From big cities to small towns, street art often defines community aesthetic. City officials are even known to sponsor artists to re-energize areas affected by economic recession or crime, giving new life to once downtrodden neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for authenticity as a visitor, or an Americana Instagram, these murals across the country have your back. Hit the road, visit an old friend, and grab some breakfast before admiring what these cities have to offer.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Artist: Ruben Sanchez
Dubai-based artist Ruben Sanchez’s mural was produced in 2015 for the city’s Life is Beautiful festival located on Fremont Street in Las Vegas. Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the artist’s animated painting attracts tourists and literature lovers alike.
Artist: Hygienic Dress League
Steve and Dorota Coy, a Detroit couple, formed Hygienic Dress League in response to troubling marketing ethics in the United States. The team fosters its brand using the city’s buildings, hotels, and warehouses. This particular mural, located on Gratiot between Russell and Service Drive, features what appear to be a pair of farm animals inexplicably fixing to take a bite out of a stack of hundred dollar bills. The artwork is a city staple, and makes for great imagery when capturing the urban essence of Detroit.
Art Fills the Void!
Artist: Guerrilla Warfare
On the corner of Southeast 12th and Division Street in Portland, this large banana mural is one of the city’s oldest and most historic. Guerrilla Warfare were one of Portland’s first anonymous graffiti artists. The painting is said to have originally been a statement about war in Central America, but now, after significant restoration, just exists to fill the void on the untenanted concrete.
Artist: Isaac Caruso
Phoenix native Isaac Caruso adds a splash of floral to the desert landscape with his sunflower mural on the north-facing wall of MonOrchid, a 14,000 square foot warehouse featuring studios, offices, and exhibition space downtown. The ghostly arrangement adds a welcome midwestern contrast to the city’s overall atmosphere. To visit, take a trip to the MonOrchid at 214 E Roosevelt St.
John Lennon on Spring Street
41 Spring St., New York, New York
Artist: Tagged with peacenow.com
This graffiti-style mural is requisite for any Beatles fan. Located in lower Manhattan just north of Little Italy, the painting appears to be a call for peace, Lennon’s signature manifesto. If you’re in the neighborhood, head down to Spring Street and give peace a chance.
Artist: Haas & Hahn
Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn spent their year-long residency in Philadelphia turning the city’s Germantown into a bustling hub that attracts visitors and tourists to the region. Located near 2500–2800 Germantown Ave., the team’s work envelops several old buildings and businesses in red and turquoise imagery for truly unparalleled scenery.
Atlanta on the Rise
Not all murals are created equal, this one rises above with its simple, encouraging message to residents of the city’s growing creative presence. The message, printed on a wooden fence outside of Foster ATL, a workspace for entrepreneurs, makes for a great photo op if you’re visiting.
Kansas City I’m So In Love
Kansas City, Missouri
Artist: Fortify Boutique
One of Kansas City’s most popular murals is this playful piece located outside Fortuity boutique. Perfect for photos, it’s no wonder it attracts innumerable visitors. Stop by before spending some time shopping and grabbing a local cup of coffee.