Start at the Historic Walker Lake Mural (3550 Dakota Ave. S), which tells the story of the surrounding business district and St. Louis Park. Several notable local figures are depicted, including Phyllis McQuaid, the first woman elected mayor of St. Louis Park, and Dr. B. Robert Lewis, the first Black person elected to a Twin Cities school board and the Minnesota Senate. The colorful mural also features historic Walker Street businesses, neighboring houses and an oriole, the St. Louis Park High School mascot.
Next, stop by Sota Clothing Co. (6518 Walker St.) for a Minnesota-themed selfie. The side of the building is painted with an outline of the state emblazoned with the catchphrase “You betcha,” as well as Minnesota’s unofficial mascots, giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his friend Babe the Blue Ox.
As you continue along Walker Street, look down: The sidewalk between Lake Street and The Block Food + Drink restaurant is sandblasted with poetry by local residents and students. The poems explore themes of local identity, cultural expression and the concept of place and time. Additional sidewalk poems can be found nearby on Lake Street between Dakota Avenue and Walker Street.
When you arrive at The Block Food + Drink (7007 Walker St.), there’ll be another Minnesota photo op waiting for you — the side of the building has an outline of the state with the words “With love from SLP.” If you have a furry friend in tow, the restaurant’s dog-friendly “paw-tio” is open year-round.
At México City Café (6416 W. Lake St.), you can get Mexican food as well as a new profile picture. The restaurant’s interior features a mural of a cactus and monarch butterfly, with text welcoming customers in Spanish and English.
For something a little more sculptural, the St. Louis Park Library (3240 Library Ln.) features an exposed brick pillar that forms the backdrop for a 3-D grid of colorful ceramic tiles reflecting Minnesota landscapes, like oak savanna, pine forests and nearby Minnehaha Creek. The library also has a row of stained-glass windows inspired by that state’s natural landscapes.
The next must-see sculpture is the larger-than-life Allegory of Excelsior piece that graces the middle of the roundabout at Excelsior & Grand (3820 Grand Way). Made of bronze and gilded in 22-karat gold leaf, the sculpture depicts a human soaring through the stars. At 43 feet tall, the piece lives up to its “Excelsior” name, which means “higher” or “to the sky” in Latin.
For a sculpture that makes you stop and think a bit deeper, visit Full Circle at West End (Utica Ave. S. and W. 16th St.). The massive sphere was constructed with aluminum rings skinned with ipe wood on the outside and stacked glass/aluminum plates on the inside. Surrounding the piece are four wooded benches, each of which have been engraved with various things local residents love about the four seasons in St. Louis Park. Depending on which way you view the piece, it looks different from all angles.
Nearby, stop and rest for a minute at the Central Park West Sculpture (1511 Utica Ave S). The sculpture, which spells “WE,” represents togetherness as a community, the border between Golden Valley and St. Louis Park, and West End. On either side of the sculpture are three-dimensional 18-inch-wide benches that spell Golden Valley and St. Louis Park and allow for physical engagement. The structures have a powder coat finish in a stylized lilac pattern to reflect the area’s history as Lilac Way. They also light up at night.
You’ll find photo-worthy food and surroundings at Wok in the Park (3005 Utah Ave. S), where the dining room is decorated with a cherry blossom mural created by Japanese artist Kazuta Kuroki. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by the cuisines of Japan, Vietnam, China, Thailand and France, with a focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Across the street, the bold style and color palette of the mural at the Texa-Tonka Shopping Center (8006 Minnetonka Blvd.) is a nod to the building’s 1950s mid-century modern design. The mural features both historic local businesses and figures that represent life in St. Louis Park today.
Your day of art wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Westwood Hills Nature Center (8300 W Franklin Ave.). The Interpretive Center is home to a high-density collage created from recycled books and magazines, and it includes thousands of pieces of paper and hundreds of layered images. The nature-themed piece, titled “Waterfall Observation Deck,” makes for a stunning closeup or selfie backdrop.
In Golden Valley, pay a visit to the 8-foot tall Peace Pole which is installed near City Hall under the water tower. The pole is white and features the peace declaration (May peace prevail on Earth) in eight languages, two on each side.
Finally, finish your St. Louis Park art tour by dropping into the Discover St. Louis Park headquarters (1660 Hwy. 100 S. Suite 501) to gander at the mural by local artist Adam Turman that’s featured prominently on our office wall. The piece pays homage to both St. Louis Park and Golden Valley and highlights the historical beehive fireplace and the lilacs of Lilac Way. Come say hi!