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Balmy Alley Murals, San Francisco

(90+ reviews on the web)
Landmark Tourist Spot
Colorful scenes line a block-long alley affectionately known as Balmy Alley Murals. The first murals popped up in 1972, and the collection expanded throughout the 1980s as part of a foundation-funded project with emphasis on Central American cultures. The colorful illustrations depict a number of social and political issues, including human rights outrage, gentrification, the Nicaraguan revolution, the Guatemalan civil war, and Hurricane Katrina; scenes are always changing. Walk the alley on your own or with a local touring company. Nearby you'll also find many restaurants and stores. To visit Balmy Alley Murals on your trip to San Francisco, use our San Francisco tour planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It is worthy to take 30 mins and visit this Alley. Beautiful drawings and messages, take some time and enjoy it! :)  more »
  • Balmy Alley was founded as a mural art destination in 1972. Since then, an evolving display of murals adorns almost every garage and doorway. An active street, still people stroll the alley enjoying t...  more »
  • You can easily just walk through taking photos of the artwork and be impressed by the artistic merit of the murals. But take time to look at the stories behind the murals. Some are quite poignant remi...  more »
Google
  • One of my favorite stops in the city. I love the messages of the murals. There is so much that is expressed in this little alley. It represents the richness of the mission culture and how it wont go down without a fight. From the old to the new this alley is forever a beautiful gem!
  • This was a pleasant surprise, a lot of culture in one place, the murals are (some) very well made and can even make you really emotional! Beautiful place, also be sure to check out the whole neighborhood, it is truly one of a kind, bars, restaurants, caf├ęs have so much going on!
  • Some of the immigration/civil rights murals were too deep for me, but my fave was definitely Where the Wild Things Are. My friend loved the one with the juxtaposition between rich and poor. (Probably a good idea to not take us to art museums.) Anyway, Balmy Street kind of feels different because part of it is painted on people's garages. Feels safe during the daytime, idk about nighttime. Plus, I don't know how illuminated it would be.
  • I bring my University students every semester here to learn how to describe, analyze, interpret, and judge visual narratives. The murals show stories and ideologies that appeal to and resonate with the oppressed: the working class, immigrants, the LGBTQ, ethnic and linguistic minorities. This truly is an open air museum created and curated by the people for the people, and should be included in any San Francisco museum tour alongside the SF MOMA and De Young.
  • Mural rich alley. A great starting point for the walking tour of The Mission murals.