Best Stairway to Torture (2010)

Beachwood stairs

Undoubtedly some of the best workouts in L.A. are free and grueling, and by this we mean the Beachwood stairs on Beachwood Canyon Drive in the Hollywood Hills. The historic 1923 staircase was part of the original design of Hollywoodland, a housing development created by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler. The stonemasons who built the 148 stairs and five other staircases in the same area were hired from Italy and used local granite from the Union Rock Quarry in Bronson Canyon. Chandler’s goal was to make Hollywoodland appealing to potential home owners by making hillside living safer. He couldn’t have dreamed that 87 years later the stairs would be used by cardio buffs who take sick pleasure in pummeling themselves on the steep incline. The stairs draw an eclectic crowd of “athletes,” including folks looking to drop unwanted flesh, Mexican nannies, buff firemen from Fire Station 19 who use it as part of their workout regime and dog walkers. The stairs are a tad unkempt, but the desert flowers that grow along the center divide are well tended by a friendly neighbor. Best of all, you can park nearby for free. Beachwood and Woodshire drives, Hollywood. —Christine Pelisek


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