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A map of 22 of Seattle’s most iconic murals and the stories behind them

Our city is full of amazing murals that most of us pass by every day. We’ve started compiling a map that shows where our city’s coolest, most artistic murals are located, and we’ve included a little bit of info about each below. 

Now we need your help adding more. What’s a mural that you always find yourself admiring in the city? Take a photo of it, tell us why you love it and send it to [email protected]. We’ll add it to our map and share the photo with a bit of history about it too.

Here’s what we have so far:

1. SoDo Track

(📸: wiredforlego / Flickr)

Ever hop on the light rail after a Mariners game and notice a bunch of murals whizzing by? You’re most likely passing the SoDo Track, a two-mile stretch of murals in our city’s industrial district. More than 50 local, national, and international artists designed and painted 29 murals on the sides of businesses during the summers 2016 and 2017. This is a slice of “Terrestrial Melody,” a collaboration between Canadian muralist Ola Volo and Portland painter David Rice. “Always on the move, these creatures must be proactive in their pursuit for progress,” the artists said.

2. The Whale Wins

(📸: Ken Christensen)

Seattle chef Renee Erickson has a collective of restaurants, cafés, and bars called Sea Creatures — and the mural outside her third spot, Fremont’s The Whale Wins, is perfectly on-theme. Local illustrator and tattoo artist Kyler Martz drew up this pod of nautical chimeras by projecting his drawings onto a wall back in 2013.

3. “Sunlight Over First Hill”

(📸: First Hill Improvement Association)

More than 3,000 Seattleites voted for Seattle University alum Nathan Watkins‘ design for these murals for 72 pillars beneath I-5. The project was completed over a whopping 1,000 hours with help from local volunteers and Urban Artworks.

4. Sloop Tavern

(📸: Anika Anand)

The Sloop Tavern first opened as a hub for shipyard and machine shop workers in the early 1950s “when liquor laws were colored blue and there were only three beers on tap.” In the 1970s, the tavern became the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club. Idaho artist Tom Teitge painted the Sloop mural in in 1978.

5. Richmark Label

(📸: Ana Sofia Knauf)

Richmark Label, a label-printing company, has one of the most vibrant buildings in Capitol Hill. Nevada-based artist Erik T. Burke and youth artists from Urban Artworks painted the building in 2015 with just one rule: No horizontal lines.

6. “Beacon Sunset”

(📸: Ana Sofia Knauf)

“Beacon Sunset,” painted by South Seattle artist Jake Millett earlier this year, is tucked away in a small alleyway in the heart of Beacon Hill. Like a real sunset, this mural peeks out over the rooftops near the neighborhood library. Jake described his work as an “abstracted vision of looking out at the Olympic Mountains and seeing a beautiful sunset from Beacon Hill.”

7. West Seattle ferries

(📸: javacolleen / Flickr)

This mural recalls the first steam-powered boats that ferried West Seattleites over the Puget Sound to downtown between 1888 and 1921. Each run was about eight minutes, according to the West Seattle Blog.

8. Golden Oldies

(📸: Ken Christensen)

Artist David Heck painted this tribute to The Beatles’ Abbey Road on the side of Wallingford’s Golden Oldies record store in 2012.

9. Iron Bull, formerly Goldies

(📸: Ken Christensen)

Five blocks north of his Golden Oldies mural, Joey Nix also painted this ode to the Chicago Bears’ Walter Payton, Seattle Mariners’ Ken Griffey Jr., the Seattle Supersonics’ Shawn Kemp, the Seahawks’ Steve Largent, and the Sounders’ Kasey Keller. See Joey painting ’em up here.

10. “Ribbon”

(📸: Will Schlough)

This building, which is owned by the Washington State Convention Center, has sat empty since 2016. Artist Will Schlough set out to beautify this Belltown corner with a flock of goldfinches, our state bird, “wrapping (or unwrapping?) a unique building.” If you’ve ever been slammed in downtown rush hour traffic, count yourself lucky if you’re stuck near here.

11. “Trades of the Duwamish”

(📸: Nicole Dansereau)

This temporary mural, which Katherine Chilcote painted this spring, showcases the Duwamish tribe’s trades, including fishing, canning, and longshoring. It’s intended to evoke “feelings of both of the past and future” while looking out over the Puget Sound. “The circles are designed to be moved and reinstalled when the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down,” The Seattle Times reports. Watch the mural being painted here.

