Murals can offer city dwellers bold social commentary, emotional resonance or an encounter with far-fetch fantasy or wonderful whimsy. Thankfully, the Puget Sound is home to a vast number of mural works, the majority of which are created by local artists. Imagine being able to see 51 murals by 64 artists in one two mile stretch? You can in Seattle all along the SODO Track. Or, want to inspire kids to work for social change? Introduce them to the mural of Martin Luther Kind, Jr. on Cherry Street in Seattle.
Make it a full day of hunting down murals and interesting street art in the region, perhaps starting with these five locations (four in Seattle, one in Woodinville) where you’ll find incredible large-scale murals. For tracking down arts in Seattle, consider making “public” the focus of the whole day and not just the art: Use public transit to travel between locations. Students ride free on all public transit in the region.
The original Henry
Murals signed by “Henry” (artist Ryan Henry Ward) are colorful and cheerful displays of fantastical characters sure to make kids smile. Find the signature Henry Sasquatch mural (one among many) in Ballard, outside Cookie’s Country Chicken. (1744 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 98107)
Hop on a train, bus, or bike — or walk — to see some of the more than 50 different murals along SODO Track, a two-mile transit corridor that doubles as an urban art gallery. SODO Track spans 5th Ave. S. between Royal Brougham Way and Spokane Street. To find out what transit to catch and what you’ll see, go to sodotrack.com.
Stevie Shao creatures
Stop at Crossroads Trading in the University District to find the snakes and serpent-like creatures created by artist Stevie Shao. (University Way NE and NE 43rd Street).
Martin Luther King, Jr.
An iconic emblem of peace, the Martin Luther King Jr. mural at 2726 E Cherry St. was painted 27 years ago by James Crespinal and restored in 2022. It carries this message: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
There’s a new mural on the walls of Big Fish Grill, facing Woodinville’s DeYoung Park. Here artist Will Schlough captures iconic elements that represent the city of Woodinville and its people.
Resources for finding more street art and murals
Several bloggers and organizations have mapped out the region’s street art and commissioned murals. To continue your art hunt, check out these lists:
- Murals and Street Art (MASA) blog
- Do206’s Your Guide to Seattle Public Art
- Seattle Urban Art Tour: Travel by foot and streetcar to examine tremendously varied street art, from graffiti, tags, and “sticker bombs” to elaborate spray paint, brush work, and stencil pieces
- Seatoday’s list of 17 murals around Seattle