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10 of the world's best cities to explore street art

10 of the world's best cities to explore street art

Street art is increasingly recognized as a creative way of regenerating urban landscapes into colorful concrete canvases.

You’ll frequently find this unique art form splashed across city walls in cool, creative, and Instagram-friendly hotspots for locals and tourists alike to enjoy. 

Discovering these hotspots is a great, cost-effective way of getting to know a new place. Here’s our pick of the best cities in the world to discover street art.

1. London, United Kingdom

London’s thriving arts scene is reflected in its eclectic range of creative artwork spread throughout its historic streets. This combination perfectly reflects the city’s vibrant mix of modern and traditional culture.

Don’t miss: Brick Lane. London’s spirited Shoreditch area is hard to beat when it comes to street art, with many famous names having left their mark here. You’ll find a variety of murals, stencils, and street sculptures living colorfully alongside the old brick walls of this buzzing market street. 

2. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is the guiding light of Australian street art, which has come to represent the city’s cultural spirit. The south coast city is known for pioneering stencil graffiti — a form of easily replicable street art using spray paint on a paper outline. Melbourne also proudly held the world’s first stencil festival in 2004.

Don’t miss: Hosier Lane. This centrally located side street is essentially an open-air art gallery exhibiting work by the city’s best graffiti artists. Featured artwork is frequently updated, meaning you can pay regular visits and spot something fresh every time.

3. Bristol, United Kingdom

No conversation about street art would be complete without mentioning its best-known pioneer — Banksy. The anonymous and groundbreaking street artist grew up around Bristol and some of his most iconic works can be found here. Beyond Banksy, Bristol is still one of the UK’s creative hotspots. Here, you can explore the works of incredible street artists spread throughout town. Try to catch one of the regular street art walking tours covering the best of Bristol’s public art scene.

Don’t miss: The Mild Mild West, 80 Stokes Croft. This tongue-in-cheek scene of a giant teddy bear facing off against British riot police is a classic example of Banksy’s signature blend of surrealism and social commentary. 

4. Los Angeles, USA

The City of Angels has been home to countless cultural icons over the years, with lots of street art dedicated to beloved locals. Familiar faces range from Marilyn Monroe to Kurt Cobain, as well as many touching tributes to basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

Don’t miss: Mural Mile in Pacoima. What began as a grassroots community project is now a vast urban canvas depicting hundreds of eclectic works by local artists. Ranging from the hyper-realistic to the fantastically supernatural, each piece has its own story to tell. 

5. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

With a futuristic skyline dominating the landscape, Kuala Lumpur’s streets have become increasingly populated with innovative artwork. The city government sanctioned these artistic efforts to breathe new life into lesser-known areas. Examples include stone steps designed to resemble a flowing river and an old school bus half-built into a brick wall.

Don’t miss: Kwai Chai Hong (“Little Ghost Alley"). This abandoned alleyway in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown was transformed into a street art hotspot. The space tells the story of daily life in the area during the 1960s. Dilapidated walls are now nostalgic murals that take visitors on a trip down memory lane. 

6. Toronto, Canada

Often referred to as the most culturally diverse place in the world, Canada’s largest city boasts an unsurprisingly lively street art scene. The StreetARToronto program initiated in 2012 has produced a variety of impressive outdoor galleries across the city. Prominent local artists have been commissioned to spray, splash, and stencil new colors onto the urban scenery. 

Don’t miss: Graffiti Alley. No surprises as to what you’ll find here. Only a few blocks from the colossal CN Tower, you’ll find Graffiti Alley, one of the first places in Toronto where street art was legalized. The long, multi-colored alleyway is now Toronto’s best-known street art spot. It features an endless range of captivating artwork and is home to regular mini-art festivals. 

7. Berlin, Germany

Few places can match the creative pulse of Germany’s capital, home to a vast range of street art. The recently opened museum, The Urban Nation, is wholly dedicated to Berlin’s history and culture of urban contemporary art. It’s a must-visit for your next trip.

Don’t miss: The East Side Gallery. Stretching over one kilometer along Berlin’s cool and creative Friedrichshain neighborhood, the East Side Gallery boasts an epic variety of artwork. This is even more impactful when you realize it's all hosted along the wall that divided this incredible city in two for so many years.

8. New York, USA

The Concrete Jungle is often considered to be the birthplace of street art, due to its rich history with the artform. Look up while on a stroll down NY’s endless avenues and you can easily discover incredible, multi-story murals painted across all five of its boroughs. 

Don’t miss: The Mount Rushmore of Art mural at 210 10th Avenue, Chelsea. This spectacular example of New York’s urban art scene comes from celebrated street artist Eduardo Kobra. The piece is an affectionate homage to art legends Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It colorfully depicts their faces across several floors of a Manhattan building in the style of the iconic Mount Rushmore monument.

9. Lisbon, Portugal

Perched scenically on the River Tagus, the Portuguese capital boasts a diverse display of street art. This includes unique work by local artist Artur Bordalo, who created a street sculpture portfolio built entirely from trash.

Don’t miss: Poseidon by PichiAvo, 65 Calçado de Santa Apolónia. A short stroll from Portugal’s oldest train station, you’ll find a multi-colored portrayal of the sea god Poseidon, gazing onto the water. The piece is hypnotically beautiful and well worth a long stare.

10. Miami, USA

As if year-round sun wasn’t enough, Florida’s southernmost major city also boasts a flourishing arts scene. The “Magic City” is home to a range of kaleidoscopic street murals. Miami Beach even holds the honor of being a host city for the renowned art festival Art Basel every year.

Don’t miss: Wynwood Arts District. A former industrial estate, this area is the undisputed urban art hub of Miami. Here you’ll find blocks upon blocks of mesmerizing murals by the biggest names in street art. This makes Wynwood a fantastic place to take an immersive tour through the wonderful work on show.

We hope this list inspires you to discover some of these amazing cities and experience the world of street art for yourself.

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