12 Cities to Visit for Amazing Mural Art

12 Cities to Visit for Amazing Mural Art

Not all fine art is confined to museums and galleries. Many American cities are chock-full murals and other works of street art that rival whatever you may find in the local art museums.

Your motorcycle is an excellent vehicle for ferrying you from one mural to the next. With so many amazing works on our streets, planning a whole mural-viewing motorcycle tour is an easy and fun project.

In case you’re not quite sure where to start, here are 12 American cities filled with incredible mural art—both officially commissioned and unsanctioned.

12 Cities to Visit for Amazing Mural Art

Nashville, TN

The Music City has more to offer than just country tunes. Sprinkled all around Nashville’s walls, shops, restaurants, and garages are murals by both locally and internationally famous artists.

The dozens of works are mostly found clustered around 15 neighborhoods. Many of them—like “Acoustic Skyline” in the Gulch and “Cassette Tape” in Wedgewood-Houston—pay homage to Nashville’s musical history but you’ll also find many more types of art, from word art to portraits.

Chattanooga, TN

It’s not just Nashville that boasts a great selection of murals in Tennessee. Chattanooga, too, boasts an impressive collection of street art throughout the city.

The works range from simple and colorful, like the “Polka Dot Wall” on Williams St, to elaborate and realistic, such as the gooey, cheesy “Pizza Mural” on Main St. In Chattanooga’s M.L. King District, you’ll find the enormous 40,000-square-foot “We Will Not Be Satisfied Until” by Meg Saligman, which commemorates Black Americans’ struggle for civil rights.

Chattanooga also gives you a chance to become a muralist yourself. The Chak Alley at 38 Frazier Ave lets anybody pick up a piece of chalk (provided for free) and create their own piece of art on the alley’s walls.

Atlanta, GA

The Midtown neighborhood is Atlanta’s vibrant arts center, but we can’t let it hog all the masterpieces. Six other neighborhoods in Atlanta feature striking, colorful murals, but Midtown naturally also has its fair share.

One of the most famous pieces is the huge, 30-foot-tall portrait of Atlanta’s world-renowned hip-hop duo OutKast in the Little Five Points Neighborhood. In the Cabbagetown/Inman Park area, you’ll find the results of the Forward Warrior public art project.

Speaking of Forward Warrior, Atlanta organizes this art event—together with many others—every year to add to the murals and reimagine the city’s look. Motorcycling street art enthusiasts can drop by Atlanta every year and find something new to wow them.

Reno, NV

With a motorbike, it’s easy to light out of Reno when trailed by 20 hounds. Before you run from the sheriff, though, spend some time marveling at the murals you can find.

Many of the artworks have a floral theme, which really lets you see the kinds of colors and gradients mural art can produce. But you’ll also find much more, like the enormous record shelf of the “Vinyl Collection” at Record Street Brewing or the bike-riding youths of “Over and Under All Obstacles” at Reno Bike Project.

Once you do hear the hounds barking and it’s time to skip town, motor a short distance south to Carson City for some more street art. As a particular highlight, the “Brewers Mural” depicting the famous Millard brewing family, was painted in 1995 and restored to its original glory in 2019.

Cincinnati, OH

When you think of Cincinnati, your thoughts might first jump to chili. Unless you’re a street art enthusiast, in which case the dozens upon dozens of murals in the city are probably on top of your mind.

Most of the works are created by professional and aspiring artists in collaboration with ArtWorks. This award-winning non-profit organization’s public art projects have created more than 300 permanent murals on Cincinnati’s walls.

I couldn’t possibly list all the works, but rest assured, you’ll find something stunning whether you enjoy realism, surrealism, or any other strain of art. You could right around Cincinnati looking at murals for a week and you’d still have seen only a fraction of them all.

Baltimore, MD

Since 1975, the Baltimore Mural Program has been working with local, community-oriented artists to improve the city’s look while also offering employment to the artist. The more than 250 murals created through the program have transformed the city into a veritable open-air museum.

