clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Acorn Street in Boston is lined with red brick houses, street lamps and trees. Shutterstock

Filed under:

America’s 11 most beautiful streets

Did your favorite avenue make the list?

On the heels of Curbed’s most ambitious project yet—a multimedia deep dive into 10 streets that define America—we decided to take another look at urban areas across the country to discover our country’s prettiest streets. From narrow, picturesque cobblestones to wide, tree-lined boulevards, the streets in the United States vary as much as the cities in which they reside. Neon lights in Memphis, rowhouses in New York City, and iron lace balconies in New Orleans; small details reveal not just a city’s most beautiful characteristics, but also the cultures that thrive in each.

We’ve searched the country for 11 of the prettiest streets around. Upset that your favorite avenue didn’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments what we missed.

Acorn Street in Boston:

Acorn Street in Boston. The street is cobblestone and the buildings lining the street are red brick with black shutters.
Acorn Street in Boston is often called America’s most beautiful street.
Getty Images

Acorn Street in Boston is so picturesque it’s often called America’s most beautiful street. And for good reason; the one-block road between West Cedar and Willow streets is located in the charming Beacon Hill neighborhood and features cobblestones, brick row houses, and adorable shutters. See more photos of Acorn street, this way.

Beale Street in Memphis:

Many colorful neon signs line Beale Street in Memphis.
Beale Street in Memphis shines with neon lights in the evening.
Getty Images

Beauty doesn’t always mean residential and oak trees, and the three blocks of Beale Street in Memphis shine with neon lights, amazing music, and a pulsing, vibrant energy. The downtown entertainment district—best visited at night—has hosted legendary performers like Albert King, Louis Armstrong, and B.B. King.

Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia:

Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia. The houses that line the street are red brick with colorful shutters.
Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest residential street in the nation.

From Curbed Philadelphia: No roundup of iconic and beautiful streets is complete without including Elfreth's Alley, the oldest residential street in the nation. The block-long street features 32 homes built from 1728 to 1836. More than 3,000 people have lived in them over the years. The alley was established in 1706 after landowners Arthur Wells and John Gilbert decided to combine their properties between Front and Second streets. Artisans and merchants rented and bought the homes along the alley, and by 1966 Elfreth's Alley was designated a national historic landmark. Read about 4 other gorgeous streets in Philadelphia, over here.

Carroll Avenue in Los Angeles:

Rows of colorful Victorian houses on Carroll Avenue in Los Angeles.
Carroll Avenue in Los Angeles is a 19th century neighborhood with some of the best remaining examples of Victorian homes in the city.
Getty Images

Carroll Avenue in Los Angelino Heights may not be filled with your stereotypical California McMansions and palm trees, but that’s exactly why we love it. This 19th-century neighborhood, as the Los Angeles Conservancy says, boasts some of the best remaining examples of Victorian homes in the city. Nearly all of the houses have been restored and the 1300 block of Carroll Avenue is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Swann Street NW in Washington, D.C.:

Swann Street in Washington D.C. The street is lined with colorful row houses and trees.
Swann Street in Washington D.C. is a short stroll from Dupont Circle.
AgnosticPreachersKid CC BY-SA 3.0

From Curbed Washington D.C.: Welcome to one of Washington, D.C.'s most Instagrammed streets. This tree-lined street features a myriad of row houses, each with its own vibrantly colored facade and lush landscaping. The street is only a short stroll from Dupont Circle. See more of D.C.’s gorgeous spots, over here.

Pallister Avenue in Detroit:

Pallister Avenue in Detroit. The street is lined with rows of trees.
Lush trees almost form a tunnel in the summer on Pallister Avenue in Detroit, a pedestrian only street.
Photography by Chris and Michelle Gerard

From Curbed Detroit: Over in New Center, Pallister Avenue feels like a little oasis in the middle of the neighborhood. Lush trees almost form a tunnel in the summer for this pedestrian-only, brick-lined street. Read about Detroit’s other gorgeous historic streets, this way.

Hamilton Terrace in New York City:

Hamilton Terrace in New York City. The street is lined with colorful row houses.
Hamilton Terrace in Harlem is an enclave in New York City.

Like Strivers Row and Convent Avenue, Hamilton Terrace in Harlem has single-family rowhouses in pristine condition, but without all the traffic. It’s an enclave in the city—and a picturesque one at that—thanks to the 19th- and early 20th-century architecture, intricate brickwork, and shady trees.

Napier Lane in San Francisco:

Napier Lane in San Francisco. There are steps accessing the street. There are many plants on both sides of the steps.
Napier Lane in San Francisco is accessible from the Filbert Street Steps.
Getty Images

In a city known for some of the most beautiful streets in the world, it’s hard to pick just one San Francisco heavyweight. But Napier Lane in Telegraph Hill gets our vote, if anything thanks to its uniqueness. Napier Lane is actually a wooden plank sidewalk lined with about a dozen pre-1900 cottage-like homes. It’s only accessible from the famed Filbert Street Steps, but climb the street and you’ll get sweeping views of the bay and appreciate the lane’s lovely foliage.

Larimer Street in Denver:

Larimer Street in Denver is a street lined with red brick Victorian buildings. There are string lights hanging over the street.
Denver’s Larimer Street is located in the city’s historic downtown.

If twinkle lights, outdoor patios, and red brick Victorians are your cup of tea, Denver’s Larimer Street should be added to your urban bucket list. Located in the city’s historic downtown, Larimer Square from 14th to 15th Streets showcases the Mile High city at its best and is always worth a stroll.

River Street in Savannah:

River Street in Savannah. The street is lined with shops that have colorful awnings and signs.
Savannah’s River Street runs along the Savannah River.

Once abandoned for over a century, Savannah’s River Street underwent a $7 million renovation to convert the old warehouses into shops, restaurants, and art galleries. It’s now the heart of the city, an 18th-century masterpiece that runs along the Savannah River.

Royal Street in New Orleans:

Royal Street in New Orleans. There are iron balconies on the facades of the colorful buildings that line the block.
Royal Street in New Orlean’s French Quarter runs parallel to Bourbon Street.
Getty Images/AWL Images RM

Sure, Royal Street may run parallel to touristy Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but it has still retained much of what makes the French Quarter so enthralling. Delicate iron lace balconies—many of them dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries—compliment shady courtyards and gardens with plenty of classic NOLA culture.

Urban Planning

Walking Is Increasingly Deadly, and Not Because People Are on Their Phones

Urban Planning

This Four-Year-Old, $150M Mall in San Francisco Has Never Seen a Customer

Urban Planning

Urbanism Hasn’t Worked for Everyone

View all stories in Urban Planning