The Grafitti Bridge is an iconic landmark located just east and within walking distance of Pensacola’s downtown blocks. Visiting here won’t cost you a dime, but it is sure to leave a lasting memory!
You will find The Grafitti Bridge on N 17th St. between Miraflores Park and Wayside Park. You will see a painted underpass and a parking lot on the southeast side of that underpass. This parking lot ostensibly is for a public boat ramp here, but it’s also a great location to park and walk over to The Grafitti Bridge and is often used as a staging area for food trucks, artisans, and other entrepreneurs. You can also choose instead to park at Wayside Park near the Visitor’s Center and follow the sidewalk down to this area.
The Grafitti Bridge is uniquely the one place in the city where anyone can paint public property. Truly. The City of Pensacola Code of Ordinances has an express exemption for this bridge in its section regarding the defacement of property because of the long-standing tradition Floridians have had of leaving drawings and messages in paint here.
After you’ve found the parking lot, you’ll go down close to the water and find the richly painted railroad trestle and rocks. Anywhere along here and at the underpass, a person can legally paint and change the mural. According to historians, people have been decorating and sharing their painted words at this 17th Ave Railroad Trestle since 1935. That’s nearly 90 years of ever-changing, ever-evolving paintwork. You and your vacationing group are likewise informally invited to join in with your own can of paint. Just note that only the bridge itself is legally available for painting and not the road, parking area, or any detached items found within.
Of course, you don’t have to paint to get enjoyment out of The Grafitti Bridge. This is also just a cool place to visit and look at others’ artwork. It’s likewise a fantastic spot for photographers looking for a visually stunning and unique setting for their memorable shots. Artists set up just about every night and every day so that even if you were to drive by consistently at the same time every day, you’re sure to see something new and unique. There has also been known a group to come and paint the entire trestle white in what some perceive as an attempt to discourage painting, yet, this only creates a fresh blank canvas for the next era of muralists.
Note that visitors to The Grafitti Bridge should take special care when walking beneath the bridge and to the road. Cars can cut through here fast and, unfortunately, there is no sidewalk beneath the bridge, so we recommend sticking to the side areas. Additionally, this is still a working railroad, and even if you’re standing below the tracks, you risk getting hit by kicked-up rocks and other debris. So when visiting, always stay aware and head to the parking lot if you hear the whistle of an oncoming train.
-If you’re visiting with a partner and want to leave a romantic mark at The Grafitti Bridge, then bring a love lock for the location’s adjoining fence. Love locks are padlocks that have been engraved or painted with a couple’s name and the date the padlock said lock to a fence. The idea is to commemorate a couple’s relationship and serve as a fun and lasting display of affection.
-If you want to support some of the local Pensacola artists who decorate and support the bridge, then head to the bridge’s informal website. This website includes more information about the bridge itself as well as an online shop where you can purchase Pensacola-made items.
-Newcomers to Pensacola should certainly consider a visit to that nearby Visitor’s Center at Wayside Park. Here, you can learn more about the city’s history as well as grab brochures for local attractions.