Los Angeles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.
It is estimated that millions of people go there on vacation every single year.
One of the reasons is because it is home to some of the most spectacular scenery and entertainment that you can only experience in this part of the country.
However, for those brave souls like you who are looking for something different and more thrilling, the San Francisco Bay area is also home to some pretty unique abandoned places.
Many of the locations I’m going to share with you here are places with dark histories and fascinating architecture.
Places that will surely entice any true urban explorer to grab their urbex gear and head out the door for an adventure.
If you’re looking for abandoned places in Los Angeles to explore, below are a few that you should visit.
1. The Cobb Estate
Okay, we’re not sure what to think about this one – some people say that the old property’s haunted, while others call it a bunch of tosh. It still makes for a fascinating (and exhausting) hike, or drive, if you prefer.
Built by lumber magnate Charles Cobb, together with his wife Carrie, in 1918, the impressive mansion on the Cobb Estate was once nothing more than a beautiful, luxurious building, located in the midst of nature.
Over the years, it survived various fires as well as changes of ownership, before settling into the hands of the U.S. Forest Service (who own the house to this day). As time went by without anyone living inside it, the mansion fell into decrepitude and became the subject of ghostly rumors spread by explorers.
Several ghosts are said to haunt the adjacent woods, as well as the ruins of the building itself. But regardless if you believe in such tales or not, Cobb Estate makes for some fascinating viewing, especially in the nighttime.
2. Murphy Ranch
Located on the outskirts of the Rustic Canyon area in L.A, the Murphy Ranch was once the home of anti-Semitic, white supremacist couple Norman and Winona Stephens, who built the compound as a sort of safe haven and operations center for their Nazi friends, the Silver Legion of America.
The two checked in under the fake identity of Jesse M. Murphy, which still gives the property its name today. Here, they built a powerhouse, a bomb shelter, a fuel tank, and a few other buildings.
Raided by the police after Pearl Harbor and largely demolished since, the Murphy Ranch still offers a spooky, post-apocalyptic vibe, as well as a solid workout (you have to climb nearly 500 steps to get there!).
3. The Sunken City of San Pedro
Situated on the steep slide of the Californian coast along Long Beach lies the now-gone residential neighborhood of San Pedro. Once a bustling neighbor to the Point Fermin Park and Lighthouse, the area was struck by disaster in 1929, when a water main broke under a hotel, followed by a gas line break a few days later.
Ever alert, the residents of the steep neighborhood recognized these warning signs and evacuated just in time, as their homes slid into the Pacific Ocean in what is one of the worst landslides in Los Angeles history.
Today, the area is still considered largely unsafe and has seen similar landslides as recently as 2011. but given that many of the foundations and wrecks of sunken buildings are still visible, it constitutes a favorite among urban explorers.
4. The Griffith Park Zoo
Also known as the Griffith Park Zoo, the Old Zoo of Los Angeles makes for an interesting day trip for lovers of abandoned places.
Having closed down in 1966, after operating for more than fifty years, the Old Zoo’s walls and buildings have been covered in graffiti and trash, which only lends the area an added sense of mystery.
Visitors can walk through the old animal cages and explore the now-empty buildings, which were once heavily criticized for their ugliness, but now create a unique and somewhat eerie setting, especially for a haunting night out on the town.
If you’re ever in the area at night, you might also want to check out the Griffith Observatory, and even the old Forest Lawn Cemetery for some extra spookiness.
5. Pico House
Dominating the old Los Angeles Plaza, the three-story Pico House once served as a luxurious hotel for distinguished guests only.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Pico Hotel was one of the most sought-after accommodations in the Alta California region, struggling to meet the overwhelming demand.
Still, as business and “the heart of the city” began its shift toward the south, the Pico House began losing its appeal and business.
The opulent building went the way of many once-great abodes, becoming a poor flophouse until it was finally acquired by the state of California in 1963.
Since then, it has served as the site for occasional film and photo shoots and rarely for meetings.
But it’s mostly abandoned and a favorite with the urban exploration crowd, not least for its (mistaken) reputation as the site of a massacre in the 1870s
6. The LA-88 Nike Missile Site
Back during the Cold War, Los Angeles (as well as most of the United States) was dotted by various missile sites, intended to protect the civil population from a potential Soviet attack.
One such site is the infamous LA-88, which operated from 1957 to 1974. Many of the buildings are still intact, and the place is overcome by an oft unnerving silence.
While the property is technically gated off, the LA-88 Nike missile site is a big favorite among urban explorers, especially for war and history buffs.
Climbing the structures on the site gives you a wonderful view of the city of Los Angeles, but the trip itself will give you shivers down your spine if you consider what the base stands for.
7. Shipwreck Hiking Trail
Located near the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the Shipwreck Hiking Trail itself is not abandoned.
In fact, it is open year-round to curious visitors and offers some great scenic views for nature lovers.
However, it is also renowned among urban explorers for the many abandoned buildings it passes by, and of course, the shipwreck it is named for.
During the hike, one can find, touch and photograph the remains of an old, rusted ship, which is particularly exciting for ship-enthusiasts, of course.
This challenging trail makes for a great day outing, as it allows you to take in some fresh air, as well as some killer shots.
8. Louie’s Cabin
And speaking of mindblowing nature walks, any self-respecting urban explorer can’t afford to miss the infamous Louie’s Cabin.
A carpenter by trade, Louie Newcomb decided to settle in the heart of the Chillao mountains in the late 19th century and built his cabin with his own two hands.
Here, he lived as a veritable “mountain man” for the next five decades, during which he witnessed the many changes of the wilderness around him, hunted deer and wild animals, and welcomed the occasional visitor (usually hunters and travelers) with a hot meal.
He also worked as a forest ranger and divided his time between his beloved cabin and his family home. In 1929, he sold his mountain property to his cousin who then developed the Newcomb’s Ranch Inn to cater to guests.
And while the area was much changed (and ruined, according to Newcomb himself) by the arrival of the highway in 1939 and of the modern, urban world shortly after, the cabin still stands today and is a favorite spot for urban explorers and nature lovers alike.
Do you Know Any Abandoned Places In Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is full of fascinating abandoned places that are just waiting to be discovered by a keen spirit.
Yes, some involve ghosts, or at the very least, fascinating histories, but one thing they have in common – they all retain something of the old L.A.’s spirit.
So what are you waiting for?
Get out there and start exploring!
Know of any cool abandoned places in Los Angeles to explore? Feel free to drop some names in the comments below to help out your fellow urban explorers!