If you really want to experience the true vibe and feel of a city, we strongly encourage you to check out the local street art scene as it frequently represents the plethora of neighborhoods that make up the metropolis. We have been fortunate to experience artistic creativity in the US by visiting the best street art in Memphis, awesome collection of Nashville murals and the myriad of districts in Atlanta that are home to artistic masterpieces. During our recent trip to Florida, we decided to experience a collection of Orlando murals in search of the best local street art across this eclectic city.
For those of you that have never visited Orlando, you could be forgiven for thinking this city is all about the theme parks. You are partially correct but there is also so much more to this city that should attract your attention. From the best coffee shops in Orlando to a plethora of other things to do in Orlando, we also recently found this vibrant city is home to a diverse street art scene that epitomizes the creativity you expect to see from local street artists.
But does the Orlando street art scene truly represent the city that many people fall in love with? Well, you may be disappointed to hear that Orlando’s street artistry isn’t solely focused on Harry Potter or Walt Disney World but what it does offer is an awesome variety of murals that are unique, colorful and certainly represent the dynamic neighborhoods where they can be found. Let’s take a look at Orlando’s street art scene.
Orlando Murals Neighborhoods
We hope the following guide not only highlights the best street art spots in Orlando but is also a useful guide if you are intrigued to explore some of these murals for yourself.
We are going to look at a wide collection of murals across various neighborhoods in Orlando, including:
- Mills 50 District
- Downtown Orlando
- WestArt/Parramore District
Exploring Orlando’s street art scene is an amazing experience and following the tragedy in 2016 at the Pulse nightclub, there is an apparent push by local artists and even those that have come to the area to really promote the LGBT community and ensure the solidarity among every culture continues to thrive.
There are many other areas where you can stumble across cool street art and this is certainly by no means an exhaustive list. The beauty of street art is that it is constantly evolving, so please feel free to share your favorite locations and murals in the comments section below.
Mills 50 District
When it comes to street art in Orlando, the Mills 50 District is the “Rolls-Royce” neighborhood across the city with a myriad of amazing murals to experience. Whether you are intrigued by the Pulse mural by Andrew Spear or perhaps you cannot help but fall in love with the Lamp Shade Fair mural by Boy Kong, the Mills 50 District is a thriving area of artistic creativity.
For those of you that love capturing selfies with street art (personally, I prefer to admire the creative works rather than spoiling them with a selfie), the Mills 50 District will likely be an area you will want to spend quite some time. Despite being an ever-changing landscape, which is unsurprisingly the frequent nature of street art scenes, the beauty of this neighborhood is that the majority of the murals can be found scattered along both sides of North Mills Avenue.
The iconic mural depicting an alligator and oranges is the perfect representation of not only Orlando but also the state of Florida – there are probably not too many more iconic symbols of the state (Mickey Mouse being the exception!). Located on the side of Rise Above Tattoo shop, this mural is one of our favorites throughout this neighborhood.
Established local artist Andrew Spear can be seen throughout the Mills 50 District with his works of art. In 2014, Spear began his adventure creating a variety of murals, in conjunction with Red Bull. The #WingstoWalls project can be seen along North Mills Avenue and the mural featuring DJ M-Squared is perhaps the most popular among visitors to the area.
Another of Spears’ iconic masterpieces in conjunction with Red Bull is a collection of breakdancers showing their skills in the Mills 50 neighborhood. For the local musicians and artists out there, this is definitely a way to bring both cultures together to create an environment of inclusion.
You could easily spend several hours wandering around this neighborhood as it seems there is a different mural around every street corner and what is so unique is that each one has its own distinctive meaning. For example, the “You Mattered” mural depicts 49 birds in LGBT colors to represent the birds that flew over the Pulse nightclub following the tragic shooting in 2016.
