San Francisco's vibrant street and public art scene draws tourists from around the world. Murals, sculptures, and hidden gems abound, and there are numerous paid tour offerings that promise to show you the best of what our fair city has to offer. However, with this handy list you can be your own tour guide. Below we bring you what we consider to be the 12 best examples of public and street art in San Francisco.

Somewhere between an arty graphic novel and a comic book about crazed birds is this 2003 mural by artists Andrew Schoultz and Aaron Noble, which captures both the absurdist spirit of the post dot-com era in the Mission and the illustrative whimsy of San Francisco art of the time as well. As Kevin B. Chen, onetime program director for Intersection for the Arts put it, "It’s incredibly striking. Most people walking down 18th do a double take at first. Just the colors catch your eye, and then you realize that it runs the length of that entire building.” — Jay Barmann
18th and Lexington Street


Clarion Alley Mural Project
Since 1992, the Clarion Alley Mural Project has been visually voicing artists’ objections to SF gentrification (we thought it was bad in the 90s!) with a regularly-refreshed batch of nearly 50 murals on the tiny alley’s walls. Some murals are even found on the street itself. Each year, the Clarion Alley Mural Project hosts a block party/mural unveiling event. But fair warning — do not visit the Clarion Alley Mural Project if you are easily offended by messages of bombing the condos, fucking the yuppies, or accelerating taxation on the wealthy. — Joe Kukura
Clarion Alley between Mission and Valencia Street

Photo: @lovingsfdotcom via Twitter

Yoda Heart at Union Square
Did you even know there’s a Yoda heart up at Union Square? I know, you’re way too cool to ever go there. It’s my favorite heart sculpture ever, though I can’t escape the feeling that it’s a Disney-backed promotion for the next shitty sequel. — Joe Kukura
Geary and Powell Street

Photo: Ricardo Bernandes

The Art of Rigo 23
How many times has the One Tree painting (Harrison & 6th) farewelled you off before a trip down south? Or the Innercity Home painting (Clementina @ 6th) welcomed you back from a vacation? These artisitic variations on the old one-way sign are concocted by Rigo 23, a Bay Area public art treasure for more than 30 years. — Joe Kukura
Bryant near 16th Street

Photo: Rick

The Art of Sirron Norris
Maybe it’s because I’m more hipster than James Franco in Dolores Park creating an Indiegogo campaign on his smartwatch, but I love the vibrant, comical work of Sirron Norris seen at spots all over town. — Joe Kukura

Women's Building mural detail, Photo: Joe Kukura

The Women’s Building Mural
Who among us does not consider the women depicted atop the Women's Building mural as personal maternal figures? The mural is called MaestraPeace and it's been delivering that feeling to San Franciscans since 1994. — Joe Kukura
18th and Lapidge Street

Photo: DavityDave

The White Walls Project
The White Walls and Shooting Gallery has been bringing an array of outstanding outdoor murals to the Tenderloin since the early 2000s. — Joe Kukura

Photo: Joe Kukura

Superheroes Mural
It’s juvenile, patriarchal and probably done by white people, but the "superheroes" mural at Mission and 19th remains a favorite since its painting in 2009. — Joe Kukura
Mission and 19th Street

Photo: Joe Kukura

The Bronze Chairs at Church & Duboce
They may not be particularly pretty or comfy, but goddamn they serve a purpose for N-Judah riders and our transient population! — Joe Kukura
Church Street at Duboce Avenue

Photo: kke27

Yerba Buena Gardens
This guy! He and other public pieces are on display at the Yerba Buena Gardens outdoor park between the Yerba Buena Center and the Metreon. — Joe Kukura
Mission and 5th Street

Balmy Alley
The original "mural alley," Balmy Alley is a maintained outdoor mural gallery instrumental in the outdoor art movement. — Joe Kukura
Balmy between 24th and 25th Street

Photo: Joe Kukura

Market Street Railway Mural
One of many fine Mona Caron murals in San Francisco, the Market Street Railway Mural is a time-traveling trip depicting Wobblies and longshoremen getting their asses kicked by cops, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Extra Action Marching Band and something we hope someday exists in the future called Cellspace #13. — Joe Kukura
Church and 15th Street

Honorable Mentions: Duboce Bikeway Mural, Upper Playground’s Fifty24SF Art Gallery Exterior, The Precita Eyes building, the rainbow crosswalks in the Castro, the side of Beauty Bar, Duboce Bikeway Mural, The Diego Rivera Mural at City College, Bethany Center Building, and, of course, The Bay Lights. — Joe Kukura

Photo by Sean Davis.