by Megan Arzbaecher
Street art is an increasingly popular attraction to explore while traveling in cities around the US (and the world!) thanks to a resurgence of local artists celebrating the cultures of their hometowns. Lots of street art is tucked in alleys or on the sides of buildings, so bicycles make it super easy to hop on and off as you discover unique murals and installations along the way.
Chicago is a haven for public art and street murals in the Midwest, offering a diverse range of types and styles to view. With our custom Google map created by a local city resident, you can bike along a few main bicycle routes in the Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods of Chicago to see 10 of Chicago’s most iconic street art murals!
1— Logan Square Community Mural
You’ll start your bike tour of Chicago’s street art at the Logan Square mural. Unveiled in late 2017, this piece celebrates the diversity in the neighborhood while also depicting concerns of the increased influence of gentrification. Prominently featured at the CTA Blue Line station, this controversial yet vibrant mural was painted by local artists Sandra Antongiorgi, Sam Kirk and Jenny Q.
2— Discover the Fullerton Gallery Wall
Tucked just under the CTA train tracks, the Fullerton Street gallery is painted and repainted every few weeks typically featuring graffiti style designs from amatuer artists. On every visit, you’ll notice something different on all sides of this building! If you need a coffee before taking off to the next stop, nearby Gaslight Coffee is a popular local favorite, or if you’re hungry, famed local chain Furious Spoon Ramen is directly across the street.
3— Greetings from Chicago Mural
Perhaps the most photographed of all the murals in Chicago, the “Greetings from Chicago” mural can be easily found as you bike southeast along Milwaukee Ave. This iconic street art was designed by muralist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs who have been traveling full time out of their RV for the last 3 years aiming to paint a greetings mural in every state in the USA. Also nearby to the greetings mural are a few other interesting street art pieces worth exploring, just under the railroad tracks.
4— Park No. 567 Mural
The largest of the murals on this guide, your next street art stop is the massive 42-by-90-foot Park No 567 mural. Also called the ConAgra Mural, this stunning montage of human and nature inspired scenes was painted by locally acclaimed muralist Jeff Zimmermann, who’s been a professional artist for about 20 years. Overlooking a small park along a major bike path, the Bloomingdale Trail colloquially known as the 606, this mural is painted on the side of Ipsento Coffee, a delicious coffee and donut shop. Before making your way to the next street art mural, we recommend riding along the 606, which was built in 2016 on former train tracks. It is Chicago’s version of the High Line!
5— Vivian Maier Mural
Distinguished Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra painted street art stop number 5, a bright and engaging mural featuring famed Chicago photographer Vivian Maier. The mural depicts one of Maier’s self portraits where she’s holding up her camera taking a photo of herself. Kobra’s mural pays homage to Maier who only received notoriety post-mortem. Maier is one of the most prolific and famous street photographers of the 20th century, who took a majority of her photos on Chicago’s north and west side neighborhoods.
6— Antique Taco Mural
Tacos and art in one stop? Count us in! Painted on the side of one of Wicker Park’s best taco restaurants, graphic designer and artist Ira Kruglova painted a colorful and Instagrammable mural featuring images of Frida Kahlo, llamas and cacti. The restaurant’s outdoor patio overlooks the mural, making for a perfect pit stop on your bike tour of Chicago’s best street art murals. Be sure to try some of Antique Taco’s creative tacos like the mushroom or potato poblano!
7— Hollywood Cleaners Mural
Only half a block away from Antique Taco is your next stop—you could even walk there if you don’t want to move your bike! Found on the side of Hollywood Cleaners, this rotating mural changes a few times a year to feature different up-and-coming street artists. Typically featuring colorful designs, the Hollywood Cleaners Mural typically stretches the entire length of the building so you can find elaborate designs!
8— Urban Belly Mural
To get to the next stop, you’ll take a short bike ride around the triangle shaped Wicker Park which gives the neighborhood its namesake. You will stop just south of six corners, a well-known intersection that serves as the heart of the neighborhood. Some of Wicker’s Parks most famous and well known restaurants are found in this area, including Urban Belly where you will find your next mural. Painted by Noelle Roth in 2017 as a way to revitalize Urban Belly’s patio, the vibrant tropical themed mural features technicolor leaves and a tiger tail. This is a popular spot to snap an instagram post and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ubjungle to feature the mural online!
9— Nike Running Mural
Painted by one of the most prolific artists in Chicago, Nike Running is your next stop on the bicycle tour of Chicago’s best street art. Before you reach the mural, take a peek down the alley that runs on the south side of the Toms store on Damen Avenue, as there are occasionally hidden gems painted there, such as the #KindComments series from 2017. If you don’t spot anything, continue north until you reach the Nike Running Mural, which was created by Hebru Brantley. Brantley’s pieces can be found throughout Chicago always containing his iconic characters which typically depict scenes of nostalgia, power and hope. In this particular mural, you will see four of his characters running along the side of the building.
10— Coy Wolf Mural
For your final stop on your street art mural tour of Chicago, you’ll find yourself back at the Bloomingdale Trail where you will marvel at a colorful piece by Tony Passero. At the ramp on Damen street is a piece featuring two wolves sitting back-to-back with a tribal inspired backdrop. Tony’s Passero’s piece was painted in 2017 and like most of his pieces, the style is a “unique mash up of a Latin, Creole and Tribal tones blended with a bit of a linear organic cubist and expressionist styles.”
Before taking off on your Street Art Bike Ride of Chicago, here are a few things to note about biking in Chicago:
- Chicago is a fairly bike friendly city, particularly in the neighborhoods featured on this guide, and you can expect well-marked bike lanes and ample bike parking. Always follow the rules of the road and respect traffic laws.
- Road conditions can be challenging in Chicago at times so you are likely to see potholes, trash and other debris along major streets such as Milwaukee Avenue. Bike with caution and keep your eyes on the road.
- Chicago is notorious for congested traffic, so the best times to ride the route on this guide are during the day and on weekends. Try to avoid rush hour if you are uncomfortable biking with city traffic.
Biking around Chicago is always a fun adventure for cyclists, especially when discovering some amazing street art along the way. With this helpful list and accompanying Google Map, you’ll be able to easily explore the best street art murals in Chicago’s neighborhood on your bike!
I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. At only 29 years old, I am lucky to have traveled quite a bit — 6 continents, 46 countries and countless cities. Since I was young, I’ve had a sense of adventure and desire to explore the world. And now as an adult, I am a full-fledged travel junkie!
Launched in 2015 as a resource for millennials looking to maximize their limited time off, Traverse Blog empowers young travelers to experience food & travel adventures at home and abroad through thorough and thoughtful planning.
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