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Underground L.A. – A Tour of LA’s Secret Tunnels

One of the great things about Los Angeles is that it is a city that is rich with culture and history. While the city was founded back in 1781, the golden age of Downtown really took place during the 1920s. In the heart of downtown there was commercial growth in the Finance District and the area was even known as the “Wall Street of the West”. At the same time, Hollywood’s golden age was taking place and movie studios were popping up around the area making the Downtown area buzz with excitement. Coincidently, while downtown LA was experiencing an increase in activity, the country was experiencing prohibition.

Prohibition was a time in the history of the United States when there was a nationwide ban on alcohol. With an increase in alcoholism, saloon based political corruption and family violence, the decision was to ban alcohol so that “every day would be Sunday when the town goes dry”. Of course, with Prohibition came a whole underground bootlegging operation. Downtown L.A. has an interesting history when it comes to prohibition. For example, did you know that there was a large system of underground tunnels in downtown. During the Prohibition era, the tunnels were used to move alcohol around the city without cops finding out.

Today, you explore the former underground system of tunnels used during the prohibition era on your own! You’ll have to slip behind the Hall of Records that is located on Temple Street in downtown. Behind the building look for an elevator that is surprisingly easy to miss. Once you find it, ride the elevator down into a subterranean passage where it’ll be like stepping back into time. You’ll see street art, rusted machinery and a chance to imagine what it was like for the bootleggers of yore. Officially, these underground tunnels are closed to the public.

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