Street art once began as illegal graffiti for political protest, but is now something cities take pride in. Some murals still have political meaning, but others are just art. Though we love visiting museums, we love how street art is free for all out in the open and how it turns street art cities in outdoor art galleries. To uncover the best street art destinations, we’ve asked some of the world’s leading travel bloggers to help create the ultimate bucket list with the best street art cities around the world.
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#1 Colorful street alleys in Yangon, Myanmar
by Lee from The Travel Scribes
It might not be the first city that comes to mind when dreaming about street art but Yangon, the former capital city of magnificent Myanmar, boasts its own mural scene, albeit with a community-based twist.
In a city that is still far from a tourist hotspot, most visitors to Yangon will spend their days checking out the temples, admiring the colonial buildings or slurping shan noodles at the various hawker stands. But it’s the relatively unknown street art that should be top of the list, not just because of their urban appeal but considering the story behind them.
Yangon’s street art alleys used to be backstreets filled with garbage until a local organization, Doh Eain, transformed one into a garden, with a few murals from local artists. Suddenly this alley became a safe space for children to play, the media got wind of it, and more alleys were funded. Today there are eight alleys, not only filled with playground equipment and the sound of children’s laughter, but boasting large, colourful murals by Danish and Polish street artists as well as local players like Nat Eain Hlaing and Kyi Aung Kyaw. The main streets to visit are on 29th and 42nd street in downtown Yangon although all of the alleys are worth a visit. And, while you’re in town, make sure you stop by the nearby Rangoon Tea House for a cup of cho saint, a deliciously milky Burmese tea that will have you coming back for more!
#2 Graffiti in Buenos Aires, Argentina
by Erin from Sol Salute
The street art in Buenos Aires is world-renowned. Lax regulations and a heavily artistic culture have created a city filled to the brim with beautiful murals. The blocks surrounding La Boca’s Usina del Arte museum are basically an open-air street art museum. One of the most notable is a two-story depiction of a man asleep on the back of his horse. Also, don’t miss the ramshackle home covered in a blue sky and a massive rainbow nearby.
The alleyways of Palermo Soho, most notably Pasaje Russel and Pasaje Soria, feature some of the most photogenic graffiti in town. After Soho, cross over into Villa Crespo, a residential neighborhood famous for its murals. The most popular is Eversiempre’s Karl Marx and his 9 Kittens (at Serrano 982). You can visit Palermo on your own or with a 2 hour guided tour.
Buenos Aires is a huge metropolis and needs at least 5 days to visit (but you could stay for up to two weeks or a month without getting bored!). Base yourself in Palermo to be by the best restaurants and street art the city has to offer.
#3 Famous murals in Penang, Malaysia
by Angela from Where Angie Wanders
George Town in Penang is one of the best places in the world I have visited for street art. Although the Malaysian town is relatively small it is packed with urban works of art that should be included on any visitor’s itinerary of the best things to do in George Town.
The most well-known and well-loved pieces of street art are by world renowned Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic. In 2012 with the permission of the council, he transformed the once barren walls of George Town into an outdoor gallery.
“Girl on a bike”, “Boy on a motorbike” and “Children on a Swing” are three of his most photographed pieces of street art. There are also many other wall murals from other artists which are scattered around the town.
A street-art trail is available online to discover all the artworks which you could see in one day if you were limited for time. If you wanted to stay for longer, I can recommend The Blue Mansion Heritage Hotel.
#4 Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic
by Roshni from The Wanderlust Within
One of the most beautiful places in the Dominican Republic is the colourful city of Santiago de los Caballeros. It is the country’s second largest city and has been transformed since 2017. This was after the Mayor of Santiago asked local artists to use the buildings and walls of the Los Pepines neighbourhood as their canvases. Within a few months the entire city took on a new life with colourful murals and multicoloured houses throughout.
