Philadelphia is known as the “City of Murals” for a good reason – the city boasts over 3,000 murals, making it the largest public art program in the nation. From vibrant mosaics to inspiring social justice messages, we’ve put together a guide to the best murals in the city.
Legacy – is one of the best murals
The mural “Legacy” by renowned artist Ernel Martinez stands as a potent homage to the city’s profound history and cultural contributions. Martinez masterfully captures Philadelphia’s layered past and spirit.
Iconic figures such as Benjamin Franklin and Marian Anderson emerge alongside lesser-known pioneers like Octavius Catto and Lucretia Mott, who sacrificed all in the fight for justice and equity. Together they represent Philadelphia as an incubator of vision and platform of possibility against the greatest of odds.
Benjamin Franklin, statesman, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, and polymath whose revolutionary ideals and diplomacy secured independence and shaped a nation. Marian Anderson, contralto of unequivocal talent whose defiant performance before segregation’s bastion voiced awakening conscience.
Octavius Catto, leader in the campaign for black suffrage and equal rights, whose death at just 34 marked a pivotal moment of martyrdom in the struggle. And Lucretia Mott, Quaker minister and abolitionist, who stood at Seneca Falls as voice for women’s claim to rights and dignity.
Each figure looms as a guardian of freedom, their battles and triumphs paving the road still walked today. Together they represent Philadelphia as fertile soil wherein courage and vision took root and blossomed into history.
With a style fusing realism and symbolism, Martinez crafts a poetic tribute to the visionaries who secured the city’s democratic spirit against the greatest of forces arrayed against it. In “Legacy,” he brings vivid and moving form to stories that built this place and people, purpose and pride.
This landmark work powerfully captures Philadelphia as a cradle of change, awakening and progress against all odds. More than mere art, it inspires; a testament in vivid form to courage, conviction and the eternal human drive to realize impossible dreams of freedom, equality and justice for all.
Philadelphia’s walls now shine with a living, breathing monument to vision, defiance and the victories of countless whose names now echo as legend. “Legacy” stands as a peoples’ shrine to shared stories of struggle, and hard-won triumph against the darkest of forces.
Martinez’ masterwork adds light and power as a call to remember; to know ourselves as heirs to courage and conviction strong enough to shake history. Here, art triumphs in giving voice and form to the city’s deepest roots and brightest hopes. A celebration of origins and destiny, “Legacy” awakens pride in a story of purpose that isPhiladelphia’s alone to tell.
707 Chestnut Street
January 01, 2016
This magnificent mural, positioned at 13th and Locust, honors the city’s thriving arts institution and cultural legacy.
Created by renowned artist Meg Saligman, “Philadelphia Muses” showcases likenesses of impactful artists and performers including Marian Anderson, John Coltrane, and Grace Kelly.
The mural stands as a tribute to the city’s ingenuity and artistic zeitgeist.
Capturing Philadelphia’s dynamic arts scene and place in history, it commemorates creatives whose innovations reverberate still.
Marian Anderson, iconic contralto renowned for her vocal range and civil rights activism. John Coltrane, jazz saxophonist and composer central to the development of avant-garde, modal, and free jazz. Grace Kelly, actress and Princess of Monaco, who brought Hollywood glamour and poise to the royal court.
Each portrait presents a luminary who shaped culture, expanded minds, and nourished the souls of a city. Together they represent Philadelphia as a birthplace of revolutionary talent and progressive spirit.
Famed for her large-scale, colorful murals depicting women’s stories, Meg Saligman brings her signature style and vision here. In “Philadelphia Muses,” she crafts a vibrant tribute to three figures who employed their gifts to awaken change and activate change-makers.
This architectural landmark and celebration of creativity recall Philadelphia’s heritage as an incubator of genius and platforms for possibility. More than a visual feat, the mural inspires—a tribute in vivid form to visionaries who built the foundations of a city’s soul.
Philadelphia’s walls now bear living, breathing testimony to innovation and the journey of awakening. “Philadelphia Muses” stands as a peoples’ shrine to inspiration unearthed and shared.
&, S 13th St & Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
June 01, 1999
How to Turn Anything Into Something Else
This vibrant and whimsical mural, situated at 13th and Sansom, poeticizes the city’s thriving street art culture. Created by renowned artist MOMO, the mural comprises abstract forms and motifs that appear to leap and gyre across the wall.
The mural is a must-see for all seeking to tap into Philadelphia’s innovative spirit.
MOMO, known for vibrant, playful murals fusing geometry and whimsy, breathtakingly showcases her signature style here. Intersecting lines, shapes and hues converge in a rhythmic, almost kinetic fashion.
Reds, yellows, greens and blues combine in a colorful, carnival-like atmosphere. The composition seems to move, as if alive, blurring boundaries between art and movement. Yet a sense of balance and intentionality pervades, highlighting MOMO’s masterful control.
Overtly joyful and imaginative, the mural reflects the irreverent, rebellious spirit of Philadelphia’s flourishing street art scene. It invites all to rediscover wonder and possibility through art.
With fantastical, surreal forms emerging and evolving across the wall, the mural offers a portal into imaginative realms away from everyday life. Here, delight and imagination run riot, celebrating Philadelphia as a wellspring of creative energy and visual innovation.
