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Marvelous Mural Mania in South Austin: Find All 32!

Marvelous Mural Mania in South Austin: Find All 32!


avatar   Stacy
Trip Date 03/17/2020
Posted On 03/30/2020 16:30:00

Destinations | Texas | Austin | South Austin | Murals | Street Art | Self-Guided Tour | Driving Tour | Walking Tour | Instagram Shots | South Congress | South First | South Lamar



When the weather is nice and there are no mandatory shelter-in-place orders, it's so fun to get out and see the world - even when it means exploring your home town. Scott and I have been talking about doing a self-guided tour to see the murals in Austin for years. Since we were local, we did just that on our recent wedding anniversary ... and we had a blast!

We made a list of street art locations that we'd heard about through the years and off we went. We started our driving tour in South Austin with plans to make our way back towards our home. After over four hours of searching South Congress, South First and South Lamar for our favorites, we called it a day - mainly because of the rain starting to fall. We can't wait to get back out and about to finish our mural search in Downtown and North Austin!

If you have plans to spend some time in the capital city of Texas, don't miss the opportunity to do a combination driving and walking tour in search of your favorite murals. This guide will give you a great starting point with more than 32 of our favorites. There's plenty of opportunity for some awesome Instagram shots!

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History of Murals in Austin

There were murals in Austin even before I moved to the city at the beginning of the 1981 fall semester to attend school at The University of Texas. I still remember those that I passed on my walk from my dorm, The Castilian, to campus. (Those that still remain, plus the newly added murals, will be in our upcoming article featuring our favorite central and north Austin murals.)

Other than a few more murals and some graffiti primarily in south and east Austin, it wasn't until the latter years of the 20th century that street art started gaining in popularity. A combination of the population boom plus an interest in using the art form as advertising led to more murals popping up around the city.


"atx" - Dedicated with Love to the People of Austin from Whole Foods Market

"atx" - Dedicated with Love to the People of Austin from Whole Foods Market

While the murals are free to see and fun to both find and photograph, there are some downsides. For unknown reasons, some people feel compelled to vandalize murals causing more expense to repair or replace the art. Then, there's the extra traffic and street congestion. Walkers block traffic while posing for the perfect Instagram shot and then move without being aware of nearby moving vehicles. Passengers try to capture a perfect image in slow moving cars which cause traffic jams. Or, worse, drivers try to take a photo while at the wheel!

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Why South Austin?

Did you know that, in years gone by, there was a pretty big rivalry between those who lived north and south of the river? Yes, that's right! I can even remember the late 1980's when the South Austin "Bubbas" and the North Austin "Yuppies" faced off in a tug-of-war.

What is known today as Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) is actually a reservoir formed with the construction of a dam in the Colorado River. The river was the north / south dividing line and residents from each side signed up to "pull". The winner was the team who could pull their opposition into the river. If my memory serves me correctly, the Bubbas won every year!

While there is no longer animosity between the two sides of the city, there are still some locals who rarely travel to the other side. Today, the reason for staying put is more likely do to the city's growth. I, for one, have always lived in north Austin or in a nearby suburb. Rarely do I venture to "the other side", but only because I don't need to. Just about everything that I want or need can be found near me. Crossing into south Austin for our Mural Mania was a big treat!

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With all of that background in mind, here's a route that will take you past 32 of the most magnificent murals to be found in South Austin. Please do remember to be safe - it's always best to find a parking place where you can safely stop and get out of your vehicle for an up close look, pose and all of the photos that you want. Always watch for oncoming traffic and cross streets at crosswalks whenever possible!

2 Murals along Riverside Drive

By making the Colorado River the dividing line for our route, we didn't want to omit one mural that we found south of the river and east of IH-35. (More east Austin murals will be included in our upcoming favorites that are located north of the river!)

1. "Puppy Love"

2015 E. Riverside Dr. (@ Mud Puppies)

Puppy Love is located less than one mile east of the intersection of IH-35 and Riverside.


Puppy Love

Puppy Love

Mud Puppies

Mud Puppies

2. "You make my Heart Sing"

301 W. Riverside Dr. (@ the former location of Threadgill's)

Retracing your route along the same road will take you back to the highway. Continue about one mile west to find You make my Heart Sing.


You make my Heart Sing

You make my Heart Sing

We're not sure what the future holds for this mural as this location of the restaurant, Threadgill's, has been closed since December 2018. During our tour, getting a good photo was tricky due to the "no trespassing" tape around the nearby parking area.

