Finding street art around the world has been one of my favorite activities when traveling. Street art can be found almost everywhere, and much of it is outstanding. It can also be found in some unusual places as well. A famous street artist, Wild Drawing, goes to my favorite Greek island of Naxos and frequently paints new pieces at an abandoned hotel on a remote beach. For some people they find street art to be a nuisance, but many of the pieces are commissioned by the local businesses or governments. In London, the street art changes so fast you have to go several times a year to see it all. Street art may be temporary in some cases, but it is all wonderful to find on a trip. Since I haven’t been everywhere yet, I have asked my fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite street art from around the world.
Table of Contents
- 1 Street Art in Europe
- 1.1 Kyiv, Ukraine from Megan Starr
- 1.2 Ghent, Belgium from Solo Sophie
- 1.3 Teufelsberg, Germany from Solarpoweredblonde
- 1.4 Tirana, Albania from Once in a Lifetime Journey
- 1.5 Brussels, Belgium from Backpacking Bella
- 1.6 Budapest, Hungary from Budapest Connection
- 1.7 Minsk, Belarus from The Nomadic Vegan
- 1.8 Istanbul, Turkey from Verses by a Voyager
- 1.9 Paris, France from Experiencing the Globe
- 1.10 Padua, Italy from Surfing the Planet
- 1.11 Prague, Czech Republic from Global Castaways
- 1.12 Lisbon, Portugal from What’s Hot
- 1.13 Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway from The Round the World Guys
- 1.14 Berlin, Germany from We Did it Our Way
- 2 Street Art in Asia
- 3 Street Art in South America
- 4 Street Art in North America
- 4.1 Denver, Colorado, USA from The Discoveries Of
- 4.2 Philadephia, PA, USA from Two Traveling Texans
- 4.3 Kakaako, Oahu, Hawaii from Borders & Bucket Lists
- 4.4 Chemainus, British Columbia, Canada from Freedom56Travel
- 4.5 Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada from One Trip at a Time
- 4.6 Miami, Florida, USA from Universo Viajero
- 4.7 Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe from The Migrant Yogi
- 4.8 Boise, Idaho, USA from Let’s Go Boise Idaho
- 4.9 San Francisco, California, USA from Berkeley and Beyond
- 5 Street Art in Central America
- 6 Street Art in the UK
- 7 Street Art in Australia
Street Art in Europe
Kyiv, Ukraine from Megan Starr
There are so many amazing places for street art around the world, but my favorite city for it is Kyiv, Ukraine. The Ukrainian capital city is usually thought of when people are forming images of golden domes on Ukrainian Orthodox churches, but street and urban art is what comes to my mind when I think about the city. One thing you will find in Ukraine that is new and adds a different flair and perspective to the street art is that a lot of it is politically charged and based off of the current events of the country. Ukraine is still at war with Russia, and many lives have been lost on both sides. The street art is a reflection of the country’s ability to progress forward despite the tumultuous times it is having in other regions of the country. There are many things to do in Kyiv, but I definitely think that one should go there and stroll the streets admiring the street art that is covering many building facades.
Ghent, Belgium from Solo Sophie
With breathtaking picture-perfect canals, an incredible foodie scene (think waffles, fries, and plenty of beer!), and plenty of history, there’s no shortage of reasons to put the Belgian city of Ghent on your Europe bucket list. Of course, for those interested in fantastic street art, Ghent certainly doesn’t disappoint. While a huge mural dedicated to the Monuments Men can be found alongside the largest of the canals, it’s the ‘legal’ graffiti street that is truly unique to this part of Europe. For along a little pedestrian street on the fringes of the old town known as Werregarenstraat, people are free to graffiti at their leisure! Free to visit, stroll along on different occasions and you’re sure to notice a different work each time you pass through.
Teufelsberg, Germany from Solarpoweredblonde
Teufelsberg is located in the Grunewald forest, a short train ride from the centre of Berlin. It is an old listening station that was used during the Cold War, and Teufelsberg is actually German for ‘Devil’s Mountain.’ Teufelsberg rises up above the forest and is visible from when you get off the train at Grunewald, and it is around a half an hour walk to reach the listening station. Once you arrive, for a small fee you can walk around, or you can also get a guide. Teufelsberg is now home to many artists and creatives, and no corner is left untouched, each area is covered in street art and sculptures. It is very interesting to walk around and see all the different artworks and random sculptures made of old parts. I would recommend about an hour to make sure you can walk the whole way up to the viewpoint, where on a clear day you can see for miles.
Tirana, Albania from Once in a Lifetime Journey
Albania has quite a tumultuous past. After Communism overtook the country, with Enver Hoxha at the helm, much of the people’s freedom disappeared – from religion to art. After the fall of Hoxha’s regime, the country wanted to start afresh and introduce a liberation that it so lacked.
