The three 'Gothic' spires of the fabulous Watts Towers rank among the world’s greatest monuments of folk art. In 1921 Italian immigrant Simon Rodia set out ‘to make something big’ and then spent 33 years cobbling together this whimsical free-form sculpture from concrete, steel and a motley assortment of found objects: green 7Up bottles to sea shells, tiles, rocks and pottery.
The towers reach up to 99.5ft in height, just below the city's legal limit of 100ft. You can admire Watts Towers from beyond the fencing any time, but to get inside you must take the tour (free during ongoing restoration works; check website for updates). A 12-minute black-and-white documentary from the 1950s tells the story through rare archival footage.
The adjacent Watts Towers Art Center sponsors workshops, performances and classes for the community, hosts art exhibits and organizes the acclaimed Watts Towers Day of the Drum and Jazz Festival in late September or early October.