The 25 Most Beautiful Philly Streets

We asked around. We pounded the pavement. Philly has a lot of pretty streets. We think these are the prettiest.

Photo | Megan DeTrolio

Photo | Megan DiTrolio

Okay, so Philly may have a bit of a garbage problem, but let’s give credit where it’s due here: Trash or no, the place isn’t a total dump. Far from it. There are lots of spots in this sprawling city of ours that can make you forget you’re in a city at all. And then there are swaths that are downright beautiful because of their total, classic urbanity. Truth is, any Philadelphian worth her salt can offer up one or a few favorite stretches — that charming brick-paved street, that especially stunning tree-lined block, that teeny hidden, historic warren — without much hesitation.

Wait … did you just hesitate? Are you mentally debating right now between Delancey and Panama? Trying to decide whether Church or Wallace is the better street? Well, you can stop spinning those wheels — what we’ve got here is the definitive ranking of the 25 best, most beautiful Philly streets (or schtreets, if you’re really Philly), taken from dozens and dozens of crowdsourced nominations of favorites, then whittled down and ranked by our mostly unbiased experts. (OK … us.) Our only criteria was that we were only looking at streets, avenues, blocks and the occasional lane — places where people live and work and walk — as opposed to our longer, picturesque roads or drives (sorry, Kelly, Lincoln and West River, you’re lovely, too). Oh, and we stayed within city limits. City streets are in the city after all. So dive in, behold and debate our 25 most beautiful Philly streets.


25. E. Moyamensing between Christian and Carpenter

Photos | Google Street View

Photos | Google Street View

Leafy? Check. Brick pavers? Check. Tidy window boxes and close proximity to some buzzy urban action? Check, check. Sure, the name “Moyamensing” might sound like some kind of lady troubles, but the street itself is a textbook example of a charming Bella Vista/Pennsport block.


24. 2000 block of Sansom Street

Photos | Megan DeTrolio

Photos | Megan DiTrolio

This tree-lined slender stretch of Sansom (one of the few non-residential streets on the list) is the Hilary Swank of Philly streets: It’s not beautiful in a traditional sense and you sometimes forget it exists, but it really has great bones, strong character and appeals to a huge variety of people. (Note the quirky mix of the Warburton House, the old Roxy, the Circa Gallery, the Sansom Street Gym/Bathhouse, the Reading Room, Fat Jack’s, etc., etc.)


23. Church Road in Overbrook Farms

Photos | Google Street View

Photos | Google Street View

Nearly all of the streets in one of the city’s most beautiful and underrated neighborhoods are beautiful, with their hulking stone homes, well-manicured lawns, and abundance of trees, but this barely used tiny two-block road that connects City Avenue with Lancaster Avenue stands out — so quiet, and seemingly secluded.


22. 1900 block of Chadwick Street



On the loose boundary of Point Breeze and what some people call Newbold, you’ll find this charming block whose quaintness and charm seems almost willed into existence by so much container greenery — which, of course, makes it no less quaint and charming. Probably more so.


21. 200 block of Church Street

Photo | Megan DeTrolio

Photo | Megan DiTrolio

Blink, and you’ll see this teeny Old City stretch disappear into a fairly mundane chunk of Third Street, but for a block, you’re transported. Stately old Christ Church doesn’t hurt.


20. Crestmont Avenue

Photo | Google Street View

Photo | Google Street View

Majestic homes, tons of trees, suburban vibe. Lovely Crestmont Farms in the Northeast, is, according to one fan, “where all the judges live. It’s also where we used to go trick-or-treating because all the houses handed out the big, quality candy bars.” It looks it.


19. 13th Street between Tasker and Morris, notably at Christmastime

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South Philly, all dressed up.


18.  St. James Street at 22nd



An idyllic little English village that somehow landed smack in the middle of Center City.


 17. 21st Street between Brown and Parrish

Photo | Megan DeTrolio

Photo | Megan DiTrolio

It feels ever so slightly like the West Village in NYC … just for one block. (And it sits cheek to jowl with Eastern State Penitentiary.)


16. 45th between Baltimore and Larchwood


gorgeous-streets-43rd-and-baltimore-Megan-DeTrolio-940x540
Quintessential leafy West Philly grandiosity. *


 15. South 46th, from Pine to Larchwood

Photo | Megan DeTrolio

Photo | Megan DiTrolio

Or on Larchwood around 46th. And 45th between Larchwood and Baltimore. It’s basically all Rockwellian, all up in here.


14. St. Martin’s Lane, nearly the whole stretch through Chestnut Hill, but especially 8000 through 8300

Photos | Google Street View

Photos | Google Street View

You could easily put almost all of Chestnut Hill on this list, but verdant St. Martin’s — teeming with movie-set versions of sprawling family homes — is the crown jewel.


13. 300 block of South Smedley

Photos | Megan DeTrolio

Photos | Megan DiTrolio

As quiet and hidden as a street can get in the middle of Rittenhouse. (Without being an alley, anyway.)


12. Elbow Lane

gorgeous-streets-elbow-lane-940x540

Photos | Google Street View

 

Mt. Airy lushness plus gorgeous stone manses, all nestled deep on wooded lots in a tiny, little “elbow” between West Allens Lane and St. Georges Road.


11. 1700 block of Addison

Year-round twinkle lights up the enchantment factor by 60 percent, at least. 


 

10. 700 block of Sears and Medina

 

Medina St. #philly A photo posted by Kev Gallagher (@kevgalls) on

It’s South Philly’s sneakiest hidden gem. Halfway down Sears tiny Medina Street branches off (and best we can tell, this is the only block of Medina in the whole city) to create the totes-adorbs, totally photogenic Paolone Park. Think of it as a tinier, nookier version of those rare-but-wonderful Philly garden blocks like the 2300 block of Kaufman and St. Alban’s Place (a.k.a. the Sixth Sense block).


