Los Angeles is home to hundreds of miles of colorful murals and street art. From the bright colors of downtown L.A., to the psychedelic works of Venice Beach, there are countless ways to experience the vibrant culture of the city. But how do you know where to start looking for it?
- What Makes Los Angeles a Popular Spot for Street Art
- The Arts District in Downtown LA
- The Container Yard
- The Elephant Mural
- Skid Row Mural
- Art Share LA Building
- 4th street / Arts District
- Street Art in West Hollywood
- Collete Miller’s Angel Wings
- Wilshire Boulevard and Urban Light
- West Hollywood library
- Graffiti Art in Culvers City
- Technicolor Ooze
- Graffiti Art in Santa Monica
- Venice Beach
- Bleeding Hearts
- Jim Morrison Mural
- The Pope of Broadway
- A day in LA tours mural
- Ventura Blvd and The Great Wall of LA
- Mural Mile
- Seaton Street
- Graffiti Alley
- Arturo Rodriguez Park
What Makes Los Angeles a Popular Spot for Street Art
Los Angeles has always had a thriving arts scene. From the early days of silent films, to modern day music videos and movies, L.A. has been a hotbed for creativity. While some people associate the term “street art” with graffiti, much of the work done today takes place outdoors.
The beautiful weather year-round make any outdoor activity a little easier than places with cold, harsh winters. Naturally, that benefits the street artist community who works best when the sun is out.
In addition to the beautiful California sunlight, there is a history of street art in LA. Many of the world’s most famous pieces hail from the area including Shepard Fairey’s iconic Barack Obama HOPE poster.
There are so many different immigrant communities living in the city and bringing their own styles, cuisines, and cultures. Each contributes something unique to the local food scene.
The Arts District in Downtown LA
The Arts District in downtown Los Angles is the must-visiting spot if you can only go to one neighborhood in LA for art. Starting in the 1970s artists began moving to this part of town and hosting exhibitions, putting up productions, and opening cafes, bars, and small theaters. Fast forward to today and there are still plenty of galleries, production companies, and venues open here.
The Container Yard
Location: 800 East 4th Street
Opened in 2013, this space is dedicated to creativity. The walls are covered in artwork and it’s constantly changing and involving.
This industrial warehouse complex located near the Port of Los Angeles is home to one of the largest collections of shipping containers in the world. The Container Yard is a collection of over 30,000 containers spread across four buildings, each containing three stories of stacked containers. There are many artists working within the container yards, creating artworks inside the containers themselves and on the surrounding exterior walls.
The Elephant Mural
Location: 298 Rose Street
Martin Damon has a signature style for his street art. He draws inspiration from the Jazz Era and Art Deco. His murals feature elephants and were created to help raise awareness about the ivory trade and its impact on the elephant population. These murals are a great example of the message he spreads through his art.
Location: The Neptune Building on Randolph and S Alameda Street
Joel Bloom was an advocate for the arts and the neighborhood. He helped create the Arts District in Los Angeles and worked tirelessly to keep it alive. His legacy lives on through his friends and family, and the many projects he started. HUEMAN painted this large mural to commemorate Joel and all the great work he did for the city. Painter also known for her vibrant colors and this is the first time we’ve seen her incorporate text into her art.
The Neptune building is a historic structure built in 1928 in downtown Los Angeles. It once served as a hotel and offices, but now it houses many different businesses including art galleries, boutiques and restaurants.
Skid Row Mural
Location: 6th Street and San Julian Street
Skid row is an area of downtown Los Angeles that is considered to be one of the poorest neighborhoods in America. It is also the location of the largest homeless encampment in the United States. There are currently “too many” people living in tents and makeshift shelters in the area. The mural is a project started by the residents of Skid Row to bring awareness to the issue and help raise funds to provide services to those affected.
The mural was painted on a wall that was torn down in 2009. A group of artists got together and wanted to do something different. They chose to paint a giant number “6” on the side of a building on 6th Street and San Julián Street.
They had no idea how big it would become. Now people flock to see it every day.
The Skid Row City Limits Mural has recently voted as the best new street art piece in LA a few years ago.
Art Share LA Building
Location: 801 E 4th Place
Art Share is a live/work space for artists in downtown Los Angeles is a great place to go if you’re looking for something unique. It is sometimes referred to as the “coloring book of LA” There are 30 studio spaces available for rent at minimal price. These studios offer everything necessary for artists to create their works of art. Artists can paint, draw, sculpt, print, photograph, film, write, dance, sing, play music, and many other forms of artistic expression.
