Art was once for a high-brow group of people — those who could afford canvases and brushes, afford to attend art school, afford to hone their craft, and afford to showcase it in glittering galleries and famous museums. Then there’s street art. Once seen as an act of vandalizing property, the idea of street art has transformed and is now viewed for as it is — passion. You don’t have to have money to create it, or money to view it, as it’s in the public domain, climbing on sides of neighborhoods and businesses. And whether it’s large or small, colorful or neutral in tone, it seems to speak volumes to viewers who can’t get enough pictures to share on social media.
If you’re drawn to the beauty of street art, you’ll be glad to know that there are tons of cities around the world with great street art showcases among neighborhoods. So, if you happen to be in these cities, take a (free!) stroll through modern art:
1. Bushwick, Brooklyn
While New York City has long been known for having great displays of street art, the street art community has coalesced into the neighborhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn to showcase the best of the best in the Bushwick Collective. If you’re staying in Manhattan, take the L train to Brooklyn and get off at Morgan Ave, taking the Bogart St exit. You’ll quickly see murals on buildings and from there — follow the art. The art is ever-changing and colorful along Morgan Avenue and Bogart Street, large and small on warehouses and decaying buildings. If you prefer to learn more about the artists, there’s often free tours on foot that you can sign up for.
2. Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is a mecca for street art lovers and it’s no surprise that many of the murals are vibrant in colorful. Oftentimes, the street art has aspects of Mexican culture or history in creative and new takes. In 2012, the city invited street artists to create massive paintings on some of the buildings for what would be known as the All-City Canvas festival. Many of these paintings were created on Reforma Avenue. There’s also multiple other places to see street art like on the outside of Museo del Juguete Antiguo Mexico, on Calle Zacatecas, La Roma, and Plaza Luis Cabrera.
3. Berlin, Germany
You don’t have to be looking for street art to find street art in Berlin, Germany. The city has been dubbed, “The City of Design” for how much graffiti it has. Berlin has always had a reputation for the alternative and rebellion, and an even bigger underground art scene, so it’s pretty fun to see that street art is firmly woven into the city. Haus Schwarzenberg Street Art Alley is an explosion of street art, as is Dircksenstrasse, Revaler 99/Urban Spree area, and the streets of Kreuzberg and Teufelsberg. Don’t miss a chance to see the East Side Gallery on the crumbling Berlin wall. There’s a few must-see murals like the Kreuzberg’s astronaut/cosmonaut, one of the largest stencils in the world, a series called El Bocho about a girl named Little Lucy that isn’t too kind to her cat, fashionable black-and-white stencils by XOOOOX, and large murals of black-and-white elder Berliners.
4. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague seems to be on everyone’s “must-visit” list these days, and with a great selection of street art, it’s definitely not to be missed. When the Czech Republic was under communist rule, freedom of expression was suppressed. But street artists couldn’t and wouldn’t be silenced. The Lennon Wall is a prime example of this. Inspired by the Beatles, youth began tagging the Lennon Wall to complain about the restrictions of communism and from that a famous painting of John Lennon emerged. Today, that painting is covered by others, but the wall continues to be an important piece of street artdom in Prague. Tesnov is a legal graffiti wall for any artist to use and great for street art lovers to visit, while the Zizkov district is home to the famous half Kafka portrait.