How does a nation cut off from the rest of the world revive its hope? It was politician Edi Rama’s inspiration and dream to revive this hope through art. A former artist himself, he knew that the universal language of art and self-expression would inspire a nation, uplift their spirit and bring in an international community.
Today, street art is a part of Tirana’s persona. Buildings are painted in the colors of rainbows and murals line the city, giving an otherwise bland architecture a new and invigorating life. A place particularly covered in street art, murals, as well as galleries, is the super hip Blloku. Some stand out with bright yellow and blue while others are more intertwined into the buildings like trees.
While Tirana, Albania is not many people’s first pick for a getaway, it is a fascinating journey into a once isolated country. Even the most famous museum that showcases Albania’s history has “art” in its name – Bunk’Art.
Brussels, Belgium from Backpacking Bella
If you’re exploring street art around the world, don’t miss Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and home to many of Europe’s best-loved comic strip characters. There’s even a museum dedicated to them. One of the best things to do in Brussels for art lovers is to grab a special map or take a bike tour to discover all the comic strip murals on buildings dotted around the city. There are more than 50 wall murals across the neighbourhoods of Brussels paying homage to comics including Lucky Luke, Gil Jourdan and The Adventures of Tintin.
Why not check out the Tintin Comic Mural in the city centre on Rue de l’Etuve, where you can see special artwork depicting the intrepid characters mid-chase, descending a flight of stairs. Even though it was created 90 years ago, this comic book adventure series by Belgian cartoonist Georges ‘Hergé’ Remi is still popular today. In 2011, Steven Spielberg adapted it into a hugely successful, award-winning animated 3D feature film, voiced by Hollywood actors including Jamie Bell and Daniel Craig.
Discover the Tintin Comic Mural and the 49 other murals in Brussels’ special comic strip trail, in a street art adventure that’s fun for kids and adults alike.
Budapest, Hungary from Budapest Connection
Budapest is a city filled with beautiful, old buildings, and while some get pulled down from time to time, local and international artists are using the firewalls as canvases. As they decorate them with colorful murals, they are turning the apartment blocks into works of art, making the district a living art gallery.
Usually, these artworks do not live long. One week they are there, the next week they are gone.
If you want to discover the world of Budapest’s street art, start with the murals in the Jewish Quarter, the home of the most vibrant and incredible murals of Budapest.
Some of the most significant and permanent murals in the Jewish quarter made by Hungarian and local artists:
Alice in Wonderland (27. Kertész street)
Greengrocer’s (48. Dob street)
Király Street (10 Király street)
Man of the Year (40. Wesselényi street)
Rubik’s Cube (10 Dob street)
Budapest isn’t so small (45 Kazinczy street)
The ruin bars deserve a whole post on their own, but you can’t talk about street art in the Jewish Quarter without mentioning them. The ruin bars of Budapest are full of artworks; they are strange combinations of weird and wonderful.
Minsk, Belarus from The Nomadic Vegan
As the last dictatorship in Europe, Belarus is probably the last place you would expect to find good street art. And indeed, Minsk, the nation’s capital, was almost completely devoid of street art until 2014. That’s when the Brazilian embassy organized the first of several urban art festivals in the city. The result has been a legacy of huge murals all over the city by very talented artists, both Brazilian and Belorussian.
The most famous place for urban art in Minsk is a street called Vulica Kastryčnickaja. This popular hangout for young residents of Minsk has become the most vibrant street in the city and is home to food trucks, bars, and even a fully vegan Minsk restaurant called Monkey Food.
The walls on both sides of the street are covered in murals. On one side, the artwork features endangered animals native to Belarus, including a bison, the national symbol. This entire mural is the work of Brazilian street artist Ramon Martins and is probably the largest mural in the world created by a single artist. The scale of the work is simply massive.
Istanbul, Turkey from Verses by a Voyager
Some of the most captivating street art can be found in the city of Istanbul, bridging Asia and Europe. These murals can be seen at multiple places in the city including the residential town of Balat, the famous umbrella street called Hoca Tahsin and in the area of Kadikoy, a ferry ride from Sultanahmet. With tonnes of historic architecture in the city, Istanbul is not second to none when it comes to street art. These arts vary in characters and colours. Ranging from floral paintings to human characters and cartoons, all of them can be seen decorated on the walls of this city. These striking murals have become the identity of Istanbul. If one longs to enjoy the street art in a modern city, Istanbul, Turkey is the place to visit with plenty of murals proudly flaunting its streets.
Paris, France from Experiencing the Globe
Paris is one of the most important art centers of the world, and street art has become a significant feature too. So much that Paris’ City Hall announced that they allocated a bit part of the 500 million euros budget of participatif to create murs d’expression –painted walls all around the city.
