San Francisco, California

Scout for Street Art

with Russell H.

Video Verified

55 reviews

Russell H.

Street art is sometimes regarded as vandalism and urban blight. But in San Francisco it's considered part of life's rich tapestry, a reflection of the Bay Area's colorful history, radical politics and diverse population. Ever since Diego Rivera picked up a paintbrush to create his first SF mural in 1930, the city's sidewalk artists have viewed walls as oversized canvases, and in recent years the artworks have spread beyond their Mission district heartland to other parts of the city. As author of Stencil Nation, Russell is the perfect guy to help you paint the town red. And other colors.

Proceeds from my street art tour go to restoring and creating murals at a community art center.

Whether you see street art and graffiti as art or vandalism, San Francisco walks a fine line between the legal, quasi-legal, and illegal-illegal. Local curator Russell will show you all of it, helping you discover a subculture you might otherwise miss. Warning: This tour may lead to missed buses and BART trains due increased time spent staring at the ground and walls around you.

Make your way through the alleys, parks, streets, and lots of San Francisco. Russell will offer expert explanations for the constantly changing art that livens the city!


This tour available for WEEKENDS ONLY! Last minute bookings usually DO NOT work.

LARGE PARTY (5-6 people)? Weekday tours are possible with enough notice to schedule the time.

PARTY OF ONE? Please contact me for single tour rates and opportunities!

Thanks for being interested in sharing art in the streets with me.

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per person
for 3 hours

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Russell H.

Hey there, I've been wandering the streets of San Francisco and staring at the walls, poles, fences, and sidewalks, since 1997. The City's urban landscapes can be filled with graffiti, murals, stickers, stencils, and other creative styles. I have been documenting, writing about, and making stencils since 1995. In 2008, I wrote the book "Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art." It has over 500 photos, 400 artists, from 28 countries. I also have a website (since 2002) with almost 20,000 photographs of street art documented. I have exhibited art shows as well as written essays for art books. Go here for more info: Full profile

55 Reviews

Stephanie C.

My best friend's parents were in town from Charleston SC and we had an amazing time going on Russell's street tour (btw Russell is a South Carolinian too--a wonderful bonding point for our group!) We covered an incredible amount of ground (physically and metaphorically) in 3 hours and Russell is an encyclopedia of knowledge on the changing street art scene in this city. Off-the-beaten path is thrown around a lot, and my first instinct is to say, don't believe it, especially if it's used to refer to the Mission. Well, I stand corrected. Russell took us off-the-beaten path in the most trodden, buzzed, blogged about, instagrammed neighborhood of SF. This is an amazing experience for a visitor or native San Franciscan--Russell will open your eyes to a whole new world within our 7x7 mile town. Be prepared to have your mind blown.


We just returned from San Francisco where one of the highlights was the street art tour we did with Russell - despite the drizzle that day. Communication with Russell via Vayable was easy and he was very flexible about date and time and number of participants. We met him with his bike in front of a cafe and after a brief introduction to San Francisco's history he took us through the streets of the Mission district and showed us a vast selection of different types of murals and graffiti, which we would not have found on our own and definitely not within the limited time we had available. Our favorites were the Edificio de Mujeres and the large black and white Santana mural ... AMAZING ! Russell was super friendly and easy going. Thank you, Russell !

Nancy F.

What is so special about Russell's tour is that, afterwards, you are so much more aware of what is around you on the streets of San Francisco - you just see more! His stories about the artists and the 'scene' are fascinating and involve you in a world that is new and hip and compelling. I can't wait to do the tour again - he has so much knowledge to share. Thanks, Russell!

Nancy F.

Linda V (guest Nancy F) I can't tell you how much I enjoyed yesterday and how enlightening the walk was.... I was a fish out of water when it came to street graffiti, stickers and stencils. I have a new appreciation, eye and lingo. I don't think I would ever have done that tour if it weren't for you and since public art it is overtaking the Mission, I have come to realize it has a place in our culture. It is truly a growing art form and I thank you for introducing it to us.

David B.

INCREDIBLE TOUR, AWESOME GUIDE! But first, a little background: As an old skool raver (think flyer art), and for other reasons, I have always loved graffiti & murals, with a large collection of photos I have taken all over the world. I knew next to nothing about the artists, history, inside meanings, etc. and only recognized one of the artist names rattled off by Russell throughout the tour (guess who... it starts with a B) ... However, I had my mind blown by the beauty and humor of most of the pieces we saw! San Francisco is probably home to the coolest, most mindbending street art in the world, and I have lived here for 2.5 years, but I was still gasping with awe every 15 minutes or so at a hidden gem, or one I just never walked by. And our guide was PERFECT. A true veteran of the scene and artist himself, he was clear and detailed, incredibly knowledgeable (yet never making shit up the 2 occasions he didn't know something), warm and humorous, and sharing the same contagious passion about street art as me. We could have talked for 3 more hours after the 3 hour tour but unfortunately he had another one lined up at 4pm. He left us with lots of great resources (of all different kinds of media) to continue our own research and urban art-hunting... Opened up a really sweet Pandora's box of brain candy that I look forward to exploring. Worth every dollar. 5 stars out of 5 : )

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