(Thanks to reader Nicole Dansereau for the recommendation!)

12. View Park

 

(📸: Clare McLean)

This mural outside Harborview Medical Center in View Park was designed by Seattle artist Kristen Ramirez and painted by the hospital’s doctors, patients, staff, and visitors in 2014. See the painters at work in this photo essay.

(Thanks to reader McKenna Princing for the recommendation!)

13. “Awaken”

(📸: David Bestock)

Between 2013 and 2014, Delridge youth collaborated with professional artists to create “Awaken” at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a mural honoring “the rich history of the Delridge area, and [celebrating] the bright future being created as a community.” Read more about the project here.

(Thanks to reader Shana Bestock for the rec!)

14. North Helpline

(📸: Kelly Brown)

Lake City students part of the Lake City Leaders program worked together in 2017 to paint this mural outside North Helpline food bank and emergency service center so clients can “feel the colorful warmth of the mural designed by and brought to life by the youth group.” The mural features a house with “home” written on its roof in 24 languages “to show the importance of being inclusive and how everyone should feel at home here.” Meet some of the student artists here.

(Thanks to reader Kelly Brown for the recommendation!)

15. “Suki”

Philadelphia artist Yis “Nosego” Goodwin painted the side of Rejuvenation Seattle in collaboration with the Seattle Mural Project in 2014. See Nosego in action here.

(Thanks to reader Holly Shull Vogel for the recommendation!)

16. Sasquatch

(📸: Aster Max)

Seattle muralist Ryan Henry Ward, best known as Henry, is prolific. In addition to designing the creature behind the Sasquatch Music Festival, Ryan’s painted more than 170s murals small and large all across our city. Wanna take a field trip to see ’em all? Follow this handy map from Rain or Shine Guides.

(Thanks for the rec, Aster Max!)

17. “Ebb and Flow”

(📸: Shane McDonald)

Local artists Ari Glass and Craig Cundiff joined forces to paint “Ebb and Flow” on the side of O’Reilly Auto Parts on Rainier Avenue in 2016.

(Thanks for the rec, Shane McDonald!)

18. Fat’s Chicken and Waffles, formerly Jackson’s Catfish Corner

(📸: Dellakj)

Artist James Crespinel first painted Martin Luther King Jr., our county’s namesake, on the side of a building formerly home to Jackson’s Catfish Corner, in 1995. When Fat’s Chicken and Waffles opened in the space in 2014, manager Erika White called up James to come touch up his old mural of the civil rights leader, The Seattle Times reports.

19. “Larva Live”

(📸: Florian Raymann)

Scott Summers painted this entomological concert on the side of Ravenna’s Trading Musician instrument shop in 2003. How many bug puns can you spot? 🔍

“It is the most clever, original work on any wall in Seattle, in my humble opinion,” says reader Florian Raymann, who recommended the mural to us.

20. Old school tattoos

(📸: Laura Hernandez)

Artist Alex “Cabron” Forster painted this old-timey piece outside Slave to the Needle in Wallingford in 2014. The mural is based on a photo of Danish tattoo artists working at Copenhagen’s Nyhavn 17, one of the oldest tattoo shops in the world, shop owner Melissa Bell told Wallyhood.

(Thanks for the rec, Laura Hernandez!)

21. The People’s Wall

(📸: John Stewart)

Dion Henderson painted “The People’s Wall” outside of the Seattle Black Panther Party’s second office in 1970. After Seattle police raided the group’s headquarters searching for a typewriter, the Black Panthers moved their office into the house, which the mural bordered, where it also served as a medical clinic, KUOW reports.

(Thanks for the rec, John Stewart!)

22. People’s Climate March

This design was created for The People’s Climate March, a global rally advocating for action against climate change, by Art Not War in 2014. The striking mural can be found at Seattle Pacific University’s Art Center.

(Thanks for the rec, Andrea Caballero B!)

23. The Neighbor Lady and Uncle Ike’s

(📸: Laura Hernandez)

Seattle artist Joey Nix painted this mural, which features Uncle Ike’s budtender Amanya at the Arboretum, in 2015. Her t-shirt reads “Uhuru,” which is Swahili for freedom, Capitol Hill Seattle reports.

(Thanks for the rec, Laura!)

Seen a great mural we should add to our map? Or is there a mural you wish you knew the story behind? E-mail us at [email protected] and we’ll share it here.