What is it about street art that’s so captivating? Is it the larger-than-life depiction of an artist’s vision that draws us in? Is it the local flavor that a blank canvas can convey once transformed? Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we’ll let you decide.
But in the meantime, we’re here to point you to some of the best street art in Phoenix — perfect for the next time you need to safely get out of the house for a dose of creative inspiration or fresh, local content for your social media feed.
Here are some of our favorite mural walls to check out:
There was quite a while where no tour buses were pulling up to The Rebel Lounge, a music venue known for hosting up-and-coming acts as well as local favorites. However, this makes right now the perfect opportunity to see the music venue’s massive Arizona mural in all its glory.
Located on the east side of the building, this mural showcases the Superstition Mountains, painted by Tucson’s Joe Pagac, behind “ARIZONA.” For this collaboration, each of the following artists brought their signature style to the lettering: A, Ashley Macias; R, Josh "BASK" Brizuela; I, Joshua Rhodes; Z, Clay Halling; O, Andy Brown; N, Volar; A, JB Snyder.
From its inception in 2002, Barrio Cafe has been a space that celebrates flavor as well as culture. In fact, you can't talk about James Beard Award-nominated chef Silvana Salcido Esparza locally without mentioning her Calle 16 (Calle Diez Y Seis) Project, an organization established to elevate popular perceptions of Mexican American culture — most often through artwork. Before you even get a chance to try in infamous chiles en nogada or cochinita pibil, you will be greeted by Phoenix's most iconic mural wall, a collaborative effort by Gennaro Garcia, Lalo Cota, Breeze, Angel Diaz, Pablo Luna and more.
Located in the Roosevelt Row Arts District, Phoenix’s unofficial “Mural Alley” is actually more commonly referred to 1½ Street, and it’s almost hidden in plain sight. To find this wide swath of local flavor, just locate The Churchill building and head around back for the most city’s most vibrant alley.
From the area’s Indigenous roots and iconic cacti to imaginative landscapes and political themes, this collaborative effort extends the entire length of the alley, covering the walls and other fixtures with captivating works by 12 local artists: Isaac Caruso, Gabriel "Leter" Pecina, Nyla Lee, Volar, Tato Caraveo, Lucinda Y Hinojos, Josh "BASK" Brizuela, Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, Lalo Cota, Jane Goat, JJ Horner, and Jesse Perry.
It’s Another Beautiful Day in Downtown Phoenix
Following a call for muralists, artists Jake Early and Quinn Murphy were selected to transform a two-story canvas at the northwest corner of Second and Washington streets. The Fry Building, which was built in 1885, has been home to Majerle’s Sports Grill — owned by Phoenix Suns legend Dan Majerle — for more than 25 years.
The mural features bright colors and cold shapes that pair urban elements (skyline) with the area's natural beauty (buttes, agriculture) in a radiant mosaic in the heart of downtown.
In 2020, downtown Phoenix welcomed a nine-story installation of author and civil rights activist James Baldwin. Created by the talented local artist Antoinette Cauley, this piece features the bust of the Notes of a Native Son author surrounded by his words: "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
"Your light will forever illuminate the paths of Black Americans through the words you so graciously left us," writes Cauley in Dear Mr. Baldwin, a blog post that details the project that overlooks downtown Phoenix from side of the Ten-O-One building in the Roosevelt Row Arts District.
Calvin C. Goode
In 2021, Isaac Caruso and Jesse Yazzie teamed up to pay tribute to Phoenix civil rights icon Calvin C. Goode, who passed away in 2020. Goode served on Phoenix City Council from 1972 to 1994, making him the longest-tenured person in that body's history. Additionally, he was the second Black person elected to council and served as vice mayor in 1974 and 1984. This mural wall features the affordable housing and underserved youth advocate overlooking the Phoenix skyline against an iconic sunset in the background, with the words "The Conscious of the Council."
