You don’t have to go gallery-hopping to get your art fix in Austin. Some of the city’s best — and certainly most inventive — pieces of art aren’t housed inside walls. Instead, colorful murals created by talented local and international artists brighten and add distinct flavor to the city’s streets and alleyways.
Here are nine of our favorite spots to admire the creative works that make up Austin’s best street art.
Greetings from Austin Mural, S 1st and Annie St
This mural, modeled after a vintage-style postcard, is pretty much the image associated with Austin. Painted on the side of Roadhouse Relics, it was originally created in 1998 (and restored to its former glory in 2013), and now draws hundreds of tourists and locals alike each day. That’s because this iconic mural is a mandatory Instagram stop for Austin visitors.
Welcome to Historic Sixth Street Mural, 6th St
Similar to the Greetings from Austin mural, this colorful mural just begs for a souvenir photo — especially if you’re a typography nerd, as its text is written in a range of type faces. The staff at Sanctuary Printshop designed, painted and paid for the mural in order to celebrate Austin as the live music capital of the world.
HOPE Outdoor Gallery, 1101 Baylor St
Launched in 2011 with a little help from renowned street artist Shepard Fairey, the HOPE Gallery is the only one of its kind in the U.S. The community paint park is managed by a nonprofit that offers graffiti artists and muralists a public place to express themselves. New artists make their mark regularly, so the project is always evolving.
Willie Nelson Mural, E Seventh St at Neches St
One of the newest additions to Austin’s street art scene, this vibrant mural at the corner of Seventh Street and Neches measures 60 by 20 feet. Local artist and musician Wiley Ross painted the piece, which he hopes will inspire the local community.
Hotel Indigo Murals, 810 Red River St
Around the corner from Willie, the recently opened Hotel Indigo Austin Downtown – University is peppered with murals. From the street, check out the purple-hued wall panels painted by locally based Show Goat Mural Works. The artistry continues in the hotel’s interior.
Hi, How Are You Mural, 21st St and Guadalupe
Created by local artist and musician Daniel Johnston in 1993, this simple piece features a frog-like creature known as Jeremiah the Innocent beneath the words “Hi, How Are You.” It’s hard not to smile when you see the unassuming mural, which has become a landmark on the corner of 21st Street and Guadalupe.
You’re My Butter Half, 2000 E MLK Blvd
Lovebirds love to pose in front of this kitschy-sweet mural — which features a slice of bread, melting butter and a heart — on the United Way for Greater Austin building at 2000 East MLK Boulevard. Design firm Creative Suitcase painted it in 2012.
I Love You So Much, S Congress Ave
Who knew something so simple would resonate so strongly with people? This wildly popular mural — featuring the phrase “I love you so much” — on the side of Jo’s Coffee on South Congress Avenue was originally painted by Austin musician Amy Cook in tribute to her then-girlfriend, who worked at Jo’s. It’s been the site of countless engagement shoots over the years. Sadly, it’s also been defaced a few times, but it’s always quickly restored — because love always wins.
The New Austin Mural, S Congress Ave
Recently completed on a mural-heavy strip of South Congress Avenue, this imaginative piece depicts everything Austin is known and loved for, from its food trucks and bats to South by Southwest — and even other murals. Located on the side of South Congress Books, the mural was commissioned by Texas Monthly magazine for a cover story on “The New Austin.” They recruited Brooklyn illustrator Aaron Meshon to sketch the piece, and Austin artist Mike Johnston did the actual painting.