8 Insta-worthy outdoor staircases around the U.S.

Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state and local advisories before scheduling trips.

The weather is still good, and many indoor locations are still closed. What’s a traveler to do? How about seek out a rad staircase or two? Not only do these fanciful locations serve up some serious Instagram inspo, they can also double as an ad-hoc gym. (Not that you need any excuse to double down on the traveling treats.) Read on to find out where you can become the ultimate stair climber.

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Micheltorena Stairs: Los Angeles

Flickr CC: Shinya Suzuki, photo has been color corrected

Located in Silver Lake, just off Sunset boulevard (exact address: 3400 Sunset Blvd), the Micheltorena Stairs are the most beautiful of LA’s network of secret staircases. The Instagramable pastel steps and bright red hearts are the work of Corinne Carrey, who launched her secret beautification at night. But its power to brighten up the neighborhood is clear as day.

16th Avenue Tiled Steps: San Francisco

Flickr CC: sergejf

A dazzling staircase so popular that it even has its own website. The tiling reminiscent of a starry night began in 2003 by artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher as a way to connect the community, and each panel on the 163 steps is handmade. Visit on a nice day and stop by the southside gardens after you’ve made your trek.

Shakespeare and Jerome Avenue: NYC

You don’t have to be a psychopath with questionable taste in music to appreciate where Joaquin Phoenix cut loose during his infamous Joker staircase dance routine. Go ahead and saunter down the steps. Just keep the honorary residents of Gotham in the surrounding buildings in mind, and keep the noise down while you catch the ultimate photo opp.

East Lake Stairs: Atlanta

It’s 2020. Joy is limited. Do you really need a reason to climb a rainbow staircase? 

Wilcox Wall stairs: Seattle

Remember those magic eye posters that dominated the 1990s? Seattle’s Wilcox Wall Stairs are basically that…in stair form. Built in 1913 by Walter Wilcox, the 464 steps emerge from the ornate concrete, and take you on a visually dazzling trip under a series of Gothic arches. Bring a pair of earphones to drown out the nearby traffic, and it’s as close as you’ll get to a walk back in time.

Fort Worth Water Gardens: Forth Worth

Flickr CC: Rodney

Designed by Phillip Johnson in 1974, the Fort Worth Water Gardens is perhaps the most elaborate fountain/cooling oasis you’ll ever visit on a hot Texas day. Walking down the terraced steps allows you to become one with the cascading blue water—or at least as one as you can become without a change of clothes. Bring lunch and hang out by the quiet pool after finishing your mini trek.

Meridian Hill, Malcolm X Park: Washington DC

Flickr CC: Ben Schumin

Good news for runners—10 trips up and down the stairs in Malcolm X Park is roughly a mile. The steps gradual incline is custom made for speed. Or for strolling if you’re just in it to admire the aristocratic-like scenery of President John Quincy Adams’ former home.

The Oakley Street Mosaic Staircase: Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a hilly city, which the South Side Slopes took advantage of when they commissioned artist Laura Jean McLaughlin to create a series of playful mosaics, depicting colorful creatures and characters. Because we all need a little fantasy while working out.

 

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