The 5 Best Cities for Street Art Fanatics, Because Who Needs Museums?

I'm not going to be coy here. I'm borderline obsessed with street art. As a traveler, it's a visual way to better comprehend a city's history and way of life, and it can provide a more telling window into the local culture than any fancy museum ever could. Luckily I live in New York City, and between the five boroughs there is more than enough graffiti to keep me entertained, whether Banksy is currently in residence or not. But, beyond NYC there's a whole world of street art to discover and these five cities have some of the best.

by Megan Eileen McDonough

Valparaiso, Chile

I’ve mentioned Valparaiso before and in my mind, this is the absolute best city to view creative street art. After speaking with a few locals in broken Spanish, I learned that this is the hobby of choice in Valpo. Unlike in other cities, here the street art is truly considered a respected form of art, so this might be the best place to find inspiration.

Image: Megan Eileen McDonough/Bohemian Trails

Johannesburg, South Africa

Street art is everywhere in Johannesburg but especially in Newtown. There’s a variety of work to see here — large murals, politically-charged slogans, spray painted pieces, stencil art, and street poster art among them. Street art aside, Newtown in one of the more revamped neighborhoods in the city and has lots to offer culturally curious travelers.

Bogotá, Colombia

Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo tend to get a lot of attention for their street art and rightfully so, but there’s another South American city that really stands out and that is Bogotá. A stroll through the historic La Candeleria neighborhood takes you past walls splattered with vibrant political messages and colorful, whimsical images.

Image: Megan Eileen McDonough/Bohemian Trails

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a street art fanatic’s dream city. I recommend taking a walking tour of the Mitte and Kreuzberg neighborhoods, because they are two of the most graffiti-heavy. Interestingly, there are several murals that were actually commissioned by local artists. Then, of course, there are famous pieces from artists Roa (pictured) and “Ash” aka Victor Ash.

Image: Megan Eileen McDonough/Bohemian Trails

Melbourne, Australia

It’s not hard to spot street art in Melbourne, but the most popular spot is Hosier Lane, a cobblestone pedestrian road splattered with graffiti. The most famous piece is “Our Lady Hosier,” because her clothes are changed from time to time. The is also a great photo-op so try to plan your visit before the crowds arrive.