166731_10151562534330695_1815279007_n 226491_10151562534000695_1832411737_n 421928_10151562534340695_262544592_n 429607_10151562533990695_304099036_n 529847_10151562541590695_1007535537_n 540902_10151562534010695_1759330370_n 563381_10151562534335695_2000163803_n 599012_10151562534005695_394288919_n 599078_10151562541595695_1477425474_n 625636_10151562534345695_1852504489_n

I really love to multi-task.  And on Sunday, thanks to a great idea from my friend Cindy, I was able to combine some of my favorite activities: spend quality time with a friend, get in a great workout, and explore one of the eclectic neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

Many of LA’s ‘hoods are pretty hilly, and in its trolley-car era, stairs were constructed throughout said ‘hoods so that folks could get to the transit lines from their houses snuggled into the hillsides.

Now there are over 450 hidden historic stairways throughout the LA area, and modern day explorers have put together routes that integrate aerobic stair climbing and frolicking, creating the perfect activity for a Sunday afternoon.

Cindy and I took the music box steps route, which encompasses the famous staircase featured in the Laurel and Hardy 1932 Oscar winning short The Music Box.  But that’s just one of the many flights of stairs, and with each one comes new discoveries, and slowly but surely, a newer, harder rear end.

We passed fellow explorers with the same map in hand, same adventurous pep in their step. We cruised around orange stucco houses, citrus trees, kids playing paintball on terraced backyard – some even dressed as grass from head to toe – serious business.   Murals, graffiti, yard knick knacks, skyline views of downtown, a peek at the Hollywood sign, smells of lilac, scents of someone’s bender from the night before (only on one staircase), circumvented with laughter and connection, and an elevated heart rate.

The route begins near Café Tropical at Sunset and Parkman, perfect for grabbing a coffee.  Then, with map and descriptions in hand, set out on your own discovery, or re-discovery, of an eccentric and stimulating neighborhood.    Check out: www.secretstairs-la.com for the map, and more routes all around LA.