The best streets have to be Calle Cuba and Calle 16 Agosto, which are filled with murals one after another. One of the best things about visiting Los Pepines is how proud the homeowners and locals are of their neighbourhood, and how keen they are to show you each and every corner of their city. The Los Pepines neighbourhood can be walked around in a few hours, so a day is all you need but Hodelpa Centro Plaza is a great place to stay nearby.
#5 Street art in Athens, Greece
by Chrysoula from Athens And Beyond
f you want to discover street art in Athens then you’ve come to the right place as the Greek capital has one of the hottest street art scenes in Europe. From simple sketches to more meaningful murals there is loads of street art to experience.
Some of the best neighborhoods to see works of street art in Athens are Psiri, Karamikos, Exarcheia, and somewhat surprisingly, the quaint island-like area of Anafiotika on the Acropolis hillside. These include ‘Knowledge Speaks’ by Wild Drawing on the corner of Samou and Kostantinou Palaiologou and ‘Hands’ by Pavlos Tsankonas at 20 Pireos Street.
Whether you explore the street art on your own or opt for an alternative tour, you’ll be amazed by the talent on show on these Greek streets! The great thing about Athens is that there are street art pieces all over the city so you can either choose to dedicate a whole afternoon to seeking them out or simply stumble across them as you explore the city.
#6 The Sea Walls at Isla Cozumel in Mexico
Isla Cozumel in Mexico is one of the biggest islands in Yucatán and very popular with tourists and cruise ships. Most come for the relaxed beaches and snorkling options, but the Sea Walls were the highlight of our visit.
The Sea Walls are a positive protest to gain attention for the conservation of nature and healthy oceans. All over the world walls at beach destinations are decorated with ocean-themed street art, but nowhere as much as on Isla Cozumel. A location is chosen every year and Cozumel has had this honor several times.
On the Sea Walls website, you can find an overview of the 53 murals in San Miguel. But you can’t really miss them walking or driving around town, as there are 53 artworks all over town. Some of them are even two stories high and most are located in the city center.
#7 Vibrant murals in Melaka, Malaysia
by Luke from The Coastal Campaign
Melaka is a popular tourist destination in Malaysia, just a couple of hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. On the surface the city can seem busy and overly touristy but for those willing to make the effort there is a plenty of history and culture to be unearthed.
One of the highlights of Melaka is the vibrant street art that is painted throughout the city. What is great about it is that it isn’t just one street that contains the art, it is scattered in every part of the city. We first noticed some stunning street art as we walked along the river banks in the city centre and were delighted to see more art around almost every corner. One of our favourites is the colourful painting on the side of the Orangutan House which is a local art gallery.
We recommend spending two days in Melaka, as it is quite a compact city. There are plenty of great accommodation options right in the city centre, granting easy access to get out and explore. Our top recommendation would be for Casa del Rio due to their incredible infinity pool.
#8 Graffiti in Ghent, Belgium
by Veronika from Travel Geekery
Ghent belongs to one of the coolest towns in Belgium. It’s often compared to more famous Bruges and it’s actually located halfway between Brussels and Bruges. Likes its famous big brother, Ghent too has a network of beautiful water canals, stunning architecture and a lovely vibe.
The city of Ghent is modern and embraces urban lifestyle – street art included. The local tourism office has even published a special street art map. Ghent info center has plenty of them to give away for free – just look for a map called “Sorry, Not Sorry Street Art Gent” with all locations marked. As an alternative, you can also join the 3 hour Urban Mountain Bike tour that brings you past a variety of street art.
The top location for Ghent street art is its famous Graffiti Alley located at the Werregarenstraatje Street. Anybody is free to express themselves on its walls, so the alley constantly changes its appearance.
While most of Ghent’s large murals are located outside the city center, you can still come across quite a few even in the center. Most were created during regular street art festivals.
Read more: if you want to learn more about this highlight in Belgium, read our city guide for Ghent with hotel tips, information about train tickets, budget tips en the best things to do in Ghent.
#9 Street art paradise Valparaiso in Chile
by Alya & Campbell from Stingy Nomads
The beautiful coastal city of Valparaiso is considered to be the art capital of Chile. The city is famous for its fascinating street art. Beautiful murals decorating houses and walls, elaborated mosaics ornamenting staircases, and sidewalks make Valparaiso one of the most colorful cities in South America.