Most people will look for street art in the trendy neighborhoods of Montmartre, Le Marais and the Latin Quarter, or just settle for the surroundings of the Centre Pompidou, but I’d recommend going off the beaten path, especially to East Paris. The best areas are Oberkampf, Belleville, and Ménilmontant. Art pops up all over buildings, walls, windows, trash cans, and even on the floor. Look for Rue Oberkampf, Rue Laurence Savart, and Rue des Cascades. If you’ve seen them, go again on your next trip, because it’s everchanging!
My personal favorite is Rue Dénoyez, in Belleville. If you’re there in the morning, stop for a coffee in the cool Café Le Barbouquin, or in the evening for an aperitif at Aux Folies. Continue walking up to Belvédère de Belleville for more art, plus the most amazing views of the city.
Padua, Italy from Surfing the Planet
Padua is very well known as a cultural center, famous for one of the most recognized and most antique universities of Europe, and the basilica of one of the most venerated saints in Christian culture, Saint Anthony. Nevertheless, the most important sights in Padua have a relatively new addition, the street art of Kenny Random.
Kenny Random’s style is quite unique and recognizable since there are some recurring characters in his works, such as a small bird, a cat, or a boy wearing a black hat. The murals can be found in many places, some of them in the center, but others in the suburbs. Finding some of these great artworks is one of the great new things to do in this charming town in the Veneto Region.
Prague, Czech Republic from Global Castaways
The street art in Prague is a bit different from the others around the world. Yes, you can still find lovely graffiti on the buildings around the Czech capital, but alongside them, you can find peculiar art installations.
Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon flying statues or some small guy ( Sigmund Freud) hanging for dear life above the street – this is Prague!
Beside the statues, Prague is home to one of the most famous graffiti walls in the world – The Lennon Wall. Once an average graffiti wall covered in Beatles lyrics, during the years, it became a symbol of a new generation that’s trying to spread ideas of love and peace around the world.
If you want to see the hanging Freud and the Lennon Wall yourself, check out Global Castaway’s Prague itinerary guide for more info.
Lisbon, Portugal from What’s Hot
Lisbon is already a very colourful city, but the street art on every corner brings some extra brightness to some of the city’s run-down areas. Here you’ll find street art of all kinds: random scribbles in alleyways as well as enormous displays by world-famous artists. Some are inspired by political and cultural events, some are very abstract, but all are beautiful. There’s no one technique that defines Lisbon street art with lots opting for spray cans and paint, but others use the dilapidated state of the walls to their advantage by further carving. Expect to see a modern interpretation of the Creation of Adam, a cartoon strip depicting the history of Lisbon as well as paintings of beautiful fado singers. The best thing to do is book a street art tour so an expert can explain the history behind these paintings as sadly there isn’t much information to be found online. Check out this post for more things to do in Lisbon on your first visit.
Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway from The Round the World Guys
As one of the northernmost human settlements in the world, the Svalbard capital of Longyearbyen endures long winters. While that means that the majority of your time will be spent in the cozy indoors, there are some places outside that are worth checking out!
The ‘main’ Longyearbyen town center is pretty much a 100-meter pedestrian stretch, and this is where most Svalbard hotels, restaurants and shops are located. There are a few pieces of street art here. The main one is the Miner’s Memorial statue, to honor Svalbard’s history of coal mining. And if you look beyond the statue, in a nearby wall of the Coop grocery store, you can find a colorful polar bear mural. It highlights the bears, which are common in Svalbard.
Berlin, Germany from We Did it Our Way
The street art in Berlin is beyond anything we’ve ever seen. It’s not even surprising that it’s been dubbed the “most bombed city in Europe” and even “Graffiti Mecca.” Although graffiti is still illegal in Berlin, there are a ton of beautiful pieces to discover it all over the city.
The origins of the street art movement in Berlin may come from its dark history. Not too long ago, the Berlin wall was used as a canvas for artists who wanted to spread messages of peace and hope. Even today, the wall is home to the free East Side Gallery, where parts of the wall have been decorated by artists. If you want more details on the pieces, there are a ton of paying street art tours you can join.
You can also take in all the street art by walking around the city. Many neighbourhoods, even the very residential, ones are home to a ton of street art and huge murals. The main areas you can find street art in are Mitte, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg, and Lichtenberg.
If you don’t want to move around too much but still want to enjoy the street art, there’s also an amazing gallery called Urban Nation. It boasts pieces from great street art masters from Shepard Fairy, to Banksy and so many others.
There is no shortage of street art to see in Berlin, either out on the streets or in one of the two famous street art museums.
Street Art in Asia
Kochi, India from TraveLynn Family
Colourful Kochi perches happily on the Keralan coast of India and is a warm introduction to the colours of India. The old town of Fort Kochi showcases a rich colonial past (a mesh of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British empire builders) with quiet lanes and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere; a welcomed break to the chaotic, bustling main cities you may have experienced elsewhere in India. Local artists have brought the history of the old town lanes alive with their vibrant street art, demonstrating the fusion of old and new India, and makes for a fascinating stroll via the Portuguese churches and Chinese fishing nets.
