Trip Planner:   USA  /  Iowa  /  Burlington  /  Historic Sites  /  Snake Alley
Snake Alley, Burlington
(4.5/5 based on 150+ reviews on the web)
Snake Alley is a street located in Burlington, Iowa, once recognized by Ripley's Believe It or Not as the Crookedest Street in the World.HistoryThe physical limitations and steep elevation of Heritage Hill inspired the construction of Snake Alley in 1894. It was intended to link the downtown business district and the neighborhood shopping area located on North Sixth Street, of which Snake Alley is a one-block section. Three German immigrants conceived and carried out the idea of a winding hillside street, similar to vineyard paths in France and Germany: Charles Starker, an architect and landscape engineer; William Steyh, the city engineer; and George Kriechbaum, a paving contractor. The street was completed in 1898, but was not originally named Snake Alley, as it was considered part of North Sixth Street; some years later, a resident noted that it reminded him of a snake winding its way down the hill, and the name stuck.The alley originally provided a shortcut from Heritage Hill to the business district. Bricks were laid at an angle to allow horses better footing as they descended. Unfortunately, riding horses back up the alley often resulted in a loss of control at the top; for this reason, even to this day, Snake Alley remains a one-way street, with all traffic heading downhill.In the 1940s, writer Robert L. Ripley saw the street in person, and decided to add it to his Ripley's Believe It, Or Not! column, calling it "The Crookedest Street in the World". The idea was novel enough; however, San Francisco's Lombard Street beats it by several turns. The turns on Snake Alley are sharper though, giving it a total of 1100° of turning from end to end, where Lombard Street's straighter curves total only 1000°.
Arrange your visit to Snake Alley and discover more family-friendly attractions in Burlington using our Burlington itinerary builder.
Source
map
Create a full Burlington itinerary

Plan your trip to Burlington

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in Iowa by other users

6 days in Poughkeepsie & Des Moines BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, beaches, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 4 days in Forest City & Minneapolis BY A USER FROM NETHERLANDS January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Harpers Ferry BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Okoboji BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, romantic, popular PREFERENCES: November, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 2 days in West Bend BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 5 days in Iowa BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 27 days in United States & Niagara Falls BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Ames BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 4 days in Ames BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 7 days in Council Bluffs BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 15 days in Iowa BY A USER FROM VIETNAM November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The alley was hard to find as google map brought you to the end and a sign showed a direction but then it lead to nowhere. The town it is in has unique buildings. Not much open. 
  • It is awesome to see this you can actually drive down it. Make sure you also see Cobblestone Alley just a few steps east of it. 
  • Just plain old fun to walk up and down this street that is lined with Victorian and Prairie houses with quaint gardens. Little Kid fun as you are coming down this Snake!!!!! Whether in a car or on foo...  more »