Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
It’s not uncommon to turn the corner and find vibrant street art plastered across the wall of a Houston building. As more and more of these murals pop up across the city, hunting them down (and taking an awesome photo!) has become the mission of artsy locals and visitors alike.
I confess, my motives for seeking out the city’s best murals are pretty selfish. I am always looking for good photo ops, and love the interesting backgrounds the murals provide. Dragging my kids along offers up the opportunity to explore different parts of the city and encourages us to look for art in our everyday lives. We have been mural hunting for so long, that my three-year-old twins often look for murals when we are driving around and point them out to me! Here is our family’s “must see” list of murals in Houston:
Greetings From Houston, The Heights
Where: 3601 White Oak Drive (Gelazzi)
Why it’s cool: Created by Houston muralist Daniel Anguliu, the 1970s style postcard depicts some of Houston’s iconic images (oil derrick, Heights stamp, rocket ship). I love the retro style of this mural, and the kids love visiting because of the gelato store it’s painted on, Gelazzi! We stopped by one afternoon for a quick photo and a treat.
Insider tip: The morning is the best time to get a car-free photo in front of this mural, especially when the sun is shining from the east!
You Are My Sunshine, The Heights
Where: 1948 Rutland Street (Thread)
Why it’s cool: Located on the back of Thread, a stylish kids resale shop in the Heights, this mural has become a favorite for families. We sing this song to our kids every night at bedtime and it was a must for me to get a photo of them in front of it. The store itself is also worth checking out for some fantastic second-hand finds.
Insider tip: This mural is only a six-minute drive from the “Greetings From Houston” mural. I would suggest stopping here first, then heading over to Gelazzi.
Preservons La Creation (Let’s Preserve the Creation), Midtown
Where: 2800 San Jacinto
Why it’s cool: Artist Sebastien “Mr. D” Boileau used more than 500 cans of spray paint and 150 gallons of wall paint to create the 60-feet-by-180-feet mural in 2014. This is the biggest mural in Houston and the sheer size of it alone makes it worth a visit.
Insider tip: Stop at Weights + Measures for a breakfast sandwich or for lunch at Thien An Sandwiches for some relaxed Vietnamese food and then walk on over.
Oneness, The Heights
Where: 508 Pecore Street
Why it’s cool: Oneness by Emily Ding is painted on the side of NiaMoves fitness studio in the Heights. Who doesn’t love animals being lovey! It makes a great backdrop for your attempt at a sibling photo where you kids actually look like they like each other. (We know they do even if it is hard to get photographic proof some days).
Insider tip: This mural is a short drive from Donovan Park. I bribed the kids with photos then park time! There is also a Cloud 10 Creamery across the street from Donovan if you need more extra smile motivation.
Biscuit Paint Wall, Montrose
Where: 1435 Westheimer Road (Biscuit Home)
Why it’s cool: Biscuit Paint Wall is arguably one of the most photographed murals in Houston. Located on the side of a home design store in Montrose, this piece was also done by French artist Sebastien “Mr. D” Boileau in 2014. I dressed the kids in solid colors and brought the nice camera. They had a blast finding their favorite colors and I managed to snag some quality photos of them playing.
Insider tip: The wall is accessible at all hours, but the Biscuit Home store doesn’t open till 10am. For the best chance at car free photos, swing by in the morning, then cruise on over to Empire Caféfor some breakfast.
Houston Is Inspired Mural, Downtown
Where: 315 Travis Street (Treebeards)
Why it’s cool: I think of this mural as the original “Houston Mural.” It was painted by GONZO247 in 2013 as part of a “Houston is Inspired” campaign to promote the city’s culinary and art scene. It’s the first one I ever made a point to visit, and it sparked my desire to find more of these beautiful works around Houston.
Insider tip: This mural is actually painted on the side of Treebeards. The smell of gumbo alone will make you want to stop inside after your photo session.
New Sugar & Cloth Wall (and Stairs), Downtown
Where: 1201 Main Street
Why it’s cool: The Original Sugar & Cloth Wall was sadly demo-ed, but this new version has the same elements as the old wall with some new perks. Not only do you still get the color blocking wall, but now they have added some color blocked steps just begging for new, creative photo opps. You’ll find it at the Forever XXI at GreenStreet in Downtown.
Insider tip: This location is downtown, so parking can be a challenge. The new wall is also very close to Phoenicia Specialty Foods and Discovery Green if you want to make it a combo visit.
Hummingbird Mural, East Downtown
Where: 5102 Navigation Boulevard
Why it’s cool: In 2015, Houston hosted its first mural festival over seven days with 25 walls painted by 90 artists from all over the world. You can find a map of all of the mural locations here. This Hummingbird piece was created by Brazilian artist FPLO during the festival and is one of my favorites. The best part is this location is only a four minute drive from the original Ninfa’s on Navigation where you can get some of the city’s best Mexican food.
Insider tip: There are two more HUEMuralFest locations worth checking out nearby—one at 300 N. York Street and the other at 2011 Leeland Street. Both locations have multiple murals from the festival (Space Monkeys, Frida Kahlo as Wonder Woman) and we had a ton of fun taking more photos!
Zippers Wall, East Downtown
Where: 1513 St. Emanuel
Why it’s cool: I love the vastness and the openness of the Zippers Wall. You are able to capture so many different angles, and no matter what, the background is full of color. This wall was created by Risk Rock (aka Kelly Gravel) and is in a lot surrounded by a ton of murals that you will also want to check out.
Insider tip: One of the things I like best about this wall is that it is in shade for a good part of the day. It is also on a corner of the lot where not many cars park.
Hearts Mural/Love Wall, East Downtown
Where: 1503 Chartres Street
Why it’s cool: The textured effect of multiple hearts on the wall adds a unique depth to the background of the photos. There is also so much color! This mural was created by John Whaley as part of the HUE Mural Festival and has quickly become and IG favorite for locals and visitors.
Insider tip: This one is located directly across the street from the Zipper Wall and right next to the Dripped Color Door (see below). One stop here provides endless photo possibilities and only requires you to buckle the kids in the car for one trip. It can often be in full sun though, so think about coming in the afternoon, on a cloudy day, or using sunglasses as props.
Dripped Colors Door, East Downtown
Where: 1503 Chartres Street
Why it’s cool: Sayra Vallejo’s mural is part of the Houston Graffiti Building, which is 360 degrees of street art. I love the effect of paint dripping down this door and the layers and layers of color. While it is a small piece, it has a lot of versatility.
Insider tip: This mural can often be in full sun, so do think about coming in the afternoon or on a cloudy day. While it is on a sidewalk, with a rail, it is also on the street side with cars coming, so keep that in mind while shooting.
Butterflies, East Downtown
Where: 2201 Preston Street
Why it’s cool: The multiple, varied colored butterflies on this mural by Fabio Panone practically scream springtime. It looks great in wide shot photos and close ups as each of the different butterflies provides interesting colors and combinations. This is a fun one to play around with photos of jumping or running kids.
Insider tip: This is another mural that was produced by the HUE Mural Festival, so there are other murals around it that are also worth your time. It is also a short 10 minute drive from the Hummingbird Mural if you want to hit up both in one visit.