Finding The 15 Best Abandoned Places In Los Angeles For 2023

In addition to the sunny beaches, crowded freeways, and posh neighborhoods of Los Angeles, the sprawling Southern California metropolis is home to dozens of fascinating sites for urban explorers to visit. Below, we’ll introduce you to the 15 best abandoned places in Los Angeles to add to your urbex agenda in 2021.

Killer Urbex Note: It is important to note that many of these locations are in an extremely delicate state. Specifics on the locations are not given purposefully to ensure the abandoned places in Los Angeles stay as vandalism and destruction-free as possible. Take only photos, leave only footprints.

Interested in venturing outside Los Angeles? Here are a few guides to California and surrounding states that will be helpful in your explorations outside of the wonderful abandoned places in Los Angeles:

If you have a specific location from the list below that you would like to immediately get more information about, click the links in the list to snap straight to that abandoned places in Los Angeles location.

The Best Abandoned Places in Los Angeles

Note: If you are looking to zoom out and find the best locations for urban exploration across the entire state, we highly encourage exploring our guide Our Guide to the Best Abandoned Places in California.

Murphy Ranch

Murphy Ranch
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Curbed LA

Built in the 1930s, this compound is located in the Rustic Canyon area of Los Angeles County. Its original owners, Norman and Winona Stephens were members of the anti-Semitic white supremacist group the Silver Legion of America, and they envisioned the ranch as a self-sustaining base for Nazi activities within the U.S. The couple used a fake name, Jessie M. Murphy, as the owner of record, giving the ranch its enduring moniker.

The Murphy Ranch featured a water storage tank, fuel tank, bomb shelter, and various other buildings, with an ornate main gate designed somewhat ironically by Paul Williams, one of the most renowned African-American architects in Southern California at the time.

The day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, local police descended on the property to detain the couple along with dozens of other occupants and caretakers. The ranch remained abandoned to the ravages of time for decades, with vandals covering most of the remaining structures in graffiti.

Murphy Ranch
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Curbed LA

The City of Los Angeles demolished many of the buildings on the site in 2016, declaring them a health and safety hazard. A few of the structures remain, including the concrete power house build to house the diesel generators used to provide electricity to the compound, although all entry points have been sealed.

Even so, the site remains a popular destination for hikers, urban explorers, and curiosity-seekers, who must ascend roughly 500 concrete stairs from Capri Drive to the main property.

In addition to the interesting ruins that mark the ranch’s fraught history, visitors will also get in a solid workout, with about three miles of rugged trails that loop around the area. This is one of the most popular abandoned places in Los Angeles for both local urbexers and traveling tourists interested in urban exploration.

The Sunken City of San Pedro

The Sunken City of San Pedro
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Modpix via Shutterstock

While the famed sunken city of Atlantis may or may not exist, the so-called Sunken City of San Pedro is very much visible to visitors along the California coast southwest of Long Beach. Adjacent to Point Fermin Park and Lighthouse are the remains of a residential neighborhood that was decimated in a slow-moving landslide in 1929.

The event began with a broken water main beneath a nearby hotel, followed by a gas line break a few days later. While these indicators were sufficient to prompt the evacuation of the tony cliffside homes and bungalows in the neighborhood, nothing could be done to protect the structures.

With the ground slipping about 11 inches each day, within a week nearly 40,000 square feet of land had plummeted into the Pacific Ocean, taking several homes with it and displacing dozens of other residences, businesses, streets, and sidewalks, entering it onto our list of the best abandoned places in Los Angeles.

The Sunken City of San Pedro
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by MSPhotographic via Shutterstock

Even after nearly a century, the foundations and other remnants of some of the ill-fated buildings remain in place. The area is still considered relatively unstable, and a major landslide in 2011 resulted in a section of Paseo Del Mar collapsing nearly 100 feet toward the ocean.

The site has been fenced off to deter visitors, but the haphazard hillsides, jagged rock, and the skeletons of the neighborhood’s houses still draw thousands of visitors each year.

Many of these surfaces are now adorned with colorful graffiti, creating an eerie scene that juxtaposes leafy palms and ocean views with concrete rubble, broken glass, and even a few pieces of vintage furniture. If you are on the hunt for interesting abandoned places in Los Angeles, make sure you check out the Sunken City of San Pedro.

