Whether you are walking from your parking spot to a downtown restaurant, or shopping in Uptown Village, it’s difficult not to see the artful beauty portrayed on the walls of Vancouver. Since 2004, the Clark County Mural Society has been on a mission to transform public spaces, resulting in the creation of nearly 40 murals. Use the map and background info below to guide your next stroll through downtown.
Entering downtown Vancouver from the Columbia River waterfront, be welcomed by the picturesque “Railroad Bridge” (#1)—an overpass decorated with iconic landmarks. A “Welcome to Vancouver” (#5) mural can also be found on 6th & Broadway.
A cluster of five murals attracts visitors to the sixth block between Washington and Main Street (#6-10). Find a few more scattered on your way to finding “Hope” (#18) on the border of Uptown Village. “Vintage Main Street” (#20) and the dancing “At the Barre” (#19) murals give Uptown flair. The farthest north, “Firehouse Mascot” (#26) honors the Vancouver Fire Department’s 150th birthday.
Most of the murals around Vancouver have historical relevance to the beginnings of the city. “Lewis and Clark” (#8) depicts the famous expedition that descended the lower Columbia River to the Pacific Coast. “Chkalov’s Landing at Pearson Airfield” (#11) commemorates the first Trans-polar non-stop flight from Russia to the US. And not-to-be-missed, the “Remembrance Wall” (#2) is the largest mural in Washington State, positioned as a time continuum of a veteran’s sacrifice from WWI to Vietnam and Korea.
In addition to historic moments unique to the area, many murals depict attractions or landmarks that can only be found in The Couve. “The Columbian” (701 W 8th St.) shows the daily newspaper that has been distributed since 1890 and “Farmers Market” (#6) tells the story of one of Vancouver’s top weekend attractions. The colors of Fort Vancouver (#16) come to life at 1201 Main Street.
New to The Couve
Freshly painted additions bring relevant murals to the streets of Vancouver. The back wall of iconic Kiggins Theatre showcases the relationship with sister city Joyo, Japan through film and cherry blossoms (#13). The Fourth Plain corridor murals celebrate the diversity and multicultural pride of the area with four new murals and more on the way (NE of downtown). “Electric Amsterdam” (#24) is symbolic of Washington state becoming the first state to legalize cannabis for recreational use in 2012. A colorful face now brightens the patio at Trap Door Brewing (#25).
You may be surprised at the number of murals you can find in a short amount of time. For more information on the murals you see around Vancouver, visit the Clark County Mural Society website.