Cerro Concepción, Cerro Bellavista, and Cerro Alegre are three main street art neighborhoods of Valparaiso. Museum A Cielo Abierto (an open-air museum) in the Cerro Bellavista is the place not-to-miss here. The museum is a collection of murals painted on the walls and houses by local artists. Both amateur painters and renowned Chilean artists contributed to creating 20 impressive murals. The museum is open 24 hours, there is no entrance fee. The best way of getting here is by Ascensor Espiritu Santo, a historical funicular.
Wandering through the narrow streets of Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre you can discover some truly impressive works of art; staircases painted like a rainbow or piano keys, mosaics with sunflowers, walls with the scenes of the daily life of the city. One can spend the whole day walking around the city in search of street art or join one of the guided tours. Art Hostal Bellavista is a great place to stay in the heart of the street art neighborhood of Valparaiso.
#10 Street artwork in Rotterdam, Netherlands
Our hometown Rotterdam is known around the world for its modern architecture, but not many international travelers know about its cool street art scene. You can find the murals all over town, most of them in the city center.
The place with the highest concentration of murals is the street Witte de With. It’s a popular street for drinks, nightlife, restaurants and bars. The Witte Aap is famous since it was recommended by the Lonely Planet as one of the best bars in the world. Great places to sleep at this vibrant street are King Kong Hostel and the Capsule Hotel City Hub. The art nouveau painting by Ramon Martins is our favorite. But even more famous is the green wall with white figures by Daan Botlek, as you can literally become part of the mural yourself.
Another cool area to see street art is the Schieblok, close to the central station. In summertime, this is the best place for some afternoon drinks at the outdoor Biergarten. Or for breakfast or lunch at the rooftop restaurant Op het Dak! A very instagrammable place here is the yellow footbridge and the street art between the Schieblok and the central station.
If you want to check out all Rotterdam murals in one self-guided tour, download this street art map online.
#11 Famous murals in Manchester, UK
by Pauline from BeeLoved City
If you love street art, you will be spoilt for choice in Manchester, England! There are so many murals all around the city. The best place to start your visit is the Northern Quarter. This old industrial district became a very trendy neighbourhood these past few years and you will find amazing street art there!
Your first stop should be Stevenson Square. You will find beautiful murals there. They change regularly so it’s hard to say what you will be able to see but for reference, that’s where the famous murals of Arya Stark and David Bowie were. Later on, keep walking along Thomas Street, there are plenty more there including Harry Potter, Netflix shows, the Manchester bee…
Another good spot is the gay village. The most famous one near Canal Street is the portrait of Ariana Grande. It was painted after the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena.
Street art is everywhere in Manchester and things move around pretty quickly so the best way to discover murals is to wander around. Northern Quarter, Ancoats, Gay Village, Deansgate and Hulme are known to be the hotspots so make sure you go there! Ideally, you will want to stay 2 days in Manchester to make sure to check out the best sites.
#12 Off the beaten track Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
by Kamila from My Wanderlust
Street art isn’t the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when thinking about Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Everyone visits this popular town for the iconic Old Bridge and only a few tourists venture outside the old town. And that’s where you can find the real Mostar, with its vibrant atmosphere and an amazing street art scene.
The city was badly destroyed during the Balkan War in the 1990s and still today you can see numerous buildings ruined after those tragic times. Many of those buildings are covered in murals, graffiti and other forms of street art. The most famous place is the so-called sniper tower, a former bank that was used as a sniper position during the war. Today this grand building is covered in murals both inside and outside.
There are even more murals on the former front line along Alekse Šantića street and near the university. There is the annual street art festival in Mostar so you can be sure there will be new great works appearing on the walls in the future too.
