Extra! The “Stairs to Nowhere” in downtown L.A.

I am a big fan of the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A., and I’ve written about it for Atlas Obscura and many other places. If that name is not familiar to you, you’ll definitely recognize it from movies such as Inception, True Lies, Strange Days, In the Line of Fire, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”, and more.

It’s the shimmering glass structure that looks a bit like a rocket ready to launch, and, irresistibly, it has a rotating lounge on the 35th floor (one of the few working ones left in the USA). No wonder the gull-wing, stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 used it as a backdrop in promo images in the 1980s.

Anyway, on one of my many stays – and walks – the Bonaventure complex, a series of strange, abandoned, grass-covered concrete steps across one of the pedways from the Bonaventure caught my eye.

They were at the end of a featureless alley of the Citibank Center, between two buildings, and they went up to come to a stop at a brick wall: they literally lead nowhere.

I worked out they presumably once been a walkway to the US Bank Tower area, and I could even see the stairs through a small gap in that same brick wall, looking back at the Bonaventure from where I had come.

But when were they blocked off, and why? I set off down a rabbit hole to try and find out, and though I was able to get blueprints and maps from the city, I was never quite able to find out what the story was behind these lonely stairs to nowhere. Do you know?

Even so, I thought you might appreciate a few pictures. Next time you’re downtown, go and find these stairs and check them out – they’d appreciate a visit!