Dark Tourism: Los Angeles

Beyond the celebrities, palm trees, and gorgeous coastline, Los Angeles, California is home to some of the best dark tourism in the United States. From real murder and mayhem to Hollywood-designed fear, there are many days worth of spooky sights to chase in L.A. (At the time of publishing, all of these locations are public. Please be respectful to all properties and people.)

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
You don’t have to be spooky to love Hollywood Forever. This is by far one of the most beautiful green spaces in all of Los Angeles. Peacocks run around the 62 acres of tall, skinny palms and headstones. Here you can find Judy Garland, Johnny Ramone, and Hattie McDaniel. The cemetery also doubles as an event center where they host movie nights and outdoor yoga classes. (6000 Santa Monica Blvd)

AHS Murder House
Fans of American Horror Story will immediately recognize the Rosenheim mansion as the famed Murder House in season one of the show. As of December 2020, there were no residents in the home. In fact, the entire property was fenced off, but did allow for people to take photos from outside the fence. They even had an informational QR code sign in the front yard for people to read more. To visit, go to 1120 Westchester Place. There is significant street parking so it is easy to access. (1120 West Chester Place)

Rosenheim Mansion- American Horror Story Murder House

Marilyn Monroe’s Mausoleum
While not as large and overwhelming as Hollywood Forever, Pierce Brothers Westwood Village is the final home for some of Hollywood’s most elite. This is where you will find Marilyn Monroe’s mausoleum, covered in kisses. Resting next to her, with a significant amount of controversy, is Hugh Heffner. Hugh isn’t the only Playboy affiliate on the grounds: murdered playmate Dorothy Stratten was sadly interred here many decades prior. (1218 Glendon Avenue)

Make of it what you will, but there is something eerie about walking the grounds of Scientology. Is it the workers watching you? Is it their walkie talkies alerting each other of cars and people that linger too long? Is it the fact that they all dress alike? While some regard it as a cult, the members are generally very kind to outsiders and will answer any questions you may have. Be polite to them, but also there’s a reason they make this list. (4810 Sunset Blvd; Celebrity Centre, 5930 Franklin Ave)

Hotel Cecil/ Stay on Main
Hotel Cecil has had more than its fair share of tragedies and spooky lore. Most notable in recent years was the mysterious disappearance of Elisa Lam who was found in the hotel’s water tank in 2013. Sound familiar yet? You may have seen it on Netflix’s Crime Scene. While you can drive by the hotel, be warned it is not in a great area. The surrounding streets are now part of skid row. (640 S Main Street)

La Brea Tar Pits
Hancock Park has been oozing asphalt for the last 50,000 years, trapping animals for centuries. In the early 1900s, extinct animas from the Ice Age bubbled up when people started mining the asphalt. Today, you can see where the tar continues to bubble up, as well as their ongoing excavation sites. (5801 Wilshire Blvd)

A depiction of mammoths falling into the La Brea tar pits in the Ice Age

Hollywood Tower
Now an apartment complex, the Hollywood Tower was thought to be the inspiration for the Disney ride and movie, The Tower of Terror. This building is also just a couple of blocks from the Scientology Celebrity Centre. (6200 Franklin Ave)

Hollywood Tower Apartments

Forest Lawn
Across the river from Walt Disney Studios in the Hollywood Hills is the final resting place for over 250,000 individuals. Many celebrities reside here including Lucille Ball, Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, and Naya Rivera. If you go here in the evening, you are likely to spot some coyotes, deer, and other wildlife not-so-common in a concrete jungle. (6300 Forest Lawn Drive)

For more dark tourist sights, head to Tik Tok @_madmay and YouTube @indianajane


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