Los Angeles is a scary place—and not just on Halloween. We have creatures who go bump in the night (helicopters) and ghosts who haunt certain neighborhoods (Hollywood Jesus). Our city even has its own unique urban cryptid, a neon banshee that tears down streets begging you to notice her (the incomparable Angelyne). Those ghouls aside, a handful of everyday places inspire chills. These eight have us spooked year round.
The Upper Floor of Jet Rag and the Basement of Iguana Vintage
Some say vintage and thrift stores are haunted by the spirits who once wore the clothing that’s for sale, but these two retail shops can really leave you lost, alone, and scared. Just when you’re perusing the racks of clothing past, content in your perfect solitude it happens: a salesperson who was there all along (or were they?) jumps out from behind a rack to make sure you aren’t stealing.
The Arroyo Seco Parkway
Most of the highways in Los Angeles are scary. If you want to induce true horror, drive from Pasadena to downtown and exit and re-enter the Arroyo Seco Parkway every chance you get. Tight lanes, stop signs, tunnels, and congestion should not exist together.
Griffith Park’s Haunted Bench
Apparently, this was the favorite hangout of two Hollywood lovebirds who died whilst making love on the table. Their ashes are said to have been spread on the bench, and tree trimmers (and others) claim to have sensed something funny about the table…
That Really Steep Part Of Runyon Canyon
Seems like once, maybe twice, a week someone hikes up to the steepest ridge in Runyon Canyon, gets spooked out, and has to be evacuated by helicopter. Scary stuff.
The Drive-Through Line at In-N-Out Near LAX
Every In-N-Out in the city is scary if you ask me. I always feel like I might get punched over a hamburger. Tension is high. The drive-through at the LAX-adjacent In-N-Out is the worst because it is like an unmoving game of automotive Tetris: You can get stuck there for hours. What’s worse than Hell? Being at In-N-Out without a burger in your mouth.
The Streets Between Canyon Dr., Beachwood Dr., and Franklin Avenue
If you’ve walked this area, you’ve heard a driver yell out, “Which way to the Hollywood Sign?” and felt trapped. The sign is out in the open but, regardless of what directions you give, the vehicle will never get there. What a frightening paradox.
The Melrose Place Farmers’ Market
Enter with caution: You will be joined by ghosts from the evening past, haggard and hung over West Hollywood partiers. They’ll crowd Free Range and may damper an otherwise lovely morning.
Kyle Fitzpatrick is a writer, an infrequent performer, and a lover of dogs, art, shorts, champagne, and L.A. You can find his musings Fridays on CityThink. For more, check out his locally focused art, design, and culture website, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.