The Best Cities (and Neighbourhoods) for Street Art

its humble beginnings to headline-grabbing auctions with
works selling (before self-shredding) for upwards of $4 million,
street art has shed its grimy reputation and acquired critical
acclamation in the process.

Still, spotting urban masterpieces in situ – from tiny stencils
by renowned artists peeping from the cracks of the pavement to
colossal murals of unknown origins crawling up the sides of a
high-rise building – is hard to beat, as these outdoor galleries

Wynwood District


may be known for parties and palm trees, but beyond its glossy
veneer, the city’s creative scene offers a different perspective.
Peaking during Art Basel, Miami’s acclaimed contemporary art can be
enjoyed all year round – if you know where to look. Home to over 70
galleries and with street art adorning every wall in sight, Wynwood
Art District is one of the city’s most vibrant areas. If you’re
visiting on the second Saturday of the month, stroll “Art Walk” – a
monthly, late-night gallery event with free entry and free drinks.
Expect crowds of people and a vibey atmosphere, supplemented by a
solid bar scene.


Cape Town

has transformed into a burgeoning cultural
neighbourhood, largely owing to a 2009 street-art project which
aimed to change the area through colourful, socially-conscious
murals. The regeneration project is plastered across the walls of
the suburb, with over 100 paintings and installations by 40 artists
on display. Themes range from the deeply political, such as Freddy
Smith’s black-and-white piece commemorating 20 years of democracy
in South Africa, to interpretations of Cape
mountainscapes and wildlife. Our advice: book a
thought-provoking graffiti walking tour gain insight the art’s
wider context.

The Mission District

San Francisco

A city known for creativity, social movements and political
progressiveness, San
liberal spirit is palpable. From crocheted bin
covers to building-cum-sculptures, art is abundant throughout.
Visit Balmy Alley, an ever-evolving canvas used to express communal
concerns ranging from gentrification to governmental injustice. A
few blocks away is the Mission Cultural Centre for Latino
and further along that stretch you’ll find Clarion Alley.
Stop to peruse social-political murals before grabbing an ice-cream
from Bi-Rite Creamery and lounging on the grass at
Dolores Park.



The self-proclaimed “edgy part” of Australia, Melbourne’s
street-art scene certainly backs up its title. A hub for hipsters
and creatives, this temperamental city’s graffiti is as changeable
as its weather. Ramble through Fitzroy Street where you’ll find
sophisticated and technically skilled street daubings covering
every alleyway and backstreet. Continue to Rose Street for more of
the same, bypassing the throngs of tourists crowding along Union



Street art probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind
when you think of
but this historical city has a longstanding tradition
of graphic art. Stroll through the city’s centre and you’ll soon
happen upon masterpieces big and small, thanks to a government who
has embraced the creative movement with opens arms. Commissioning
murals to transform the grey walls of apartment blocks, these
colossal pieces draw a major crowd. Works by duo Etam Cru stretch
up buildings all across Poland; ID the pair’s distinctive style by
its blend of modern design with traditional motifs derived Polish



Romantic French balconies, beautiful architecture and
cheese-oozing croque monsieurs are quintessentially Parisian,
but more and more the city’s independent underbelly is showing.
Streets aplenty boast skilful street art, but Rue Saint-Maur in the
10th and 11th arrondissements is one spot to mark on your map.
Wander along until you meet Rue Oberkampf, a stretch rife with
works by Kashink, Paris’ most notable female street artist. On this
same street is Le Mur, a space where new artists are invited to
transform every few weeks – if you’re lucky you’ll spot them at
work while you’re there.



With a penchant for restoring derelict buildings and a soft spot
for breaking the rules, it makes sense that Berlin
is the most tagged city in Europe. While the German capital is
known for its constantly evolving cityscape, unsurprisingly its
sense of history runs deep. Nowhere is this relationship of past
and present more tangible than in the murals of
The East Side Gallery
. While the famous Fraternal Kiss is worth
a visit, walking the entire 1.3km stretch is equally vital viewing.
Over 100 murals were painted after the wall came down in 1989,
transforming this past symbol of division into a national symbol of
creativity and spirit.


United Kingdom

In a perpetual game of cat and mouse, street artists work
quickly to elude police when creating their work. The result sees
an endless cycle of new art appearing and disappearing across the
city. Home to graffiti’s most revered artist, Banksy’s pieces can
be found plastered all around Bristol. Well Hung Lover adorns the
side of a sexual health clinic, while Girl with the Pierced Eardrum
can be found in Hanover Place. While Banksy’s works certainly
warrant a tour, Bristol’s
street art goes far beyond this household name. For a mix of styles
head to Stokes Croft – a mini-Berlin with street art to match. Be
sure to pay Breakdancing Jesus a visit before popping in for a
cider at The Canteen next door.

São Paulo


The financial hub of
São Paulo
is an urban jungle of skyscrapers and concrete
pathways. Injecting some colour into this monotone landscape, local
artists have taken to sketching murals and creative masterpieces
across the city. Head first for Beco do Batman in the Vila Madalena
neighbourhood; along this narrow alleyway, each artist actually
owns the wall on which they work. More fine art than street art,
you’ll find grander designs and large-scale murals in neighbouring
Pinheiros. Make sure to visit on a Saturday when Benedito Calixto
Square is filled with artisans peddling their wares. Although the
mayor of
São Paulo
painted over many of the murals in a bid to “clean
up” the city early last year, there is still much to be admired



The beautiful port of
is instantly recognisable thanks to the colourful
facades of its hillside houses in shades of purple, yellow, red,
blue and green (think
Amalfi Coast,
but more modest). Taking its cue from the
charming architecture, local artists have adorned the port’s walls
with kaleidoscopic masterpieces of their own. With a government
that supports local street-art culture, works appear anywhere and
everywhere. Head for the hills to get the best views; we recommend
Carcel, Miraflores, Alegre, Pateon, Concepcion or Bellavista. Be
sure to add Templeman Street on Cerro Alegre to your list too.



Like many country’s, Portugal’s relationship with street art is
grounded in politics; the art form emerged as a means to revolt
against the right-wing dictatorship that controlled the country for
the first half of the 20th century. Today, it continues to flourish
with Lisbon’s
landscape of contemporary buildings and medieval structures
providing ample canvas. Most walls in lively Bairro
– particularly along the Calcada da Gloria – are drenched
in design. Expect a mixture of artworks poking fun at pop culture
alongside dreamy abstract pieces crawling up the side of a high
rise. Travessa dos Dies de Deus, Rua da Vinha and Rua de Sao
Boaventura are good spots to start.

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