his neighbor before moving to Northern California. While it would have been nice to go inside we settled for the outside views and read many of the posted signs which gave a lot of good information on the towers and Simon. It was truly amazing. Also a short walk away was the Watts Tower Art Center. It was closed but out in front was a statue of Simon and more art.
    Written 29 May 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Chris F
    San Francisco, CA1,916 contributions
    Located on Olvera Street in the middle of a large Mexican market area is Avila Adobe. Avila Adobe is a 1970’s rebuilt replica of an 1820 home that was destroyed by an earthquake in 1971. There is a lot of interesting information on early Los Angeles and California history. The walk through took less than a half hour and showed what life was like in the 1820-40 time period. The attraction is free and worth a pass through if you are on Olvera Street.
    Written 9 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Alan304
    Cranford, NJ1,317 contributions
    We attended a USC football game. We purchased on campus parking through a link on the USC website - a short walk to the stadium. The food concessions were limited. Although hot dogs were listed on the menu at two stands that I visited, neither had a hot dog.
    Written 19 September 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Brenda G
    Los Angeles, CA80 contributions
    I’ve known about this place for a while and I don’t know why it took me so long to visit but I’m glad I finally made it. I loved it. We went on a Saturday for the 1 o’clock tour. Our group had about 10 people in it. The tour was about an hour twenty minutes. Only the first three houses are complete, the others need extensive renovation work on the inside (which is expensive and they are are a nonprofit so easily said than done) but are still cool to see. After the tour we were free to wander around and take pictures (not inside the homes). Lovely way to spend an afternoon. I would recommend pairing this with a visit to Lummis House just down the road.
    Written 28 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • callan1034
    San Diego107 contributions
    I have been to many maritime museums and this one is really interesting, though small. For a museum that doesn't actually have any ships, just models and displays, it is set up nicely and has a lot to look at. There is a gentleman on the top floor with a short-wave radio, in contact with people all over the world. He was worth the price of admission.
    Written 30 August 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Thangam M
    Chennai1,466 contributions
    Located in El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, the Old Plaza Firehouse was built in 1884 and is today a museum that showcases 19th century fire fighting equipment. Right until mid-19th century, the City of Los Angeles had no fire department, firefighting equipment or fire stations.

    If a fire broke out, the neighbours pitched in to put it out. This obviously was an unsatisfactory state of affairs and in 1869, local citizens decided to create a volunteer fire department.

    After the first group of volunteers resigned since the city was unwilling to buy horses to pull the fire engine, two volunteer companies called Volunteer 38s (with 38 members) and Confidence No. 2 were formed.

    The two volunteer companies apparently competed to see who could arrive first at the scene of a fire! This also coincided with the City Council agreeing to buy a pair of horses to draw the fire engine.

    The Plaza Firehouse was the very first fire station built in Los Angeles to house firefighters and firefighting equipment. Architect William Boring designed the structure.

    The horses were stabled inside the fire station on the ground floor and a turntable on the floor (clearly visible in the pictures attached to this review) dispensed with the problem of backing the horses in or out!

    The firefighters were on the higher floor and when the fire alarm sounded, they slid down a brass pole to the ground floor.

    Rather sadly, the ownership of the Plaza Firehouse site came into dispute and the court decided in favour of the litigants Mrs L M Bigelow and Griffin Johnston. The lease with them expired in 1897 and the decision was taken that all future fire stations would be built only on state-owned land.

    Over the next six decades the Plaza Firehouse was variously used as a saloon, cigar store, cheap boarding house, poolroom and allegedly even as a house of ill repute! The state purchased the building in 1954 as a part of creating the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.

    The structure was restored, firefighting equipment and memorabilia was put in place and Plaza Firehouse was dedicated as California Historic Landmark No. 730. Today, even for casual uninformed visitors, the firehouse makes for a fascinating journey through the evolution of firefighting.

    The Plaza Firehouse is open Tuesday through Sunday 10am to 3pm.
    Written 29 January 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • DavidScorpioZen
    London, UK14 contributions
    Amazing building in a stunning location. Best of all was the great guided tour, not just informative but very entertaining too.
    Written 12 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Thangam M
    Chennai1,466 contributions
    The El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is the oldest section of Los Angeles – a 44 acre public park in downtown LA regarded as the city’s “birthplace”.

    What is currently known as the Old Plaza (Los Angeles) is at the center of this historical district. This place has seen much history being made under the rule of the Spanish (1781-1821), Mexican (1821-1847) and United States of America (1847 onwards).

    The Spanish colonization ordered by King Carlos III was carried out under the direction of Governor Felipe de Neve. This was when the town (that later became the city of Los Angeles), received the name El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles (that mouthful is Spanish for The Town of our Lady Queen of the Angels!).

    Felipe de Neve, Governor of California, is the person credited with the founding of Los Angeles, as ordered by King Carlos III of Spain. In 1777 Neve decided to establish civic pueblos in California to support the military presidios.

    The plan was that these new pueblos would dilute the power of the missions by reducing the military’s dependence on them. It was also envisaged that these pueblos would help develop industry and agriculture. Neve identified Santa Barbara, San Jose and Los Angeles as the sites for the new pueblos.

    Thus, the Old Plaza actually preceded the city. Governor Felipe de Neve’s 1779 document, Reglamento, laid down the laws that authorized the founding of Los Angeles as Spanish California’s second civilian pueblo.

    The regulations spelt out in the Reglamento, ratified by King Carlos in 1781, was LA’s earliest urban planning document. It directed the pueblo’s founding colonists to build their houses around a rectangular plaza of 200 by 300 feet, with the plaza corners aligned with the cardinal directions of the compass.

    Governor Neve saw the plaza as the geographical center from which Los Angeles should radiate – and thus it was that the plaza became the heart of El Pueblo de Los Angeles.

