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The 29 Best Street Art Cities: Top Global Spots and Up-and-Comers

Street art is an open air museum, forcing humans and their physical environment to engage with one another. It runs the gamut from protest to pretty and these 28 of the best street art cities cover the full range.

Street art has come a long way since scrawling it’s way out of the 1990’s hip hop movement. It has exploded into the mainstream with mural festivals, laneways and Instagram-friendly art showing up in the most unlikely places.

This list of street art cities isn’t exhaustive, but it does represent a diverse mix of well established urban art locations along with a few surprising up-and-comers. Scroll the list, choose a few cities that you’d like to explore further and then click through to find more information (and eye candy) about each.

“…as cities grow, they realize that culture, spirit and lasting meaning comes from art” –Faile

Best Street Art Cities in North America

New York City, New York

treet art NYC: Kobra mural in SoHo with Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and other dead rockers
An homage to dead rockers by Kobra.

New York is the birthplace of the modern street art movement and it still has some of the best graffiti in the world. You can find pockets of it in Astoria Queens, Bushwick Brooklyn and the lower East Side. There’s even a new Citizen M Hotel in the Bowery that commissioned artists to full their full twenty floors of stairwells.

Read more: Get this guide to four hotspots in NYC with a high density of street art.

Chicago, Illinois

Greetings from Chicago Street Art
Greetings from Chicago mural between Logan Square and Wicker Park.

Chicago’s street art is BIG and political. The South Wabash corridor is home to an extensive big walls movement but you can also find guerrilla works in the Latino Pilsen neighborhood and hunkered down underneath the L tracks in Wicker Park and Logan Square.

Read More: Get the full guide to how to find the murals in all three Chicago neighborhoods.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles Street Art 4th Street
Psychedelic mural in LA’s Arts District.

Like LA itself, the best street art in this city sprawls all over the place. You can find quite a concentration of it in the downtown Arts District, which features global artists like El Mac.

Read More: Take a visual walking tour of the Arts District murals.

montreal mural festival
Work in progress at Muralfest Montreal.

Montreal, Quebec Province Canada

Montreal put itself on the global street art map with the annual MURAL Festival, which takes place in June. Over time, they have created 80 new works and in the process have transformed themselves into a world class street art city.

Read More: Learn more at Wall to Wall Montreal.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco Mission Street Art Clarion Alley
Born and raised in the Mission.

There is street art all over San Francisco, but the Mission District hosts a large concentration of it. The corridor along 24th street is home to many community-sponsored murals with themes around the Latino immigrant experience and socio-economic struggles.

Read More: Take a walking tour of the Mission District Murals.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Kaka'ako mural Tristan Eaton and Matt Eaton tiger Uncle Binda
by Tristan and Matt Eaton.

Honolulu’s Kaka’ako murals deliver quite a visual punch, thanks to POW!WOW! Worldwide. They’ve been spraying up this industrial neighborhood for ten years, delivering a colorful surprise around every corner. Kaka’ako has a diverse mix of local and internationally renowned artists. The murals are curated with a strong community intent and spirit of aloha.

Read More: Get some Honolulu street art eye candy, learn about the artists and get a walking map of the neighborhood.

Nashville, Tennessee

Peace out Nashville street art in 12South
One of the many Instagrammable murals from Peace Love & Good Deeds.

Nashville went from zero to WOW in just a few short years. Their cool street art scene is spreading all over the city with world class artists (like Blek le Rat and Guido van Helten). The whole city is very Instagrammable.

Read More: Get the guide for finding Nashville’s murals in three distinct neighborhoods.

Miami, Florida

Best street art city: Eduardo Kobra mural Wynwood Walls in Miami
By Eduardo Kobra. Photo courtesy of Talek Nantes of Travels with Talek.

Miami’s Wynwood Walls project was conceived in 2009 by Tony Goldman (of Goldman Saks). He had the big idea to transform the Wynwood warehouse district into a gigantic canvas. The annual festival has covered over 80,000 square feet of of wall with global street art from the likes of Roa, Daze, Kashink and Kobra (featured above).

Read More: Learn more about the festival at Wynwood Walls.

Up and Coming North American Cities for Murals

Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City Mural by Pat Milbery, Pat Mckinney. pink, orange, blue and grey mural

Salt Lake City’s mural culture has been on a slow burn for the past ten years. The street art has been slowly but steadily creeping their way along the downtown streets. The establishment of Mural Fest in 2018 is accelerating the heat with collaborations between street artists and other creative businesses like breweries, distilleries and cool product manufacturers.

Read More: Get more context for the murals in Salt Lake City and find out where to find them.

San Diego, California

Chicano Park Murals Bench
Vertical murals holding up the freeway overpass to Coronado Island.