#13 Underrated treet art city Belfast, UK
by Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages
Belfast is an underrated street art city located in Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom. Luckily, you don’t even need that long to visit the city – in fact, I recommend that you spend 48 hours in Belfast. This city is definitely worth visiting because there is a lot of history to explore there, which is actually a big part of why it’s a street art city! Most of its street art is political, which is why it may be worth hiring a tour guide to bring you around, or looking at the street art through a self-guided walking tour.
One of the best areas to find street art in Belfast is Cathedral Quarter, since there is street art around almost every corner. It’s also worth checking out SMUG’s mural in Belfast, as well as MTO’s work, including “The Son of Protagaros”. Another popular mural that I suggest seeing is “Pandora’s Jar” by Starfighter.
If you’re looking to take a trip to Belfast, I suggest checking out Airbnb for an affordable stay. I ended up staying in quite a nice little house located near Queen’s University which was quite centrally located. The Jury’s Inn Belfast is another great option!
#14 Art-filled staircases in São Paulo, Brazil
by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
São Paulo is often skipped over in favor of Rio de Janeiro, but everyone who does make a stop in the city is astounded by its street art. The best place to start your explorations is the artsy neighborhood of Vila Madalena. It’s home one of São Paulo’s most popular attractions, called Beco do Batman or “Batman’s Alley”. Every inch of the walls lining either side of this narrow pedestrian street is covered with art, and in some cases the art even extends onto the paving of the street itself. Get here early (by 9 am) to beat the street vendors and avoid having to queue for photos. If you want to explore more, you can opt for the guided street art bike tour (20km).
Allow at least half a day to explore Vila Madalena, as there’s much more to see here beyond Beco do Batman. A couple of art-filled staircases are particularly impressive. The Patapio staircase is nearby, while the Bailarinas staircase is a bit further but worth seeking out for its gorgeous murals of ballet dancers in motion.
#15 Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark
by Derek from Everything Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a vibrant city with beauty in every corner. One of the best Copenhagen attractions to highlight that beauty is Christiania where you’ll discover amazing street art. Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous nation inside of the city of Copenhagen, is like nowhere else in the world. Called ‘Freetown Christiania,’ it’s a commune of about 1000 people. The residents live on the site of an abandoned Danish military barracks and have for generations. They live a bit of a simple hippie lifestyle where the residents of Christiania are completely off the grid. They are known in the city for selling marijuana on the main street, Pusher Street.
Another reason people visit Christiania is to view the city’s most beautiful street art. There are murals all over Christiania and they’re designed in creative ways. The buildings themselves are a part of the art. Many of the street art involves additional elements to provide multiple dimensions to the street art. Christiania is a popular tourist destination for people who know about the site. While it’s still a bit off-beat, you can find tours and events in Christiania or walk through yourself to admire the street art.
#16 Art watching from cable cars in La Paz, Bolivia
by Jeanine from Le Wild Explorer
There are many colorful cities in South America and La Paz is one of them! The Bolivian city is full of culture, breathtaking views, and amazing street art. For some of the best street art head Cementerio General de La Paz. Some might think a cemetery and street art wouldn’t go together but the murals are stunning and adds some more beauty to this peaceful place.
Another must is visiting Chualluma, it’s the colorful neighborhood in La Paz. This place is a giant canvas! If you love bright colors this is not to be missed. You can walk about the neighborhood but seeing it from above is even more special. Definitely take the aerial cable cars, also known as Mi Teleférico. It’s the best way to explore the city.
There is plenty to do in the city and around so give yourself at least three days in the city to really explore. And if you love the outdoors La Paz is the perfect place to call your hub.
#17 Political murals in Krakow, Poland
by Dagney from Cultura Obscura
Krakow is one of the best cities in the world for street art. You can easily find most of the big ones in a day, or even an afternoon, if you are pressed for time.
The city is full of giant murals, many political and controversial – such as Blu’s Ding Dong Dumb which is both. Ding Dong Dumb was painted in 2011 and is a commentary on the Polish people’s relationship with the Catholic Church.