Ipoh, Malaysia from Let’s Venture Out
One of the main reasons why people visit Ipoh, besides to taste the famous Ipoh white coffee is to hunt down street arts! Located right in between Kuala Lumpur and Penang, it’s the perfect stopover for a relaxing few days away from the crowds.
The Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevic, was commissioned to paint several murals to revive the town, in an attempt to put Ipoh on the map. The most popular street arts are found in the Old Town, along Concubine and Market Lane, but there are even more along Mural Art’s Lane.
What makes Ipoh street arts so special is that they are interactive and have a 3D effect, just like those in Penang! And the lack of crowds definitely counts as a bonus, leaving you with ample time to do a proper photo-shoot and discover more arts along the back alleys at your own pace.
Yangon, Myanmar from The Travel Scribes
When you think of Yangon or even Myanmar, street art probably doesn’t come to mind. And you’re not wrong: the street art scene in Yangon is in its infancy and is also possibly a little bit closer to murals than graffiti and art.
That said, we were fascinated to walk the street art alleys of this vibrant city. The street art alleys of Yangon are less about art and more about sustainable investment in the community. The first one opened as a garden project in 2016; a local organization wanted to give children a safe space to play and cleared out all the garbage from the alley to plant a garden, as well as paint the walls. This project has now blossomed into a set of 8 alleys, attracting international artists to create the designs for the streets.
It can be a little tricky to find your way through the alleys considering the frenetic pace in Yangon, but you can find a map here.
Penang, Malaysia from The Traveling Twins
One box to tick on our to-do list in Malaysia was to go to the Unesco Heritage site of George Town and see Penang street art.
When we arrived on the island to start our search, I felt a bit lost. It was hot and sticky; I couldn’t see any of the famous murals. Google maps came to our rescue. All the pieces were marked, and we found some. Now we had broken the ice, and the game began. The girls and I were off to see as many new, different kind of street art as we could.
Why different? Because although Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic’s work for the 2012 George Town festival is the most famous, Penang’s street art culture had started three years earlier than that when the Government commissioned a series of large wrought-iron flat cartoons to celebrate the listing by Unesco. And now there are other murals too.
On the second day, we located the pieces we hadn’t found before. And for even more fun, we rented a four-seater pedal car to continue our search. In the course of our wanderings, we discovered that Penang is a great place – not only to see street art but also to explore for itself.
Bethlehem, Israel from Walk my World
When you think of street art around the world, it’s unlikely that Bethlehem would come to mind.
However, it’s a place with a thriving street art scene largely along the controversial wall that was built by the Israeli government which separates Israel from the West Bank of Palestine.
On the Israeli side, the wall is immaculately clean, but on the Palestinian side, the wall is covered in incredible art, protesting its construction. You can see murals of Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, and many other famous people, alongside poignant speeches. A trip to Bethlehem may begin with visiting the birthplace of Christ, but it’s very likely that it will be the street art you remember.
Aside from those at the wall, the most famous pieces of street art are by the enigmatic artist Banksy. You can see some of his most famous works dotted around the city, such as the Molotov cocktail with an olive branch, the dove with a bullet-proof jacket and the soldier being frisked by a child.
Phnom Pehn, Cambodia from Travel For Life Now
Phnom Penh has some of the most fascinating street art in Asia. It is an emerging scene with international and local artists. The infusion of Khmer imagery into the murals is very interesting. The best place to see street art is in Boeung Kak Lake and Street 93, though there are murals located throughout the city. To find get to Street 93, go to Al Serkal Mosque (1 St. 86) or at Number 10 Lakeside Guest House on Street 93. Walk down the street, and you’ll see plenty of murals on both sides. Many of the Cambodian Street artists also do commissioned murals inside of businesses. There are some other murals behind the French Embassy and near Meta House (#47 Street 178). The Cambodian Urban Arts Festival has taken place in December. Last year’s festival was cancelled, but it might return.
Street Art in South America
Lima, Peru from Winging the World
Peru’s capital might be most known for it’s impressive (and expensive) gastronomy, but Lima actually has loads of cheap things to do. One of the best is exploring the wildly diverse street art scene.
Although it is the hipster neighbourhood of Barranco that most think of when they hear the terms ‘street art’ and ‘Lima’ in the same sentence, it is actually the old port district of Callao which is now leading in this area.
Formerly one of the city’s roughest districts, money has been poured into Callao, and street artists from all over South America have been invited in to assist with the facelift! With the increased gentrification in this area, wealth for the local people has increased, and as a result, crime has dropped.
Callao is a must-visit for street art fanatics looking to get off the beaten track, however, it is still worth visiting with a local or Spanish speaker to avoid any unwanted attention. Travellers not wanting to take such risks will be happy to hear that the Barranco district is very safe and just as colourful (albeit a little more crowded)!
