Long gone are the days where graffiti is viewed only as vandalism, carried out by young troublemakers or criminals. Street art has taken over cities around the globe and we could not be more excited about it! After all, what could be better than giant, colorful murals turning otherwise grimy parts of a city into gorgeous pieces of art? We love the ability of street art to stir the pot a little, add to political dialogue and express the hopes, fears, and ideas of a population.
We have put together this Wanderlist of our top destinations to see awesome street art, hoping to inspire you to check out the free art galleries displayed on city walls. That said, expect this list to change over time, with explosions of colorful expression popping up in even the most remote corners of the world.
Cape Town’s incredible street art puts you face to face with the best and worst of South Africa from both yesterday and today. Powerful images cover walls throughout the city and are as thought-provoking as they are beautiful. Don’t miss the District Six neighborhood, which features some of the city’s top work.
The voice of Palestinians has been, in large part, silenced on the world stage. This is not the case on the walls of Bethlehem, where the hopes and fears of Palestinians are featured front and center. Street art is a way for Palestinians to express their anger, without violence. Unlike anywhere else in the world, the street art in Bethlehem has the ability to move you to your very core.
One of the coolest things about the street art in Bangkok is how it is often hidden in corners of the city you wouldn’t expect. Small alleys and otherwise hidden nooks of the city burst with color and bring life to places that would otherwise seem drab. Since the city hosted a Street Art Festival, colorful art has popped up all over the world.
Melbourne is covered in art. Everywhere you go, you will find stunning pieces splattered on the side of buildings, highlighting the best of what the creative inhabitants of the city have to offer. The art in Melbourne is all about color. Plan a trip to this awesome Australian city and you are sure to feel inspired.
London has one of the oldest street art scenes in the world, but it has blossomed into one of the top hot spots for colorful expression in recent years. Some of the world’s most famous artists, including Banksy, Stik, JR and Invader have left their mark all over the city. Take some time to observe, not just pass by, and you may be surprised what messages are being conveyed.
Ironically, the street art in Prague blossomed when it was strictly prohibited. Communist rule in this gorgeous European city was not kind to individual expression, but during communist rule, artists rebelled, leaving their views expressed as art on walls throughout the city. Don’t miss the John Lennon Wall, the legendary graffiti wall featuring the very best that the city has to offer.
We love so much about Lisbon, the gorgeous port city and capital of Portugal, with its street art being the icing on the cake. The graffiti in Lisbon has it all, from political expression to fun images meant to do nothing else but make you smile. As you wander the quaint streets of historic Lisbon, keep your eyes open for pops of color.
Lodz is not only a hotspot for colorful, modern-day street art, it also has a huge collection of historic graffiti. Many of the coolest pieces in the city are still around from the 1960s when Poland was under Communist rule. Although faded, these murals tell one incredible story of a city with a varied past. At the same time, huge colorful murals have started popping up throughout the city, as part of an effort by Urban Forms Foundation to turn the city into an open-aired permanent art gallery.
Street art is as Paris as the Louvre (ok, maybe depending on who you talk to, but you get the idea)! Paris inspires people from all over the world who flock to the city to visit. Fortunately for us all, the same is true for artists. Artists are constantly creating and recreating on the walls of the French capital. Even if you think you have seen it all before, think again. The paintings in Paris are constantly being updated and changed.
Berlin’s history is one of the most interesting in the world. The same is true for its street art, which has always been among the top in the world. You can literally spend an entire trip to Berlin just exploring the city’s street art. Don’t miss out on the political and cultural expressions on the still standing pieces of the Berlin Wall.
The historic city of Dublin has been smothered in street art over the last few years. Irish street artists, as well as some international artists, use Dublin as a sort of open-air gallery, displaying their best pieces in different corners of the city. One of the coolest things about this city’s art is the number of centuries old buildings that portray colorful depictions of life today.
Yes, you read that right, Moscow has some unbelievable street art. The Russian Government may go to great lengths to crack down on self-expression, but that is what makes the street art here so unique. Russian artists do their best to express themselves in bold and creative ways and street art has become an excellent outlet for doing just that. Those pieces that have yet to be destroyed by authorities are definitely worth a look.
Istanbul’s street art scene is growing almost as rapidly as tourism to the city. One of the reasons for this is the Mural Istanbul Festival, which brings together local and international artists to leave their mark on the Kadikoy neighborhood. Making your way to this awesome neighborhood gives you the opportunity to visit a lesser-known part of Istanbul, where you can almost feel the added energy introduced with gorgeous murals. Don’t want to get lost? Check out the Istanbul Street Art App!
New York City is one of the coolest and hippest cities in the world, so it is no surprise their street art scene is on point. The street art in this city, the birthplace of graffiti, is as diverse as its people. New York speaks to you through pieces splattered all over its walls. In the past, the city has had a love-hate relationship with graffiti, which has long expressed the opinion of some of the city’s most vociferous residents. Today, lucky for us, the city seems to be embracing the beauty this art adds to the city.
Mexico is all about color. From north to south, the country adds a little color and spice to the planet. The street art in Mexico City is perhaps the best example of this. Mexico’s culture, politics, and history come to life with stunning pieces that use bright colors as a means of expression throughout the city. Don’t miss the art in the historic city center, particularly on Calle Regina and Calle Reforma, which together feature some of the best of the best of the city.
Bogota’s street art speaks volumes about the many positive changes that have taken place in Colombia over recent years, while still serving as one of the greatest forms of political expression.
The streets of Bogota are covered in colorful, inviting images, showing visitors that the country is open for business. At the same time, you will find some absolutely phenomenal political pieces which go to the gut of the decades-long civil war in the country. Street artists in Colombia do not shy away from the country’s conflicted past, providing a glimpse at what gives the country such a rough reputation, while at the same time demonstrating why the past should be left in the past. Don’t miss the art in Cartagena, Medellin, and many other Colombian cities, which is equally as good!
Street art is the reason to go to Valparaiso. A short trip from Santiago (which also has some great street art), this port city is set against a beautiful background, but the murals that line its streets are what will really take your breath away. The street art is also what has made the city famous, attracting the top artists from all over the world. Wander the streets all day and then sit and enjoy a glass of amazing Chilean wine over a seafood dinner!
Art is one of the things that makes Brazil, Brazil and gives it the irresistible energy that keeps drawing people in. Brazilian artists have a lot to say and they use paint to tell the world. The paintings on walls across Sao Paulo are cultural expression at its very best. Take the time to wander and find yourself lost in the colorful alleys that serve as hotspots for street artists. Above all, don’t miss Beco de Batman or Batman Alley.
Again, art makes Brazil, Brazil, which is why two Brazilian cities have made our list. Actually, even the Government of Brazil has gotten on board, legalizing street art in 2009. Following this legalization, the streets of Rio de Janeiro, where the inhabitants have long used art as a form of expression, have exploded with thoughtful pieces that go to the heart of social and cultural issues intertwined with the soul of Brazil.
Argentina is not just for tango anymore. The street art scene in Buenos Aires is tremendous. The art in this already awesome city is a bit quirky and thought-provoking, making it all the more incredible. In fact, Buenos Aires’ street art is so amazing that it is only one of two cities (along with Paris) featured in Google’s Street Art Project, which has given international artists great incentive to use the city as their canvas.
There you go, 20 cities where you are sure to be blown away by the number of fantastic pieces of art available to you, for free, out on the street! Think we missed somewhere? Let us know using the form below.