street art in Bogota, Colombia
La Candelaria is the heart of Bogota's street art scene.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

8 of the Best Cities Around the World to See Incredible Street Art

The Streets of These Cities Are Some of the Best Art Galleries in the World

Political turbulence, history and tongue-in-cheek humor – art is a medium of expression for all aspects of human existence, and perhaps no form of art does a better job than street art.

Once sneered at as graffiti and vandalism, the poignant and pointed nature of street art resonates with the people who see it — ordinary people in the street — and has now been elevated to a respected and somewhat mysterious form of the craft.

These are more than just cities for a lot of graffiti; colorful murals are marveled at around the world and actively sought out by tourists. There are some cities that lend themselves more to the expression of street art than others though — here are the best cities for street art in the world.

Bogota, Colombia

A notorious history of drug cartels and violence has provided plenty of fodder for the city’s graffiti artists, and they are fighting Colombia’s negative reputation through nuanced and beautiful street art. The rich culture of the country shines through in the art splashed over the city’s walls, but it hasn’t been a smooth development.

In 2011, artist Diego Felipe Becerra was shot dead by police while painting in an underpass. Following the outcry over his death, street art was decriminalized in the city and gained a new reputation as a legitimate form of artistic and cultural expression. In recent years, street art has burgeoned and continues to be an outlet for many Colombians with something to say.

street art in New YorkStreet art is hidden (and not so hidden) all over New York. Photo Credit: Getty Images

New York City, United States

Street art in New York City is a barometer of social and political currents in the wider United States. This city has a particularly close relationship with the street art medium, as it was the birthplace of graffiti ‘writing’ in the 1960s.

Since then, the art you’ll see in the streets has evolved significantly, into some of the most elaborate, elegant and eye-catching works you’ll see anywhere in the world.

The gritty, illicit underground element only adds to the intrigue of New York’s street art. Let yourself be seduced as much by the anonymous figures behind the art as by the art itself. The scene might be more contemporary and mainstream now, but getting drawn into the drama of illegal art is still half the fun.

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street art in BerlinYou don't have to walk far in Berlin before coming across fascinating street art. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Berlin, Germany

A history of division has created an atmosphere of fierce expression in Berlin. Spray paint and paste-up posters adorn nearly every corner of the city, bringing grey walls and, most famously, fragments of THE wall, to life.

Berlin has been a hub of street art since graffiti first started getting attention as an expression of counterculture. For decades it has attracted both artists and people hungry to see their creations. The whole city is a canvas and if you’re into street art, it’s worth visiting for the murals alone.

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