Medellin, Colombia from Livingoutlau
Medellin, the most dangerous cities in the entire world back then, would probably surprise you to have some of the best graffiti I have ever encountered. But if you take a look at history, it will start to make sense. Colombia is trying to get rid of the dark past it had back when the most dangerous criminal in the world, Pablo Escobar, was in charge. Instead of getting stuck in the violent and turbulent past, citizens of Medellin are redirecting their energy into art and dance. As a result, some of the best graffiti exists in Communa 13, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods back then. The graffiti usually revolve around the idea of rebirth, hope, and change.
Valparaiso, Chile from Stingy Nomads
Valparaiso is considered to be the art capital of Chile, and it does deserve this title, the art here is everywhere from fancy galleries to street painters and murals. Valparaiso is probably one of the most colorful and artistic cities we’ve ever been to. There are two areas in the city that are famous for beautiful murals (wall paintings); Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Bellavista both are located on the hills. One can spend hours getting lost in the narrow streets of Concepcion or Bellavista, admiring murals, small art cafés, and stunning views from the lookouts. In Cerro Bellavista, there is a whole street art museum Museo a Cielo Abierto (Open-air Museum) where you can see many vibrant elaborated murals made by both unknown street painters and local artists. Most of the paintings here were done 30 years ago.
Sao Paulo, Brazil from I Heart Brazil
Besides having unique bistros and bars, this concrete jungle is more than Brazil’s business hub. The city is also a reference in the art scene, especially in street art.
That’s why reserving a few hours to spot these colorful murals is hands down one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo.
Granted, Sao Paulo isn’t conventionally pretty, but it’s without a doubt, a paradise for art lovers. From the unique museums spread throughout the city to striking street art, Brazil’s largest city is jam-packed with colorful wall art.
Although each neighborhood has its own murals, most graffitis are in the Vila Madalena neighborhood, an upper-middle-class area with a hip crowd and laid-back eating venues.
While there, head over to the Batman’s Alley to see a ridiculously talented open sky exhibition of street art. Even though the paintings in this little street are pretty, other artists come to leave their art on top of the previous one. That’s why we, locals, say that Batman’s Alley isn’t only an open-air museum but also a gallery with temporary exhibitions.
Cartagena, Colombia from Layer Culture
When on the lookout for some of the best street art around the world, one may not think about a place like Cartagena in Colombia? Whist in a historic place like Cartagena it is important to learn about history. Any trip to old town Cartagena will confirm this. However, whilst walking around other streets in Cartagena, one can’t ignore the amazing art that paints the streets of Getsemani, a small neighborhood inside the city.
You’ll encounter everything from large murals that cover the entire length of a street to small pieces that showcase a particular artists skill or a cultural reference. Both add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood, many of which paint a message of community resistance. Cartagena is a city which has gone through a major gentrification process, and Getsemani is a neighborhood that aims to revolt change.
Buenos Aires, Argentina from Wild About Travel
The colorful street art in Buenos Aires is strongly linked to the city’s history. Indeed, in the early 20th century, local artists were paid to paint large political slogans on the buildings’ facades. However, after that period and for a long time, graffiti and urban art were almost nonexistent. The reason was the dictatorship, significantly limiting the freedom of speech. Once back to democracy, in the 1990s, street art flourished in Buenos Aires and developed as a mean of expression, with subjects often related to politics or social issues.
As a result, Buenos Aires has become one of the most exciting street art scenes in the world. You can spot graffiti almost everywhere. However, the best places to see the most interesting murals are the neighborhoods of San Telmo, Palermo, La Boca, and Villa Urquiza.
Such is the relevance of Street Art in Buenos Aires that several shop owners gladly allow having their walls painted. After all, it drives interest and attracts more customers. Furthermore, over the last few years, more and more internationally acclaimed street artists like Blue, Ice, Roa, Aryz, painted stunning large-scale murals. Urban art is no much part of Buenos Aires that there are also Street Art tours. For those who want to spot the best paintings and know more about the artists and their meaning.
Street Art in North America
Denver, Colorado, USA from The Discoveries Of
Denver‘s street art scene is popping! I recently visited the city on a longer trip around Colorado and fell hard for it – in no small part to the huge number of colourful murals that bring the city’s walls to life.
While there are many areas in Denver where you can find cool works, the RiNo District is the undisputed heart of the city’s street art sphere – marked with a series of hundreds (if not thousands) of works by some of the world’s leading artists including Shepheard Fairey, Pat Milbank, Obey Giant and Detour 303.
RiNo even hosts an annual street art festival each September (Crush Walls) when tonnes of new works go up, and the whole area is a frenzy of spray cans and splattered overalls. Even if you can’t time your visit for the festival, you can see the results all year round – don’t miss them.