The Art Share building was built in 1986 and is one of the oldest buildings in the Arts District. The building is open Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
4th street / Arts District
Location: Arts District, Downtown L.A. 4th Street and Merrick, LA 90012
One of the most striking works can be found at the intersection of 4th Street and Merrick. The collaboration between Christina Angelina and Fanakapan.
Street Art in West Hollywood
West Hollywood is an artsy neighborhood full of colorful walls. You will see many different types of art including graffiti, murals, and portraits. The city of West Hollywood is home to one of the most photographed spots in Los Angeles. Known as the “Pink Wall,” it sits just outside of the Paul Smith store on Melrose Avenue. There are over 20 murals that cover the exterior walls of the building. Each mural features different themes including angels, animals, fairies and even a unicorn.
Collete Miller’s Angel Wings
Location: at 8401 W 3rd St 90048, another at 453 Colyton Street
Colette Miller created the Global Angels Wings project in 2012. She wanted to create something that could bring hope to those around her. Her goal was to help others feel like they were not alone. So she decided to create an angel wing made out of real feathers. People can pose for pictures in front of them and become part of the artwork. Since then, the Global Angel Wings Project has spread across the globe. There are wings on almost every continent except Antarctica. But the project started right here in the City of Angels.
Wilshire Boulevard and Urban Light
Urban Light is an outdoor sculpture installation located along Wilshire Boulevard near the LA County Museum of Arts. It features over 200 vintage street lights that were collected by artist Chris Burden. These old lamps provide a beautiful glow throughout the night. The artwork was introduced in 2008 and became one of the most photographed sites in LA. Visitors can see the lights anytime of day, but they’re especially impressive when the sun sets.
West Hollywood library
Location: 625 N San Vicente Blvd, West Hollywood, 90069
West Hollywood has become famous for its vibrant culture and diversity, and its public library reflects this. The parking lot behind the library features three of the most recognized murals in the city. “Peace Elephant” by Shepard Fairey depicts an elephant standing atop a globe, symbolizing peace. “An Exercise in Spontaneity” by Kenny Scharf shows two figures dancing against a background of colorful geometric shapes. Finally, a large abstract piece by Los Angeles artist RETNA stands out among the other artworks.
Graffiti Art in Culvers City
Location: 8850 Washington Blvd, Culvers City, CA 90232
Arguably the most psychedelic murals in Los Angeles, “Technicolor Ooze” is the work of artist Jennifer Stark. Stark’s colorful creations are inspired by classic science fiction movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars on .
She’s since brought her Technicolor magic to collaborations with Micky Mouse, Justin Bieber, and Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips fame. Her latest project is a collaboration with musician/producer/songwriter Jason Falkner called “The Vibe.”
In 2015, she collaborated with the band Flaming Lips to create an art installation called “Eyes Wide Open” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The piece featured a giant eyeball floating above the museum’s entrance. The eyeball was painted in bright colors and had a rainbow-like pattern around its pupil.
Graffiti Art in Santa Monica
Santa Monica Beach is a popular tourist destination with the pier and the gorgeous beaches. While driving down Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica, there are several pieces of public art scattered throughout the area. Some of the most iconic ones include “The Ballad of Me,” featuring a large mural depicting the life story of singer/songwriter John Denver; “The Great Wall of LA,” which features a massive depiction of the famous wall surrounding L.A.; and “The Bridge of San Luis Rey,” which depicts a bridge crossing over the Rio de la Plata river in Argentina. Other notable works include a memorial dedicated to Kobe Bryant and his late daughter Gianna, and another piece honoring former MLB player Tyler Skaggs, who passed away following a tragic accident while playing baseball in Arizona.
Venice is a small neighborhood located on the coast of Los Angeles. It is famous for its canals and beautiful architecture. Abbott Kinney Boulevard is its main street and you will find some great shops and restaurants here. You can walk around the area and see some amazing murals and sculptures. One of tourist’s favorites is “Starry Night” which is painted on the side of a house just south of Main Street. On the beach, you can see some colorful paintings and portraits of celebrities like Jim Morrison. Nothing is more Californian than palm beaches, sandy shores, and some colorful art!
Location: Greenleaf, 1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, 90291
Venice beach is a place where artists thrive. There are many murals throughout the city, including ones painted by local artist James Goldcrown. He has made his name painting large scale murals in Venice Beach, often featuring the heart symbol. His latest mural, “Love Wall” is located at the intersection of Abbott Kinney Blvd and Lincoln Ave. It features thousands of hearts that represent love.
