During prohibition, Americans created many inventive ways to continue to imbibe alcohol. After the eighteenth amendment made drinking alcohol illegal from 1920 to 1933, Los Angeles residents decided to keep the party going…underground. Los Angeles' subterranean spaces quickly became makeshift speakeasies and places for other nefarious activities. Today, adventurous explorers can find some of these spooky old tunnels located under Downtown Los Angeles.
Approximately eleven miles of service tunnels snake under the bustling city life of Downtown Los Angeles. They were once used as equestrian tunnels and the Los Angeles subway, but they also provided a place for people to sip their absinthe in the '20s and '30s. Today, these underground tunnels are used for film and television shoots, shortcuts for savvy Los Angeles officials, and other events that require a creative location.
These underground Los Angeles tunnels are mostly closed off, but according to the interesting adventure website Atlas Obscura, there is a way to check them out. Behind the Los Angeles County Hall of Records, located at 320 West Temple street, is a hidden elevator that is easily missed (unless you're looking for it). This elevator will take adventurers down to the underground tunnels.
When visitors arrive to these subterranean spaces, they can view creative street art and old machinery (some apparently dating back to to the prohibition era). Walking areas are designated to keep adventurers off spaces that may not be safe during an earthquake, but the experience is altogether pretty fascinating.
These underground tunnels provide a small taste of Los Angeles' rich history, unmarred by current innovations. The excursion behind the Downtown Los Angeles building is exhilarating and reminiscent of the sneaky escapades of youth. In short, it's worth a trip downtown to get a small taste of the excitement of finding a hidden treasure of the city's history.
It is important to note that officially, these tunnels are closed to the public. If you plan to visit, smaller groups are recommended and shorter visits are likely to attract the attention of others. Additionally, after your underground tunnel experience, Downtown Los Angeles offers a plethora of fantastic restaurants including the critically acclaimed Redbird restaurant which is in walking distance of the Los Angeles County Hall of Records.
After a year of many Los Angeles residents staying at home, it might be high time for a little adventure and a taste of the rich history of this fantastic city.