80-Stairway Adventure: The Big Parade LA

Set out for a free urban exploration (and hike up and down a few secret staircases as well).

Anyone who stokes the rivalry between San Francisco and Los Angeles is a person who likely needs a long nap, a wholesome meal, and the time to reflect on how both places have their pluses.

In short? It's a joke that holds no juice. Pitting two glorious Golden State cities against each other is as cobwebby as a spider convention.

But if we were to crow about which city boasts the steepest streets, would that stir the pot? Apologies if so. For it turns out that LA has the most impressive gradients of the two (contrary to opinion). Which means a big walk — or a Big Parade, if you prefer — that takes on dozens and dozens of our hills, and the stairways they secret, is truly an exercise in exercise.

The annual Big Parade Los Angeles sprawls over two days and much of downtown, Silver Lake, and Griffith Park, the areas that are truly the nexuses of those vintage, rambling, tree-hidden stairways. On Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 the free urban exploration will again set out to take on many of them.

How many? Well, over 80, which is still not even half, not nearly, of the hillside stairways running rivets around Los Angeles.

You'll join a group of get-to-know-the-city strangers and ramble around streets and byways. Note: The Big Parade isn't all stairways, so don't be too daunted. A little daunted is OK and acceptable, because you know the hill stairways: They can be steep. But the views are vibrant and worth the puffing and huffing.

A few things to note about the 2015 walk. There are actually "fewer stairways" than years gone by and more trail action. You will take the Music Box Stairs, the famous Laurel & Hardy stairs in Silver Lake, as they're the end point for Saturday and beginning point for Sunday. And you should pack your lunches/snacks/water.

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A visit up to the observatory is on the plan, which also includes public transit info. Speakers and musicians and interesting people who shall enhance the experience will join and participate, too.

Will you learn a new bit of info you didn't know about the city and its wilder nooks? Bet on it. 

By the by, can you name the four LA streets that made Fixr's 10 Ten U.S. Steepest Streets list? You're right: Echo Park's Fargo Street is on there — oh boy, that's a dramatic dip — but there are three others. 

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