The Old L.A. Zoo

The Old L.A. Zoo
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Petrinad via Shutterstock

Visitors looking for offbeat destinations in Los Angeles are often directed to Griffith Park, where the remains of the original L.A. Zoo have been incorporated into the park property, creating an odd mix of traditional park infrastructure and empty animal enclosures and other zoo facilities. It’s an incredible place to explore, and one of the most popular and most highly sought-after abandoned places in Los Angeles.

To access the former zoo site, enter the park near the merry-go-round and follow the dirt path, taking the right fork at the split. You’ll eventually encounter the remains of the zoo, including the vast large animal exhibits, which have been well-maintained and are open for exploration, giving humans a taste of what it might feel like to be confined like the large creatures that once lived here.

The Old L.A. Zoo
Abandoned Places in Los Angeles image by Petrinad via Shutterstock

It’s very important to note that entering Griffith Park/the old Los Angeles Zoo is considered trespassing. While this is a great example of the incredible abandoned places in Los Angeles, if you plan to explore, make sure to familiarize yourself with trespassing laws in both Los Angeles County and the state of California as a whole.

You may also recognize the area from the movie Anchorman, a small portion of which was filmed here. You’ll also see the more cramped enclosures of the small animal exhibits, and you can continue along the path for about two miles to reach Bee Rock, where you’ll be treated to impressive views of the surrounding area, and a stunning view from one of the best abandoned places in Los Angeles, and one of the most popular abandoned places in California.

The Abandoned Hawthorne Mall

The Abandoned Hawthorne Mall
Abandoned Places in Los Angeles image by Trent Alexander Maxwell via Shutterstock

Once home to a bustling matrix of indoor and outdoor retailers, restaurants and a parking garage, the 40-acre Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center opened to great fanfare in 1977. The commercial development thrived until the mid-1990s, when shoppers’ tastes began to shift away from indoor malls and mass layoffs in the aerospace industry took an economic toll on the region.

The mall’s occupancy dwindled to fewer than 70 stores by 1998 and closed its doors for good the following year, with the property left vacant and poorly maintained. Though security patrols were deployed to prevent vandalism and break-ins, a handful of determined explorers managed to get inside the mall over the years, sharing eerie photos of the shopping center’s dim, crumbling interior, empty storefronts, and motionless escalators.

The Abandoned Hawthorne Mall
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Trevor Costelloe via YouTube

Plans to redevelop the property as an outlet mall were announced in 2014 but never materialized, and a 2016 proposal for a mixed-use development on the site also fell through.

The mall has since been sealed off and requires a permit for official entry; however, it has become a popular film site, with scenes from Teen Wolf, Minority Report, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Rush Hour as well as several music videos shot here.

If you have the ability to gain entry (we have resources at the bottom of this guide for asking permission), you will be greeted with one of the most amazing abandoned places in Los Angeles, and one of the best dead malls in the United States.

Shoemaker Canyon Tunnels

Shoemaker Canyon Tunnels
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Trek And Shoot via Shutterstock

This abandoned road In the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County is known by several names: Shoemaker Canyon Road, Convict Road, and the Road to Nowhere. The official purpose of its intended construction is a matter of wide speculation, although many residents insist that the Cold War-era infrastructure was designed to provide an evacuation route in the event that Los Angeles became the target of a nuclear attack.

Work on the two-lane highway began in 1956, but with only four miles completed, the project was abandoned in 1969, ostensibly due to budget cuts, and turning it into yet another location on our list of abandoned places in Los Angeles.

Shoemaker Canyon Tunnels
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by L.A. Nature Graphics via Shutterstock

From East Fork Road, Shoemaker Canyon Road extends just shy of 4.5 miles up the canyon. About 1.8 miles of the road is paved, and the rest is a well-graded dirt roadway with a moderate grade that comes to a sudden stop a few miles later.

Perhaps the most interesting features of the desolate roadway are its twin tunnels, one about 1.8 miles north of the paved section and the other at the end of the dirt segment, where the road comes to its abrupt end. The tunnels provide the only shade in the sun-drenched desert foothills, and over the years they have been tagged with a variety of graffiti.

Though Shoemaker Canyon Road and its curious tunnels never saw the vehicular traffic they were intended to carry, they remain a popular destination for hikers and sightseers in the area.