As they are produced in cooperation with local communities, many of the artworks showcase the pride Baltimore residents have for their hometown. Yet, due to their sheer number, the murals cover a whole slew of subject matters, from traditional graffiti to social commentary and quirky, abstract color explosions.

Honolulu, HI

Say “aloha” to some gorgeous murals on the island of O’ahu. The Kaka’ako neighborhood, once Honolulu’s industrial district, has transformed into a hip commercial area bristling with vibrant murals.

Most of the works are created during the annual Pow! Wow! Hawai’i festival, which brings in international and local artists to paint new murals on Kaka’ako’s walls and streets. Many of the murals exude a distinctly Hawaiian vibe, like the “Mālama Honua” ground mural depicting sea life and canoe sails, or the “Naupaka and Kaui” piece at the SALT retail space, portraying the legendary princess Naupaka.

These are far from being the only noteworthy art pieces in Kaka’ako. The murals in the area make it a colorful and fun place to stretch your legs after riding O’ahu’s roads.

Orlando, FL

Orlando might be best known for its many theme parks, but the city also has a nice assortment of murals. Most of the artworks are located in the Mills 50 district, particularly around North Mills Ave.

Some murals—like “Run Forest” depicting Forrest Gump on the famous park bench and the alligator of “Rise Above”—are visible from the road, so you won’t even have to get off your motorcycle to glimpse at them. It’s worth climbing out of the saddle, though, both to get a closer look at the roadside murals and to see those that are tucked behind buildings and businesses.

Yet, there are more murals outside Mills 50 that are worth seeing. Some are even farther away in the greater Orlando area, so hop on your bike and ride to see them all.

Miami, FL

Orlando can’t claim to be the exclusive home to gorgeous murals in Florida. Miami, too, hosts an amazing collection of street art on its walls.

The beating heart of Miami’s mural and street art scene is Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum area dedicated specifically to urban art. Yet, you can find stunning and thought-provoking pieces all around the city.

Murals are often known for their bright colors, but the Miami scene takes vibrancy to a whole another level. The city’s murals show the vivid possibilities of what a skilled artist can create with a wall and some paint.

Portland, OR

Portland is known for rain and quirkiness. If your moto tour takes you to the city, it’s well worth your time to grab an umbrella and go see the wonderful cavalcade of weirdness painted on its walls.

Perhaps the most famous of them all is “Art Fills the Void,” a piece consisting of the eponymous slogan—and a huge painting of a yellow banana. Originally painted in 1982, it is the oldest of Portland’s murals and received a well-deserved facelift in 2015.

The banana is just the beginning of your bizarre journey through Portland’s murals, which include flowering beetles, the No Parking Octopus, a submarine elephant, and much more. They sure do their fair share to (as one mural states) “keep Portland weird.”

Philadelphia, PA

Philly claims to be the home to the world’s largest outdoor art gallery. With nearly 1,000 publicly viewable murals (not counting works that have been lost to time) it’s easy to believe that claim.

The incredible abundance of murals is partially thanks to Mural Arts Philadelphia, the largest public art program in the U.S. Every year, they sponsor 50-100 public art projects, from murals to statues and beyond.

A stroll anywhere in the city will let you see amazing works of art by small local artists and globally famous painters alike completely cost-free. Philadelphia hasn’t acquired its unofficial nickname City of Murals for nothing.

Denver, CO

Colorado is an off-road rider’s paradise, but it’s good to engage in some calmer activity between ripping through the trails. In Denver, you can take a leisurely walk among some incredibly creative murals.

For example, take the “Larimer Boy and Girl” painting in the RiNo art district. Painted on the protruding fins of an industrial building’s wall, the mural changes depending on which direction you approach it—portraying a surprised boy on one side and a pensive girl on the other.

And RiNo is just one of Denver’s neighborhoods with distinctive murals. You’ll find plenty more in East Colfax, the Art District on Santa Fe, Confluence Park, and beyond.