Even though spring break is coming up, let’s face it: you’re probably not going anywhere because COVID is a tad scarier than the darker side of these cities. But hey! Why not waste a week pretending you’re there?
Los Angeles, California
California is known for usually being on the weirder side of the spectrum, and it lives up to that reputation when it comes to world famous crimes. Perhaps the old Hollywood movie star life enthralls you? Well, hop on The Real Black Dahlia tour to see how things weren’t so glamorous for an aspiring actress. Or maybe you want to look into the calculated Tate-LaBianca murders committed by Charles Manson’s cult and maybe even take an hour drive to Spahn Ranch? Or, maybe you like the dark side of Hollywood and would be interested in The O.J. Tour as you’re taken from place to place in the car identical to the one O.J. drove the night of the murders.
San Francisco, California
From Alcatraz Prison to the Zodiac Killer, San Francisco has a lot to offer when it comes to true crime, but maybe you want something a little different. Look into the Haunted SF Ghost Tour, which will not only appeal to your sense of the supernatural but also give you a glimpse of the life of cult leader Jim Jones, who was responsible for the death of 918 people.
One of the things people think of when they hear Chicago is its notorious history for gangsters during the Prohibition. If the mafia is particularly interesting to you, then you’d definitely want to go on the Private Al Capone Gangster Tour where you’ll be stopping in speakeasies, the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and much more! But maybe you’re more into a good ‘ole regular serial killer. I get it. Luckily for you, you can participate in the Devil & the White City Tour and visit H.H. Holmes’ murder castle. (Just be sure to read up on it from your favorite true crime reporter from Lincoln Park!)
Who says nothing ever happens in Wisconsin? Sign up for the Cream City Cannibal tour and follow what was considered a normal night in the life of infamous serial killer Jefferey Dahmer. It should be noted that this tour is not for the faint of heart as it goes into great detail about the murders and tortures Dahmer conflicted onto his victims. In fact, this tour has been banned from GroupOn twice while also being asked to shut down numerous times because of this. You have been warned.
New Orleans, Louisiana
This city is widely known for jazz music, seafood and ghosts/voodoo. Along with that, characters like Madame LaLaurie and the Mad Axeman have appeared in pop culture with people not even realizing they were real people. While it’s questioned just how abusive LaLaurie was towards her slaves, it’s no doubt she treated them horrifically. The Axeman was also just as brutal; however, what makes his story so interesting is how to this day, no one knows who it was. The Killers & Thrillers Tour is one that will walk you through their crimes and the ghosts that supposedly roam the streets of New Orleans as a reminder of the violent history the city has.
Fall River, Massachusetts
Staying in a bed and breakfast in a small New England town sounds like a charming little vacation, right? Probably isn’t the case if you’re staying in Lizzie Borden’s house. If you’re not familiar, Lizzie Borden was accused of killing her stepmother and father with an ax, but due to lack of evidence and investigation rules from the 1890s, she wasn’t found guilty. (But I will say that all the evidence seems to point to her being the guilty party.) And if you choose to spend the night here, you could even spend it in the room where her stepmother was murdered! Yeah… maybe just a tour of the house is enough.
Amityville, New York
I’m sure most of us are at least familiar with the many movies and books based on the paranormal happenings surrounding the 112 Ocean Avenue home. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to tour the home since it’s been on and off the market. While the hauntings that made the house famous are widely regarded as false, the story of Ronald DeFeo shooting his family as they slept and confessing that voices were telling him to do it is fact. After that, the Lutz family moved in and made claims of the paranormal disturbances much of pop culture knows of today. Perhaps one must see the house in person to decide what is true and what is false.
New York City, New York
New York is another hotbed for crime. Like Chicago, the Big Apple is known for the mafia and other gang activity from the past to present. NYC Gangster Mod Tours offers many tours to choose from, each focusing on a different angle of the mobster life. From gangs in Chinatown to the life of a Jewish gangster to a luxury ferry tour of famous mobster hangouts, there’s many tours that seem sure to enthrall you.
Anyone familiar with the history of the United States knows why Dallas is on the list: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On the street where he was shot, there’s actually two X’s to show where his car was when it happened, and from there, you can see the book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from the sixth floor. Presently, it’s a museum that goes into detail on Kennedy’s life and how his legacy affected people worldwide. Another thing you can do in Dallas is go on the Bonnie and Clyde Tour and visit the graves of the couple, where they first met, and where some of their first murders and robberies took place.
Oddly enough, Washington state seems to produce a lot of famous serial killers; 75 from between 1900 to 2020, and having some of the most famous ones at that. The Capitol Hill True Crime Tour goes over many of Seattle’s dark side, including letting guests explore places where Ted Bundy committed many of his murders while also going over whether or not Kurt Cobain’s death was indeed suicide. Another tour is The Queen Anne Tour, which follows the serial killer Robert Yates along with many other crimes that occurred there.