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18 Murals along (and near) South Congress Avenue

We chose 18 of our favorites along South Congress Avenue, but if you dedicate some time to explore, there are plenty more to be discovered!

3. "Gateway to South Congress"

400 S. Congress Ave. (@ Riverside Chevron)

Located at the intersection that you just passed (Riverside and South Congress), you can't miss the mural that is a tribute to the city of Austin. Featuring the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue, the state Capital, the South Congress Bridge bats, the UT Tower and the Colorado River (plus the Chevron), the mural is titled Gateway to South Congress.


Gateway to South Congress

Gateway to South Congress

Beginning less than 1/2 mile down South Congress, there are quite a few murals all within walking distance of one another. We recommend finding a place to park and getting out and walking. Of our favorites, there are 7 murals on the side of the street with even numbered addresses and 8 on the opposite side (plus another within walking distance on an intersecting street). Pick your side and follow along below. For your return walk, cross over to the other side so that you can catch those that you missed.

4. "i love you so much."

1300 S. Congress Ave. (@ Jo's Hot Coffee Good Food)


i love you so much.

i love you so much.

According to a YouTube interview with Amy Cook, co-owner of Jo's, she admitted that she spray painted the love letter to her partner Liz Lambert. The two of them had seen a similar message while traveling together in New York. Following a tough day, she wanted to make sure that her feelings were known. She had no idea how popular the message would be with both passers by and those specifically in search of the mural.

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5. "Rockin' South"

1315 S. Congress Ave. (@ The Continental Club)

You have to look up to see Rockin' South, and the best view is from across the street!


Rockin' South

Rockin' South

6. "we are one"

1401 S. Congress Ave. (in courtyard behind TOMS)

You can access the courtyard location of we are one off of Gibson Street. Be sure to check out the metal storage building in the courtyard as well. During our visit it was decked out with "What do you stand for?".


we are one

we are one

What do you stand for?

What do you stand for?

7. "Eat Pizza" and More

1415 S. Congress Ave. (@ Home Slice Pizza)


Eat Pizza

Eat Pizza

Don't miss a walk all around this building ... there's loads of murals to discover!

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8. "Won't you be my Neighbor?"

1421 S. Congress Ave. (@ More Home Slice Pizza)


Won't you be my Neighbor?

Won't you be my Neighbor?

9. "Willie for President"

1423 S. Congress Ave. (@ Stag Provisions)


Willie for President

Willie for President

Unveiled just before the SXSW Festival in 2016, the mural was designed with the hopes of making people laugh during what became a very memorable election season.

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10. "Before I die . . ."

206 E. Elizabeth St. (@ Residential Storage Shed)

When you are walking along the sidewalk of the odd numbered side of South Congress, take a short detour down East Elizabeth. (It's at this intersection where you'll also find the popular Hey Cupcake! trailer.) The storage shed located outside of a personal residence is where you'll find Before I die . . .. Although partially blocked by foliage during our stop, the mural could still be seen.


Before I die . . .

Before I die . . .

11. "SMILE!"

1511 S. Congress Ave. (behind Hey Cupcake)

The SMILE mural actually faces East Elizabeth as well. It's on the opposite side of the street and located between "Willie for President" and "Before I Die . . .".


SMILE! even if you don't want to

SMILE! even if you don't want to

12. "Don't Dream It - Be It!"

1506 S. Congress Ave. (@ Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds)

When you are looking up at the mural above the retail store, you'll also see Carmen Zebra-Jones, the roof-top zebra dressed like Carmen Miranda!


Don't Dream It - Be It

Don't Dream It - Be It

13. "Blow Your Mind!"

1606 / 1604 S. Congress Ave. (between Triple Z Threadz and Limbo Jewelry Design)


Blow Your Mind!

Blow Your Mind!

14. "La Dolce Vita"

1610 S. Congress Ave. (@ Enoteca Vespaio)

The three part La Dolce Vita mural is a perfect backdrop for those dining al fresco!


La Dolce Vita, Part 1

La Dolce Vita, Part 1

La Dolce Vita, Part 2

La Dolce Vita, Part 2

La Dolce Vita, Part 3

La Dolce Vita, Part 3

15. "Horse Hotel"

1700 S. Congress Ave. (@ Mi Casa Gallery)


Horse Hotel

Horse Hotel

16. "love you, austin"

1701 S. Congress Ave. (@ Kendra Scott)

love you, austin is on the side of the building facing East Milton Street.


love you, austin

love you, austin

17. "South Congress"

1800 S. Congress Ave. (@ Hudson Meat Market)


South Congress

South Congress

18. "SMPTE Color Bars" and "Bison"

1902 S. Congress Ave. (@ Bird's Barbershop)


SMPTE Color Bars

SMPTE Color Bars

Bison

Bison

After getting your perfect photos, the parking lot of Bird's Barbershop is a great place to turn around and head back towards your car. If you haven't already, make sure to cross to the opposite side of South Congress so you don't miss the rest of the fun murals!