MOMO’s vibrant mural is a burst of color and joy, an explosion of creative potential set against the urban canvas. At once a vivid vision, playground of possibility and love letter to Philadelphia, this architectural landmark breathtakingly showcases the city’s rebellious and visionary spirit.
Here, art triumphs in bringing people, place and potential together. A magical, moving mural that stirs imagination and expands the soul.
Philadelphia’s streets now shine with living, breathing monuments to vision and the power of art to transform lives. MOMO’s whimsical masterwork adds to this light, as a peoples’ reminder of creative hope and radical wonder.
&, S 13th St & Locust St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
June 01, 1999
Pride and Progress
This powerful mural, located at Broad and Spring Garden, celebrates the city’s LGBTQ+ community and the fight for equality. Created by artist Michelle Angela Ortiz, “Pride and Progress” features portraits of LGBTQ+ activists and community leaders, as well as messages of hope and empowerment. The mural is a testament to Philly’s commitment to social justice and progress.
This monumental mural, situated at Broad and Spring Garden, glorifies the city’s LGBTQ+ collective and the struggle for equity.
Created by renowned artist Michelle Angela Ortiz, “Pride and Progress” oversees likenesses of LGBTQ+ advocates and community pillars, along with declarations of determination and capability.
The mural stands as evidence of Philadelphia’s devotion to social righteousness and progression.
Capturing the city’s LGBTQ+ activism and journey toward change, it commemorates trailblazers whose courage and commitment transform lives still.
Each portrait presents a revolutionary who risked all to expand freedom’s reach, dismantle oppression and safeguard dignity. Together they represent Philadelphia as a birthplace of resistance and a platform for possibility against all odds.
Political leaders and grassroots organizers alike, their battles and triumphs paved the way for future victories. Messages of hope, empowerment and perseverance affirm the strength of a movement that awakens change through defiance in the face of adversity.
Famed for empowering murals celebrating identity, diversity and courage, Michelle Angela Ortiz brings her vision here. In “Pride and Progress,” she crafts a vivid tribute to the pioneers who mobilized a city around justice, equality and liberation.
This landmark vividly captures Philadelphia’s history as a staging ground for change. More than visual art, it inspires—a homage in vivid form to visionaries who secured the foundations of freedom.
Philadelphia’s walls now bear living, breathing testament to the justice and awakening that shaped her spirit. “Pride and Progress” stands as a peoples’ shrine to courage embodied and shared.
Mural and message alike emanate power, as cries for equality and platforms of progress. A reminder of victories won through vision, defiant voices and relentless fight. Philadelphia’s pride and progress here find monumental form, a celebration of collective story and journey toward justice for all.
1315 Spruce Street
May 16, 2003
This lively and vibrant mural, situated at 5th and South, glorifies the city’s diverse collectives and cultural legacy.
Created by renowned artist David Guinn, “Colorful Legacy” oversees a vibrant medley of icons and symbols spanning Philadelphia’s history and spirit.
From the Liberty Bell to the Rocky statue, Guinn brilliantly captures the essence of a city woven through with stories of struggle and triumph, diversity and unity alike. The mural stands as evidence of Philadelphia’s diversity, and world within world where tales of many become one.
Each motif represents a new immigrant group, social movement or cherished tradition that shaped the city’s vibrant and complex tapestry. Together they showcase Philadelphia as a crucible of cultures, where uniqueness finds expression within a shared experience of human journey.
Passionate celebration and poetic remembrance prevail, honoring all who built this storied place of freedom and opportunity. Images dance across the wall, interconnected lives and memories emerging as one, as Guinn masterfully fuses Philadelphia’s layers of history into a colorful whole.
With a vibrant and whimsical style, David Guinn brings artistic voice to stories that collectively build the city’s spirit. In “Colorful Legacy,” he crafts a vivid and joyous ode to diversity that triumphs as truth.
This landmark work is a swirling vision of Philadelphia as she was, and is; pluralist and resplendent, forever emerging from the convergence of many into one. More than visual art, it inspires – a love letter to the city as a platform of possibility where all can belong, and be.
Philadelphia’s walls now shine with a living, breathing celebration of diversity as destiny. “Colorful Legacy” stands as a peoples’ monument to shared experience, resilience and the timeless human drive to build community.
A tapestry of vibrant lives and open hearts, Guinn’s masterwork adds light and wonder as a reminder of the city that dares to dream impossible dreams together. Here, art triumphs in bringing diverse threads into a cohesive and poetic whole: a vibrant anthem of unity amidst difference.
Philadelphia’s spirit awakens anew within these walls, as a symphony of voices both ancient and new. Guinn’s colorful and joyous vision sets the city’s heart and soul to singing: a place of freedom where all may belong.
4008 Chestnut Street
November 16, 2015
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In conclusion, Philly’s murals are a testament to the city’s creativity, diversity, and commitment to social justice. Whether you’re interested in street art, cultural heritage, or social activism, these murals offer something for everyone. So, take a mural walking tour or check out the murals directory to discover Philly’s hidden gems. And don’t forget to snap a photo – these murals are sure to be Instagram-worthy!