Public Alley Bicycle Tour

Woven between buildings and streets, Boston’s public alleys form a hidden network through the city. A bike tour of Boston’s public alleys is an opportunity to explore different neighborhoods, with a focus on the fascinating and often overlapping interface of public and private space.

As Boston neighborhoods expanded in the 1850s, property lines extended to the middle of alleys, used for service access or pedestrian footpaths. Before the turn of the century, residents were given the opportunity to change their deeds and turn alleys over to the city, exchanging private ownership for public maintenance. Today, Boston’s public alleys are managed by the city of Boston's Public Works Department.

Starting in the Back Bay at the Boston Public Garden, travel west along various public alleys, heading back along bustling commercial or residential streets such as Commonwealth Avenue or Newbury Street. From P.A. 444, travel east along Boylston Street, turn right on Clarendon Street and head south to the South End, visiting Public Alley 705 and the Berkeley Community Garden. Travel north on Berkeley Street back to Boylston Street, take a right on Boylston, left on Washington Street through Downtown Crossing and travel east to Downtown and the Financial District. Visit Pi Alley, City Hall Avenue, and Spring Lane. Follow Milk Street to Atlantic Avenue and take Atlantic Avenue north to the North End and Hanover Street. Travel up Hanover Street, visiting various public and private alleys, including Wesley Place and the Paul Revere Mall. Take a left on Charter Street to reach Greenough Lane.  Follow Greenough Lane to Commercial Street, take a left on Commercial, and end the tour at Langone Park, a great spot to rest overlooking Boston Harbor.

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