Must-See Murals around Pensacola
Murals are all the rage right now. Locally, some are on a massive scale. Others are smaller and more obscure. All bring a new energy and engagement to our eclectic community, making it more vibrant and alive.
We know that people seek out murals to boost their Instagram followers and to capture an urban feel in the cities that they’re exploring. So Pensacola’s decided to have some fun with it.
Here are some of the most sought after murals in the Pensacola Bay Area.
Welcome to Florida
You can’t possibly miss the giant, bright-orange, 34-foot mural welcoming visitors to the Sunshine State as you cross the state line from Alabama into the town of Century, just north of Pensacola. The mural features a colorful “Florida” with the ‘o’ spelled with an orange fruit. The mural also depicts Pensacola’s hometown heroes, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the Pensacola Lighthouse and a banner that says “Welcome to Century.” The mural was painted by artist Carter Gaston of Pensacola and is located at the corner of Hwy. 29 and Ranch Rd. for a quick stop for selfies.
Wish You Were Here
One of Downtown Pensacola’s most visited murals invites everyone to snap a selfie in front of it and tag someone they love to their post on social media. People walking downtown can’t resist the urge to stop and take a pic. The "Wish You Were Here Pensacola" mural was designed and painted by Pensacola artists Veronique Zeya and Zome Choi and can be found on the corner of Palafox and Romana streets on the side of the Zarzaur Law Firm.
Known locally as The Blocks, the Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood is steeped in black history. During segregation, Belmont-DeVilliers was the commercial and cultural hub of Pensacola’s African American community. The Blocks was home to many black-owned businesses, restaurants and music venues, including Abe’s 506 Club where such musical legends as Louis Armstrong, James Brown, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Aretha Franklin all performed. The murals at Belmont-DeVilliers were created to restore community pride and memorialize its history. The first mural was installed at 314 North DeVilliers Street and depicts the once thriving economic region. In 2019, Pensacola’s Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood became only the second site in the state of Florida to earn an official designation as part of the world famous Mississippi Blues Trail.
Jefferson Street Parking Garage
Spanning 3,000 square feet, the Jefferson Street Parking Garage mural is the largest mural in the city. The mural was commissioned by a mega-grant from Arts, Culture and Entertainment Inc. to liven up the streets of downtown Pensacola and to showcase over 450 years of history. People driving past can see images such as the Pensacola Lighthouse, Don Tristan De Luna, Spanish ships, pelicans and a Blue Angels jet.
A Better Way to Give Parking Meters
Great art doesn’t just promote a viewpoint or a conversation; it makes a tangible change. That’s what the Greater Pensacola Chamber Foundation’s LeaP Class of 2016 put into motion. Titled, A Better Way to Give Parking Meters
Great art doesn’t just promote a viewpoint or a conversation; it makes a tangible change. That’s what the Greater Pensacola Chamber Foundation’s LeaP Class of 2016 put into motion. Titled, A Better Way to Give, this project transforms mundane parking meters into works of art painted by local artists. The meters were designed to raise awareness of the homeless population in the city and to provide an alternative giving method to the homeless living on the streets. The funds collected from the meters coordinate with agencies addressing the challenges. Look for these beautiful meters throughout downtown Pensacola., this project transforms mundane parking meters into works of art painted by local artists. The meters were designed to raise awareness of the homeless population in the city and to provide an alternative giving method to the homeless living on the streets. The funds collected from the meters coordinate with agencies addressing the challenges. Look for these beautiful meters throughout downtown Pensacola.
First City Art Center
The city’s non-profit art center and gallery exhibit — which offers classes in glass blowing, glass bead making, stained glass, sculpture, pottery on the wheel, hand-built pottery, drawing, painting and various other mediums – has a beautiful butterfly mural painted on the exterior of it’s office building by artist Cindy Mathis. The art center, located at 1060 N. Guillemard St. in Downtown Pensacola, also hosts seasonal “Hot Glass, Cold Brew” gatherings in which various artists paint the exterior of the art center facility before and during the nightly event.
Brew Ha Ha
Located in the heart of East Hill Pensacola on 12th Avenue, the Brew Ha Ha mural is one of the most popular in the city. This local eatery is a must-stop location as it features the iconic Pensacola Postcard mural that visitors love snapping selfies in front of. But that’s not all. Visitors will also find a real life working train whistle and adjoining mural, a kissing booth and a cool hippie bus too. The restaurant features memorabilia featuring Pensacola’s past from places like the San Carlos Hotel bar, the L & N Train Depot, the Blue Angels and souvenirs from The Graffiti Bridge.
McGuire’s Irish Pub
McGuire’s has been a Pensacola fixture since the 1970s, for both locals and visitors alike. The restaurant’s colorful, billboard-sized “Welcome to McGuire’s” mural adorns the entire side of the building and has been beckoning customers to snap family photos in front of it for decades. Fun fact: Another tradition for all first-timers to McGuire’s is to kiss the Moose and to staple $1 bill to a wall inside. Don’t ask questions. Just do it.
The Graffiti Bridge
The 17th Avenue train trestle known locally as “Graffiti Bridge” has been a Pensacola establishment for decades. For those not familiar, it’s an old railroad overpass that has turned into an iconic landmark and work of living art in the Pensacola community. People have been painting, decorating, declaring and expressing themselves on the trestle as far back as 1935. And guess what? It’s legal! It’s rare to pass under the trestle and not see someone either painting it or photographing the ever-changing mural. We even have a local artist that collects the paint chips that fall off of the bridge and turns them into art and souvenirs!
The fun doesn’t stop there. Pensacola’s growing mural movement keeps adding new art. Honorable mentions include:
- Hot Spot Barbeque on Ninth Ave. and La Rua St., features a quirky, exterior mural depicting five pigs lined up and drinking at a bar.
- Graffiti mural art on the side of LIVE! Juice Bar - at 532 W. Garden Street - pays tribute to the late celebrity chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain while at the same time promoting suicide awareness and prevention.
- A mural at Palm Island Realty - 2801 E Cervantes St. - features a water scene, octopus tentacles, fish and an older man in a hat who represents "Father Time."
- A beautiful, Monet-inspired mural on the privacy fence of Ann David Gallery, lining Cervantes Street near the intersection of 11th Ave., spreads the message: “Let Art Surround You,” while depicting an artist painting a “Water Lilies” scene along the fence.
Have a favorite mural that we missed? Tell us in the comments below!
Katie King is a self-proclaimed beach bum who moved from Atlanta to Pensacola in late 2002 where she spent the next 13 years working as a photojournalist and editor for the Pensacola News Journal, covering all aspects of Pensacola life. Katie's photographs have appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and have made the Newseum’s Top Ten Front Pages exhibit. In 2015, Katie transitioned from journalism to public relations and began work at EW Bullock Associates.
Her love for Pensacola only deepened after settling into her rustic, 93-year-old home in East Hill that she shares with photojournalist Ben Twingley and their great danes - who control all sitting and sleeping arrangements in the house. When she’s not working, you can often find her snorkeling the sandbar at Park East on Pensacola Beach, strolling the shoreline of the Pensacola Pass at Fort Pickens, or chasing her four-legged best buddy at Bayview Dog Park in East Hill.