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Llano del Rio

Llano del Rio
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Chris Mueller via Curbed Los Angeles

Nestled in Los Angeles County’s Antelope Valley, Llano del Rio was envisioned as a socialist utopia by its founder, Job Harriman, in the early 20th century. Though the colony itself didn’t last long, its remains have endured as a point of curiosity for urban explorers and others over the century since it was abandoned.

After Harriman’s failed run for mayor of Los Angeles in 1911, he shifted his attention to establishing a commune east of Palmdale, in which members would be required to purchase 2,000 shares of stock in the colony at $1 per share.

Applicants would be evaluated based on idealism, industriousness, and sobriety and had to provide references to vouch for their character and pass a questionnaire measuring their dedication to socialist ideals.

On its opening day in May 1914, Llano del Rio had just five permanent residents, not including several horses, five pigs, and a cow. However, by the start of the following year, its population had swelled to 150 residents and nearly as many cows and pigs.

While tents and group dormitories were the commune’s main residences, a post office, dairy building, and laundry facility were soon constructed on the property. The community’s master plan called for a circular township containing restaurants, churches, schools, and shops as well as single-family homes and a communal daycare.

By 1917, the community had grown to 1,100 members and added adobe homes, a group dining room, a printing shop, several industrial buildings, and several thousand acres of orchards and alfalfa fields.

Llano del Rio
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Chris Mueller via Curbed Los Angeles

However, the utopia its founders dreamed of was not to be. Personality conflicts, political ambitions, and personal grievances led to an almost constant turnover among members.

The settlement was also too far from other population centers in the region to be sustainable, and the creek the community relied on for its water supply was unpredictable at best. In 1918, the colony was abandoned, with about 60 families relocating to Louisiana to attempt the experiment a second time.

The remnants of the Llano del Rio Colony, including its aqueduct, meeting house and water storage facility, are still visible just off Highway 138 in the southern Mojave Desert. The abandoned commune was declared a California Historical Landmark in 1980, but the 150-pound plaque installed on the site in 1982 was promptly stolen and never replaced.

Over the years, the ruins have been the targets of looters, vandals and the destructive forces of nature and time, but no additional action to preserve them has been taken by state or local agencies, leaving it to become yet another example of great abandoned places in Los Angeles.

Underground Tunnels of Los Angeles

Underground Tunnels of Los Angeles
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Trek And Shoot via Shutterstock

Beneath the congested streets and bustling boutiques of downtown Los Angeles, approximately 11 miles of underground tunnels crisscross the city. Though they see little action these days, their history is rife with wild tales of nefarious activity, from bootlegging and violent crime to the secret transfer of more than $1 billion in government cash.

Perhaps the most famous tunnel connects the Los Angeles County Hall of Records and the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, which fans of the TV hit True Detective might recognize as the setting of an underground shootout. An elevator from the Hall of Records leads to the subterranean passageway, which was used during Prohibition to move illegal liquor to speakeasies across the city.

Underground Tunnels of Los Angeles
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by David Ian McKendry via The 13th Floor

When the county relocated its administrative offices from the Hall of Records to the Hall of Administration in the 1960s, the county had just finished collecting taxes for the year, so the tunnel was used to transport the money—more than $1 billion—over the course of three months, with moves taking place nightly between midnight and 7 a.m.

Another of the city’s underground tunnels was used to spirit high-profile criminals from the county jail to the Hall of Justice, among them notorious mob boss Mickey Cohen, charged with tax evasion in 1951. Tunnels also remain from the city’s original subway system, operated by Los Angeles Pacific Electric Railways to points across the city and the San Fernando Valley.

Though condemned and closed to the public, the tunnels under L.A. have remained the subject of fascination by ambitious urban explorers for decades, and the graffiti on their walls proves that where there’s a will to get in, there’s a way. Though their crumbling walls and unsanitary conditions pose real risks to aspiring infiltrators’ health and safety, the tunnels remain one of the holy grails of the Los Angeles urbex community. 

Cobb Estate

The Cobb Estate
Abandoned Place in Los Angeles image by Echogoblin via Shutterstock

Once a sprawling estate in the hills of Altadena, this 107-acre property now best known as the “Haunted Forest” is used primarily for hiking and paranormal exploration.

