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Avenue vs. Boulevard: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 27, 2023
An avenue is a broad road often lined with trees, while a boulevard is a wide street, typically with trees and landscaping, and often has a median.

Key Differences

An avenue is traditionally a straight road with a line of trees or large shrubs running along each side, which provides a sheltered walkway for pedestrians. In contrast, a boulevard is a wider street, often adorned with trees, landscaping, and sometimes a median strip, which separates different lanes of traffic.
Avenues are often residential or commercial roads and can be significant thoroughfares in a city or town. Boulevards, on the other hand, are usually major, multi-lane roads, often used to channel heavy traffic through urban areas.
The term avenue is derived from a French word, originally meaning a way or opening. It was used to describe a way of approach or a path leading to a significant place. In contrast, boulevard comes from the French word ‘boulevardier’, meaning a broad city street, often derived from old city walls, and designed to be spacious and grand.
Avenues can sometimes be narrower than boulevards and are not typically characterized by a median. Boulevards, however, often have medians, which can be used for landscaping, pedestrian paths, or as a safety barrier between opposite flows of traffic.
In modern usage, both terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but traditionally, avenues were seen as more scenic and residential, whereas boulevards were associated with grandeur, major traffic routes, and often commercial activities.

Comparison Chart


Broad road, often lined with trees
Wide street, with trees, landscaping, median


Residential or commercial roads
Major traffic routes, often more commercial

Origin of Term

From French, meaning approach path
From French ‘boulevardier’, a broad city street

Typical Features

Straight, may have sidewalks
Multi-lane, often has medians for safety or aesthetics

Traditional Association

Scenic, residential
Grandeur, commercial activities

Avenue and Boulevard Definitions


A broad road in a town or city, often lined with trees.
They strolled down the shaded avenue.


A street associated with extensive commercial activities.
Shops and cafes lined the vibrant boulevard.


A line of trees or shrubs marking the route or approach to a place.
The avenue of oaks was breathtaking.


In historical context, a broad street on the site of a demolished city wall.
The ancient city wall was replaced by a bustling boulevard.


A thoroughfare, typically a main road in an urban area.
The store is located on Fifth Avenue.


A wide city street, often tree-lined and with a divided roadway.
The parade marched down the main boulevard.


A straight path or driveway leading from the road to a house.
The long avenue led to the old mansion.


A street where the median is used for landscaping or pedestrian pathways.
The boulevard’s median was adorned with flowers.


A way of approaching a problem or making progress towards something.
This new approach offers an avenue for further research.


A major thoroughfare, typically one with a median strip.
Traffic was heavy on the boulevard during rush hour.


Abbr. Ave. or Av. A wide street or thoroughfare.


A broad city street, often tree-lined and landscaped.


A broad roadway lined with trees.


Upper Midwest See boulevard strip.


Chiefly British The drive leading from the main road up to a country house.


Chiefly Midwestern US See median.


A broad, well-paved and landscaped thoroughfare.


The landscaping on the sides of a boulevard or other thoroughfare.


A strip of land between a street and sidewalk.


Originally, a bulwark or rampart of fortification or fortified town.


A public walk or street occupying the site of demolished fortifications. Hence: A broad avenue in or around a city.


A wide street or thoroughfare


Can an avenue have multiple lanes?

Yes, avenues can have multiple lanes, though they are generally not as wide as boulevards.

Do boulevards have medians?

Yes, boulevards often have medians, which may be used for landscaping or as pedestrian paths.

How does a boulevard differ from an avenue?

A boulevard is a wide, landscaped street, often with a median, differing from the generally simpler avenue.

What is the origin of the word 'avenue'?

'Avenue' comes from a French word meaning a way or opening.

Are boulevards used for heavy traffic?

Yes, boulevards are typically designed to handle heavy traffic and are often major city streets.

What is an avenue?

An avenue is a broad road, often lined with trees, in a town or city.

Are avenues always residential?

Avenues can be residential or commercial, but are often associated with quieter, scenic routes.

Is landscaping a feature of all boulevards?

Many boulevards feature landscaping, but it varies depending on the specific street.

Why are boulevards often wider?

Boulevards are designed to accommodate more traffic and may have additional features like medians.

Are boulevards common in urban areas?

Yes, boulevards are a common feature in urban areas, often seen in city planning.

Are avenues typically straight roads?

Avenues are often straight, but this can vary based on local geography and urban planning.

Do boulevards facilitate pedestrian movement?

Yes, boulevards often have features like medians and wide sidewalks to facilitate pedestrian movement.

Are boulevards named after notable people?

Boulevards, like other streets, can be named after notable people, events, or places.

Can avenues be converted into pedestrian zones?

Yes, avenues can be converted into pedestrian zones, especially in urban redevelopment projects.

Is an avenue considered a major road?

An avenue can be a major road, but it's not a defining characteristic.

Can an avenue be a cul-de-sac?

Yes, an avenue can be a cul-de-sac, especially in residential areas.

Can avenues be part of historic areas?

Yes, avenues can be part of historic areas and often have historical significance.

Is the term 'boulevard' used globally?

While 'boulevard' is used globally, its exact meaning can vary depending on the country.

Do all avenues have trees?

While many avenues are tree-lined, it's not a strict requirement.

Do avenues typically have bike lanes?

The inclusion of bike lanes on avenues varies by city and specific street design.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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