San Diego isn’t a strong street art city, per se. However, like San Francisco, their Chicano Park has a concentration of murals that are specific to Latino culture. The park was founded out of a protest movement and murals are very moving.

Read More: Learn how the Chicano Park murals came to be and check out their unique vertical structure.

Austin, Texas

Greeting from Austin Texas Mural

Unlike Miami, Austin doesn’t have a festival or even one particular area for its street art. But there are murals popping up all over the city with a fun “keep Austin weird” kind of vibe. They also have a graffiti park with open season on tags and throw ups.

Read More: Find it all with this local’s guide.

Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada

Bicicledta Sem Freio Mural Downtown Las Vegas. For Life is Beautiful Festival. Cat playing music
Bicicleta Sem Freio mural developed during the Life is Beautiful festival.

Downtown Las Vegas is in the throes of gentrification. They are working on shucking off the drab bus station vibe and have been brightening up the area into a more community-centric space.

Read More: Check out the Life is Beautiful festival (which commissions new works) and my guide to having a blast in downtown Las Vegas.

Denver, Colorado

Denver RiNo mural by Pichiavo with man figure and graffiti in blue and purple
This mural by Pichiavo is subtle genius with a mischievous Hermes framed by graffiti.

Denver is also gentrifying what had been a light industrial district. The RiNo neighborhood is now filled with breweries, galleries and murals. CRUSH WALLS runs an annual festival in September where they fill in the narrow alleyways of the district with local artists and world class talent.

Read More: See video of CRUSH WALLs here.

Best Street Art Cities in Europe

London, England

Brick Lane mural Heron by Roa
This delicate heron by Roa is just off Brick Lane.

If NYC has the best graffiti in the US, London owns that distinction for Europe. London’s street art is defined by an ethic of guerrilla installations, layered messes and constant do-overs. You can find a great concentration of perpetually evolving works in the Shoreditch neighborhood.

Read More: See more of it and figure out where to find it in this street art guide to Shoreditch.

Bristol, England

Bristol Upfest Nomad Clan Lisa Simpsons
Nomad Clan teams up with Lisa Simpson for a female empowerment themed mural at Upfest.

Bristol was one of the first to really own its identity as a street art city. They grabbed the distinction with both hands and now have a thriving community with commissioned and guerrilla works covering three neighborhoods and fueled by the huge annual Upfest street art festival.

Read More: Find Banksy and more with this thorough guide to Bristol street art.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast Street Art Swordfight
One of Connor Harrington’s set pieces in downtown Belfast.

Belfast’s street art looks backward and forward. You can tour the sectarian murals for a lesson on the polarizing effects of civil war and then wander downtown for equally edgy but more modern works from artists like Connor Harrington.

Read More: Two ways to find street art in Belfast.

Paris, France

Paris mural by DFace women in blue
D-Face in the 13th arr.

Paris is a mix between London and Chicago. Like Chicago, they have a big walls project in the 13th arrondissement which features huge pieces from the likes of Shepard Fairy and D-Face. Like London, the Belleville neighborhood and canal areas house an ever-changing variety of smaller murals, graffiti and multi-media materials.

Read More: Get the full Paris street art tour covering four neighborhoods.

Berlin, Germany

Urban Nation Street Art Museum Berlin with black street art stencil on the exterior
Urban Nation’s street art museum in Berlin.

Graffiti may be illegal in Berlin but that doesn’t prevent its artists from creating a whole lot of it. Berlin’s own particular brand of street art was influenced heavily by a historically artsy culture and the cheap rents and underutilized buildings that surfaced after the wall came down. It’s chaotic, political and and clever. Not only do they have some of the best graffiti in the world, but they have some large scale murals and an urban art museum.

Read More:  Get a full guide to five districts with my guide to street art in Berlin.

Stavenger, Norway

Best street art city: Stavenger Norway mural by Fintan Magee. Silo street art
Silo mural by Fintan Magee. Photo courtesy of By Gordon Arthur of Short Holidays and Getaways.

This medium sized city nestled among Norway’s fjords and hiking paths may not be an obvious place for street art to flourish, but Stavenger has made it happen. Their mural culture is largely curated by the Nuart festival, which occurs in September every year. They are deliberately challenging conventional notions of art, all over Stavenger.

Read More: Here’s a rundown of murals and their context.

“There is a revolution in public practice and how artists engage with cities and public space”  — Martyn Reed, Nuart Festival

Up & Coming European Cities for Murals

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik street art mural or woman by Guido
Guido van Helten did a photo-realistic series in the harbor district that has transformed me into a huge fan.

Street art in Reykjavik is heating up. They don’t have a huge culture built around it, but several collaboration events with Urban Nation have populated the city with some world class murals.

Read More: Take a self-guided walking tour of Reykjavik’s murals.