In a call to artists, the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel chose local muralist Clyde to give the building’s west exterior wall (along Central Avenue) a makeover in his signature 3D, storytelling style. At first glance, the 144-foot mural, titled “Timeless,” will captivate you. On second and third glance, however, you might see it a little differently. That’s due to the ever-changing shadows cast from the overhanging shade structure. Each hour of the day, the mural changes as the sun moves across the sky. During the last few hours of sunlight, you can catch it shining directly onto the glass prism, held by the person in the painting, and the key inside comes to life with an indisputable glow.
Right around the corner from "Timeless," and just south of the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Downtown at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, you’ll find yourself standing in Melinda’s Alley (not to be confused with the speakeasy). Here, artists Darrin Armijo-Wardle and Hugo Medina painted “Malinda Rising,” a tribute to Malinda Curtis, one of the city's most colorful characters who lived in an apartment on the alley shared by the 1896-built Hotel Adams. She died Oct. 28, 1910, but her spirit is said to inhabit the alley to this day.
View from 151 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
I Am Black History
Located on the northwest corner of the Footprint Center, this mural highlights Black athletes who made history with the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, including David Lattin, Stan McKenzie, McCoy McLemore and George Wilson from the Suns' inaugural team in 1968-69; Cheryl Miller, a four-time All-American, two-time national champion at USC and Hall of Famer who was the first head coach and general manager of the Mercury in 1997; Larry Fitzgerald, the former Arizona Cardinals' legendary receiver became the first Black minority owner of the Suns in 2020; and Frank Johnson, a former player for the Suns, Johnson was the first Black head coach of the Suns in the 2001-02 season.
The mural was painted by artists Lucretia Torva and Jennifer White ahead of the 2022 Black History Mural Project series. It replaced the Phoenix Professional Ballers mural from the year prior.
Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles
As the flagship location of the White family's chicken and waffle empire, this restaurant has just as much going on across its exterior walls as it does on the menu! The south side of the building features two murals created as part of the 2021 Black History Month mural project — culinary queens (including Phoenix trailblazer Mrs. White) and Negro League hall of famers — but that's just the beginning. The two largest murals here are tributes to Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle by Uvonte Reed and Timothy B., respectively.
Known for paying tribute to musical legends through her work, Phoenix artist Maggie Keane took her talents to the Grand Avenue Arts District in 2019 in the form of a perfectly purple Prince mural. Spanning one side of Rodriguez Boxing Gym, located at 15th Avenue and Roosevelt Street, this mural wall features four portraits, a silhouette, the artist's unmistakable symbol and, of course, several doves. You can also check out her 2016 David Bowie tribute in the Coronado neighborhood's Oak Street Alley (1713 N. Seventh St., Phoenix).
Stacy’s @ Melrose
A beacon for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies since 2013, Stacy’s @ Melrose is also now home to a mural wall that’s as loud and proud as the community itself. Located in the heart of the Melrose District — Phoenix’s “gayborhood” — this mural pairs an iconic desert landscape with the largest set of wings in town. P.S. They’re rainbow. Created by Geremy Cites, this wall is highly visible on the building’s north side (if you’re approaching from the south, however, you might miss it). And don’t miss one of Phoenix’s two rainbow crosswalks, just a few steps away.
Before leaving the Melrose District, hop over to the nearby canal. A good starting point is the entrance is located just south of the Fry Bread House and just north of Joe's Diner. The 2021 PHX Mural Project Fest transformed the Grand Canalscape, from 15th Avenue to 7th Street, with dozens of sustainability-focused works of art — many of which highlight Indigenous themes — by some of Phoenix’s best-known artists. Look for work by Ashley Macias, Muta Vision, Liliana Mora, La Morena, Tato Caraveo and more. Don't miss: A collab by Pablo Luna and Thomas "Breeze" Marcus on the back/canal-facing side of Joe's Diner.
Breeze shared via Instagram: "For those unfamiliar, our Huhugam (or Hohokam) ancestors first designed and engineered over 1,000 miles of hand dug canal system here in the valley and surrounding areas. The river that once flowed through the valley has always been a significant resource for survival and is what allowed our people to survive for thousands of years ..."