Philadephia, PA, USA from Two Traveling Texans
You can find amazing street art in many cities around the world, but in Philadelphia, the Mural Arts organization has been working to create artwork that not only transforms the wall it appears on but also changes lives. They have helped people with substance abuse issues, those that have been incarcerated, the homeless, and more. The artwork also gets people talking about critical issues facing society like women’s rights, education, and immigration. Some famous street artists such as Shepard Fairey have worked on the murals.
The street art is concentrated in the city center along what is called the Mural Mile. (The route is longer than a mile). Many of the murals are huge, covering the whole side of a building. The best way to see the street art in Philadelphia and learn the inspiring stories behind it is to take a tour. Mural Arts offers walking tours and tram tours.
Kakaako, Oahu, Hawaii from Borders & Bucket Lists
Located just outside of the popular tourist city of Waikiki, Hawaii lies the trendy town of Kakaako. Every February, a popular street art event called PowWow! Hawaii takes place. To put it simply, artists from around the world come to Kakaako, are given a wall, and are challenged to cover the entire wall with their own artwork before the weekends. Because this competition has been going on for quite a few years, the walls of Kakaako’s buildings are covered with street art. While some artists go for an abstract and colorful take, others try to embody realism in black and white. A few use buckets and buckets of household paint, and others prefer to spray their art on with their pressurized paint cans.
While you can see the street art from past PowWow Hawaii! festivals in Kakaako at any time, if you happen to find yourself on the island of Oahu in February, be sure to check if the street art festival is happening! If it is, head over to Kakaako and watch tons of street art being made live!
Chemainus, British Columbia, Canada from Freedom56Travel
Chemainus is a picturesque village on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Formerly a forestry industry-dependent area, the main employer of the village closed and most industries had left the area by the early 1980s. In an effort to re-energize the failing economy and keep the town alive, Chemainus residents initiated a Festival of Murals to add beauty to the downtown area and bring in much-needed visitors.
The Festival of Murals was an enormous success and Chemainus is now a thriving tourist destination. Home to more than 40 beautiful murals with more planned for the future, Chemainus is a true gem on Vancouver Island. Other artists are also hard at work in Chemainus, including sculptors and woodcarvers who also add beauty to the town. Don’t miss the murals featuring local Indigenous peoples, historical figures, and other notable citizens.
Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada from One Trip at a Time
Sherbrooke in Quebec may not be high on tourist lists, but if you are interested in street art, then the stunning murals are a great reward.
There are 16 murals in total around the city, all quite different and featuring unique aspects of Sherbrooke life. The murals include a typical street scene, a waterfall, a giant bookshelf, and a fire station. There are also clever murals which play with your perception such as a building being pulled like curtains/drapes to reveal a beautiful lake or a building façade being maneuvered into place with people already looking out of the windows!
All the murals include animals to find or humorous situations within them, and it’s definitely worth spending a few minutes admiring each as you’ll see more quirkiness and detail the more you look.
The city suggests two different circuits, a 3.5km walk to see 10 of the murals and a 7km walk to see all 16. The routes can be found, together with more information about each of the murals in this excellent flyer.
Miami, Florida, USA from Universo Viajero
When you think of Miami, a beach of white sand comes immediately to your mind, with large buildings on the skyline. However, the city is much more than that. One of the neighborhoods that have taken on increasing relevance is Wynwood, the “art district” of Miami. During our last trip as a couple to Miami, we decide to go and enjoy a day surrounded by art. As soon as you enter the area, you start to see murals everywhere: on the side of buildings, on walls next to sidewalks, on the ground, and almost anywhere you look. You can get lost in the streets and be surprised by the street art, but you can also visit Wynwood Walls. This place is a completely free outdoor exhibition where important artists and muralists from around the world each year put one of their works to the enjoyment of the visitors, which after a year will be replaced by a mural of another artist and so on. That’s what makes this place so entertaining, you could come back every couple of months, and you’ll always find a new mural. Definitely, a must-see if you love Street Art.
Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe from The Migrant Yogi
Guadeloupe is a hidden gem of an island (actually, an archipelago of six islands), located in the Caribbean. It’s a dependant territory of France, so if you are a francophile, you’ll fit right in. While you won’t find much English spoken here, the inhabitants of the island are super-friendly and eager to help.
Sainte-Anne is a beach town with laid-back vibes and plenty of street art to feast your eyes on. Wandering the network of streets as you navigate away from the shore, each corner you turn results in a delightful surprise of vibrant colors for your senses to absorb. In 2017, Sainte-Anne hosted the International Festival of Graffiti and Street Art, where the best urban artists gathered to exhibit their creativity.
Boise, Idaho, USA from Let’s Go Boise Idaho
When you think of amazing public art from around the world, Boise, Idaho may not be the first thing you think of. But the city’s cultural art has been growing over the years, and they now have more than 300 pieces of public art throughout the city.