The property was first acquired by the successful lumber magnate Charles Cobb in 1916. He built a massive summer home on the site that would eventually become the family’s primary residence. When Cobb died in 1939, he bequeathed the estate to Pasadena’s Scottish Rite Cathedral, which repurposed the tranquil property as a retreat for the Sisters of St. Joseph.

The site remained largely unremarkable until 1956, when the Marx Brothers took ownership of it and it quickly began to deteriorate. The residence was frequented by delinquents, who brought with them a variety of criminal enterprises, and the home was ultimately demolished in 1959, leaving behind the ruins of its foundation, crumbling walls and stairs.

When their effort to convert the property into a cemetery proved unsuccessful, the Marx Brothers put it up for auction in 1971. An informal consortium of local activists, preservation groups and the Conservation Club at John Muir High School managed to cobble together the funds to purchase the land and prevent it from being developed as tract housing.

The Cobb Estate
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Jacob Preal via the Daily Bruin

Philanthropist Virginia Steele Scott assisted in the venture, and the group donated the land to the Angeles National Forest with the stipulation that no structures could be built on the property, allowing it to be preserved as “a quiet refuge for people and wildlife forever.”

The site remains popular with hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts during daylight hours, but it has also become the subject of enduring rumors of paranormal activity, earning it the “Haunted Forest” nickname.

Paranormal investigators visiting the property have recorded unexplained EMF spikes, and other curiosity-seekers have reported hearing strange screams and laughter and seeing mysterious lights in the dark of night.

Lincoln Heights Jail

Lincoln Heights Jail
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by via The Clio

This long-defunct jailhouse is located not far from the interchange of two of the city’s main traffic arteries, I-110 and I-5, yet its lifeless form stands in stark contrast to the bustling traffic and frenetic human energy that constantly surrounds it.

When it opened in 1931, the Lincoln Heights Jail was intended to house roughly 600 prisoners, but within 20 years, it regularly incarcerated more than four times that number. The distinctive Art Deco and Bauhaus-inspired building was a temporary home for a number of the Golden State’s most notorious criminals and radicals, including Al Capone and perpetrators of the Zoot Suit and Watts riots.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the jail was also used to contain individuals caught up in LAPD Chief William Parker’s efforts to enforce anti-sodomy laws and other statutes that specifically targeted the city’s LGBTQ population. A separate wing was eventually established at the jail exclusively for holding non-heteronormative prisoners.

In 1965, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles City Council determined that making needed repairs and expansions to the facility would be cost-prohibitive, opting instead to decommission the jail.

Lincoln Heights Jail
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Laurie Avocado via Wikimedia Commons

The remaining prisoners were transferred to other county jails, and the building remained vacant for more than a decade. The campus was finally reoccupied by the Bilingual Foundation for the Arts in 1979, but the group moved out in 2014, leaving it empty once more.

In 2017, the city sought proposals for redeveloping the abandoned property, and a partnership between the Lincoln Property Company and Fifteen Group yielded the winning concept: transforming the old jail complex into the Lincoln Heights Makers District, a multiuse development that would include a public market, commercial and industrial space, an amphitheater and multiple recreation areas.

However, when cleanup of the property began in spring 2020, it revealed that significantly greater investment would need to be directed toward removal of hazardous materials, trash and other debris, and major updates would be needed for the structure to meet existing environmental codes.

These economic challenges—along with those created by the global pandemic that began at almost the same time—put the project into a deep freeze.

The abandoned building remains empty, with many of its windows missing their glass and graffiti tagging its walls. It is periodically patrolled by security guards and has been used intermittently as a film set for well-known works such as LA Confidential, Nightmare on Elm Street, American History X and Iron Man 2. Though the derelict property is surrounded by a chain-link fence, the exterior is easily visible to passersby on Avenue 19.

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Rockhaven Sanitarium

Rockhaven Sanitarium
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Raul Roa via Glendale News-Press

Thanks to its mild climate and natural beauty, California was home to dozens of sanitariums in the early 20th century, among them Glendale’s Rockhaven Sanitarium. The facility was founded by psychiatric nurse Agnes Richards in 1923, who had seen patients in state-run mental health facilities be neglected, abused and even tortured.

Richards sought to provide a truly healing therapeutic environment for the residents of Rockdale, which began with a single residence and ultimately grew to encompass three acres of gardens, water features and other amenities designed to promote both external tranquility and inner peace.  

