The avenue originated in 1738 when the forest was cleared to make a trail from Nevsky Prospekt to a foundry (est. 1711) at the banks of Neva River. The Russian word "liteyny" means "metal casting" as an adjective, hence the street name.
Soon after the October Revolution, the avenue was named Prospekt Volodarskogo after the Russian revolutionary V. Volodarsky. In 1944, the historic name was restored.
The avenue passes by several notable locations including the Big House (Liteyny 4), the 19th-century Varvara Dolgoruky mansion (Liteyny 14), Muruzi House with Joseph Brodsky apartment (Liteyny 24), Nekrasov Museum (Liteyny 36), Zinaida Yusupovamansion (Liteyny 42), Mariinsky Hospital (Liteyny 56).