The Best Places to See LA Street Art
Where can you see the best street art in LA? From Downtown Los Angeles art walks to the beaches and beyond, let’s look at LA’s top outdoor art!
Downtown LA for an Overload of Street Art
As the epicenter of LA’s street-art scene, Downtown LA is the place to see outdoor works of art in the city. And its Arts District neighborhood, tucked between Little Tokyo and the LA River, is where you’ll find many of the most amazing examples, plastered across revitalized industrial buildings that have seen a renaissance as artists have gradually taken over the once run-down area.
With over a hundred major murals in Downtown LA (and over a thousand across the city), it’s nearly impossible to mention them all. But one of the most famous pieces, and most Instagramable, is Collete Miller’s Angel Wings. It’s one work of the Global Angel Wings Project that began in 2012, allowing people to become a part mural art. You can find a pair of her wings at a row of artists' studios on Colyton Street in the Arts District.
Some other notable works to check out in Downtown LA include the “You Are Going to Be Fine" mural and “The Faces" mural, both on Alameda Street. Head to Merrick Street to see a tender moment between two people captured on corrugated steel with a collaborative mural from LA-artist Christina Angelina and London street-artist Fanakapan. Go see a classic on Broadway, the street where you’ll find “The Pope of Broadway,” a 70-foot-tall mural depicting Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn that was created in 1985. And the Angel City Brewery, set in a landmark building in the Arts District, is plastered with some amazing mural art.
An Art-Filled Stroll Down Melrose Ave
While Downtown LA has the highest concentration of mural art in Los Angeles, Melrose ranks pretty high if you want to give your Instagram feed a turbo boost. Colette Miller contributed a pair of her signature angel wings to Melrose Avenue. Although Melrose has a work of art that’s even more iconic: the "Courage Has No Gender" mural featuring tennis legend Billie Jean King. But perhaps the most famous, or at least most photographed, artwork on the street is the famed Pink Wall, which is pretty much exactly what the title of the mural says it is!
And there’s much more art along the trendy strip. Like the Pink Wall, the Turquoise Wall is a favorite for amateur and professional photographers alike. The Rainbows Wall has two rainbows, one sized for adults and one for getting great photos with kids. The classic children’s’ book Where the Wild Things Are comes to life with a mural at the intersection of Melrose and Stanley Avenues. And no matter your age, if you love dogs, you’ll surely want to check out the adorable "Pug Mural."
Venice Beach for Famous Funkiness
A haven for artists going back to the beatniks and the first hippies, Venice has long offered amazing opportunities to see colorful outdoor art. One mural that honors this history is “Morning Shot,” a 35-foot-tall depiction of Jim Morrison on the side of an apartment building set just back from the beach; Morrison’s band The Doors formed in Venice Beach in the mid-60s. Another iconic Venice mural, “Freedumb” features the faces of stars who died too young, including Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and Marilyn Monroe.
A few minutes inland, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is home to some of the most amazing mural art on LA’s Westside. And one work nearly every visitor snaps a photo of is “Bleeding Hearts,” a vibrant jumble of rainbow-colored hearts that’s much more cheerful than its name suggests, and so is suitably hashtagged as #LOVEWALL. Wildlife makes a big showing with the Abbott Kinney murals, including “Grizzly Bears Once Walked on Venice Beach,” “Bear Witness,” the odd animal hybrid "Roosterfish" and the marine life of the mural honoring underwater filmmaker Rob Stewart.
The Staircases of Silverlake
While much of LA’s street art is splashed high across its buildings, hilly Silverlake takes a different approach: staircases. There are colorful painted staircases all over the neighborhood! A few of the many that merit mention includes the "Swan Steps," a trio of painted stairways from muralist Evelyn Leigh with vibrant geometric shapes and cloud designs. Corinne Carrey's “#StairCandy” deserves an Instagram post. But perhaps the most stunning is "Fluid City Rising" by Ricardo Mendoza, with colorful wings centered by an eye spreading out over a staircase landing.
"Stair Candy" in Silverlake. Photo Credit: Alissa Walker / Flickr
Seems like outdoor art in Los Angeles is almost everywhere. And you can experience it all. So, grab your favorite pair of sunglasses, don’t forget your phone, and go enjoy some amazing Los Angeles street art.
Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.