Tallinn & Tartu, Estonia

Tallinn cultural kilometer mural of Loit and Hamarik
This evocative wall tells the story of the legend of Loit & Hamarik, lovers who never touched.

Estonia may be the picture perfect poster child for UNESCO heritage, but they also have some serious street art going on. Their particular brand of it comes with a strong dose of folk culture, nature and wry commentary on their political climate.

Read More: Get the full tour with this guide for Tartu and Tallinn’s street art.

Cool Street Art Cities in Latin America

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires Street Yellow Submarine
By Pablo Harymbat.

Street art is legal in Buenos Aires (with the building owner’s permission), and a culture of it is proliferating there. Buenos Aires’ urban art culture is a historical mix of big murals, Aztec cultural touchstones and political paste-ups. Most of the art can be found in the Los Colegiales, Palermo Soho, Chacarita and San Telmo neighborhoods.

Read More: See more Buenos Aires street art and learn how to take a tour there.

Medellín, Colombia

Colombia street art city: Medallin Comuna 13 mural with woman in the foreground
Comuna 13 mural in Medellín. Photo courtesy of Emily Lush of Wander-Lush.

In the Comuna 13 neighborhood of Medellín, the street art is personal. This was once the most dangerous neighborhood in the most dangerous city in the world. They see the murals as an expression of change as the neighborhood has become more safe and economically stable.

Read More: Get tips for how to visit Comuna 13 and learn about their Stairway Storytellers.

Bogota, Colombia

Street art Bogota- three boys by Nazza on multicolored background

Following the tragic shooting of graffiti artist, Diego Felipe Becerra, a public outcry forced officials in Bogota to change their stance regarding graffiti and street art. Now, murals are bursting all over the city, most particularly in the La Calendaria, downtown, Distrito Graffiti, and La Macarena areas.

Read More: Learn more in this Bogota graffiti tour.

Valparaiso, Chile

Cool street art in Valparaiso: by Inti Castro. Orange mural
By Inti Castro. Photo courtesy of Gábor Kovács of Surfing the Planet.

In Chile, street art popped up as a form of political protest. All of Valparaiso’s 44 hills are painted with tags and murals and they are as wild as the city itself.

Read More: Check out Lonely Planet’s great video tour of Valparaiso’s colorful hills.

Havana, Cuba (Up & Coming)

Havana street art - Trump on a Cactus
The street artists in Havana don’t love Trump.

Cuba has a culture of necessity and they use their can-do attitude to transform unusual materials into urban art. You can find it in the Callejon de Hamel, Fusterlandia and sneaking around the walls in downtown Havana.

Read More: Art lover’s guide to urban art in Havana.

Street Art in the Asia/Pacific Region

Melbourne, Victoria Australia

Melbourne mural in Fitzroy by Smug. Man with yellow shirt and pink background.
Found in Melbourne’s Fitzroy neighborhood. By Smug.

Melbourne is another city with a color bombs. In the laneways downtown, world class muralists elbow in to find a space amidst the graffiti and stencils. The city has an uneasy relationship with the graffiti, but the artists are clearly wining the battle, making Melbourne one cool street art city.

Read More: Learn more about Melbourne’s street art culture.

Silo Art Trail in Rural Victoria, Australia

Brim silos by Guido Van Helten. Four grain silos with farmer murals

Drive four hours northeast of Melbourne and you’ll find a towering series of painted silos on a stretch of lonely rural road. If you are going to the Grampions or the Great Ocean Road, taking a detour to see these tender portraits of local community members will be well worth your time.

Read More: Learn about how the Silo Art trail came to be, who painted the murals and where to find them.

Check out the video of the Silo murals:

George Town, Penang Malaysia

Malaysia Penang motorbike mural. Boy street art with motorcycle.
Photo courtesy of Rose Munday of Where Rose Goes.

George Town’s urban art hit the walls in 2010 with a series of 3-D sculpted works featuring cartoony figures made from steel rods. Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic then sealed the deal with his series combining murals of children with objects like bicycles and motorbikes welded onto the walls. Whimsy and nostalgia characterize the tone in George Town, giving it a very unique culture relative to the other cities mentioned here.

Read More: Learn more with this guide to Malaysian street art.

What’s your favorite street art city…and why? Comment below and let other readers find new favorite places to explore.

Learn More About Street Art

Study great street art in other cities by checking out my guides to:
Top Street Art Cities in the World | Books About Street Art|Street Art Festivals | Buenos Aires | Bogota | San Diego | San Francisco | Los Angeles |Nashville | Chicago | New York | Havana | London | Reykjavik  | Belfast | Bristol | Berlin | Paris | Estonia | Rural Australia | Melbourne | Honolulu | Salt Lake City

Follow my street art board in Pinterest for more cool street art images and articles from other fans. You can also participate in a monthly street art chat on Twitter- just follow @streetartchat.

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