One of the most amazing pieces is an entire block of art called Freak Alley. The alley began as a door painting in 2002 but has since grown into art spread throughout every alley and parking lot within the entire block.
You can find murals, graffiti, and drawings, but it’s not just random art. The artists are selected and given an area, and then that art is replaced every two years.
Because Freak Alley in Boise is located right in the middle of downtown (between West Bannock and West Idaho Streets on one side, and 8th and 9th Streets on the other), you will always see locals and tourists wandering through the area — and it is, of course, a great place to get an iconic Boise selfie when you’re visiting.
San Francisco, California, USA from Berkeley and Beyond
San Francisco’s Mission District has long been rich with murals. One popular mural collaboration occurs in Clarion Alley, located between Mission Street and Valencia Street.
Painting in this one-block-long alley started with artists who lived in warehouse around the corner on 17th Street. It had a loading door that opened on to Clarion Alley. The building was torn down in 2002, and now this alley art is overseen informally by volunteers for The Clarion Alley Mural Project. You never know what you’ll see, and what is there one time might be painted over by the next time. Surprisingly, tours are available. Plenty of restaurants and shops are just around the corner. History and mural documentation can be found here.
Street Art in Central America
Panama City, Panama from The Travelling Stomach
Wandering the streets of Panama City’s old town (Casco Viejo) amongst the brightly painted buildings and historic architecture, you can find some incredible street art. The contrast between the Spanish colonial buildings, French-style townhouses, and colourful murals is a photographers dream! One street artist, in particular, to look out for is Rolo De Sedas, devoted to brightening up the grey streets of Panama City with his iconic depictions of Panamanian women in traditional dress.
For more vivid murals, just outside Casco Viejo follow Avenida Central, where locals come to shop and socialise, towards the bustling fish market and keep your eyes peeled. Dotted down side alleys, around door frames, and on shop shutters, you can find some amazing intricate and colourful paintings.
Oaxaca City, Mexico from Unearth the Voyage
Oaxaca City in Mexico is a great place to see some gorgeous street art. The street art isn’t in one place, so you really have to know where to go if you want to see all the works of art. When we visited, we didn’t know where to go so we just walked up and down the streets to see what we could find. Many of the best murals are on the side streets or down alleys, so they aren’t obvious at all. There are many types of street art all around the city; you will see big colorful murals, small little doodles, and creative posters. A lot (but not all) of the street art in Oaxaca is political in nature. There are many paintings and posters relating to different socioeconomic issues, environmental issues, and human rights issues. One of the best places to find many different paintings is in the neighborhood Barrio de Xochimilco which is just north of the city center. Xochimilco is a quiet residential neighborhood which makes for some great street art strolling!
San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala from Beyond my Border
San Juan is a beautiful Mayan village that sits along Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. I first heard of this village while visiting Panajachel, where I learned that there were numerous Mayan towns in the area, each unique in its own way. San Juan La Laguna was known for its street art.
Of course, as with any curious traveler, I decided to explore the town and see its artwork for myself.
To reach this village, I boarded a tiny boat that sped through Atitlan. Once we arrived, I stepped onto the wooden deck and made my way into its bustling town center. Along the way, I was mesmerized by the many paintings, graffiti, and other pieces of art that dotted its streets. Almost every wall was decorated in some way or form.
The art was fascinating. From Mayan history to modern culture, they captured the daily lives of those who live here.
I’d definitely recommend any street art enthusiasts to visit San Juan if given the chance!
Cozumel, Mexico from Cultures Traveled
Inspired by the alluring turquoise sea and the abundance of life in its depths, the street art on the island of Cozumel, Mexico is vibrant and alive. As part of a project to bring awareness to ocean conservation, the PangeaSeed Foundation commissioned over 20 pieces of graphic art that spans the city streets. While there are no guided tours, there are maps around the island that will guide you through the “Sea Walls.” Exploring these artistic pieces, many created by local artists gives a further appreciation of the beauty that surrounds you in this gorgeous Caribbean paradise.
Street Art in the UK
Bristol, England from The Wanderlust Within
The UK’s capital of street art, Bristol, is home to 100s of cutting edge graffiti art pieces. Not only is it where Banksy is from, the elusive graffiti artist who has inspired a new generation of street artists but its also home to Upfest, Europe’s largest live street art and graffiti festival. It’s, therefore, no wonder that this vibrant city is decorated from the side streets to the narrow alleyways, shopfronts and the bridge underpasses. The widest selection of colourful murals is found in Stokes Croft, Southville and Bedminister, but it’s worth taking a street art tour, so you don’t miss any.
Brighton, England from Diary of a Detour
Brighton has a vibrant street art scene and attracts top artists from all over the world. There are a number of hotspots including Trafalgar Lane in the North Laine, Black Rock at the end of Madeira Parade and Providence Place which is behind the London Road shops. However, if you take a stroll around the city, you will find murals and graffiti everywhere.
