By Kerrie Hoening
What do Tom Brady, Tweety Bird and Freddy Mercury all have in common? They are all subjects of murals located in beautiful downtown Tampa. Whether you drive, bike or scooter, find a beautiful day and trek to the city for a fun and adventurous mural tour.
From Ybor City to the Channelside District to Ashley Street, there is an eclectic collection of art, much of which was commissioned by the City of Tampa. For an interesting and in-depth compilation, you can visit www.tampasdowntown.com or Google Tampa’s Downtown Mural Tour.
To highlight a small, yet dense, sampling of the mural art in Tampa, we start at Cass Street, west of Nebraska Avenue, where you will find the Tampa Firefighters Museum on your left with a beautifully painted flag covering the entire north side of the building. On the right, see one of Tampa’s largest murals on the Navara Apartments, featuring legendary musicians Elton John, Freddie Mercury and Jimi Hendrix.
Head north on to Florida Avenue and discover a plethora of interesting murals, including a few pictures of Tom Brady and the famous Florida Avenue Mural, also known as the ‘Tampa Postcard,’ depicting images of Tampa’s past and present. Head further north, crossing under the I-275 corridor, and you suddenly happen upon a whole new world of wall art on every building. On neighboring Franklin Street, many of the murals cover entire buildings. If driving, you’ll probably need to park and then enjoy a leisurely stroll around the whole block.
After a brief respite at Armature Works, you’ll head south on Tampa Street, driving back toward the city. Here, at 1715 N Tampa St., you will find the poignant Kobe and Gianna Bryant mural, lovingly titled Daddy’s Little Girl. A little further down, you’ll also notice a couple of Tweety Bird murals, freshly painted to celebrate the 80th birthday of Tweety Bird. As you cross back under the interstate, Tampa’s newest mural, only weeks old, can be found on the right, stating the obvious for all who live in our great city, “We Love Downtown.”