Over the decades, the facility drew much of its clientele from the wealthy and well-connected, including Hollywood actress Billie Burke and Marilyn Monroe’s mother. In 2001, the campus was acquired by a large hospital conglomerate, and within five years it was on the chopping block due to disappointing revenues.

Rockhaven Sanitarium
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Jason House / Gallery 417 Downtown

Rockhaven Sanitarium closed its doors in 2006, and though the property has remained vacant since then, it has been reasonably well-maintained by a nonprofit community group that provides tours of the grounds, leading visitors along its charming stone paths through its lush gardens and past the cottages where residents once lived.

The City of Glendale has also advocated for the preservation of the historic site, blocking attempts by private developers to raze the structures on-site and replace them with cookie-cutter homes or big-box retail stores.

Downey Asylum

The Downey Asylum
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Scott Reyes via LA Magazine

When it opened in 1888, the 600-acre campus then known as the L.A. County Poor Farm provided shelter, food, and meaningful labor for the community’s homeless, elderly, disabled, and mentally ill populations. This outpost of the Los Angeles County Medical Center was located in what was then the town of Hondo, which was later incorporated into the larger town of Downey.

Able-bodied residents primarily performed duties on the property’s working farm, which allowed the facility to provide sustenance for those it served. Those unable to perform manual labor could also work on crafts, such as weaving wool rugs and clothing, which were then sold to contribute to the facility’s operations. In addition to the farm, the campus also included an aviary, zoo, and rail line.

During the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918, the facility underwent a massive expansion to alleviate overcrowding and expand its patient base to include average citizens as well as the destitute. The institution was renamed “Rancho Los Amigos” in 1932, and it offered an impressive slate of physical and occupational therapies that included swimming, woodworking, and painting.

The Downey Asylum
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Scott Reyes via LA Magazine

When the U.S. entered World War II, the U.S. Army took over a portion of the campus for use as Camp Morrow, and the facility also served as an emergency hospital during that period. After the war ended, it was repurposed for treating polio patients, with dozens of iron lungs providing breathing assistance to its occupants. However, the development of Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine in 1955 caused the patient population to decline significantly.

As of 1960, much of the original campus had been shuttered, including the farm, dairy, and mental health treatment center, and large portions of the 600-acre property were sold off for other uses.

On the north end of the remaining land, Rancho Los Amigos continued to operate a smaller hospital for chronic diseases and rehabilitation, leaving 70 acres on the south campus essentially abandoned. The property has been used intermittently for storage and to host military training drills by the U.S. Marine Corps, but most of the buildings have been vacant for decades at this point.

Abandoned Topanga Relay Tower

Abandoned Topanga Relay Tower
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Allen Ortega via YouTube

This odd-looking structure perched along Topanga Ridge in the Santa Monica Mountains is a curious anomaly in an otherwise breathtaking panoramic view of the valley below. Now obsolete, this microwave tower erected by telecommunications giant AT&T was once part of a vast network used to transmit TV and telephone signals across the country.

The Topanga tower was once of more than 100 towers just like it, located primarily in California and Nevada. The network took three years to install, and it transmitted its first phone call on August 17, 1951.

Abandoned Topanga Relay Tower
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Reis Lewis via YouTube

As fiberoptic technology gradually replaced microwave transmission, the massive towers were abandoned. Some were scrapped or retrofitted for private networks, but others were simply left in place, their exteriors rusting and decaying.

Graffiti artists have covered the Topanga tower’s concrete base with images and phrases, and the site is also a popular destination for hikers and other visitors curious about the obsolete tower’s size and former purpose.

Scary Dairy

The Scary Dairy
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by KungFuBreakfast via Reddit

This tract of land in Ventura County was once part of Camarillo State Mental Hospital, which opened its doors in 1932 to patients with mental illnesses that other institutions considered untreatable. The hospital pioneered a number of behavioral and pharmaceutical therapies designed to help its residents achieve new measures of freedom and independence, a striking contrast to traditional approaches that relied heavily on restraints, confinement, and sedation.

One of the hospital’s innovative treatment programs involved a working dairy and farm on the property, where patients could work with livestock and grow produce to help sustain the facility’s operations. However, the hospital discontinued its agricultural endeavors in the 1960s, abandoning the farm buildings to decay.

