As you travel from country to country, city to city you’ll come across so many different styles of street art. As an art lover I not only take the time to visit galleries in each city but also explore what the local artists are up to in small exhibitions or on the streets! I’ve collected some of my favourite cities for street art, or as some call it graffiti, from around the world.
Kicking this off with Melbourne the street art mecca of Australia. One of the cool things about Melbourne is that the art is vibrant and celebrated – embraced and not erased! It’s not tricky to find whole streets dedicated to some phenomenal pieces of work, both in the city centre and surrounding suburbs. If you’re in Melbourne city centre check out Union Street, Bourke Street and Hosier Lane. Half the fun is finding the streets yourself but if you head to the tourist point you can hop onto a street art walking tour.
From technicolour murals in Venice to the more edgy graffiti Downtown, LA is a city jam-packed with incredible street art. The 10 year ban on public murals was lifted a couple of years ago and there’s a sense of creative freedom around the city. Just driving around you’ll spot walls blasted with colour and whole houses wrapped in psychedelic masterpieces, and the best part is you can see it all in the California sunshine! A good place to start is a mural tour in the Arts District – here you’ll also find hip cafes, restaurants and shops.
Georgetown in Penang is full of surprises! It’s a really arty and cultural town with an arts festival that runs in July and August and a literary festival in November. You’re likely to meet the artists and creative people if you hang out in the local cafes. One of things I loved about Georgetown’s street art is its humour – You may see a cat hunting on one wall with a mouse hidden just around the corner.
After the 2011 earthquake Christchurch is very much a city that is emerging from its damaged past. You’ll still find temporary buildings and pop-up shops and although construction is now underway there’s still a lot of work to be done. So due to the natural disaster Christchurch has become a very interesting city where street artists almost have free reign to decorate the derelict areas. The art around the city adds so much colour and character to a place still mourning their loss.
It’s probably not a surprise that a city as colourful as Rio is home to some of the boldest pieces of street art in the world. With its brightly painted buildings and people not afraid to wear tropical colours, the street art looks totally at home. Some of the art that really caught my eye was in one of Rio’s favelas, Rocina. I had to share this view from a Rocinha Hostel! Only head to the favelas on an organised trip or if you’re lucky enough to know a local. If you’re looking to book a hostel stay, you can do this via our website and chat to the hostel owner about getting their safely.
If you’re in Berlin, make sure that you head to the East Side Gallery. There you’ll find a memorial for freedom made up of 105 different artworks painted on the Berlin Wall. It’s moving and beautiful – so much art to see and so much love for Berlin. It’s also close to the River Spree so if the weather is nice, you can relax on the grass outside or in a nearby cafe and watch the world go by. The best way to explore Berlin’s hidden street art is to book an independent tour with The Hidden Path. Listen to stories about Berlin’s street art history and the most famous artist.
Barcelona is a city bursting with art! With galleries everywhere and sculptures around every corner (nearly!) it’s an obvious streetart hotspot. Once upon a time Barcelona was Picasso’s home and Dali too and it’s easy to stumble across the huge Lichtenstein sculpture near the harbour Port Vell. The streetart tends to be political and there’s an obvious Banksy stencil-art influence. You definitely get the feeling that anyone can get involved, but it does disappear quickly so make sure you admire it and capture some photos before it’s erased for ever. One way around the removal of streetart is many of the shop fronts metallic barriers are used as a canvas. So when the shops are closed the streets are even more arty!
Head to Ataco in El Salvador for street after street of beautiful almost dreamlike murals. It’s almost like looking through a perfectly illustrated child’s book, with cats and characters on bright purple and green backgrounds.
New York attracts some of the world’s top street artists although I’m not sure there’s a specific city style. It’s definitely worth exploring each borough and you will come across some hidden gems! There are whole galleries dedicated to street art and only a few months back I spotted this piece whilst walking Chelsea’s Highline.
All images were sourced from our travelling team. Johanna’s images are Melbourne, Georgetown, Christchurch, Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, El Salvador and New York. Viktoria and Claire shared their Berlin images and insights. Danielle shared her photos and findings from LA.