Goldcrown describes his work as “a love letter to the people of Los Angeles.” He added, “I’m trying to make my mark on the city I live in.”
Jim Morrison Mural
Location: 1811 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, CA 90291
“Morning Shot” is a 35 foot tall mural of Doors frontman Jim Morrison painted by artist Rip Cronk. It was originally commissioned in 1991 and renovated in 2012. Morrison stands at the entrance of his former apartment building on Ocean Front Walk, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, where The Doors met and started the band in Venice in 1965
The story behind the creation of the Jim Morrison mural is one of love, loss, and redemption. In 1990, painter Rip Cronk began working on his mural of Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors. He had been commissioned to paint a portrait of Morrison, but he didn’t want to do just another painting of the rock star. Instead, he wanted to capture Morrison’s essence. So Cronk painted him against a backdrop of Venice Beach, where Morrison and The Doors performed many of their most famous songs.
Cronk took six months to complete the work, spending much of that time traveling around Los Angeles and talking with people about Morrison. “I found out there are thousands of stories about Morrison,” says Cronk. “He was a real guy.” And while Morrison died tragically young—he committed suicide in Paris in 1971—his legacy lives on.
Location: Venice Beach
Julie Muck is an artist whose murals can be found all over Venice Beach. She paints many different types of murals including portraits, landscapes, abstracts, and still life paintings. One of her best known pieces is called “Free Dumb” and depicts five famous actors who died young.
The Pope of Broadway
Location: The Victor Clothing Company Building, 242 S. Broadway, Los Angeles 90012
Murals are often temporary artworks meant to decorate walls, buildings, or streets. They may last anywhere from a few months to several years. Sometimes, however, an artist will create a permanent piece of artwork. One example is “Pope of Broadway,” a 70-foot mural depicting Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn, who was born in Mexico City. He became famous for his roles in films like Lawrence of Arabia and Zorba the Greek. His career spanned five decades, and he continued acting until his death in 1993 at age 77.
A day in LA tours mural
Location: 410 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401
The mural was done by artist Dim Morisov in 2017. If Los Angeles were an amusement park, this would be the map showing you where all the rides were. The map includes all the major landmarks like Hollywood Boulevard, Universal Studios, Disneyland, Venice Beach, Griffith Park, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Pier, Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, UCLA campus, USC campus, Downtown LA, Westwood Village, Malibu, Marina del Rey, Santa Monica, Culver City, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Gabriel Valley, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, Monterey Bay, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Mendocino County, Redwoods, Sequoia National Forest, Mount Shasta, Mount Whitney, Death Valley, Mojave Desert, Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Ventura Blvd and The Great Wall of LA
This mural is located on Ventura Boulevard near the intersection of Coldwater Canyon Avenue. It was designed by artist Judith Baca and completed in 1983. The mural covers six city blocks and depicts the history of Los Angeles starting with the prehistoric era and ending with the present day. It includes representations of the native American tribes, the Great Depression, the Japanese-American internment camps during WWII, suburban sprawl, and the many contributions made by refugees from around the globe.
In recent years, the project has been expanded to cover even more sections of the city. It now covers several blocks along both sides of the boulevard and includes the work of dozens of local artists it one of the longest murals in the world.
In 2012, the Mural Mile began as a way to beautify the area around Pacoima City Hall in Los Angeles. Today, there are over fifty murals all within walking distance of each other. You’ll find so much variety along Van Nuys Boulevard, from whimsical to realistic paintings. Many of the murals depict local landmarks such as the Santa Monica Mountains, Hollywood Hills, and Griffith Observatory. These murals cover everything from street art to abstract pieces. There are even murals dedicated to specific themes like “Love”, “Peace”, and “Hope”.
Nip back out of the store and gallery and head towards Seaton Street. There’s a small parking lot here that contains a couple of cars and a few people milling around. A little further along is another set of stairs leading up to the container yard. If you turn right onto Seaton Street, you’ll find yourself walking alongside a huge wall of graffiti. This is where the mural begins.
This alley off of Hollywood Boulevard features dozens of murals painted by local artists. You’ll find everything from political statements to cute animal illustrations. This isn’t just a regular alley either; it’s actually a designated space for artists to paint whatever they want.
Arturo Rodriguez Park
Art lovers will love this park located in Echo Park. Dozens of large scale paintings decorate the walls of the park, including works by famous artists like Keith Haring. A lot of people come here because they want to experience the beauty of Echo Park up close.