urban hikes: forgotten la 


cultural and architectural walking tours + beat poetry with guide mike sonksen dedicated to exploring the unexplored corners of los angeleS

+URBAN HIKES: FORGOTTEN LA is a unique series of tours devoted to the exploration and celebration of sometimes-forgotten parts of Los Angeles, providing a unique view into neighborhoods such as Little Tokyo, Leimert Park, MacArthur Park, Korea Town, the Downtown Historic Core, Boyle Heights, and many more.

+poet and native Angeleno Mike Sonksen, aka ‘Mike the Poet’, performs his poems live and loud while providing a cultural, historical, and architectural tour exploring the forgotten and hidden gems in our City of Angels.

+Mike Sonksen is widely acclaimed for his live performances, contributions to international publications, and legendary city tours with A+D Museum, Red Line, and The Museum of Neon Art. Poet, journalist, historian, tour guide, and teacher, Mike is published in Citybeat, New Angeles, L.A. Weekly, and many more. His book I AM ALIVE IN LOS ANGELES! has been added to the curriculum of several universities and receives rave reviews. 


upcoming URBAN HIKES









past urban hikes



The neighborhood of Highland Park is nestled between Pasadena and the 110 Freeway along the Arroyo Seco in northern Los Angeles. The neighborhood was one of the first settlement areas around Los Angeles, and is now known for its scenic access to the Arroyo and its craftsman architecture. After the area was depopulated by the White Flight of the 1950’s and 60’s, many Latino residents moved in. Currently, the neighborhood is becoming popular with young hipsters favoring urban, walkable lifestyles and people seeking historic homes. Highlights of this tour included the Heritage Square Museum, the home of Charles Fletcher Lummis,  The Southwest Museum of the American Indian, and a heavy dose of Craftsman style architecture.





Before it became the cultural icon it is today, the stretch of Vine Street between Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards was little more than a lemon grove. It was annexed in 1910—along with the rest of Hollywood—to Los Angeles, and in the 1920s, the Golden Age of Hollywood brought an influx of wealth to the area, transforming it from the rural farmland that it once was. The first film to be made in Hollywood was made at this intersection, beginning a legacy that continues to this day. While this shining beacon of Hollywood culture began to fall into disrepair in the 1960s, relics of this era still remain.



Miracle Mile 


This one and a half mile stretch on Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax and Highland is not only the home of Los Angeles' largest grouping of art museums, it is also home to a buzzing business neighborhood, the La Brea tar pits, the Peterson Automotive Museum, and a number of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Adjacent to this busy commercial hub are quiet lanes lined with 1920s garden apartments. The Miracle Mile is one of the city's richest and most easily recognizable Art Deco commercial districts.



Leimert Park was designed by the Olmsted brothers, famous for their plans for Central Park in New York City.  It was one of the first planned communities in Southern California.  Today, it has become the center for African American arts and culture in Los Angeles.  Filled with jazz and blues clubs, theaters, hip-hop venues, and other arts institutions, Leimert Park has been called "The Black Greenwich Village", but clearly stands alone as a culture center in its own right.




Named for the immigrant population that has claimed the area as their new home in LA, Koreatown features bustling urban life and a blending of Korean and Latino cultures in historic Los Angeles.  Koreatown is reportedly one of the most densely populated and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles.  In the 1930's it was the epicenter of golden-age Hollywood, with the Ambassador Hotel in the Coconut Grove. 



Beautiful downtown Burbank has been billed as the "Media Capitol of the World." Burbank is home to several major production companies, studios, and the workforce they employ. Extending from the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains to the Eastern edge of the San Fernando Valley, Burbank remains an attractive, walkable town, with access to Griffith Park as well as Bob Hope Airport. 





A special Urban Hike exploring the Los Angeles River, in conjunction with A+D's Drylands exhibition gave hikers the opportunity to learn about Los Angeles' own water scarcity issues first hand along with the rich history surrounding the river. 




The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s North Campus, designed by Mia Lehrer+Associates, celebrated the institution's 100-year anniversary and the manifestation of their mission to research, document, and protect the natural world. Led by the landscape architecture firm's very own project manager and principal Michelle Sullivan, hikers gained a deeper understanding of how creative design facilitates and translates the museum's philosophy into a tangible, interactive setting.





*urban hike TICKETS ARE TRANSFERABLE TO ANOTHER GUEST FOR THE SAME hike, BUT ARE NONREFUNDABLE. please contact (213) 346-9734 or info@aplusd.org.