Skip to main content

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.

Similar Articles


Robert Barnett March 14, 2012 um 10:28 pm

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

Rob S. March 15, 2012 um 10:22 am

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.

Dan March 15, 2012 um 1:39 pm

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

Anthony March 16, 2012 um 2:12 pm

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.

Nate Hoffelder March 25, 2012 um 11:16 pm

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

charlie dulin March 21, 2012 um 2:25 pm

i love Philly 🙂

Write a Comment