12 Cities With Jaw-dropping Street Art
Art restricts no culture, no person, no form, and no space. It is an ever-changing expression of unbounded and unconfined mix of passion and creativity. Because of its continuously evolving nature, street art, a public visual art that was perceived as mere vandalism in the 80s, has been refined and accepted as a modern art form.
Now, the world has embraced it not only because it can capture the public’s attention, but also because it can literally be a huge platform to relay a message, a cause, and an advocacy to the masses. And aside from the most common stencil graffiti, street art now includes sticker art, street installation, yarn bombing, video projection and more!
If you are a sucker for one, here’s a list of cities with the most amazing street art.
1. Sao Paulo, Brazil
Famous for its football scene and sizzling Fashion Week, Sao Paulo is also home to an international acclaimed street art scene. Despite its busy metropolis, no one can simply ignore the street art’s popping colors which break the monotony of the monochromatic concrete jungle that is Sao Paulo. Identical twins Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo are regarded as the heroes of street art in this city as they have been spreading the art for 25 years. For a more extensive street art viewing, you can visit the world-famous Batman Alley.
2. Lodz, Poland
Lodz is no stranger to art. It is the country’s home of the premier National Film School and has been the subject of some notable literature. But, because of the emergence of street art, its local government pushed to use it for public/private partnerships which helped revive its culture, attract business and investments, and boost tourism. From stencil graffiti to 2D street painting, artists have covered up-to 10-storey buildings with their paint and creativity in this Polish city.
3. Melbourne, Australia
Dubbed as the “stencil capital of the world,” Melbourne boasts a flourishing street art scene that started as early as the 70s. Even the world’s first stencil festival was held in Australia’s second biggest city. Street art in Melbourne is beaming with diversity. It comes in the form of woodblocking, wheatpasting, and street installations as well. Artists in this city are also known to embed advocacy and community awareness in their creations. Some of the best locations are in Hosier and Rutledge Lane, and the Caledonian Lane.
4. Buenos Aires, Argentina
One of the “Alpha Cities” of Latin America has been making waves in tourism not because of its grandiose theater but because of its thriving street art scene. Art scenes in Argentina mostly bank on orchestra, cinema, and of course, tango. But, Buenos Aires can also offer you a plethora of street art locations you that won’t usually find on tourist guidebooks. Mostly, a splash of bright oranges, yellows, and greens; murals and street paintings reflect a modern vibrancy to the city known for its history. If you want to see it for yourself, visit Palermo and Villa Crespo.
5. London, England
London, the eye of Europe and arguably the citadel of rock and roll, is known for other countless beautiful things. In this royal city, you can eat, hear, see, feel, and breathe art. But amidst the (expensive) grand museums and other famous attractions, London also flaunts one of the world’s finest street arts for free. Roam the streets of East London specifically the Shoreditch High Street and prepared to be blown away.
Looking for more freebies in London? Check out our list of 32 free things to do in London.
6. Penang, Malaysia
Penang is one of Malaysia’s most industrialized and urbanized state. Even though its economy is powered mainly by the manufacturing industry, Penang maintains to be one of the tourist hubs of the country. Although street art has just started blossoming a few years ago, the famous 6 Wall paintings have been the most photographed street art in Penang as it depicts Malaysia’s unique culture and lifestyle. Drop by the streets of Georgetown with a camera on your right hand and any of the city’s best street food on your left.
7. Berlin, Germany
Science and technology has always been the backbone of Berlin. Apart from the beautiful architecture preserved in the name of history, Berlin at present is also evenly decorated with contemporary design living up to its UNESCO title as the "City of Design" which rings true to its street art as well. Don’t miss to visit some of its street installations like the Molecule Men, The Boxers, and the Buddy Bears; as well as murals in the streets of Schonhauser Allee, Rosenthaler Straße, and more.
8. Bogota, Colombia
This massive Colombian city, with over six million people, has more to offer than its stunning colonial architecture, sumptuous cuisine, and coffee. It is also one of the Latin American cities that take pride in showcasing their street art. The city’s natural vibrancy is even more amplified through the graffiti in the streets of La Candelaria nestled in the capital's university town.
9. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is the perfect blend of Europe and Asia since it literally sits in between the two continents. Thus, its unique geographical location reflects its culture and arts. This also reflective to its booming street art scene. From the color and themes, it is apparent that Istanbul’s street art draws largely from the two cultural mash-up as well. Find some of the bests massive pieces at Macit Erbudak Sokak No. 35 and at Pier St. No. 58. But if you want to wander a street-full of graffiti and wall paintings, then try the streets of Galata Quarter, Kariyer, Kadikoy, and Istiklal Street.
10. Bethlehem, West Bank
With the ongoing conflict in the Gaza strip, activists all over the world have been expressing their call for peace through different platforms and art forms. One of them is street artist Banksy whose identity is kept secret. His gripping and stirring stenciled images literally sends a message across the war-torn zone’s 435-mile long barrier that divides Israel and other Palestinian territories called the “Security Wall.” There you can see provocative illustration about freedom, unity, and children's rights.
11. Los Angeles, USA
Los Angeles, a glamorous city where movie and basketball stars are born, is a visual arts haven and apparently one of America’s finest, as far as street art. Since LA is one of the cities that started the then-head-shaken art form, it has now gathered a very active and engaging street art scene. They display numerous—if not all—kinds of street art. You can spot some of their bests at the LA Arts District and LA Brea District.
12. New York, USA
To cap the list is the pioneer city of the modern street art—New York. The street art scene in NYC is definitely one for the books as it began as early as the 60s. Protests and spray paints were its humble beginnings which eventually widened to bringing artistic prowess to the public. Pass along the streets of South Manhattan and Bronx to get the taste of history and modernity.
Street art, although more globally recognized, still strives to be the art that is more appreciated as a creative statement rather than a mere wall decoration. It is art flaunted for the public to see, but most importantly, it is a movement that aims reach out to the masses. You may not find these locations on your travel guidebooks, but be sure to include these spots in your trip.