This Michigan bucket list item is brought to you by Explore Flint & Genesee.
Flint locals have probably noticed artists painting colorful murals throughout the city since 2019. These creations are stunning and bring an element of creativity to Flint.
The artists have surpassed the initial goal to paint 100 murals across Flint by the end of 2020. As of spring 2021, there are more than 160 awe-inspiring works. Most of the murals are spread around downtown Flint, while others are sprinkled throughout surrounding neighborhoods. You can see where the Flint Murals are located on this map.
Walking the Flint Mural Project will be a welcome change from park-related recreation or museum tours in summer 2021. Best of all, it presents a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with downtown Flint and its many other attractions, delicious restaurants, and unique shops.
And, to really make the most of your tour, download the PixelStix App where you can find a map of all of the murals!
The Birth of the Flint Mural Project
Speaking to My City Magazine, FPAP Executive Director Joe Shipani feels that the Flint Mural Project is a representation of happiness, healing, and rebirth for the city. Locals have long felt that the revitalization of Flint has been overshadowed by the water crisis and other hardships.
The FPAP board came up with the idea to use large, colorful artwork to draw attention to why Flint is such a loved city. The ultimate goal is to transform the city into a worldwide leader in public arts.
Flint Mural Project Tours
The What’s Up Downtown Project has put together tours of the Flint Mural Project for those who want to explore the downtown area or get inspiration for their own projects. The tour starts at the PSI Building on West 1st Avenue, which is across from the Fred A. Aldrich historic marker and house. There’s a mural on the side of the building and plenty of free parking spaces.
Along the tour, your guide will provide information about more than 30 of the murals. About two hours later, the tour will end a few blocks away in downtown Flint. Since there’s quite a bit of walking involved, wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. Don’t forget a camera either because you don’t want to miss the chance to take pictures of the beautiful artwork. Flint Mural Project tour tickets can be purchased online here.
Where to Park in Downtown Flint
If you don’t sign up for the guided tour, you’ll need to park elsewhere in downtown Flint to get the most out of the Flint Mural Project. On East Kearsley Street, the Flint Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has a flat parking lot. It’s free to park here on weekends, but there’s a $5 charge on weekdays.
Just west of that lot is Rutherford Parking Garage, and almost directly across the street is the Riverfront Parking Garage, which rests next to the Flint River. Both parking garages charge a $5 flat rate. You can see other parking options in Flint on this What’s Up Downtown Project map.
The Flint Mural Plays Event
For summer 2021, the FPAP has partnered with the Flint Repertory Theatre to present Flint Mural Plays. Between June 5 and August 31, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to 25 short audio plays that correspond with select murals. The micro audio plays were commissioned from some of the most inspiring playwrights in the United States. They’ll be available for free on the PixelStix mobile app.
Additionally, the Flint Mural Plays event will include outdoor community events throughout the city. Along with guided walking and trolley tours, there will be live performances – and everything is free!
Other Flint Attractions to Visit
As you explore the Flint Mural Project, consider stopping by some interesting attractions. Near the three murals on Corunna Road, The Sandbox Virtual Reality Arcade transports you into a virtual world of your choosing.
Near the murals on West Court Street, the Stockton Center at Spring Grove is a restored 1872 pose Civil War mansion. It was built for Colonel Thomas Stockton and is a great example of Victorian-era Italianate architecture.
Not far from the mural on the East Village Magazine building on East 2nd Street, Whaley Historic House Museum is a restored Queen Anne home. You can learn about the Whaley family and their contributions to the community from 1885 to 1925.
Great Restaurants Near the Flint Murals
When it comes to choosing where to eat in Flint, the number of options can be overwhelming. There’s a rich food scene with a variety of cuisines and flavors to satisfy every craving.
Alongside live entertainment and a full bar, Churchill’s Food & Spirits has amazing lunch specials. In the entertainment district, The Torch Bar & Grill is a tiny building with big burger flavor and a decent selection of craft beers.
With a mural on the side of its building, Cork on Saginaw is a bistro-like wine bar and restaurant with a made-from-scratch brunch menu. The cookies and lobster mac and cheese are excellent choices. Featuring a vintage arcade and craft beverages, The Eberson has a limited but filling food menu.
There are also many great coffeehouses in Flint that you can visit during your Flint mural tour.
Shopping Spots Throughout Flint
Flint prides itself on offering a quality shopping experience that includes a range of specialty items. On the other side of the Capitol Theatre from The Eberson, you’ll find women’s accessories and clothing, as well as curated collections of men’s, kid’s, and homewares products at the Shift boutique shop. On the opposite side of the block is Shops on Saginaw, a collection of Flint-based pop-up stores in the Dryden Building.
If you turn on West 2nd Street from there, Comma Bookstore & Social Hub is a progressive bookstore with locally made art and products. Next door is Flint Trading Co., a gallery that features upscale, urban design and creative services. You’ll also find Reclaimed by Whaley here, a thrift store with upscale brands, one-of-a-kind collectibles, unique art, and more. There’s a mural on the side of the building.
Before you leave downtown, stop at the Flint Farmers’ Market to shop the many retailers inside. You can get everything from fresh foods and baked goods, to wines and beers, to flowers and plants. Outside of downtown, Glam Boutique sells great clothing, bath and body products, and gifts for women.
The Best Hotel for Staying in Downtown Flint
The only hotel in downtown Flint, the Hilton Garden Inn is the best place to stay if you’re going to walk the Flint Mural Project. It’s located in a historic bank building that has been fully restored, and one of the private dining rooms features the old bank vault.
The best part is that the Hilton Garden Inn is within 3 miles of most of the murals and above attractions. On top of that, the hotel has a full-service restaurant, coffee shop, and rooftop bar. However, here are some other lodging options outside of downtown to consider:
- Knob Hill Bed & Breakfast
- Holiday Inn Flint-Grand Blanc Area
- Hyatt Place Flint/Grand Blanc
- Hampton Inn & Suites Flint/Grand Blanc
- Home 2 Suites by Hilton Grand Blanc Flint