Top 10 Downtown L.A. Tours

Downtown L.A. is booming. with a lot more than just skyscrapers to look at these days. There’s a delightful quixotic atmosphere about the DT and tons of stuff to do. For those who haven’t been here, DTLA Weekly offers the following tour guide suggestions.

Esotouric’s Secret Los Angeles brought to you by LAVA

Esotouric is “not your ordinary tour company,”

The company offers tours that cover infamous criminals, rock and roll, along with books and movies to name a few.  Other interesting tours include Weird West Adams, Hotel Horrors, Main Street Vice, and even Batchelder’s 100-Year-Old Chocolate Shop.  When you’re on one of their tours and it’s time to eat, you won’t find yourself in a greasy burger joint; instead, you’ll nibble on Raymond Chandler-esque ice cream, eat donuts outside the liquor store Bukowski patronized, or participate in a dumpling picnic.

Launched in 2010 by Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, proprietors of eclectic tour company Esotouric, the creative consortium LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association has established itself as one of the city’s most intriguing arts collectives.

El Pueblo de Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles offers tours of The El Pueblo de Los Ángeles Historical Monument, also known as Los Angeles Plaza Historic District, the oldest part of Los Angeles.  Subsequent to the order of King Carlos III, The Pueblo de Los Angeles was founded in 1781 by eleven families.  Escorted by volunteer docents, the tour takes about an hour and covers major sites, such as The Plaza, La Placita Church, Olvera Street, Merced Theater and the oldest home in Los Angeles.

Cartwheel Art

Cartwheel Art offers DTLA visitors both private and public tours.  The tours allow for personal interaction with local artists and artisans throughout DTLA’s neighborhoods.  Cartwheel Art came to life through the efforts of Cindy Schwarzstein, a passionate advocate of DTLA’s art scene.  Cartwheel Art tours include esoteric opportunities unlike anything else, such as sipping the best coffee in L.A., while nibbling a superlative bagel; engaging with world-famous authors; and conversing one-on-one with artists, developers and restauranteurs.

Star Line Tours

Departing from the TCL Chinese Theater, Star Line Tours offers a glimpse at the lifestyle, culture and homes of famous stars and international celebrities.  The company’s initial Hollywood Tour which focused on the homes of movie stars, along with the locations where renowned movies were filmed is now passing through Downtown Los Angeles, making stops at LA LIVE, Bunker Hill, and South Park. Just goes to show you just how much of a tourist attraction Downtown LA has become.

Los Angeles Conservancy

The Los Angeles Conservancy offers walking tours.  Accompanied by an erudite docent, you can learn more about L.A.’s spectacular architecture, the Historic Core, or Victorian Mansions.  The tours start at Pershing Square.  If you see the small groves of orange trees, you’re in the right place.

City Hall

The City of Los Angeles offers tours of City Hall, one of L.A.’s most famous buildings.  Constructed in 1928, City Hall is the personification of Art Deco architecture.  The building features an opulent marble rotunda and, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to peek inside the Council Chambers.  In 1994, the Northridge earthquake ravaged the building; however, City Hall underwent a $299 million refurbishment.  Don’t miss the observation deck at the top, which provides a 360-degree view of Los Angeles.

Red Dot Art Tours

Red Dot Art Tours is the brainchild of Jeremy Quant former marketing director of the Downtown Los Angeles ArtWalk.  Red Dot offers tours of DTLA’s art scene, studios, galleries, and museums for art lovers, travelers, and collectors.  Those who love art galleries will want to partake of Red Dot’s Art Gallery Tour, visiting various galleries that provide the luxury of visual and emotional commitment.  Other tours offered include:  DTLA Art Walk, Private Art and Gallery Nights L.A.Self-Guided Art Walk Tours

Los Angeles is home to many museums, theaters and art galleries, hosting a wide range of presentations.  Disciplines include fine art, photography, glass, sculptures and abstract paintings.  A self-guided tour of L.A.’s expansive art scene is available utilizing the GPS on your smartphone.  You can visit Galerie Michael, Anderson Galleries, Gagosian Gallery, Celebrity Vault and Sundaram Tagore Gallery.  Each self-guided tour takes about sixty minutes.