9 Truly Amazing Historical Places to Visit in Los Angeles (2023)
The city of Los Angeles holds richness for everyone, be it the residents, travellers, vacationers, Entertainment lover, Nature seeker, or history enthusiasts. L.A.’s cultural and historical settle is very well exhibited in the form of parks, museums, mansion & building, monuments, and endless other forms. Even though the city of Los Angeles is comparatively younger than other East Coast cities, still the vibrance and charm of history here is appreciable, and one must not miss visiting these sites once in their trip.
No other place in the world can beat the Sunshine of Los Angeles, and with the effect of this glorious sunshine, the ancestors of this city have carved and embraced the brilliant historic locations. No matter which time of the year you are visiting L.A. or at which corner of the city you are, there would be hints of the past that you can find within a short distance.
Truly Amazing Historical Places to Visit in Los Angeles
To get the best insights about Los Angeles past and add the finest flavours to your trip, consider our list of “Most popular Historical Places to visit in Los Angeles”.
1. Griffith Park
Located in the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park is spread over 4,310 acres and is one city’s finest belonging. Its vast spread is classified as the second-largest city park in California and one of the largest urban parks in North America. It belongs to the time when only Native Americans lived in the Southland, many years before the city’s development even started. The Griffith Park in itself is home to a number of popular Los Angeles attractions, including the Autry Museum of the American West, the Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the world-famous Hollywood sign. Not only the human-made attractions, but Griffith Park also constitute of mountains, canyons and 50 miles of hiking trails. One of the finest places you can explore here includes the hike up to the park’s highest point, the 1,625-foot Mount Hollywood and 50 years old abandoned and untouched land with rich Flora and Fauna.
2. The Doheny Mansion
The Doheny Mansion, also known as the Greystone Mansion, is located in the Trousdale Estates of Beverly Hills of Los Angeles county. It is one magnificent mansion with Tudor Revival style architecture sitting over a landscaped estate and surrounded by some distinctive English gardens. The mansion was owned by oil baron Edward L. Doheny for over 60 years and served as a residence to him and his family. Though today it has become a city park and has grabbed its name National Register of Historic Places. This 46,000 sq. ft. mansion constitutes 55 rooms and a total adjoining area of 16 acres, out of which everything is open for visitors. The descending staircase within the mansion is also one of the most famous sets for Hollywood films. Another reason to visit the Greystone Mansion is its cost of built. When built, it was then noted as the most expensive residential building in California, which cost $4 million. The mansion site is also a location for several events, including Catskills West (a theatre arts and drama camp), the Beverly Hills Flower & Garden Festival, and the Annual Hollywood Ball.
3. Heritage Square Museum
An open-air architecture site, the Heritage Square Museum is where you can find eight local and nationally listed historic buildings and residences from around Los Angeles. It is a living history museum that depicts the story from the year 1850 to the year 1950 and the unprecedented development of the Los Angeles city. No doubt, it is classified as one of the most famous historic places in Los Angeles. Heritage Square Museum is one of those sites where you can combinedly explore the history, culture, and architecture of South California, specifically Los Angeles. The historic building collection here includes The Palms Depot, Longfellow-Hastings Octagon House, The John J. Ford House, Mt. Pleasant House, Carriage Barn, The Salt Box, Valley Knudsen Garden Residence — Shaw House, Lincoln Avenue Methodist Church, and the Hale House. The architectural settlement will make you nostalgic and take back to the time in the most pleasant way. The site also includes and a vintage train car and a trolley car, not to be missed.
4. The Bradbury Building
If you are anywhere near the Los Angeles downtown, the Bradbury Building is where you must head towards. It is a five-story office building and an architectural landmark famous for its extraordinary skylit atrium access stairs and elevators, walkways and the stunning ornate ironwork. The building has been a part of a few documentaries and Hollywood films. The building is open for visitors all days a week and is staffed by government workers who provide information about Bradbury’s historical background.
Though if you are a casual visitor, you will only be permitted up till the first landing. However, the Bradbury building’s notable interior is one marvel to explore and can surprise you with its beauty. This architectural landmark is also near or almost adjacent to the Million Dollar Theater, Angels Flight and the Grand Central Market.
5. El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
Located in the oldest section of Los Angeles, a historic district, the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is one of the city’s magnificence. Also known as Los Angeles Plaza Historic District, it is centred on the old plaza. It holds its place on the National Register of Historic Places and state historical monument list. This colourful district is also the site where the first colonists of Los Angeles settled in the year 1781. Here you can also find a number of magnificent museums, some of which are the Italian American Museum, the Sepulveda House, the Pelanconi House, Eugene Biscailuz Building, and other explorable including the Plaza Methodist Church, Old Plaza Firehouse, La Placita Church, and more. Though avoid planning your visit here on Mondays, as most museums and buildings remain closed on the day.
6. Los Angeles State Historic Park
Situated in Downtown Los Angeles, within the Chinatown neighbourhood, is the beautiful Los Angeles State Historic Park. It is also classified as one of the most beautiful historical places in Los Angeles. The historical park is spread over 32 acres with recreational and educational opportunities related to the city. It is where you can enjoy a peaceful walk with the view of downtown and celebrate the city’s natural and cultural heritage. The locals of Los Angeles often classify it as the Cornfield, but it is rare to find husks rising anywhere. Not much of activities, but you can spend a day at peace, tranquillity at the park while walking, biking, running, or simply lying down.
7. The Watts Towers
The Watts Towers, an architectural wonder, is an 1879–1965 creation designed and built by Sabato (“Simon”) Rodia solely. The Watts towers feature 17 interconnected sculptural towers within the original land of Simon in the Watts neighbourhood of Los Angeles. The towers are situated only one and a half-mile away from the 103rd Street/Watts Towers station of the Metro A line of the L.A. city. Simon was a tile mason and an Italian immigrant construction worker who took 33 years to build this “today” historical landmark and historical-cultural monument of Los Angeles. The tallest tower here heights 99.5 feet tall, and all the architectural work here are classified as inspiration from Italian-American naïve art and Art Brut (outsider art). If architecture and towers fascinate you, this is the location where you must head towards Los Angeles.
8. L.A. County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
With the hills near the San Gabriel Mountains of Arcadia in Los Angeles lies the County Arboretum and Botanic Garden sitting over a remaining portion of the Rancho Santa Anita. It is 127 acres of spread constituting an arboretum, a historical site, a botanical garden that is open daily for visits for the general public. The gorgeous, peaceful and meander of County Arboretum takes one close to beautiful rose gardens, irises gardens, serene mountain views, several ponds, lakes, a few waterfalls and endless consideration of nature along with human efforts. Several building within the site in the form of art museums and libraries are inspired by Victorian-style architecture. If you are down with the hustle and bustle of the City of Angeles, the County Arboretum and Botanic Garden are where you must head towards and focus on the beauty around, observe the surroundings and admire nature.
9. The Eames House
Not from the past, but a historic site right from the mid-19th century, the Eames house is located at 203 North Chautauqua Boulevard of Los Angeles. It is one historical landmark with modern style architecture, which is now maintained by the Eames Foundation and welcomes more than 20,000 visitors every year. The Eames House was designated in the list of National Historic Landmark of the United States in the year 2006. The Eames house is also known as Case Study House No. 8. It was a part of a program challenging architects to design modest yet progressive homes in SoCal and was commissioned by Arts & Architecture magazine. It originally belonged to design pioneers Charles and Ray Eames (husband and wife), but after their death, their daughter, Lucia Eames, inherited it in the form of a non-profit organization and museum.