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Fodor's Southern California 2014
Watts Towers Review
The jewel of rough South L.A. is the legacy of Simon Rodia, a tile setter who emigrated from Italy to California and erected one of the world's greatest folk-art structures.
From 1921 until 1954, without any help, this eccentric man built the three main cement towers, using pipes, bed frames, and anything else he could find. He embellished them with bits of colorful glass, broken pottery, and more than 70,000 seashells. After years of a much-needed restoration, the City of Los Angeles contracted the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to maintain it.
The towers became the centerpiece of a state historic park and cultural center, part of an effort by Watts neighborhood leaders to overcome the area's gangland and riot-zone history—but it's still best to use your street smarts while visiting.
Because of the preservation work, tours may be affected, so make sure to check ahead before booking.
- Address: 1727 E. 107th St., Take I–110 to I–105 east; exit north at S. Central Ave., and turn right onto 108th St., left onto Willowbrook Ave. Watts, Los Angeles, CA 90002 | Map It
- Phone: 213/847–4646
- Cost: $7, includes tour
- Hours: Gallery Wed.–Sat. 10–4, Sun. noon–4; tours Thurs. 11-3, Fri. 11–3, Sat. 10:30–3, Sun. 12:30–3
- Location: Downtown Los Angeles
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