Although the street art in Krakow can be found throughout the city, there are a few main areas to look: the City Centre, Kazimierz (the Jewish Quarter) and Podgórze. The Ding Dong Dumb is in Podgórze, which definitely has the most street art. A few other famous pieces in the area include Lem’s Robot by Filip Kużniarz and a caricature of the famous My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love (or Fraternal Kiss) of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing.
Across the river in Kazimierz you’ll find Judah by Pil Peled and For God’s Sake, Censorship is Everywhere by Pikaso.
#18 Legalised murals in Helsinki, Finland
by Alexander from Engineer On Tour
The street art scene in Helsinki is very fresh. The artists tell it takes its first baby-steps. However, there are a few things that make Helsinki particularly interesting.
Street art in Finland had been forbidden for a long time, but in 2008 the laws changed. It is allowed, but an artist needs to undergo a certain procedure. The city architects check how well the murals would fit into the district. They take into account the whole environment before approving the large pieces of street art. As a result, the artist’s work is uniquely, organically fit, which sets it apart.
If you want to see street art in Helsinki – the largest concentration of it is in Kallio and Vallilla districts. The detailed online map of street art in the Helsinki Metropolitan area is located here. You can also get a physical street art map in the tourist office.
#19 Wall poems in Leiden, Netherlands
The historic Dutch city Leiden might not be the first spot that comes in mind when thinking of cool street art. The city is known for its museum, historical monuments and Amsterdam-like canals, not for its urban scene. The street art in Leiden is different from what you see on this list. No colorful murals or political graffiti, but poems.
The walls of Leiden display over 120 wall poems – ‘muurgedichten’ in Dutch – in several languages. 8 of them are from before 1880, others are in Chinese, Greek of Arab alphabets. The website about the wall poems is only available in Dutch and English with translations for most poems. The site has interactive themed maps with all the murals if you fancy a self-guided walking tour. One of the tours is a bike route if you’d like a real Dutch experience in this bike-loving country.
#20 Shoreditch area in London, United Kingdom
by Caroline from CK Travels
London is awash with some fantastic street art and you’ll find the best ones hidden in the lanes and alleyways of the vibrant and hipster neighbourhood of Shoreditch in East London. Featuring internationally recognised artists as well as local street painters, there is colourful artwork in practically every type of space you can imagine. There are so many streets to explore that it would take you a few hours to see them all and you can do this on an easy self guided tour. Alternatively there are many organized group walking tours you can join where you can learn more about the artists.
Our Shoreditch street art highlights include New Inn Yard where you can see the biggest street mural in the UK called ‘Connectivity Matters’ – a huge collaboration between sixteen of the country’s top street artists. Other street art hubs include Hanbury Street, Ebor Street, Whitby Street, Fashion Street and Chance Street.
#21 Graffiti tour in Bogota, Colombia
by Megan from Megan Starr
One of the world’s best street art cities is undoubtedly Bogota in Colombia. The South American city has become renowned for its colorful walls and murals throughout the years. It wasn’t until the last decade that street art even became legal in Colombia’s capital as protests fired up after a 16-year-old was killed by the police after graffiting walls. Once legalized, the city became abundant with color and various messages across its walls. You can see messages about climate change, Colombia’s drug-ridden past, and government protests along the buildings. The best place to find graffiti and street art in Bogota is in La Candelaria, a district of the city littered with cafes and hip establishments. You can join one of the free walking tours which tend to get crowded or opt for a private tour.
There are many reasons to travel to Bogota but many travelers leave remembering how vibrant the street art scene was and that is what they will share with future travelers. This easily makes Bogota a fantastic place to travel to and its street art should be one of the focal points of your Bogota itinerary.
#22 Banksy’s home town Bristol, United Kingdom
by Lee and Stacey of One Trip at a Time
There can be few better cities to see street art than the home city of perhaps the most famous street artist in the world, Banksy. Visitors to Bristol can see some of this elusive artist’s most famous and earliest works, as well as lots of other street art as they explore this vibrant city.
