San Francisco is a city of historical treasures, icons, museums, galleries and beautiful street art. In the 1970s, artists began painting the sides of buildings and doors, reflecting social, political and community themes. There are over 600 colourful murals throughout the city and the Mission District holds most of them. You can’t appreciate the city’s art scene until you tour through the murals of San Francisco‘s Mission District.
Begin at Precita Eyes Murals Arts and Visitors centre—The Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors centre began as a way to sponsor and implement the ongoing mural projects throughout the Bay Area. Aside from maintaining and creating some of the Mission murals, the Precita Eyes Mural Arts centre also puts on several different tours of San Francisco’s murals. With a commitment to making artwork accessible, you can either go on a tour of the murals or pick up a map for sale on the area’s most notable creations and take your own tour. Either way, this is definitely the first stop for art fans arriving on flights to San Francisco. Precita Eyes Murals Arts and Visitors centre sits on 2981 24th Street at Harrison.
A Little Balmy Alley—The most famous of the Mission District’s murals can be found on Balmy Alley, just off of 24th Street. Balmy Alley hosts the most concentrated collection of murals in the city, today spanning a number of styles and subjects. However, this stretch of the Mission began with mostly Latino and South American murals. With new murals constantly added, there is always something to see or some new detail to notice.
More colour on Clarion Alley—In between Valencia and Mission Streets and 17th and 18th Streets, Clarion Alley should be your next stop on a Mission mural walk. Most of the murals are part of the Clarion Alley Mural Project, established in 1992. Inspired by the murals on Balmy Alley, the murals of Clarion Alley take on more broad styles and subject matters with a focus on social inclusiveness and aesthetic variety. The Project has produced 150 murals on Clarion Alley along with playing host to the annual Block Party, an event showcasing new murals, music, film and more.
Explore your feminine side at the Women’s Building—Both men and women can appreciate the mural on the Women’s Building at 3543 18th Street. The four-story mural is the creation of seven women artists, titled, “Women’s Wisdom Through Time”. Often called Maestrapeace, the mural is intended to showcase feminine independence and might.
Ditch the car and use your feet—One of the best ways to see the murals of San Francisco’s Mission District is on foot. In the morning or afternoon, set out with some comfortable shoes and get walking. You can fully appreciate the details of each social political narrative when you can control the starting and stopping without obstructing traffic.
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.