Urban hiking through the canyons of glass and steel

This past Sunday we finally...FINALLY...did the Secret Stairs walk through downtown LA. I have been anticipating this one for a while now, so I am incredibly glad to have finally experienced it. Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes (well, double that, at least. We like to take pictures and stroll a little more leisurely).

Distance: 3 miles.

Steps: 1,021

Difficulty: 5. Bring it on.

After church at Reality LA, Kimmie, Nick and I fueled up with lunch at The Nickel Diner on S. Main St. Without even realizing it the three of us all ordered some form of bacon, including a maple bacon donut as the grand finale.

Our walk took us to the Grand Central Market as or starting point, and since this is just across the street from the Bradbury Building we decided to stop in for a quick peek. The picture above is of the Million Dollar Theater, which UCLA now uses to host its screenings.

The Bradbury, however, may look familiar from Bladerunner, and it was also recently featured in the Golden Globe winning film The Artist. 


After soaking in the incredible architecture (which dates back to 1893), we began our staircasing at Bunker Hill, climbing Angel's Flight to Angel's Knoll, one of my favorite spots downtown.

Here is an interesting excerpt from Secret Stairs about Angel's Flight:

"This is a great piece of Los Angeles history. Built in 1901 with funding from a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, the two-track funicular rail system carried passengers up the steep slope to Bunker Hill. It functioned without a hitch for 68 years, when it was dismantled in 1969 to make way for the great Bunker Hill renovation project. (If you've ever visited Heritage Square, off the Pasadena Freeway, that's where many of the great Bunker Hill Victorian houses went--moved whole, and transplanted in the Arroyo Seco.) The funicular was mothballed for 27 years, then restored and reopened with great ceremony." - Charles Flemming, Secret Stairs

Above, the view from California Plaza. Possibly better than Angel's Knoll but without the grassy lawn and trees.

Los Angeles Central Library, a 1926 design from Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue invoking ancient Egypt.

The back patio of the Westin Bonaventure property.

The Westin from the front. Strange, strange building...

Above are a series of overpasses as seen from the pedway between the Mariott hotel and the World Trade Center. This image encapsulates what I love about downtown LA on Sundays: emptiness. It's almost like a ghost town. Eerie yet strangely comforting at the same time.

"A Rose for Lilly" at the Disney Concert Hall. Frank Gehry designed this sculpture for Walt Disney's wife Lillian, who allegedly harbored a great distaste for the blue-and-white crockery she often received as gifts from people who believed she actually liked it. Gehry used hundreds of Delftware porcelain vases to create this rose-shaped fountain.

Another interesting tid-bit about the Disney Concert Hall: The stainless steel skin was initially a great deal shinier, though upon being revealed to the brilliant sunlight it became apparent that these silver peaks were blinding the apartment-dwellers across the street. It was subsequently buffed down...

To me, this is incredibly reminiscent of 127 Hours...maybe in the year 3000.

Back to Angel's Knoll and our starting point!

I hope you enjoyed this digital re-creation of one of the best walks I've done thus far. It was yet another gorgeously overcast day and we all had a lovely afternoon together. I have another walk lined up for this Sunday, so if you enjoy reading about these you're in luck! If not, well, I don't really know what to tell you.

Regardless, happy Saturday!

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