After exploring the Mills 50 neighborhood, you could be forgiven for thinking that this part of Orlando is the area where all of the best street artists showcase their work. Although there may be some truth to this, at least in our opinion, given that we love the Mills 50 area and all the amazing works of art, downtown Orlando is definitely not short of spectacular murals.
There is street art at ground level around corners and on the sides of buildings but also a few amazing pieces of creativity on high-rise buildings.
Let’s take a look at the “Greetings From Orlando” mural – every city has to have one of these, right? Colorful, vibrant, and perfectly representing the city with all of the various components that you can see in the mural. This is definitely one of those murals where it’s ok to take a selfie but we still think admiring it without the camera in front of you first is a little more appealing to the eye.
A short walk from this mural is a couple of great coffee shops – Craft & Common and Deeply Coffee. Grab your favorite espresso here before heading over to another cool looking mural – aptly named, the “Penguin Mural”.
The WestArt district in Orlando, west of the downtown area, is another thriving community for street art work. Located within the Parramore neighborhood, this eclectic collection of murals can be found along alleys and around a myriad of street corners. The goal of having local artists and well-recognized artists from across the globe visiting this area, is to try and bring a positive perspective to the Parramore district.
In recent years, the Parramore neighborhood has seen some gentrification, largely due to the opening of the Orlando City soccer stadium. The WestArt district offers an additional cultural element to the area and certainly adds some color to the architecture around the neighborhood.
Many locals have already considered this to be Orlando’s equivalent of Miami’s Wynwood Walls district, but we personally think it’s a little too soon to go that far. Having these ambitious goals will definitely help grow this neighborhood and only time will tell if this grows into a renowned global area of street art mastery.
When you hear that a neighborhood has seen a reduction in crime and littering due to the development of such initiatives, it’s great to see how street art can help put a positive spin on a district. This has certainly been achieved in the Parramore district courtesy of the WestArt initiative.
Ready to venture outside of Orlando’s central neighborhoods? Let’s head south to the town of Kissimmee, just a short drive from the aforementioned neighborhoods. One of the best reasons to visit Kissimmee, aside from having a plethora of awesome, culturally infused restaurants, is this neighborhood is relatively quiet in comparison to the rest of Orlando.
If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life in Orlando or theme parks, head to Kissimmee to enjoy delicious cuisine and amazing street art. That’s right, Kissimmee is yet another area in this part of Florida that is home to a collection of awe-inspiring murals that will get those creative juices flowing inside you.
Kissimmee hasn’t always seen the creative side of local artists. However, in recent years, thanks to the ARTisNOW initiative at Osceola Arts, this area is now home to a number of murals that are arguably some of the most impressive across any of the Orlando neighborhoods.
The idea was to bring mural art to the downtown to liven up and engage the communityMarylin Cortes-Lovato, Osceola Arts Director of Visual Arts
The “Burrowing (or Cosmic) Owl” mural is a vibrant and symbolic representation of Kissimmee while opposite this mural is a a rather complex depiction of two iron horses. Regardless of your street art preference, you cannot help but admire the beauty of these two murals.
I envision this to be just the start of several more works of art moving into Kissimmee and it will be interesting to see how this culture evolves in the near future. Whether you consider Kissimmee to be part of Orlando or a separate town, it’s well worth visiting if you are taking a tour of the best street art in the area.
The more time we spend in Orlando, the more we realize there is so much more to this city than just theme parks. We had an amazing time exploring the diverse collection of murals across the city and we hope that you will agree that Orlando is definitely a place that should be recognized for having an eclectic street art scene.
Although we highlighted only four neighborhoods, this is just a small area of Orlando that we discovered. Thornton Park is another neighborhood that could easily be included as a separate area to explore, particularly because of the iconic “Swan” mural that you cannot help but fall in love with.
We look forward to having the opportunity to explore more street art in the future and for anyone intrigued by street art across any city, you will know that the beauty of this is the ever-changing landscape that continues to flourish.
Do you love street art? Which cities across the globe do you consider to be the best for creative murals?