What if we microdosed an edible in front of the pretzel-eating raccoon mural on Webb Street?
Dubbed the “Mural Capital of the World,” Philadelphia is home to over 4,000 works of painted public art — and murals might just be one of the best things to look at while high.
Marijuana use has been decriminalized in Philly since 2014 (thanks, Councilmember Kenney) and the city’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened more than four years ago. And now, weed is fully legal just across the bridge in New Jersey.
So a stoney-baloney tour of the city’s best murals is totally legit. Find the right one and you can easily get lost in the swirling colors, changing contrasts, and seemingly infinite amount of space for details. Plus, the sheer size of some Philly’s murals will leave you astounded.
Much of the giant art is thanks to the world-renowned Mural Arts Philadelphia, which commissions dozens of new projects each year and works to restore existing pieces. It’s the nation’s largest public arts program, with a mission of transforming public spaces in every neighborhood into places of conversion and collaboration.
Other Philly murals are commissioned by homeowners and businesses. Some are historical, some are protest art, some are topical, and some are seasonal.
We mapped 11 of the trippiest murals in Philly for your viewing pleasure. Check out the map and descriptions below, then plan a lazy day of sightseeing in the city.
‘Parts Per Million’ by Benjamin Volta
2101 S Broad St, 19148
South Philly High School’s colorful exterior brings microscopic electrons and massive galaxies together in vibrant color to show how small actions can bring about impactful change.
‘Sanctuary’ by James Burns
S 13th St & Chancellor St, 19107
Designed to draw awareness to community health, Burns uses natural imagery and ecological visuals so you can get lost in the mural’s details.
Untitled by Jason Naylor
2434 E Gordon St, 19125
Bright colors, soft silhouettes, and a rainbow smiley face bring good vibes and visual interest.
‘How to Turn Anything Into Something Else’ by multiple artists
207 N. Broad St, 19107
Hundreds of images created by art education students are incorporated into this whimsical mural, bringing viewers into a new artistic universe.
‘The Color of Your Voice’ by multiple artists
2417 Ridge Ave, 19121
This mural blurs the lines between visual art and the language arts, translating lines from poetry written by community members into a colorful Kente cloth. Mind blown.
‘Philadelphia Muses’ by Meg Saligman
S 13th St & Locust St, 19107
The dozen or so characters that make up this mural are the reason why it’s so fun to look at — from a bearded man with a flute to a woman holding the sun, it’s pretty easy to stare at this work for hours.
‘Sharktown Walls’ by multiple artists
155 Cecil B. Moore Ave, 19122
This work isn’t just a single mural — it’s a half-length block filled with art from over 20 artists. From a tiger stalking the world to an octopus with a skull as its head, this mural series has different options for all of your high viewing needs.
‘Waters of Change’ by Paul Santoleri
90 Green Ln, 19127
This mural was created to beautify Manayunk Towpath, incorporating paint, glass, and helix motifs to create art you can enjoy while smoking a spliff.
‘Electric Philadelphia’ by David Guinn and Drew Billiau
N 6th St & Callowhill St, 19123
Located under the Benjamin Franklin bridge, this 8,500-square-foot mural is more than just vibrant — it literally lights up the underpass at night.
Untitled by Evan Lovett
2679-2601 E Sergeant St, 19125
The world’s happiest raccoon and a large Philly pretzel will stoke your munchies.
‘The Promise of Biotechnology’ by multiple artists
1108 Sansom St, 19107
This mural is more than just fun to look at — it’s also educational, showing the history and future of medicine through bright colors and swirling images.