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Arts and Entertainment

The Hidden Staircases of Hollywood Heights

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In the early days of Hollywood, one of the spoils of the wealthy who built their homes tucked into the area's plentiful hills was the option for seclusion. Many of the homes were built into the hills and accessible by staircases and pathways. In the era of the automobile, anyone navigating the hills behind the wheel knows how steep and precarious the ascents and descents can be--not to mention the fine art of parking. But take away the heavy machinery and strap on a good pair of shoes and you can slide into what feels like another world (and get in a workout!) when you explore the hidden staircases of Hollywood Heights.

There are staircases all over Hollywood, as well as in hilly communities like Echo Park and Silver Lake, and while we've explored the amazing ones in Beachwood Canyon, there's about a one mile network of stairs and paths to the south of the Hollywood Bowl that make for a quick and fun little adventure.

We were inspired by Erin Mahoney's book Walking LA, and took a cue from her and started our walk out at Camrose and Highland Avenue. This is where the LA Philharmonic (they run the Hollywood Bowl) have offices in some charming bungalows inside a small park and picnic area, and if you have some time, it's worth a peek.

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  1. Head up Camrose, though, and then turn right onto Rockledge Rd. It's a steep climb, and it feels for a minute like you're about to walk right into someone's driveway. But at the top is a cul-de-sac and you'll spot a walkway that connects you to High Tower Drive. Head on over.
  2. Cross High Tower, but don't forget to look up at the actual Tower. It's actually an elevator, but in case you think you can wuss out on the uphill climb, you have to be a resident to have a key to the Tower. Sorry! Keep walking!
  3. Make a right on Broadview Terrace--another walkway. Don't forget to stop and look at the view!
  4. Climb the stairs that are next to High Tower. You'll be up close and personal to a lot of these amazing homes representing a variety of architectural styles.'s so nice and quiet up here!
  5. At the top you'll see you're at the intersection of Broadview and Alta Loma (there's a street sign post stuck into the concrete wall beneath some shrubbery.) Make a right and head down the pathway. This is a very secluded, quiet, and shady branch of the 1-mile walk. Keep going down!
  6. Make a left to descend the stairs. At the bottom, turn left. You're headed out of this little enclave and are now adjacent to the Bowl's Odin Parking lot. If you're done, turn right to go back down Highland to Camrose. If you want to keep walking, head up Highland (okay, cut through the parking lot!) and turn left into the Hollywood Bowl...that's a whole other adventure we'll leave for another day!
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