Watts Towers Tours and Activities
Set in Watts, one of the least touristy areas of Los Angeles, a gritty South Central neighborhood that’s otherwise best known for a series of violent riots in the late 1960s, the Watts Towers are nonetheless one of the most fantastic attractions in the city. Built between 1921 and 1954 by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia, this National Historic landmark is a huge fanciful temple of steel spires and found objects, a quirky combination of a ship, a cityscape and a cathedral.
Inspired by a religious vision, Rodia spent more than three decades working on these 17 encrusted towers in his spare time, cobbling together his creation with scrap rebar and cement mortar from construction sites, bits of metal and trash from the nearby Pacific Railway Car tracks, and pottery shards, broken bottles and whole seashells.
Driven away by deeply unappreciative neighbors, Rodia abandoned his towers in 1955, and they stood neglected until 1959, when an actor and a filmmaker brought attention to their plight and got the LA arts community (including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA]) to organize on their behalf. The result was the Committee for Simon Rodia’s Towers in Watts, which is now a partnership between the City of Los Angeles and LACMA; the Committee now runs the adjacent Watts Towers Arts Center, which offers art and music classes and stages cultural events.
Tours and Activities to Experience Watts Towers
Frequently Asked Questions
- Things to do in California
- Things to do in Santa Monica
- Things to do in Long Beach
- Things to do in Santa Barbara
- Things to do in La Jolla
- Things to do in Palm Springs
- Things to do in San Diego
- Things to do in Pismo Beach
- Things to do in San Luis Obispo
- Things to do in Paso Robles
- Things to do in Las Vegas
- Things to do in Yosemite National Park
- Things to do in Sausalito
- Things to do in Nevada
- Things to do in Arizona