Our 2013 Best of L.A. issue came out in early October, but over the years we've found that some of the best places in Los Angeles aren't new or trendy at all -- some are decades old, abandoned, and most assuredly haunted, or so we've heard.
'Tis the season to dig through our archives and find the eeriest places to explore -- from abandoned hospitals and jails to hiking trails and hotels -- in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Whether the ghostly legends are true or not, we've matched six different historic haunts for every type of urban creep-seeker.
If you like old Hollywood history, but you're terrified of driving through gut-wrenching Hollywood gridlock....
Hop on Dearly Departed's "Tomb Buggy" and have someone else do the driving.
It's called the L.A. tour that locals like to take again and again, and with good reason. Scott Michaels (founder of hugely popular celebrity-death site findadeath.com) and his dedicated and highly knowledgeable guides operate three tours that will give you a different and slightly morbid perspective on the city you drive around in on a daily basis. In comfy vans dubbed "Tomb Buggys," Dearly Departed Tours offers a "tragical history tour" -- a lighthearted look into the dark side of Hollywood, including Bela Lugosi's modest apartment, where the Dracula star died penniless; Manson murder-related locations; the hotels where John Belushi and Janis Joplin spent their last nights; the house notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel died in; the house where the Menendez brothers murdered their parents; and even a bathroom break at Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills, where George Michael was infamously arrested for lewd conduct. Movie clips, 911 calls and actual crime-scene photography accompany the tours, giving you a geographic retelling of murders, death scenes and more, sure to delight those more fascinated with how the famous died than how they lived. 6603 Sunset Blvd., Hlywd. (800) 979-3370. --Liana Aghajanian
How to experience it now: Offered every year around Halloween, Dearly Departed's horror film location tour cruises to South Pasadena to explore the quiet neighborhood where John Carpenter's original Halloween (1978) was filmed. Beware: Michael Myers (er, some guy in the ol' William Shatner mask) has been known to hijack this suburban four-hour tour. Reserve tickets here.
If you'd prefer to drink spirits while hunting for them...