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Photo: Emil Wesolowski

Places

Where to find LA’s hidden stairs

There are over 450 stairways still left around LA, many of which are in the areas of Silver Lake, Echo Park, Santa Monica and Los Feliz. Here’s a rundown of five different stairways and things to do nearby.

Author Charles Fleming has written a book about the secret stairs of LA and he organizes free group walks every month at a different stairway somewhere in one of the LA neighborhoods. The walks are announced via Facebook. Sometimes there are as many as 100 people there, many of them from LA, so it’s a great way to meet the locals.

Below you'll find a guide if you prefer to walk alone.

Castellammare Stairs

The small and indescribably beautiful area of Castellammare, located on the descent down to the ocean west of Santa Monica, is home to several stairs. These lead up from the beach to the neighborhood via a pedestrian bridge over Highway 1. Come here in the evening to enjoy a stunning view of the sunset from one of the local hills.

Castellammare Stairs

17700 Castellammare Dr, Pacific Palisades

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Santa Monica Stairs

This is the place to go if you want plenty of company. For some unknown reason, these stairs have become famous and transformed the entire area into an outdoor gym. Hordes of people run and walk up and down them, with the weekends especially busy. When we were there, an acrobat was going through some exercises while hanging off a street sign. What you’ll do here though, is jog up and down the stairs (and enjoy the view).

Santa Monica Stairs

699 Adelaide Dr, Santa Monica

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Terraces Stairs

The stairways here are long and take you past amazing buildings – from large, modernist houses to smaller, wooden, Californian bungalows with fabulous gardens. Don’t miss the stairs that go down from Silverwood Terrace, just before it turns off to the east and becomes Angelus Avenue. Enjoy a bite to eat or a cup of coffee at LA institution LAMILL, which is just around the corner; their almond croissants are to die for.

LAMILL

1691 N Occidental Blvd, Los Angeles

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Saroyan Stairs

These are author Charles Fleming’s favorites. “LA’s most beautiful stairs,” he called them. The stairway is split down the middle by a channel, where in the past there was a small waterfall. In today’s parched LA, which is constantly plagued by water shortages, it’s now home to a number of plants instead. The area, known as Hollywoodland, also has several other stairways, where you can hike up and down among the beautiful houses. Take in the -Hollywood Sign, located directly above the neighborhood.

Saroyan Stairs

2819 Woodshire Dr, Los Angeles

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Music Box Steps

Legendary stairs in Silver Lake, immortalized in the Laurel and Hardy classic The Music Box, where the duo try to carry a piano up the steep, narrow stairs but fail over and over again. Most of the houses that line the stairs today weren’t built when they made the movie (available in full on YouTube). Why not combine your visit with a delicious lunch at the fabulous Thai restaurant Night + Market, just around the corner on Sunset Boulevard?

Music Box Steps

923 N Vendome St, Los Angeles

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