Street art and graffiti is known to divide the masses: whilst some see it as a chance to see beautiful pieces of free art as they wander the streets, others find it abhorrent, and would class it as criminal activity. We’d love to know where you’d stand on this subject by the way, so do let us know your opinions down below or on any of our social media channels. For now though, we’d like to introduce you to 5 of the best cities for street art around the world.
Toronto are ahead of the game. In order to cut back on graffiti and vandalism in the city, they started the initiative StreetARToronto back in 2012, which has lead the way for beautiful murals to appear throughout the city in designated areas. Over time, these have blossomed, and the city has become a colorful space for artists to let loose with their work.
In fact, it’s home to Graffiti Alley, an almost kilometer long alleyway dedicated to art. This alley is an important part of Toronto’s cultural and diverse nature, and each year it’s painted over to give artists a blank canvas for their creations. It’s a must see for street art fans and anyone looking to get that perfect Instagram shot, so make sure you don’t miss it.
That’s not all Toronto has to offer though. There’s the Toronto Wall (pictured here on the left), the famous Calii Wings (which you’ll also find in LA, Washington, Australia and Taiwan), the Make Good Mural, and even the Sunglasses Mural, plus hundreds of others dotted around the city.
Not only is Lisbon home to some of the most beautiful tile work and facades known to Europe, but its street art scene is well-known and loved throughout the continent.
The beauty of many of these works of art, is that there’s a subtle mix of bright, poppy colors and modern art, alongside historical artwork that fits in with the ancient roots of Portugal’s capital city. To be honest, it’s quite strange to begin with – you may not be able to imagine such an old, historical city covered in art work from the modern times, but weirdly enough, it works. One thing is for certain, this is without a doubt one of the best cities in the world to find incredible pieces of street art.
Whether you’re interested in visualizing a multi-colored Poseidon looking out towards the sea or illustrations of a Lisbon in times gone by, historical figures of literature captured on walls that are beyond repair or you simply want to see some of the old school trams covered in graffiti, you’ll find it all down the winding, cobbled streets of this old city.
The second largest city in Australia, Melbourne is an open-air exhibition of some insanely good pieces of street art. It’s certainly different to both Lisbon and Toronto, whose works of art seem a little more well-placed. Many of the hotspots in Melbourne have the feel of ‘angry youth creating their own art work’, but you should know that the Melbourne City Council actively encourages the street art that can be found on many a street and street corner, and that the artists in the city need a permit, and can only put their work up in designated spots.
Some of the best places to spot the best street art in Melbourne? Try the Everfresh Fitzroy Mural, Duckboard Place, Croft Alley, and AC/DC Place (which is a literal tribute to the band) for a good look at some wild and interesting conceptions that line the streets. You won’t be disappointed with the sheer amount of inspiration that hang off of these walls.
London, United Kingdom
London’s sprawling street art scene can be found in every corner of the city and surrounding area. And whilst it’s technically still illegal, many of the local authorities allow it, meaning the scene has boomed over the years. Art work varies from full on colorful murals, to stand alone art pieces, to sections of grubby graffiti that no one can quite understand. There’s something for everyone down in Old London Town though, with many up and coming areas being very fond of their street art.
Some of the best spots to check out the most interesting murals and stand alone pieces are in East London. Between Shoreditch, Hackney, Hackney Wick and Dalston, you’ll be able to see some of the most intriguing and colorful pieces of the city that’ll leave a mark way after you leave.
Some of the most famous pieces? Try Girl With The Purple Flower in Shoreditch, or the collaborative art mural that can be found in King John’s Court in Hackney, for a collective series of works that meld together in a colorful and beautiful way.
One of the most ecclectic cities in the world that’s well known for its electronic and techno club scene, Berlin is known as a UNESCO City of Design where artists run free. You see, street art is just another way for the residents of this formerly oppressed city to show their true colors and speak up.
Whether you’re looking for the city’s most popular piece: The Cosmonaut, which has been around since 2007 and is based in the Kreuzberg area, or you’re looking to set your eyes on the last stretch of the Berlin Wall that’s been covered in 118 artists work, there really is something for everyone in this city. The most popular areas to look out for too, are: the Urban Spree area, Mitte, Wedding & the Lake Tegel Art Park, where you’ll find a massive range of inspiring pieces by famous artists and painters.
Which cities have we missed that you’d love to have seen featured? There are so many cities with a bustling street art culture it would be impossible to find them all and add them to our gallery, but these ones are some of the most intriguing and important that we came across. We’d love to hear your thoughts.