In addition to being known as the home of US space exploration and humidity that can add curl to an Afghan Hound’s fur, did you know there is a burgeoning street art scene in Houston? Downtown Houston has embraced graffiti and murals with a Texas-sized enthusiasm which provide unexpected pops of colour, big and small. It’s not just the street art lovers who flock to these Houston murals, Houston wall art has proved popular for the Instagram-loving crowd too. We love to check out the street art scene wherever we are in the world, and Houston’s wall murals are a delight.
Houston Wall Art For The ‘Gram
All this street art makes perfect Instagram feed material. Not only do you get instant backdrops for your selfie but you also let to drop in casually how cool and cultured you are at the same time. win/win.
The “Houston is Inspired” mural is one of the most Instagrammed spots in Houston. This first of the Houston wall murals was painted by Mario Figueroa Jr as part of the city’s business initiative to promote the local arts scene.
Mario Figueroa AKA Gonzo247 leads an artist collective, Aerosol Warfare which works to promote street art in the city such as, for example, liaising with businesses hiring street artists to add murals to their buildings. Houston graffiti is straddling the fine line between avant-garde and mainstream commercial success.
In fact, Gonzo 247 lead the team of 5 artists (including Mr. D mentioned below) that did the Guerrilla Gorilla artwork of giant gorillas around the city for the Houston Zoo in 2015. Check out this cool photo gallery of artist Anat Ronen creating her gorilla wall from start to finish.
Another graffiti wall in Houston is the “Greetings from Houston” wall mural which looks like a cool 1970’s style postcard with its bright colours and iconic Texas images (cactus, oil rig, etc). Created by local talent, Daniel Anguilu, this Houston mural is a perfect e-postcard to announce your stay in the Bayou City.
For a big city in a bigger state “Let’s Preservation The Creation Houston” mural is Houston-sized. About 60 feet tall and 180 feet wide covering 10,000 s.f. of wall, this mural by Mr. D is a riff on Michaelangelo’s famous ceiling at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. Only this creator god is holding a spray paint can (and briefly a football in 2017 when Houston hosted Super Bowl 51).
In 2017, L.A. artist Russell Etchen created a faux rock facade called “About_Rocks” where the rocks had cartoon eyes.
If you want a whole host of backgrounds for your selfie, you should check out the Houston Graffiti Building. Here’s my son hamming it up in front of some angel wings which appeared on the Just Go Places Instagram.
Areas For Houston Graffiti and Murals
Houston is a sprawling city with heavy traffic congestion. You do need to plan where you want to go and what you want to see. Walking around the city like we did checking out the street art in Valencia Spain is not an option and the street art is not as concentrated in the urban sprawl as, for example, in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Market Square Park
The so-called graffiti park in Houston is Market Square Park, located in the Historic District of Downtown Houston. Houston is so sprawling it actually has 10 different districts in its downtown area.
Houston Graffiti Building
When we went to the Houston Graffiti Building on a Saturday, there were a handful of photoshoots happening of Quinceanara girls and their entourages.
Quinceanara parties are birthday parties for girls turning 15 and are huge affairs in the Latin American communities of the USA. The fact that these dresses are gorgeous, the girls travel with entourages and have photo shoots should tell you something about what a big deal they are!
Lawndale Art Center
The Lawndale Art Center is a venue for local and regional art. It’s got a rotating mural on its facade. The current mural is an approximately 3000 s.f. trompe l’oeil by Francesca Fuchs of cathedral pillars.
Graffiti and Street Art Museum of Texas
When we visited, the opening of the Graffiti and Street Art Museum of Texas has been delayed thanks to the ravages of Hurricane Harvey. They do, however, suggest you check out their calendar for local events.
On the GSAM website you can also book guided Houston murals tours led by a street artist. It’s a 90 minute tour available on Sundays which we would have taken if we had been in Houston on a Sunday. We learned so much from our guided street art tour of Shoreditch that I definitely would recommend a guided street art tour if you have the opportunity.
Houston Street Art Locations
Street art is ephemeral by its very nature and what you see today may not be there tomorrow. You’re best bet to find Houston street art locations is to visit the neighbourhoods famous for Houston graffiti, namely the Washington Avenue Arts District and Downtown Houston’s assorted districts.
Check out the Mini Murals Houston website for small-scale murals that pop up randomly on electrical boxes in Houston adding an unexpected pop of color and vibrancy to the city. We saw something similar on the electric boxes in Cork Ireland. There’s a map on the site showing you location of these smaller pieces of Houston graffiti.
Wall murals tend to have more longevity. These Houston murals locations, moreover, have hit a degree of fame that they should stick around for the foreseeable future or alternatively, something else equally cool will have replaced the street art.
Here are some of the more famous Houston murals locations. I’ve tried to organise these Houston street art locations by zip code so that’s easier on your sat nav/GPS. Of course, you are driving there…it’s Houston.
- Houston is Inspired – 907 Preston St, Houston TX 77002
- Market Square Park – 301 Milam, Houston TX 77002
- Lawndale Art Center 4912 Main Street, Houston TX 77002
- Houston Graffiti Building – 1503 Chartres St, Houston TX 77003
- Let’s Preserve the Creation Mural – 2800 San Jacinto, Houston TX 77004
- Greetings From Houston Mural – 3601 White Oak Drive, Houston TX 77007
- Houston Zoo Mural – 2201 Washington Avenue, Houston 77007
Practicalities for Visiting Houston Wall Art
We stayed at the St. Regis Houston which is a great hotel but not that near downtown Houston. It was about a 40 minute drive to downtown.
We have friends who stayed at Hotel ZaZa which is in the Museum District and highly recommend it. I bet my kids thought if we stayed too close to all those museums, we’’d make them do nothing else. Anyway, the Hotel ZaZa is a pink giant block on the outside and theatrical glamour on the inside. Hotel Zaza Houston Museum District has gotten very good reviews on TripAdvisor as well. Hotel ZaZa’s location makes it a perfect location for a romantic getaway in Texas for city lovers.
We went to the original Ninfa’s (on 2704 Navigation Boulevard) which is famous for creating fajitas back in the 1970’s. My kids love their Mexican food and fajitas remain one of their favourite dishes of all time/cuisines. Of course, we had to do a pilgrimage to Ninfa’s and it was totally worth it! Check out the excellent reviews for Ninfa’s on Navigation on TripAdvisor.
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