My favorite Los Angeles houses are blissfully inaccessible to cars. These are the homes located on the alleys, walking streets, and—in a particular wedge of the city—the stair streets that lace through the hillsides. About 300 public stairways were built as part of our early public transit system, but the stair streets, actual city streets with addresses that just happen to be flights of steps instead of asphalt, are like tiny secret communities. This tiny cottage on a Silver Lake hillside, for example, is about 60 steps up from any kind of road, tucked among its neighbors under a canopy of eucalyptus trees and banana plants where its mere presence has been confounding trick-or-treaters and Fed Ex deliverymen for a century. If you concentrate, you can hear the Red Car trolley rattling by in the distance. Or maybe that’s just the hum of the 2 Freeway.
Alissa Walker is a writer, a gelato eater, and a walker in L.A. She shares an experience from her adventures around town at CityThink each Wednesday. Follow her daily on Instagram at @awalkerinLA, on Twitter, or at her blog, and use the hashtag #betteroffped to share your own photographs of walking in L.A.