If you’re just moving to Downtown Los Angeles – or if you’ve lived here a while and need things to explore – check out these three offbeat things to do in your own backyard.
3 Offbeat Things to Explore in DTLA
This list of wierd-but-wonderful hidden gems in DTLA is just the tip of the iceberg:
- Hidden underground tunnels
- The Echo Park Time Travel Mart
- Sunken City
Let’s take a closer look at each.
The Underground Tunnels of Los Angeles
During prohibition, corrupt LA city officials created “drinking dens” using the city’s underground tunnel system – and while the tunnels are old and crumbling today, they’re still there.
These tunnels are absolutely closed to the public. However, if you were to visit them, you’d find 11 miles of passageways that people used to get in and out of speakeasies. People could travel between all of them without worrying about getting caught, and the then-mayor’s office was in charge of all the alcohol.
In addition to the service tunnels down there, there are miles of abandoned subway and equestrian tunnels, too. Local stories of police using the tunnels to transport criminals, bankers moving cash through them and mobsters hiding bodies are rampant. Most of them are closed off, but some are used as film locations and shortcuts for city employees to take between buildings. The best way in is through a hidden elevator behind the Hall of Records on Temple Street.
The Echo Park Time Travel Mart
The Echo Park Time Travel Mart, located at 1714 West Sunset Boulevard, is a quirky little shop that offers all kinds of essentials to wary time travelers. Stop in and you might find things like robot toupees (obviously from the future) and edible dinosaur eggs.
The Time Travel Mart’s slogan is, “Whenever you are, we’re already then.”
In reality, though, the store supports a nonprofit organization that tutors between 20 and 30 students per day in creative and expository writing.
Sunken City, which is right on the shore, is the site of a 1929 landslide in San Pedro. An entire neighborhood of luxury homes tumbled into the ocean – and at the peak of the landslide, the land was moving at 11 inches per day. During the catastrophic landslide, part of Point Fermin Park – an adjoining area – also slipped into the ocean.
Sunken City contains broken house foundations, abandoned streetcar tracks and parts of the streets themselves. It’s a popular hiking spot, though you don’t have to hike there. The area has been featured in films (like The Big Lebowski).
To get there, you’ll exit 110 at Gaffey. Follow it all the way to Paseo Del Mar and make a right, and then continue to the 600 block. The area is fenced off because it’s not open to the public, but you can see quite a bit from the fenced-off area.
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