This 1921, Mayan-inflected Frank Lloyd Wright house was originally built as a “progressive theatrical community” space by activist and oil heiress Aline Barnsdall—today it’s the centerpiece of Barnsdall Park and is open for interior and exterior tours on select days (Thu–Sun, 11am–4pm). Though the home’s privileged hilltop perch is admirable from the outside, it’s best experienced from within: The exquisite wood detailing, long concrete hallways and geometric furniture are well worth the $7 tour.
Rudolf Schindler, a protégé of Wright’s, was the overseeing architect on this project (unusual for Wright, who typically was on-site for all of his buildings) and by all reports it was a contentious building process, with the same delays and cost overruns familiar to anyone who’s attempted a renovation. After it was completed, frequent flooding of the living room in the (short but destructive) rainy season and seismic concerns prevented Barnsdall from living in the gorgeous but impractical concrete and stucco house for long—though she did spend the rest of her life in a smaller house on the property, which the family called Olive Hill. The house has closed a couple of times for extensive renovations, but that careful preservation has helped secure the home’s future—and, as of 2019, its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.