Some of the more prolific artists include Snub23, Glimmertwin32, Mazcan, Mick Mowgli and Toska11, but there are so many more. Use the hashtag #brightonstreetart on Instagram to see some of the incredible murals there. Banksy even paid the city a visit, with his famous image of two policemen kissing on the side of the Prince Albert, near the railway station. Although the original has been sold, a replica is still there, along with portraits of music icons covering the outside of the pub.
Paste-up art is also very popular and features work by Minty, The Postman Artist, and Trusty Scribe, amongst many others.
Having visited some of the top spots in Europe and North America, I truly think that Brighton has the best street in the world!
Aberdeen, Scotland from Two Scots Abroad
Aberdeen in the northeast of Scotland probably isn’t the first city that comes to mind when thinking about street art in the UK.
Thanks to a collaboration with the globally respected brand, Nuart from Norway, the Granite City is now a canvas with three year’s worth of murals splashed all over the city.
A variety of artists have claimed space from world-renowned artists such as Vhils and UK based like Helen Burr.
It’s not just about the walls, though! Mosaic tiles fill holes in the ground, colourful Lego bricks fill gaps in walls, and electrical boxes have been turned into high rise housing projects. Visitors are encouraged to look down as well as up.
You can follow the Aberdeen Street Art Trail using this extensive guide and don’t forget to tag your social media pictures with @nuartaberdeen #nuartaberdeen.
If visiting from April to September, you can enjoy one of the Nuart walking tours and if you really crush on street art, book your flights for the opening weekend usually around the UK Easter weekend.
Glasgow, Scotland from FunkyEllas Travel
Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, is a creative and arty place and the walkable mural trail in the city centre really shows this off well. The murals brighten up alleyways and dark corners and are ever-changing with new artwork regularly appearing. The trail launched in 2014 and there are maps available from most of Glasgow’s main attractions. Some of these murals are massive, like ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids’ which cover the side of a four-story building! Many of these masterpieces were created by local artist Smug, who is a genius with a spray can. One of Scotland’s best known and most loved comedians, Billy Connelly, is also represented, with three huge colourful murals depicting three of his most famous photos. There are always at least 25 murals to find, and it’s an amazing way to explore the city.
Manchester, England from Helen on her Holidays
Manchester, in the north of England, is a brilliant city to visit if you’re interested in street art. There are pieces all around the city, but you’ll find the highest density in the Northern Quarter. The Northern Quarter is one of Manchester’s most historic areas, and one of its most vibrant – and that’s definitely reflected in the art. To make the most of your time in Manchester, I recommend taking the street art tour run by Hayley Flynn AKA Skyliner. Many of the pieces in the Northern Quarter have a historical connection, which isn’t immediately apparent, and there are tiny pieces that you might not even notice if they weren’t pointed out to you.
Manchester was part of the Cities of Hope project and many of the works created for the festival by world-renowned street artists like Phlegm, SNIK, Hyuro and Case can still be seen around the Northern Quarter.
My favourite piece in Manchester is an intimate portrait by C215 on Warwick Street of a couple who are homeless. Three other pieces I love are all on Tib Street: an outline of a vanished building made up of wallpaper patterns and fragments of letters just off Silver Jubilee Walk; portraits of Manchester icons on the side of Afflecks; and the parrots which perch on the building next door to Tib Street Tavern – a reminder of when Tib Street was better known as “Pet Paradise” for the pet shops which regularly drew large crowds.
London, England from A Girl and Her Passport
London has one of the most vibrant street art scenes I have seen in the world. The street art changes monthly, and if you don’t go about every month to see them, you might miss them. One of the most popular neighborhoods for street art in Shoreditch. Almost every block has street art of some kind on it. While there are still some Banksys to be found here, I recommend looking out for artists that you like and seeing where else you can see their art. Most of the artists tag their pieces with their Instagram handle so you can find their work there even if you missed it in person. I would also advise getting on a street art tour because some of the best pieces are hidden or in out of the way spots.
Street Art in Australia
Port Adelaide, Australia from Josie Wanders
Port Adelaide in South Australia is just now coming of age on the street art scene. It took place in the Wonderwalls festival of 2015, 2017 & 2019 so now has many large murals, including two that are seven stories high on the sides of a prominent building. The works have been done by many well known local and international artists. This piece was done by Chilean artist INTI, who has dozens of murals all over the world. It has always stood out to me, taking up the whole side of a building with its distinctive colours and style. Port Adelaide is a good, walkable area to visit for an afternoon to see the street art, enjoy the history, and perhaps spot some dolphins playing in the Port River.
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of street art around the world. The list is long but not exhaustive, so please share where else in the world you have seen great street art in the comments.