High Tower Elevator – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura

Los Angeles, California

High Tower Elevator

Instead of hoofing it up steep stairs, residents can hitch a ride on this private lift. 

The High Tower Elevator might prompt you to do a double take. One minute, you were scaling the steep, winding streets of the Hollywood Heights neighborhood. The next minute, you were…transported to Europe of centuries past?

The five-story tower, a short walk from the Hollywood Bowl, went up around a century ago, to spare the residents of this notoriously hilly enclave from huffing and puffing their way to their doors. It’s modeled after Italian campaniles, or freestanding bell towers, and offers an easy path skyward, with a killer view of downtown L.A.

To climb aboard, you have to be a resident of one of the surrounding homes. These were designed by the architect Carl Kay, and went up between 1935 and 1956.

Even if you can’t catch a ride, the elevator is worth a stop—partly just because the route to it feels hidden and nearly magical. On the way up, beginning on Camrose Drive, you’ll pass plenty of palm trees, beautiful blooms, and lizards sunning or scuttling in the sunshine. It will be easy to cast yourself in a daydream about Old Hollywood.

Know Before You Go

You need a key to ride the elevator, so unless you're a resident or happen to know one, plan to take the stairs.

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