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19. "Austin's Finest"

2701 S. Congress Ave. (@ CubeSmart)

Continue via car up South Congress for about 3/4 of a mile past Bird's Barbershop, the southernmost mural up to this point.


Austin's Finest

Austin's Finest

20. "H-E-B & Austin, Texas"

2400 S. Congress Ave. (@ H-E-B)

At this point, retrace your route less than 1/4 mile back to the large parking lot at the intersection of South Congress and Oltorf. There's at least two awesome murals on the outside walls of the grocery store. Make sure to see the H-E-B & Austin, Texas mural on the side of the building facing South Congress as well as the one on the Curbside Pick-up building.


H-E-B & Austin, Texas

H-E-B & Austin, Texas

H-E-B Curbside Pick-up

H-E-B Curbside Pick-up

Rumor has it that, in the not too distant future, a new store will be replacing this one with even more art!

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2 Murals along West Oltorf Street

After leaving the H-E-B parking lot, head west on Oltorf where your next stop is just under 3/4 of a mile away.

21. "Time is Too Short"

915 W. Oltorf St. (@ Sunrise Mini Mart)

You'll find Time is Too Short on the side of the convenience store at the intersection with South 5th.


Time is Too Short

Time is Too Short

22. "Coffee"

516 W. Oltorf St. (@ Starbucks)

Heading back in the direction you traveled, your next stop is less than 1/2 mile away at the intersection with South First.

Look closely to count how many cups of coffee you can find!


Coffee

Coffee

5 Murals along South First Street

From Starbucks, you'll be heading north on South First to see the next five murals, all within 1/2 mile of one another.

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23. "God Bless Texas"

2313 S. 1st St. (@ H. A. Guerrero Carpet Cleaners)

The first stop on South First is immediately next door to your last stop.


God Bless Texas

God Bless Texas

24. "Austin"

2216 S. 1st St. (@ Jimmy's Top Tech Austin)


Austin

Austin

25. "Greetings from Austin"

1720 S. 1st St. (@ Roadhouse Relics)

Immediately past the intersection of West Annie is one of the most well known murals within the city.


Greetings from Austin

Greetings from Austin

26. "Case of the Mondays!"

1603 S. 1st St. (@ Criquet Shirts)


Case of the Mondays!

Case of the Mondays!

27. "Texas Custom Boots"

1601 S. 1st St. (@ Texas Custom Boots)


Texas Custom Boots

Texas Custom Boots

5 Murals along South Lamar Boulevard

The final five murals are all on South Lamar which is just under 3/4 of a mile west of South First.

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28. "I Love Austin" & "Fence Quote"

1621 S. Lamar Blvd. (@ Austin Simply Fit)

Make sure to check out both sides of the fence!


I Love Austin

I Love Austin

Fence Quote

Fence Quote

29. "Singing Legends"

1601 S. Lamar Blvd. (@ Lydian Dental)

Look very closely at these three Singing Legends - they are all in the midst of brushing their teeth!


Singing Legends

Singing Legends

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan

30. "Seas the Day"

800 S. Lamar Blvd. (across Lamar from Windsor South Lamar Apartments)

Seas the Day is located on the retaining wall on the west side of Lamar.


Seas the Day

Seas the Day

31. "Animal Constellation"

608 S. Lamar Blvd. (@ building previously housing a Smoke Shop)

As you face the building, Animal Constellation is on the right side of the building, likely partially blocked by dumpsters!


Animal Constellation

Animal Constellation

32. "Austin Original"

218 S. Lamar Blvd. (@ Schlotzsky's)

Did you know that the first location of Schlotzsky's, the restaurant chain now found in almost 3/4 of the U.S. states, was in Austin?


Austin Original

Austin Original

If you had the patience to stay with us through the end, you've now seen at least 32 of the best murals in south Austin!

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East Austin Murals

Don't miss our route that will take you past the best of the East Austin Murals. Just like in this article, we'll provide photos along with the addresses and nearby landmarks making them as easy to find as possible!

Favorite Murals in South Austin

What are your favorite South Austin murals? Did we include them on our list? If not, where are they located?




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Marvelous Mural Mania in South Austin: Find All 32!







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