    Thus Los Angeles in its early years was, by design, built around a well defined center - the Old Plaza. The plaza remained its political, social and commercial heart even as Los Angeles transitioned from Spanish colonial outpost to burgeoning American city.

    It is therefore no coincidence that plaza front residences were much sought after and favoured by the pueblo aristocracy – the homes of the Olveras, the Lugos, the Avilas, the Carillos, the Picos and the Sepulvedas were all clustered around the plaza.

    A plaque in the Old Plaza commemorates the founding of LA – it states: “On September 4, 1781, eleven families of pobladores (original settlers) – who numbered 44 persons including children arrived at this place from the Gulf of California to establish a pueblo (Spanish for town or village) which was to become the City of Los Angeles."

    Today El Pueblo and the Old Plaza at its center, is a living museum that reflects the history, culture, legacy and ethnic diversity of Native American, African American, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, Italian and French who were all part of the early historical foundation of Los Angeles and who contributed in many ways to make it the teeming world city that it has since become.

    The Old Plaza is today a gathering spot, venue for many events, cultural hub, a beautiful plaza dotted with museums, twenty seven historic buildings and a Mexican marketplace for shopping and dining. El Pueblo also has the most diverse range of architectural styles that can be seen in any one place at Los Angeles.

    Best way to soak in the Old Plaza perhaps, is the way we did it - pick up a takeaway food bag, slowly munch on it, sitting on one of the many sun-warmed stone benches around the gazebo. Maybe you’ll share your lunch with a homeless person, and that is not a bad thing either.

    Even with its family friendly atmosphere, the Plaza has a perpetual buzz about it – there’s colour, culture, music, entertainment, food. There’s always something happening here – to watch, to listen, to savour.

    Matachines in gorgeously colourful regalia doing some lively, energetic dances add to the electricity in the air. There are people just chilling out, and sadly, there are also homeless people taking a nap, rummaging through the trash cans or staring vacantly into the middle distance.

    El Pueblo de Los Angeles was designated a state historic monument in 1953 and then found a listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
    Written 21 January 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Penny D
    1 contribution
    My great-grandfather was an elevator repairman. He was killed in the elevator shaft at Bullocks Wilshire in 1923, I believe. This was long before "lock out tag out", and he was crushed by the elevator car at the bottom of the shaft while he was working on it. My whole family knows about the death of my grandfather's father, but no one else seems to know about it. I searched the history on the building, and there's no mention of the tragedy anywhere, though I suppose Bullocks would not have wanted that info circulated given the high end nature of the store. I was able to find some haunted info surrounding the elevator shaft, but the "rumor" is that it's haunted by a little girl who fell from a doorway into the shaft. It's weird that the building haunt is taking place in the elevator shaft though. Though I'm guessing it's more my great-grandfather than a child.

    I wish someone would do a paranormal investigation there.
    Written 5 October 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Thangam M
    Chennai1,466 contributions
    Pico House at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument has the distinction of being the first grand hotel to grace the city of Los Angeles. It was commissioned by Pio de Jesus Pico, the last governor of California under Mexican rule.

    Pico House is an impressive, grand, imperious building at the center of Main Street. It occupies the site of the adobe house of Jose Antonio Carrillo which was razed to make way for this magnificent edifice.

    This building designed by architect Ezra F Kysor was the first three-storey building in LA and his brief was to build “the finest hotel in Los Angeles.”

    Designed in Italian style with signature deep-set round arched windows and doors, Pico House is built around a central courtyard that had a circular cast iron fountain at its center. Records say the fountain gurgled while caged birds chirped in the courtyard! The name Pico House in large letters is painted on the pediments.

    The hotel opened in 1870 and was considered to be the last word in luxury. Boasting 82 rooms and 21 parlours, it cost almost $50,000 to build and the furnishings are estimated to have added another $10,000 to that cost!

    This was financed rather unwisely as it turned out, by Pio and his brother Andres by selling most of their vast landholdings in the San Fernando Valley.

    Walnut furniture, rosewood décor in the bridal suite, chandeliers in the parlour, velvet carpets, hot water tanks even for the bathrooms on the first and second floors – this hotel had it all.

    The building even had a dumb waiter for lifting baggage to the higher floors. Coaches could actually drive into the building’s central courtyard to unload. Guests included local luminaries such as the Avila, Sepulveda and Lugo families.

    Tragically, the hotel’s heydays were short lived – the infamous Chinese Massacre of 1871, just a year after the hotel opened certainly did not help business.

    Despite expensive refurbishing in 1875, Pico was forced to put up the hotel as collateral for loans taken and eventually lost the hotel by foreclosure in 1880. He also lost his mansion in Whittier and in 1894, died a poor, sad and broken man.

    From 1880 onwards, Pico House had a series of owners and for some years starting 1892, was known as the National Hotel. Rented in 1897 by two Italians, G Pagliano and G Borniatico, Pico House was eventually bought by Pagliano in 1930 – his family sold it to the State of California in 1953.

    The building which had become dilapidated was renovated and restored to its former glory and is once again the most magnificent building in El Pueblo and a California Historical Landmark.

    Pico House has since featured in commercials of BMW, Honda, JC Penney and Target! Pico House lives on and continues to be sought after for special events and for commercial use.
    Written 31 January 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Nomad27219511719
    1 contribution
    Just visited the Banning Museum to experience it beautiful 100 year old blooming Wisteria and garden and wasn't disappointed. If you love gardening you will enjoy the lovely Howard Rose Garden. The garden has both modern and antique roses popular the in Victorian times. Wish I could have submitted some photos from it. As they say a picture is worth a thousands words. The museum is closed for now because of the virus crisis. But you need to but it on your bucket list to visit in the near future.
    Written 13 April 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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