The street was originally called Rakkerstrædet in reference to the city dump being located along the road at today's Pilestredet Park. It was renamed in 1820 to Pilestrædveien for all the willow trees along the road. According to historian Alf Collett the renaming came about after pressure from the Brochmann family, who did not want to live on a road named after rubbish.Rikshospitalet was located there earlier, now superseded by Pilestredet Park. Oslo University College is found along the street, and the Ullevål Hageby tram line runs along parts of it. The Blitz movement is housed in Pilestredet 30. There are several churches along the street, including Fagerborg church.