12 Places in L.A. That Make the City of Angels Look Like An Apocalyptic Wasteland

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Have you ever wondered, if there was some type of zombie apocalypse in Los Angeles, what would it all look like?

The truth is there are actually many ruins, abandoned buildings and deserted areas of Los Angeles that, if you frame it just right, might make you think you’re already living in a apocalyptic nightmare. Cue the monsters, zombies and dramatic music.


To that end, let’s explore some of them below through the magic of YouTube and, hopefully, it’ll give you a new appreciate for some of the bizarre, mysterious, and spooky history of the city we live in.

[NOTE: Please be aware we’re not endorsing you check out all of these areas, as many are fenced off and/or have trespassing notices that could result in tickets (or worse). Hopefully watching many of the below videos we embedded will satisfy your curiosity!]

1. Murphy Ranch

Where to start? How about an abandoned nazi sympathizer compound deep in the hills of Los Angeles. Tom Carroll explores below…

[UPDATE: The city decided to demolish several elements of the ruins, although most of the structures still remain, per a story via KPCC]

via Tom Explores Los Angeles / YouTube

2. The Sunken City of San Pedro

In 1929 at the southern tip of San Pedro a chunk of land nearly 40,000 square feet in size began sliding into ocean. The community of bungalows encompassing the area was soon evacuated, and home subsequently removed. Today what remains is called, quite appropriately, The Sunken City.

via Tom Explores Los Angeles / YouTube

3. Rancho Los Amigos Hospital

Here’s a fun fact: According to an L.A. Times report from 2006 when marines were doing a training exercise at the abandoned mental hospital at Rancho Los Amigos they happened upon a freezer full of mummified body parts. Yikes!


via Let’s Go / YouTube

4. The Old L.A. Zoo

The location of L.A.’s original zoo now sits as a ruin you can visit in Griffith Park.

via Tom Explores Los Angeles / YouTube

5. The Abandoned Hawthorne Mall

The now abandoned Hawthorne Mall, once a booming mecca of retail in the South Bay, has been closed since 1999, with no current plans to re-open, renovate, or tear down. What remains is a collection of stair cases, structural beams, and empty store spaces that are creepy enough to make you think you’re living in a George Romero horror movie (or Walking Dead if you’re too young for the other reference).

via Tom Explores Los Angeles / YouTube

6.  Linda Vista Community Hospital

This former neighborhood hospital had been closed since 1991, but has been the subject of numerous paranormal investigations… you know, if you’re into that sort of thing. The apartments were most recently converted into senior housing.

via Marc Hudson / YouTube

7. L.A.’s Nuclear Escape Tunnels (Maybe…)

Legend has it that in the early 1960’s several tunnels up in Shoemaker Canyon were built as ‘escape routes’ in the event of a nuclear attack upon the city of Los Angeles (thanks Cold War!), although there is some doubt as to this theory. More than likely, it may have just been an abandoned city project to build a road tunnel through the mountain. But the air of mystery does make it a bit more exciting…

via adamthewoo / YouTube

8. Lincoln Heights Jail

Did you know the ‘Bloody Christmas’ scene in L.A. Confidential is based on events that took place at Lincoln Heights Jail in 1951?

Closed since 1965, today the abandoned jail is another hub of purported paranormal speculation.

via Paranormal EXP / YouTube

9. Llano Del Rio

A socialist colony built in 1914 imagined as a potential Utopia… and then abandoned just four years later. Today, only the vague ruins remain.

via RenRobot / YouTube

10. Palisades Del Rey/ Surfridge

Once upon a time, before LAX ever existed, an El Segundo community was developed in the early 1920’s full of custom built homes lived in by the Hollywood elite. But as a nearby airport grew (and the noise grew with it) eventually the residents moved out (or were forced out by eminent domain action taken by the city). Today all that remains is vacant land and ghostly streets that are protected by barbed wire.

via AOL / YouTube

11. Topanga Fire Lookout

The history of this relay tower (also known as Stunt Tower) in Calabasas is actually under a bit of dispute, with some claiming it’s an old AT&T radio tower, while others saying it was part of the NIKE missile defense program or was used by the LAFD as a watch tower. Whatever its true origins, today it stands as abandoned, graffitied shell of  its former self. Trespassers are warned against climbing up the tower, but that hasn’t stopped some intrepid souls from making the journey anyway (see video below).

via reis lewis / YouTube

12. Tropical Terrace -Solstice Canyon

Perhaps Malibu’s most infamous haunted house. Read more about it in this excellent LAist editorial from 2011.

via Hikes You Can Do / YouTube

What are you favorite abandoned, haunted, or ruined parts of Los Angeles? Let us know what we missed in the comments below! 


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