9. Rittenhouse Square Street, between 17th and 20th, along Rittenhouse

Rittenhouse_Square-(2)

Two elegant little blocks filled with classic Philly architecture that just happen to sandwich the Square.


8. 200 Stamper Street

Photos | Megan DeTrolio

Photos | Megan DiTrolio

Stamper’s got the holy trinity of traditional Society Hill appeal — ivy, cobblestone, gaslit streetlights — plus a gorgeous internal courtyard.


7. Van Pelt, from Spruce to where it dead-ends just past Locust

Photos | Megan DeTrolio

Photos | Megan DiTrolio

Reminiscent of Elfreth’s Alley, with more trees and fewer tourists.


6. South Quince between Locust and Spruce.

Photos | Megan DeTrolio

Photos | Megan DiTrolio

One of the most popular fan favorites.


5. 4600 to 4800 blocks of Osage Avenue

gorgeous-streets-osage-Megan-DeTrolio-940x540
A stalwart canopied stunner in West Philly. Trees, stately homes, trees, stately homes, repeat.


4. Iseminger between Cypress and Panama

Photos | Megan DeTrolio

Photos | Megan DiTrolio

Especially beautiful toward the Panama end. This is one of those labyrinthine, brick-paved, teeny streets that feels like a secret; that’s so narrow that the snow trucks won’t even blink in its general direction; that’s populated almost exclusively with old, charming row homes with shutters and doors painted in cheery colors.  See also: Fawn between Latimer and Manning; Jessup and Irving.


gorgeous-streets-Panama-Megan-DeTrolio-940x540

3. 2400 block of Panama Street

Tiny twee perfection. Really tiny. U-haul, trucks and SUV drivers need not apply.


2. The Delanceys (Street and Place), between the rivers



On both ends of Center City, no other street conveys that feeling of history, beauty and money quite like Delancey.


1. The 1900 block of Waverly



An elegant, narrow and tree-lined street filled with old but well-maintained, tall, red-brick row homes, all possessing tall staircases leading up to the front doors. There’s just something quintessentially and comfortingly Philadelphia about this street, even if it’s an aspirational Philadelphia for most of us. See also: 1000 block of Clinton Street; the 1200 block of Rodman; 2200 block of Wallace Street.


Additional reporting by Victor Fiorillo, Dan McQuade, Liz Spikol and Monica Weymouth. Photography and reporting by Megan DiTrolio.

* Due to an editing error, 45th Street was previously mislabeled as the 4300 block of Baltimore, which is also quite lovely: [Back to text]

Photos | Megan DiTrolio

Photos | Megan DiTrolio

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  • Natalie Hope McDonald

    No Ben Franklin Parkway? I thought that would be number one.

    • ambiguator

      Ha! Good one!

  • bjb

    Great list! Clinton st. Should have made it though.

  • koob

    So glad to see 700 block of Sears and Medina make the top ten! I lived at 718 Medina St. for the first 18 years of my life. For the first few years, the middle section where Paolone Park is now was just a dirt lot that used to have a lot of junked cars sitting in it. The park was built sometime in the early to mid-80s I think. All of the families on the block paid for a tree to be planted. My family’s weeping cherry blossom tree is still there! Below is a picture of me riding a pony at a friend’s birthday party when the park was first built. I’m guessing this is around 1986.

  • Linda K.

    thing is, some of the streets are susceptible to the hack of the tree whackers for the power lines….that scene in west philly was so much prettier BEFORE the trees got cut into those ugly stump tops

  • Earl J

    2100 block of Green

    • sfisc

      This is such a glaring omission that it ruins the whole list for me.

      • Earl J

        Yep, and the author lives in Fairmount and somehow thought up top of 21st was more beautiful than 2100 Green. SMH

        • jhornstein

          Agree it’s a great block, lived there in the early 90s. Almost as nice as my current block, 300 block of Queen St

  • Kelly

    #16- the picture shows the 500 block of S 45th St, between Baltimore and Larchwood, and not the 4300 block of Baltimore, which is not nearly as colorful but is on a lovely park.

    • You’re right. Both of those blocks were in contention and I got the photos switched up. Thanks for pointing it out. It’s been updated and noted.

  • Susan

    2200 block of Rittenhouse beats 17th- 20th hands down! No garages, or high-rises backing onto it. Single, quiet, tree-lined block with no thru traffic.
    Good call on Van Pelt, though.

  • Michael

    As a resident of #22 block selection. We are grateful for the accolade and recognition. We work year-around in a unified effort to give time as our diverse schedules allow, to keep our block as it deserves. We also work with surrounding blocks and neighbors to assist as we can to organize grass root efforts to do the same as we are requested. We respect each other and value any time contributed as lives allow. 1900 Chadwick is united by neighborly respect.

  • jimblue39 .

    Beautiful sites, thank you very much for sharing.

  • IndyinPhilly

    E. Moyamensing is a beautiful street and I’m glad to see that a portion of it made the list. But it begins in Queen Village and goes through Pennsport, where it ends at Snyder. Its not in or anywhere near Bella Vista as the writers said.

  • Meredith MacVittie

    Elfreth’s Alley is cliched, but it IS picturesque.

  • garr1s0n

    #17 (21st between Brown and Parrish) really comes alive in the springtime!

  • Joyce White

    The 800 block of South 48th St is beautiful all year ’round.

  • El Viejo

    Van Pelt St – between Locust & Spruce – in the Spring.