Incredible Street Art around the World

Around a corner, a glimpse of color: Street art shows up in unexpected places. Whether it’s well-known artists like Banksy or an anonymous renegade with a spray can; a political statement or a gorgeous, simple image—street art gives us a sense of local culture (and great photo opportunities!).

La Condesa, Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico
On a lazy Sunday morning in Mexico City, after having an amazing breakfast of pan dulce at the famous Cafe Matisse, I strolled through the beautiful Parque Mexico - a neighborhood park, in the trendy Condesa area of D.F. On one side of the park, I noticed this incredible painted mural. It was so beautiful, I had to take this photo!
Riad Zitoun El Kdim, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
The spaghetti explosion of lanes and alleys of the Marrakesh medina are seemingly designed to confuse the unwary visitor, but getting happily lost is part of the fun – you never know what might lie around the next corner. Strike out from the central square of the Djemaa el Fna to explore the many kissarias (covered souqs) and funduqs (courtyard caravan resthouses). The kasbah district contains the city’s royal heritage, while the ancient mellah still bears traces of Marrakesh’s Jewish population. If you do get confused, there’s always someone happy to offer directions, and a café selling mint tea (or shop with a tempting souvenir) is never far away).
Velkopřevorské náměstí, 100 00 Praha 1, Czechia
I didn’t even know about the Lennon Wall until it was the one thing my friend insisted we do in Prague. I’m so glad we want. A ray of sunshine in an otherwise gray(ish) city, you can feel the positivity and hope raditating off its walls. It meant something to be at a place where people imagined their future and hopefully many experienced it with the fall of communism.
Costa Rica 5852, C1414 BTJ, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Behind a great and creative wall, a collaboration of street artists known in Buenos Aires, one can find one of the great (and secret) restaurants in Palermo Soho, Tegui. If you don’t know the exact location of the restaurant, you might miss it easily, as there is no sign or anything that can tell you about the restaurant, just a name on the door. It is known as one of the best restaurants in the city and better make a reservation.
210 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA
For much of its history, the western edges of Manhattan neighborhoods like the West Village and Chelsea consisted of small manufacturing buildings and warehouses that served the piers on the Hudson River. Over time, those factories were replaced with residential developments, and shipping largely moved out to Brooklyn and New Jersey. What remained, however, was an abandoned light-rail line, located above street level. After 10 years of lobbying the city, state, and federal governments, the first section of the High Line park opened in 2009. It now extends for 1.45 miles, from Gansevoort Street in the south to 34th Street at its other end. An innovative design by James Corner Field Operations uses native species to preserve some of the feeling the old rail line had when it was overgrown with weeds. It has quickly become one of New York’s most popular attractions, both with residents and visitors who stroll the length of it, as well as a model for other cities attempting to find new uses for old infrastructure.
1415 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704, USA
If you’re driving or walking down South Congress Ave on an afternoon or evening you’ll smell the scent of pizza dough. It is an unmistakable smell and my girlfriend and I are convinced that Home Slice Pizza is actually setup to push the smell out to the street. The pizza tastes as good as it smells! The sandwiches and salads are also quite tasty. The restaurant is immensely popular so you can expect a wait time during peak lunch and dinner times, but there is also Home Slice Too located just across the alley taking orders at the counter and with some tables and counter space. The latter option is also open until 2am if you need some late night eats.
9 Hosier Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Aerosol-wielding artists from around the world have left their mark on Melbourne. Hosier Lane, declared a “graffiti tolerance zone” by the city council, contains the area’s densest collection of spray-painted masterpieces. —Chris Baty This appeared in the September/October 2010 issue.
Antonia López de Bello 14, Recoleta, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Growing up in New York, I remember the graffiti on the street and subways, but the city’s so cleaned up now that the only graffiti you might see is in the museum. But lo and behold, Santiago has its own hip, colorful neighborhood known for its bars, clubs, and nightlife in Barrio Bellavista. But you don’t have to be a night owl to experience this hood....just walk around during the day and see the amazing graffiti art. The Pablo Neruda Museum is in this area, but make sure to explore the surrounding streets. Colorful and creative, it’s street art at its best.
Rue Denoyez, 75020 Paris, France
The rue Denoyez in the 20th arrondisement, just a block from the Belleville metro station is a haven for street art. Photo : Sylvia Sabes The city supports street art here, so the walls are full of graffiti and store fronts serve as graffiti artists’ studios cum art galleries. This small street is lined with pique assiette planters and it is not uncommon to pass an artist atop his ladder, hard at work. Visit on a Tuesday or Friday morning so that you can also explore the culturally vibrant Belleville Street Market on your way back to the metro.
Vila Madalena, São Paulo - State of São Paulo, 03178-200, Brazil
Sao Paulo is a massive, business hub of South America and not the greatest place to visit. It’s full of great food, but not much in the way of culture or beauty. But there is a funky oasis in the middle of this skyrise city in the artsy neighborhood of Vila Madalena - Batman Alley. This two block alley is covered in colorful, crazy, wild spray paint murals. Bring you camera, then stick around this cool hood for some pao de queijo.
