Check out the Mural Scene on Chicago’s North Shore
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Check out the Mural Scene on Chicago’s North Shore

We love museums, but you don’t have to visit one to get up close to art. That’s because there’s amazing street art to be found all across Chicago’s North Shore. From colorful geometric designs to inspirational quotes, these are the must-see murals in Skokie and Evanston (plus nearby restaurants so you can enjoy a full day of exploring).

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Did you know Skokie is home to some amazing murals and street art? Start your day at the Curragh Irish Pub Mural (8266 Lincoln Ave.) by French street artist Astro Odv Cbs. Astro plays with shadows and colors to create optical illusions, and this mural is no exception with its bright orange coloring and geometric shapes. It's the perfect backdrop for your next Instagram post (and a great way to start your mural tour). Then make your way to the WrdSmth Mural at Al's Cycle Shop (8118 Lincoln Ave.) for a dose of inspiration. The mural features a typewriter and says "There are no short cuts. So stop thinking you should already be there." WrdSmth is a Los Angeles-based artist who has created these typewriter-and-message murals all around the world (another can be seen in Skokie at Euro Echo Cafe, 7919 Lincoln Ave.). And just down the street is the Peru Mural at North Branch Yoga (8056 Lincoln Ave.). This colorful geometric mural is by artist Peru, whose clients include Cirque du Soleil, Facebook, and Nike. Peru’s work is inspired by the idea of home and what that means to both him and humans as a whole.

Skokie Murals
L: WrdSmth Mural; M: Peru Mural; R: Astro Odv Cbs Mural

At this point, take a break for lunch at El Fuego Café (8018 Lincoln Ave.). You can scroll through all of the photos you've taken so far as you munch on Chips and Salsa or Shrimp Ceviche before ordering Al Pastor tacos, the El Fuego Burrito with steak, chorizo, and hot sauce, or Tostadas (Steak, Chicken, or Al Pastor) with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, beans, guacamole, cilantro, onion, sour cream, and cheese. When you're done, head to Sweety Pies Bakery (8042 Lincoln Ave.) for a cup of Intelligentsia or Metropolis coffee to bring on the rest of your mural tour.

Next up is the Sick Fisher Mural (7924 Lincoln Ave.). It took Humboldt Park artist Sick Fisher, who works to update overlooked spaces with art, almost four weeks to finish this painting on the 3,200-square-foot wall of Skokie Theatre. It truly is a work of art that needs to be experienced in person.

Sick Fisher Mural, Skokie Theatre, Skokie
Sick Fisher Mural

To end the day, hop in your car and make your way to the Lauren Asta Mural (4517 Oakton St.). Lauren Asta is a San Francisco-based artist who works free hand to create her murals (this one took 11 days to finish — see the entire process here).

Lauren Asta Mural, 4517 Oakton St., Skokie
Lauren Asta Mural

Learn more about all of these murals from the Village of Skokie.


Evanston is teeming with cool art. If you want to check it all out, start with the Jeff Zimmerman/Anthony Lewellen Mural at the Church Street Metra underpass (Church Street and Maple Avenue). Downtown Evanston partnered with these two Chicago artists to create this mural, one side of which features faces (a staple of Zimmerman's work) while the other side depicts colorful images of everything from a burger to a dumbbell. Then make your way to the Dalek Mural (1201-1217 Emerson St.), which features more bright colors in a geometric pattern (another great backdrop!). And the Shawn Bullen Mural at Elmwood Avenue and Davis Street is another can't-miss stop on your tour. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Bullen says this about his inspiration for the mural, which features a giant bee: "I was given the rough idea of something to do with commuting to and from the city, and eco-friendly living."

Evanston Murals
L: Dalek Mural; M: Jeff Zimmerman/Anthony Lewellen Mural; R: Shawn Bullen Mural

When you're done, grab some food and relax at Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. (1615 Oak Ave.). Start with the Cheese & Charcuterie Platter and Pork Belly Poutine. You'll then want to order one of the Wood Fired Pizzas (Farmers' Market, Meat Lovers, or Prosciutto are great options); the Barbecue Flight with brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs, white bread, and a side; or the BLPT (bacon, pickled green tomatoes, lettuce, and roasted garlic aioli). Of course, you can't forget about the beer here. Year round and seasonal brews are available, and if you can't decide, go for a beer flight.

But wait, there’s a lot more! At Lake Street and Sherman Avenue you'll find a mural by Cheri Charlton and Betsy Zacsek, who partnered with the Evanston Girl Scouts and worked with more than 200 girls to complete this commemorative mural. Stop by Cupitol Coffee & Eatery (812 Grove St.) before you go for coffee or tea and a breakfast treat like Almond Croissant, Avocado Wrap, Blueberry Lemon Pancakes, or Berry Mascarpone French Toast.

Cheri Charlton and Betsy Zacsek Mural, Lake St. and Sherman Ave., Evanston
Cheri Charlton and Betsy Zacsek Mural

Then there's the colorful Dustin Harris Mural (601 South Blvd.). Harris told the Chicago Tribune, "My inspirations tend to come from experiences and encounters from my past and current meetings of people pushing boundaries with their passions. The excitement and struggle of life always ignites great ideas." After you snap some pics, head to Peckish Pig (623 Howard St.), a brewpub offering up dinner items like Maple-Habanero Chicken Wings and Caramelized Onion Flatbread that's perfect for sharing or House Smoked BBQ Ribs and Fish & Chips you'll want to keep all to yourself. And be sure to order the latest beer brewed on site.

Dustin Harris Mural, 601 South Blvd., Evanston
Dustin Harris Mural

At Central Street and Green Bay Road you'll find the "Connections and Constellations" mural by Nick Goettling, an accomplished artist who has worked with a variety of clients including The Museum of Science and Industry and Lagunitas. Look for Evanston images throughout the mural, and when you're done, make plans to grab dinner at Ten Mile House (1700 Central St.). It's all about comfort food here, so don't miss out on the Buttermilk Fried Chicken sandwich, Smoked Baby Back Ribs, or build your own pizza.

Connections and Constellations Mural, Nick Goettling

Last but definitely not least, you have to see Rubén Aguirre's mural at Dempster and Sherman. The 94-foot mural is another colorful addition to Evanston's landscape, and is so large it wraps around the wall. To complete the experience, bring a treat from the appropriately named Bagel Art (615 Dempster St.). Here you'll find bagels, egg sandwiches, lox, and more that all pair perfectly with an Intelligentsia coffee.

Rubén Aguirre's Mural, Dempster St. and Sherman Ave., Evanston
Rubén Aguirre's Mural

Feeling inspired? Kids can join Evanston's Ice House Gallery for Summer Chalk Murals events throughout the summer for ages 8-10, 11-13, and 14-18. Kids will learn to work as a team as they decide what to create together in addition to working on their drawing skills.


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