Some of Banksy’s famous works in Bristol include: “Well Hung Lover”, a clever play on words as the art shows a “lover” hanging from a windowsill as he’s been caught in the act; “Mild Mild West” shows a teddy bear about to throw a Molotov cocktail at the police; and “Girl with the Pierced Eardrum” cleverly includes the alarm box on the outside of the building as the girl’s earring. Beyond pure street art, you can also see Banksy’s “Paint Pot Angel” in the Bristol Museum which is a statue of an angel with a pot of pink paint poured over it. You can find the street art on your own, or opt for a guided tour and get all the background information from one of the expert guides.
It really does pay to look up, down and around for street art as you wander the streets of Bristol. The city is full of large and small pieces of street art everywhere you look.
#23 The 170 murals in Kyiv, Ukraine
by Alex from Lost With Purpose
Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, might not be the first place that comes to mind when talking epic street art. But man, does Kyiv deliver.
Since 2014, 36 artists have created 170 works of art all throughout the city… and that’s just the modern street art. Walk around Kyiv’s outer neighborhoods and you’ll find glorious Soviet murals abound.
Kyiv’s street art is vibrant and diverse. Works range from abstracts to imagery incorporating Ukraine’s Cossack heritage to memorials for people who died during the 2014 Euromaidan.
Some of the most famous murals include Renaissance at the end of Andriyivskyy Descent, symbolizing Ukraine’s rebirth after the 2014 revolution, the Portrait of Serhiy Nigoyan, the first protestor to die during the 2014 revolution, located close to St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, and River Crossing, a mural of a deer helping a man cross a river, located in Podil.
Kyiv’s murals are spread out all over the city, but the largest concentration is in the city’s center. Since there are so many, it will take a few days (if not more) to see them all. But if you want to see the highlights, you’ll need 2-3 days to do them justice.
#24 Praga district in Warsaw, Poland
by Reshma from The Solo Globetrotter
Poland is one of the countries known for its exquisite, unique artists. Warsaw, its capital, is one of the cities where street art is at its best. You will see how the Polish love their wall art as you explore Praga district on your Warsaw itinerary. This vibrant, hipster neighbourhood is home to hundreds of graffiti scattered around the streets. Located on the eastern side of the Vistula river, it is home to the best artists in Poland.
Once the most dangerous area in Warsaw, known for notorious crimes, Praga is now the place to head to if you love street art, which makes it one of the top attractions for tourists visiting Warsaw.
You can explore the streets of Praga on your own or through tours, and it should take about half-day or a little more. Some of the most famous ones that you shouldn’t miss are mechanical centaur on Dolna 37 street – a vibrant and intriguing work of art, the goose on street Brzeska 14a, and the playground on Stalowa 41 by the Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic.
#25 Outdoor art gallery Miami, United States
by Claire from Stoked To Travel
Once a neglected and disused manufacturing neighbourhood, the Wynwood Arts District in Miami is now the vibrant heart of the city’s art and design scene. Less than a decade ago, local graffiti artists starting to use the abandoned warehouse district as a canvas and before long, the area completely changed into a world-famous colourful outdoor art gallery. It’s without a doubt, one of the best places in the world to view street art. You can visit the district on your own, or join a golf buggy guided tour that brings you around in 1 hour.
In Miami, it’s also considered one of the most eclectic and lively districts in the city, with over 70 indoor and outdoor museums and art galleries, together with dozens of hip places to eat, drink and socialise. The best thing about the street art in Miami is that the walls are ever-changing, with new artists coming in to update and refresh the street art and murals, creating a street art exhibit like no other.
Wynwood Walls, at the very heart of the Arts District changes its art every December just before Art Basel Miami Beach arrives. As one of the world’s foremost art shows, it’s an awesome opportunity to explore Wynwood and discover its colourful tapestry.
Wynwood is easy to get to from both Downtown Miami and Miami Beach – it’s a quick Uber from both or you can use the public bus service. Whilst you could stay nearby Wynwood Arts District, I recommend basing yourself in Downtown or Miami Beach. You can visit Wynwood as a full day outing, or head there for dinner and enjoy excellent fare at KYU or the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.