The best cities in the world for street art

Street art is one of those forms of expression that hasn’t had it easy. It’s been loathed, dismissed, and destroyed when it turned up in unwanted places. But as the years have passed and some places have either come to accept the urban art as a form of its own, or come to terms with the fact that they can’t do anything about its presence and so might as well embrace it.

Either way, some cities have designated space for street artists to do their thing, and in the age of Instagram, their works are being popularized on a global scale.

So, here’s a look at some of the top places in the world for street arts to stimulate both your mind and your Insta feed.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil was one of those places big on street art, and you can find it everywhere—in high end shopping areas of Rio and São Paulo, along highways, in the favelas—each piece with its own vibe.

One of my favorites was the one pictured above, called “Arte Sem Fronteiras” (Art Without Borders) by artist Marino Macedo. It’s on a street just at the foot of the famed Selarón steps in Rio. What makes up the pattern in the countries and the oceans, are the names of people who have visited the mural. I was lucky enough to have the artist paint my name into the piece when I was there, which made the experience even cooler.

São Paulo, Brazil

You almost can’t blink in São Paulo without seeing street art, some more refined to match the neighborhoods they live in, others more impassioned and in rougher areas. Regardless, the art helps lend the city its vibrant energy. Check an area called Beco do Batman to find the most concentrated set of it.

#saopaulo #becodobatman #grafite #artederua

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Havana, Cuba

Everything about Havana seems like it would inspire art, and even though I haven’t made it there yet, I know the city is alive with urban works worth seeing. Like this one.

New York City, United States

There’s never a dull street art moment in New York City. In fact, the murals change often enough that you can make finding them an ongoing scavenger hunt. If you want a place to start, check out the Lower East Side.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is well known for its counterculture, which has also given rise to art that’s outside of what you’d necessarily expect to find in a gallery. What makes the city’s street art even more interesting than most, is its history. At Berlin’s East Side Gallery, more than 100 murals that served as protest pieces in Communist-era Germany are preserved on a mile-long piece of the Berlin Wall.


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Lisbon, Portugal

Between the street art, the quaint street cars on equally quaint streets, and the colorful, covetable tiles everywhere, you’ll hardly be hurting for beauty to behold in Lisbon.

Reykjavik, Iceland

There’s more to Reykjavik than the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa that fills up any #Iceland photos. The city is also known for its colorful urban art. Find some of it in Reykjavik’s Vesturbær neighborhood.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The fact that there’s little restriction about where street artists can spread their craft in Buenos Aires, has meant that artists are flocking there, and street art fans are following in their wake to see the works.

Montreal, Canada

Montreal has to be Canada’s most fun city. It’s always embracing some kind of art, whether its music festivals, or festivals centered solely around laughter (the Juste Pour Rire festival). It even hosts a Mural Festival every June with a mission to “democratize urban art,” and artists come together from all over to create new installations. Not that artists wait for June to come around to do their thing.


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Prague, Czech Republic

Prague doesn’t play when it comes to letting its voice be heard through art, a lot of it taking on political undertones. The city’s Lennon Wall in Grand Priory Square, served as a place to share those feelings through art during the Communist rule in the ’80s, and it’s still a place to catch colorful images and messages.