The Scary Dairy
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by The Adventure Collector

The hospital shut down altogether in 1997, and the entire property was left to languish until 2002 when it was occupied by the newly-established campus of California State University-Channel Islands. The institution first renovated the hospital buildings and finally purchased the 367-acre property containing the defunct dairy and farm in 2009.

The campus has since been rechristened CSU Channel Islands University Park and is open to visitors during daylight hours. Nothing has yet been done to restore, demolish or otherwise maintain the former farm buildings, and despite fencing and “No Trespassing” signs, the dilapidated structures have been blanketed with graffiti. If you’re looking for creepy examples of abandoned places in Los Angeles, look no further than the Scary Dairy.

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LA-88 Nike Missile Site

LA-88 Nike Missile Site
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Melodiquest via YouTube

Completed in 1956 at the height of Cold War tensions, the LA-88 Missile Base in Chatsworth was one of several dozen such sites in the region designed to protect strategic military units as well as the massive civilian population of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

In 1958, it became the first U.S. air defense system to employ Army sentry dogs for protection, with four canines and their handlers dispatched to patrol the missile launch site. It was also the first dual-missile site in the country, with both Nike-Ajax and Nike-Hercules missile arsenals stored on the property.

LA-88 Nike Missile Site
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Shutitmofo123 via Reddit

After nearly two decades of monitoring the San Fernando Valley and the Pacific Ocean, the site was decommissioned in 1974, one of the last few California missile sites to remain active. The surrounding land is maintained by the Federal Parks Service, but the former missile site has been used for SWAT and counterterrorism training activities by the Los Angeles Police Department.

A burned-out city bus is parked on the property, and bullet casings litter the ground. The walls of most of the vacant buildings have been tagged with colorful graffiti, and one of the covers to a missile silo sits ajar. Despite being gated off from public access, the eerie site remains popular with urban explorers, and is one of the eeriest examples of abandoned places in Los Angeles.

Westlake Theatre

Westlake Theatre
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by MSPhotographic via Shutterstock

This historic Spanish Baroque theater was designed by architect Richard M. Bates Jr., who blended Renaissance and Adamesque styles for the interior façade. Seating nearly 2,000 guests, the Westlake Theatre opened to great fanfare in 1926.

The walls of the auditorium and lobby were adorned with opulent murals painted by acclaimed artist Anthony Heinsbergen, and the auditorium featured a 2-manual, 10-rank Wurlitzer organ. The theater underwent a significant update in 1935 when the marque, interior lobby, and ticket booth were all enhanced and Heinsbergen returned to paint a new masterpiece on the lobby ceiling.

Over the next half-century, the theater was sold multiple times: first to Favorite Films of California, which also operated the nearby Lake Theatre; then to Metropolitan Theatres, which converted it into a facility showing exclusively Spanish language films.

In 1991, it was purchased by Mayer Separzdeh, who promptly closed the theater, removed the tiered seats, and reopened the building as a swap meet. Later that year, the City of Los Angeles designated the theater as a Cultural Historic Monument.

Westlake Theatre
Abandoned places in Los Angeles image by Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons

The Community Redevelopment Agency—which was established by the State of California with the mission of preserving and renovating derelict structures—purchased the building for $5.7 million in 2008. It was subsequently added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Before the CRA could make good on its intentions to rehabilitate the structure as a venue for live theater, musical performances, and film events, the group was dissolved, and the City of Los Angeles took ownership of the property. When the city issued a Request for Proposals to restore or repurpose the building in 2016, it received no responses.

In 2018, local real estate development company Jamison Services purchased the historic theater for $2 million but put it back up for sale the following year. The vacant, neglected building remains on the market, its iconic three-story, the steel-frame neon sign still standing resolutely on the roof. If you’re looking for one of the easiest to see abandoned places in Los Angeles, it’s hard to miss this theater.

Our Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in Los Angeles

Those who are into urban exploration in the Nevada state area, and wanting to explore abandoned places in Los Angeles, should get comfortable with California trespassing laws. Luckily, in the state of California, the laws are easy to understand and are pretty cut and dry.

For these cases, you should familiarize yourself with the California Trespassing laws. For more about obtaining permission to explore abandoned places in Los Angeles, check out our guide Explore Abandoned Buildings: How To Get Permission.

Additional Urban Exploration Resources

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