The best destinations in the world for fans of street art
Graffiti used to be something of a dirty word – a phrase some would associate with vandalism, perhaps. However, modern urban artists are constantly striving to turn drab, gentrified areas into exhibitions of limitless creativity. There can be no denying that street art helps to develop the character of our towns and cities – and in some cases raise the value of the buildings adorned with it.
Some of us are lucky to have street art on our doorstep. For those with a more adventurous streak, combining a trip abroad with the opportunity to see some of the world’s finest graffiti can be a horizon-broadening experience. Expedia say that 45% of people travel to learn more about themselves, after all.
But where are the best places in the world to take in some street art? Why not consider the following when planning a sightseeing trip:
Australia’s second-biggest city is well known for its labyrinthine graffiti lanes. Street artists from around the world consider it a privilege to adorn the walls of passageways like Union Lane, Hosier Lane and Croft Alley with their handiwork. It’s even possible to book a street tour of the city with a practising street artist as your guide – this way, you won’t miss out on any of the good stuff.
The Cold War period might have been bleak for Berlin, but it certainly generated some thought-provoking street art – much of which still stands to this day. The Berlin Wall, which separated the communist East and democratic West sections of the city, was a huge target for politically motivated art on both sides of the border. The tradition has carried on long after the reunification of the city, with interesting and colourful graffiti to be found in many of the hip neighbourhoods surrounding the East Side Gallery.
This forward-thinking Chilean city made street art legal to foster the creativity of its citizens. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to discover that there are interesting murals on practically every street corner. The more bohemian neighbourhoods like Cerro Concepción and Cerre Alegre are the standouts, but with over 42 designated street art areas it can take days to get around it all.
New York City
NYC became known for its street art scene during the early 1980s. Since then, the Big Apple has been a mecca for visual artists from around the globe who want to create urban masterpieces in the concrete jungle. All five boroughs feature stencil art, street installations and huge wall murals in abundance, with everyone from Banksy to the Bushwick collective having created pieces over the years.
While the “city of love” is certainly known for high art within its museums and galleries, there’s also ample opportunity to find graffiti murals amongst its streets. Street art has become a part of the Parisian psyche, and there are plenty of artist-led walking tours for visitors to ensure they see the most essential works.
Areas like Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Hackney are a sight to behold in the UK capital. Spray-painted walls share space with first-class restaurants and high-end boutiques in one of the trendiest and most vibrant cities in the world.