Secret Stair Walk #36: Whitley Heights

Did you like all the Chicago posts? I had SUCH a great time in that city. If you haven’t been, GO! There was plenty of stuff to do on a tight budget, and I can’t wait to go back and see more. Before I jump right into the next leg of my trip, Cape Cod, I thought I’d take a breather and tell you about another Los Angeles Secret Stair walk.

—  In 2012 I have to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

I parked near the Gelson’s off Franklin Ave in Hollywood (great free parking in that hood, with few limitations). I included photos from my walk-to-the-walk. For example this photo below was taken under the 101 overpass.

This was also taken there:

Now I’m at my starting point across from the Bowl. I spotted this dumpster behind a fence and had to take a photo. Even the dumpsters are classy here.

Just beyond the designer dumpster, I was greeted by a cat at my first set of stairs along walk #36: Whitley Heights.

This immediately puts you high above the noise and traffic of Hollywood. This whole neighborhood had an old Hollywood charm about it. You can tell there’s lots of history here.

This is also a steep hillside, so many of the homes sit on stilts like the photo shows below. Eek, I would be nervous in that house during an earthquake.

Color fun.

As this looped back down the hill, I enjoyed this sculpture of a man and his dog. I was purposeful with my leaf placement.

This was a very delightful late afternoon trek through Hollywood. It was nice to not be in the traffic I could see far below.

I just love the colors and textures in the photo below, I HAD to include it in the bunch. You can see by the reflection, it’s across from the big vertical “Hollywood” sign along Cahuenga.

Chicago 1: Bloomingdale Trail + Street Art + Antique Taco

As you know, I’ve been in Chicago visiting these awesome people. I haven’t been there since before I had the ability to contain memories, so this was a very different and fun trip. There were three surprises for me, an LA’er:

1) Everyone owns dogs and doggie daycare is everywhere.
2) Bikes, Bikes, Everywhere! Everyone bikes.
3) Chicago has a super active culinary scene, with hip new restaurants opening constantly all around the city.

The above photo was taken by a doggie daycare place by the Bloomingdale Trail. We spent time walking around the city and we passed so many pet daycare facilities. I love that pets are a high priority here and architecturally it fits well, because Chicago has many rehabbed warehouses which are a good size to hold many dogs.

The next series of photos are taken from the Bloomingdale Trail. This is very similar to NYC’s Highline, accept it’s in the “before” stage. This abandoned aboveground series of rail tracks is a great walking space and provides a nice view of the city, accept they are still in debates on whether to clean it up and turn it into a proper space. I’m all for it, especially since NYC’s Highline is one of my favorite places. As of now this space isn’t really open to the public, although we found a way in and passed a handfull of people while we walked.

The trail is one level up from the street, and the L train crosses another level up above.

I love Chicago’s graffiti! Much of it looks like it was done by the same street artist. It’s all very sweet.

How cool is the photo below? I love the architecture of man-made steel.

Chicago has so many textures. From the man-made engineering above, to the natural texture of building materials, to the fonts and graffiti. So much texture.

After the trail, we walked around Wicker Park looking at neighborhoods, shops, and new restaurants.

The history and age of this town is unmissable. I like the photo below, where you can see that the side of the right building had a giant mural on it, and then they built the building on the left, covering up this massive piece of artwork. It’s like looking at the layers in a painting. You can tell Picasso started it one way, but in the end it’s a new composition.

We took a break for lunch at Antique Taco. I bet you’re thinking what I first thought when I heard the name: crusty old tacos. Not at all. This place looks like Etsy vomited inside… but a good kind of vomit.

I ordered the fish tacos with smoked slaw and we ordered a side of corn salad and guacamole. Such delicious food. There were only a few actual antiques for sale, but all the food was very tasty & cutesy.

After lunch we explored more of Wicker Park. So artsy! So many graphics!

We started heading back to the car (to make an afternoon zoo visit- in a post to come) and passed another of this street artist’s work. A very fitting piece for Wicker Park, so I’m told. I’m still learning about each area but I had a fun half day walking around Wicker Park.