Philly Has Streets Where Most Cities Have Alleys

I’m in Philadelphia for a conference, and I found a delightful detail about the city that I’d like to share. I was wandering around the city last night when I discovered that some of the alleys were actually streets with houses, garages, and even yards (few and small).

All of the streets were barely 1 car wide and I’m pretty sure some were too narrow for cars, but they were a lot of fun to walk through.

The images are all 1MB to 2MB, so I posted them on Flickr. I wanted to post the originals, not trimmed down ones, and I can appreciate the bandwidth issues some will have.


P.S. if you’re planning a trip to Philly and want to see these roads for yourself, get on Google Earth. Look at the area in Philly that is south of Jefferson Medical College. Look for the roads that don’t have  street view available; the reason there’s no street view is that the road is too narrow. Those are some of the ones you want.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Robert Barnett14 March, 2012

    Cool pics. Drop by the Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square if you have time. South Street is also fun.

  2. Rob S.15 March, 2012

    The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia offers some wonderful walking tours from May-October, including a “Littlest Streets” tour that wanders through the very neighborhood you photographed. Description here:

    If you like the mosaic on the photo above, check out the Philadelphia Magic Gardens (, which is a labyrinth of work by the amazing artist Isaiag Zagar.

    Finally, while the Rittenhouse B&N is nice enough, Center City’s real treasure is the Joseph Fox Bookshop (, independent bookselling for more than 60 years.

  3. Dan15 March, 2012

    That’s cool, thanks for sharing. I especially liked the big trees in the small spaces.

  4. Anthony16 March, 2012

    I’m pretty certain the alleys you speak of were originally designed for horses. Main streets are wider so to accommodate horse and buggy traffic but the side streets were wide enough to just let horses pass as the residents would arrive home. Most homes have some sort of an iron hook or post left from the 1700’s to leave the horse at. I’ve seen a number still with the horse troughs in front of them.

    1. Nate Hoffelder25 March, 2012

      I’m sure they were. And they’re not alleys.

  5. charlie dulin21 March, 2012

    i love Philly 🙂

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