Cemeteries hold the remains of some fascinating characters and chronicle the history of their area. Some people want to tour them for the thrills and ghosts, but they're also some of the best places to explore a locale's history.
These cemeteries and graveyards offer guided tours. Some are hosted year-round and others only happen in October.
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Cypress Lawn is a late 19th Century cemetery full of spectacular angels, over-the-top mausoleums. It's just south of San Francisco - and the last resting place of famous, infamous and just plain interesting San Franciscans.
Guided walking tours are held on Saturdays between April and October. They also offer historical trolley tours of the grounds, Victorian heritage days, and other events. Check their website for details and a full list of events.
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Early Contra Costa County pioneers came to California by gold but fulfilled their dreams of a prosperous life in other ways, settling the area around the town of Martinez. Earliest burials date to the 1850s.
The Martinez Historical Society offers public walking tours of the Alhambra Cemetery once a year, but you can take a self-guided version anytime by going to their website, where you can also check their events calendar for the live tours.
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Forest Lawn is the final resting place of more famous people than you can count and chockful of interesting chapels and artwork. They don't offer public tours, and their staff isn't helpful to visitors, but you can still do a self-guided tour.
The overview of the cemetery at Seeing Stars is one of the best places to start your research.
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Hollywood Forever Cemetery dates from the early days of Hollywood, next to Paramount Studios and the last resting place of many famous stars and filmmakers.
In late October, Hollywood Forever hosts the Los Angeles Day of the Dead celebration.
Otherwise, you can take their regular tour a couple of times a month.
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Sacramento mayors, California governors, Civil War Veterans, and victims of the 1850 Cholera Epidemic are only a few of the folks interred at Old City Cemetery.
They offer plenty of guided tours so you can learn all about those fascinating former residents. In late October, their Lantern Tours raise lots of money, selling out well in advance.
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