Walking tours to see graffiti and large-scale murals don’t just have to be something to do with a few spare hours in a city, but a very valid reason to go there in the first place.
From spotting famous Banksys to the work by Jeff Siti and Edgar Saner, street art tourism is big right now.
We’ve gathered our favourite cities around the world to find the best of it.
Artists from all over the world come to the Portuguese capital to create cutting-edge street art and the volume of it is really noticeable. It’s everywhere – covering buildings, boards that are being erected, even the trams (an iconic feature of the city) are covered in graffiti. To learn about the history and context, the Lisbon Street Art Tour is a good start. In 2010 the Crono Project invited international artists to collaborate with Portuguese artists and the works can be found on Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo in the north of Lisbon.
2. New York
The Big Apple has always been famous for aerosol artists and the street art comes and goes in the fast-paced cultural hub. It’s worth visiting the 100 Gates Project in the lower east side of Manhattan. Its aim was to turn the neighbourhood into an open-air gallery that would come alive at night once businesses had closed their shutters and gates.
Australia’s most arty city Melbourne is home to tons of amazing art, in the centre and the suburbs. Legal street art is huge here and the city is like a living (free) art exhibition. You’ll find well-known local artists’ work like Kaff-eine, Rone and Meggs.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Perth in western Australia has an expanding street art collection too. Streets of Perth Facebook page turned website and interactive map is a good tool if you’re roaming the city looking for urban art.
5. Mexico City
There are plenty of surfaces for legal and illegal graffiti and paintings in a city this dense. Mexico City is a cultural mecca and it shows in the art that plasters the buildings. If you go, check out Edgar Saner’s work, one of Mexico’s most prolific street artists. Streetartchilango.com is creating a virtual collection of the city’s masterpieces.
Public art is everywhere in Berlin. Sides of houses, bridges, doorways, Berliners take great pride in the inspiring cityscape street art creates. Schoneberg is a good area to head to if you want a dense concentration of street art. Artists like El Bocho, Evol and XOOOOX live and work here and a network called Urban Nation regularly brings national and international artists, like Jeff Siti and Dab Witz, to the city.
The bustling hillside port of Valparaiso in Chile is known for its colourful buildings and artistic influence. It’s one of the graffiti capitals of South America and the local government support and promote local street art. There are several well-organised art tours, but the one of the best places to find it is Templeman Street on Cerro Alegre. The open air museum in Bellavista is another must do. The project began in 1969 in a bid to upgrade that part of the city but it was abandoned between 1973 and 1990 due to the dictatorship of Pinochet. Then, in 1992, more than 70 artists came together to bring the project back to life.
We couldn’t miss out the home of the elusive Banksy. In a city proud of its resident mystery street artist, there are original Banksys everywhere – which you can see on a walking tour, or you know, just when you pop out for milk.