7 Rue Drevet, 75018 Paris, France
Within the 18th arrondissement in Paris France, high atop the city, resides the wonderfully beautiful, hilly neighborhood of Montmartre. This diverse and eclectic section of the city can be a bit busy with tourists, but the views of Paris and the splendor of the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur are certainly worth it. Riding the funicular is rather novel, but not necessary if you’re willing to climb the 300+ steps to the summit. This is an area to be explored on foot, as is nearly all of Paris. The shops, theaters, and forever famous Moulin Rouge should not be missed. The streets are intimate, the shops unique, and the overall feel of this place speaks of a youthful, colorful Paris.
90 Clarion Alley, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Walk down this narrow alley connecting Valencia and Mission Streets and you’ll be surrounded by dozens of colorful murals by local artists depicting environmental and social justice, artistic freedom, and community collaboration. Funded by the nonprofit Intersection for the Arts, more than 700 murals have been painted in this vibrant display of public art since CAMP began in 1992. In a city known for its rising rents and gentrification—and especially in the Mission neighborhood at its epicenter—Clarion Alley is a sight worth visiting.
1 Collins Diboll Cir, New Orleans, LA 70124, USA
This is the oldest and grandest art institute in a city that’s long captivated artists. The Neoclassical building sits amid the greenery of massive City Park (conveniently at the end of the Canal Streetcar Line). It’s an especially good destination for admirers of Edgar Degas, who spent an extended vacation in New Orleans visiting relatives in 1872; a number of his works are displayed here. Just outside the museum is the beautifully landscaped and well-curated five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, which perfectly melds the old and new. Some 60 sculptures are arrayed amid reflecting lagoons and 200-year-old live oaks.
832 State Hwy 171, Charleston, SC 29412, USA
While Charleston is known for Southern hospitality, there is a vibrant art community here. Famous street artist Shepard Fairey was born here and Doug “The Sheepman” Panzone is following his lead. Behind a run-down strip mall on the way to Folly Beach is a secret art gallery. It’s all about word of mouth here, with one resident telling another until you see a number of cars parked to take pictures of Sheepman’s work. It’s hard to believe that everything you see has been done with spray paint.
Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2K2, Canada
A trip to Toronto without a visit to Kensington Market doesn’t make any sense. Despite its diminutive size, this neighborhood packs plenty of activity within its boundaries. Arrive hungry: Restaurants and cafés dish out bites like tapas, poke, Salvadoran pupusas, Tibetan momos, and Ojibway-style fry-bread tacos. Secondhand shops are so plentiful that vintage fans will think they hit the jackpot, especially while browsing at standout shops Exile and Courage My Love. In warmer months, pedestrians crowd the streets, wandering from comic-book store to restaurant to art gallery all weekend long. The park at Bellevue Square is getting a much-needed makeover that will, when complete, add even more allure to this busy community.
Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada
The Gastown neighborhood dates back to the Victorian era when “Gassy Jack” Deighton opened a saloon in a burgeoning sawmilling settlement. Now its grand heritage buildings—in Romanesque, Edwardian and Victorian Italianate styles—and brick-paved streets are home to art galleries, design shops and stylish eateries. Don’t miss the statue of the storied tavern owner in Maple Tree Square and Water Street’s famous steam clock, built in 1977, which sounds off every 15 minutes.
N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ, USA
Come here and you’ll find a solar-powered bookstore, a Guatemalan restaurant, pubs, galleries, cafés, and this brick wall tribute to Gregory Colbert’s “Boy Reading to Elephant.” (The words that come to mind when I pass this street art are “tell me a good story and I’ll never forget.”) Just a few blocks north of downtown, and a few blocks west of the University of Arizona, Tucson’s Fourth Avenue district is a pedestrian eat-work-drink-play neighborhood with a new streetcar/trolley system. Construction is done, shops and restaurants are open, and you’ll find hardly a chain along the eclectic streetscape. From college kids and downtown workers, to artists, professors, and out-of-towners, Fourth Avenue is where the Old Pueblo welcomes techies and yuppies along with the ex-hippies... And, every winter and spring, for decades now, the neighborhood hosts a Street Fair—hundreds of thousands of people come for the arts, crafts, food, and music.
00154 Garbatella RM, Italy
The angular fascist architecture of Rome’s Garbatella neighborhood is a far cry from the charming cobblestoned streets found elsewhere in the city. Modern art fans flock here to visit galleries like 999 and 10b Photography, and street artists such as Herbert Baglione, Moneyless, and Invader have “tattooed” the concrete walls and houses with bold murals depicting images of lovers embracing and music playing. (A local favorite is the 2013 mural Your Act by Sten + Lex, which was almost fully sponsored by crowd-funding.)
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