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News / Harmless Fun

10 unintentionally spooky places in LA

Old Zoo at Griffith Park.
Photograph: Michael Juliano Old Zoo at Griffith Park.

There are quite a few well-known haunted places in LA, but LA’s creep factor doesn’t stop there. From places you walk by every day to entire neighborhoods and religious institution, there are many places in LA that will send a chill down your spine, whether it’s Halloween in Los Angeles or not. With that in mind, here are 10 unintentional spooky places around LA.

1. The Old Zoo: Located in Griffith Park, the Old Zoo has become a popular hiking spot, but let’s be real, the place is creepy. With old animal enclosures dating back to 1912 (when the Griffith Park Zoo first opened), this place has a Blair Witch Project vibe to it. It’s no wonder it’s the site for some of LA’s scariest events, like the Great Horror Campout and the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride.

2. The Church of Scientology building: You can’t miss the huge blue building on Sunset Boulevard, and you definitely don’t have to guess who occupies it thanks to the large Scientology sign on top. However, it’s the mystery of what happens inside the building and the hundreds of small windows carved out of the Art Deco-style building (which always seem to be closed or blocked by curtains) that ignites the urge to run away.

3. North Hollywood Toyota: It’s one of LA’s most bizarre landmarks—the stacked North Hollywood Toyota dealership off the Lankershim exit on the 134. Glance at it on your drive and you’ll see a crowd of mannequins waving at you from the roof, not so much beckoning you to buy a car but staring you down with a creepy, plastic salutation. We’d advise you to keep your eyes on the road.

4. Vernon: There are barely 100 full-time residents in Vernon, and the city has a long history of corruption—enough to inspire an entire season of True Detective. A trip through the barren warehouse district in order to avoid freeway traffic sounds like the setup for a horror film.

5. Mulholland Drive: Yes, it’s famous for its beautiful views of LA to Malibu and beyond, and has been the backdrop of dozens of films, TV shows and commercials, but Mulholland Drive isn’t all Hollywood glamour. Just read Helter Skelter and learn about Charles Manson’s ties to the road, and you’ll never look at it the same again.

6. Forest Lawn Drive at night: The only lights along this meandering road come from the two cemeteries it passes—it's basically pitch black after the sun sets. To make matters worse, you're stuck on it from the studios until the 134 freeway, unless you want to enter a cemetery. Oh, and it’s in the Valley, which we imagine is scary for some of you.

7. The "Pee Tunnels": Also known as the pedestrian tunnels that go under PCH, the 101 and other main thoroughfares in LA. Not only do they eponymously smell like urine, they’re dark, dirty and somehow always seem longer when you’re inside. We use them (the ones that aren’t ominously locked up and shuttered) sparingly, and always end up running 'til we reach the light.

8. Sunken City: Located in San Pedro, these are LA County’s very own ancient ruins, minus the ancient part. A landslide that occurred a couple of decades ago caused a few blocks of the seaside town to fall into the ocean. Today, there are remnants of what was once, we presume, a pretty cool neighborhood. Though it’s become a popular sightseeing spot, it’s pretty creepy to think of this post apocalyptic-looking area.

9. The Theatre at Ace Hotel: Who ever said beautiful things can’t be a little creepy? The Theatre at Ace Hotel is absolutely gorgeous with its gothic architecture and all the history you can feel when you walk in, but that’s just what makes it pretty creepy, too. Add to that the winding hallways and the very frightening finger statue (literally, a statue of a man with a bunch of fingers around his head, holding onto a large finger as a walking stick), and we need to implement the buddy system.

10. Santa Monica Pier: Sure, the crushing crowds at Santa Monica Pier can be pretty scary, but head to the locale late at night and you’re in for a while different type of scary. From the deserted Ferris wheel to to the creaking wooden planks of the pier, it gives us the feeling that we are in the next Zombieland film.



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