Art makes the world go round.
Walking around a city and seeing its unique street art is one of the best ways to know what that place is all about. San Diegans are a diverse and wonderful group of people, and the city has many communities within. This is reflected in the art found in all our different neighborhoods. Thanks to social media, these works of art have been given a much bigger platform to express artists’ influential messages. These works can bring awareness to issues facing the community and shine a light on playful new perspectives of the city. And sometimes, it’s just to add bold splashes of color to breathe new life into an old block.
San Diego is packed to the brim with spectacular street art to explore. Here’s a list of 11 of the most beautiful and iconic murals you have to check out!
1. Smile, You’re In San Diego
Pandr Design Co. painted this bright and colorful mural in 2018 as part of a tourism campaign. This 1,100-square-foot mural is now one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city. After all, being in sunny San Diego is most definitely something to smile about!
Location: Downtown San Diego, 1st Avenue, and C Street
2. Frida at Artelexia
Artelexia is a vibrant retail shop specializing in unique Mexican gifts, art, home décor, and gourmet foods! This lovely Frida Kahlo mural is a must-see for all art enthusiasts! Artelexia also hosts cultural workshops & community events, as well as guided travel tours to Mexico. They also have another beautiful mural that you’ll see on this list!
Location: 7835 Ivanhoe Ave, San Diego
This minimalistic mural is a fantastic backdrop if you want your pictures to pop! This pretty in pink mural is a favorite for fashion bloggers or all of us who like to act like one! After you snap a picture, be sure to visit the shop Pigment, as it carries the same beautiful and simplistic aesthetic as the mural. You’ll see a wide range of items for your home, from furniture to plants to kitchen supplies!
Location: 3801 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
4. One Pointed Attention
This mural by Kelsey Brookes is a part of the Murals of La Jolla project and was painted in 2014. It’s a super trippy set of colorful pulsating concentric circles, meant to be “a two-dimensional representation of meditation.” One Pointed Attention is a psychedelic masterpiece that cannot be missed.
Location: 7835 Ivanhoe Ave, San Diego
5. SeaWalls: Artists for Oceans (Jet Martinez)
This gorgeous Hillcrest mural is part of the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project. The project started in 2016 to bring the oceans to the streets of San Diego in the form of over a dozen murals to educate and create awareness of environmental issues affecting our oceans. This particular mural, beautifully painted by Jet Martinez, emphasizes the importance of using local or wild flora to decorate your home, as many typical decorative flowers are grown using pesticides that damage reef systems.
Location: 3804 Fourth Avenue, San Diego
6. La Calors
La calors is a Barrio Logan masterpiece. It was painted by Paola Villaseñor, aka Panca, a San Diego/Tijuana artist currently working with The New Children’s Museum. Paola Villaseñor is known for her playful and impactful pieces. The mural is an ode to the neighborhood paleteros (ice cream vendors) and is done in a lighthearted and whimsical way that is bound to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Location: 1955 Julian Ave, San Diego
7. Greetings from San Diego
This mural is an absolute must. Big, bold lettering, bright colors, and iconic representations of San Diego life all in one piece! Why send a regular old postcard when you can be in it?
Location: 4223 30th Street, San Diego
Colossus is one of the most famous murals in Chicano Park, a seven-acre park that hosts about 80 unique works of public art. The Chicano Park project was started back in the early 70s by a group of muralists, one of which being the artist behind this mural, Mario Torero. Colossus is a larger-than-life mural depicting a man holding up the bridge, reminiscent of Atlas in Greek mythology, holding up the heavens on his back.
Location: National Ave & S Evans Street, San Diego
9. Crushing It
This gorgeous work of art is a collaboration mural by Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki. It features incredible colorful directional lighting in a dreamlike image of a woman holding a crushed car in a junkyard. Deep blues are accented by the pink neon ‘Crushing It’ sign, giving passersby some positive reinforcement on their daily commute.
Location: 1220 J Street, San Diego
10. In Time She Blooms
This fantastic mural in North Park was painted in 2019 by an artist named Kyra. Bright pink faces and purple flowers pop against a black background, with orange and sky blue splashes. It’s a striking piece of street art that you can’t miss!
Location: 3120 University, San Diego (in the alley)
11. You Are Radiant
This bright and colorful piece is located on the side of a fantastic and quirky Mexican gift shop Artelexia. With its positive message, this mural encourages San Diegans to shine their lights brightly. Plus, the eye-catching vibrant colors are enough to brighten anyone’s day!
Location: 3803 Ray Street, San Diego
12. Favorite Color
This mural was painted in 2010 by Roy McMakin. The artist was interested in the emotions around color preference and how favorite colors play into our identities. McMakin literally asked people their favorite colors, painting one square for each person who came to participate. It’s a simple, beautiful, and vibrant snapshot of the community. So, which color is your favorite?
Location: 7596 Eads Avenue, La Jolla
13. Love Your H2O
This fantastic mural was made by artist Gloria Muriel, or “Glow,” her artistic name. Muriel is originally from Mexico City and now lives in San Diego. She has focused and drawn inspiration from the divine feminine throughout her career with a surreal and whimsical twist. Over the years, Gloria has accomplished numerous murals and collaborations throughout the US and Mexico. A lot of her art runs throughout the city. “Love your H2O” is one dreamy and beautiful work of art!
Location: 4406 Park Blvd
See also: This Beautiful Park In The Heart Of Barrio Logan Celebrates SanDiego’ss Vibrant Chicano Culture
[Featured image: Instagram/@removickatarina