Beneath the bustling streets of Los Angeles, California, with all of its dazzling magic and its inescapable austerity, there are hidden passageways that few people know about. Even those who have lived above them for years are surprised to learn of their existence. The network of lighted pedestrian and service tunnels span 11 miles, and connect to some very intriguing places of historical interest.
One such place is the King Eddy Saloon off 5th Street in the infamous Skid Row. A tunnel actually runs straight into the basement of the bar, which at that time served as a speakeasy, where patrons would gather during the prohibition era to get their booze on.
At 12 feet wide and 10 feet high, the tunnels extend from Temple and Spring streets to 1st Street and Grand Avenue, and run under government buildings. These building include the Hall of Justice, the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, the Hall of Records, and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.
Aside from just providing people with a place to drink during prohibition, the tunnels also acted as a route to transport murderers, mobsters and large sums of money. They have even been the backdrop for several Hollywood movies — Ali, Legally Blonde and JFK.
These days, the majority of the passageways, including L.A.’s first subway, are no longer able to be accessed for exploration due to an earthquake hazard. The only folks who have authorization to use the tunnels are government officials, though the homeless often turn to the tunnels for shelter.
For the urban explorers who have managed to get inside, they’ve said that the easiest way to gain access and explore the tunnels is to enter behind the Hall of Records off Temple Street and find a hard-to-miss elevator.