As our world gets smaller and smaller and we travel more we are always looking for something else to see. Huge cities such as London, Melbourne, Rome and Paris can cost you a small fortune to visit and as we all know we all try to get as much as we can from our money. We all want to see the most popular sites but there are some days that we are short of funds. You can wander a city and find free things where ever you go and I must admit I forget about the amazing street art that is now popping up all over the world. From city to city all different types are on show. From alleyways to whole sides of a building there is always something interesting to see and the best is that it is free!
Street art no museum required!
So if you are looking for a free activity and to see some amazing free art here are some places that have brilliant street art that you should check out if you are visiting!
From Kerri of Beer and Croissants
London has become well known for street art, with locations in Shoreditch and Camden leading the way. Street art tours are conducted regularly and a visit to any of these locations will see lines of people stopping to take their own photos of the vivid art work emblazoning the walls.
When I was last in London I uncovered a spot that is well hidden and quite unknown. This is especially ironic given it sits underneath Waterloo Train Station, one of the busiest commuter hubs in the city.
London’s profile for street art was assisted by Banksy and it was here at the Banksy Tunnel that he started to gain acceptance for other street artists all over the city.
This tunnel is now a pedestrian tunnel and whilst there are no longer any Banksy originals here, there are plenty of other murals to check out. The Leake Street Tunnel,
as it is now known, offers an ever-changing face of street art, with many of the murals painted over within days. My favourites when I visited in June were the superheroes, which almost sprang to life off the walls as we walked through.
From Cindy of Free Two Roam
Havana, the capital of Cuba, is a visually fascinating city to explore. Not only will you find classic cars, colourful streets and beautiful Colonial style architecture, you’ll also discover an abundance of street art throughout the city.
One of the best places to see street art is Callejon Hamel. This narrow two-block alleyway is found between Aramburu and Hospital Streets in Centro Havana
. Famous for its funky Afro-Cuban art, it is crammed full of vivid street murals, colourful mosaic tiled-walls and sculptures by Cuban artist Salvador Gonzalez.
Callejon Hamel is dedicated to the Afro Cuban religion of Santeria which is a unique mix of West African religion and Roman Catholic traditions. The street art documents the African history of slaves in Cuba. If you love dancing, visit there on a Sunday when the place comes alive with bands playing Rumba.
Callejon Hamel isn’t the only place to see street art in Havana. As you walk around Ciudad Vieja you’ll come across plenty of murals. Some are government propaganda, some pay homage to Che Guevara and others are graffiti. Havana really was a visual feast and a photographer’s heaven.
Auckland, New Zealand
From Rhonda of Albom Adventures
Auckland New Zealand is a modern city, an architectural mix of the new and not so new. Street art is popular and often supported by community groups and arts trusts.
However, it’s not always easy to spot. In the CBD, street art is typically found on the side roads and alleyways, and usually only one artwork per a location. The work is often commissioned, and there isn’t the randomness found in cities like Melbourne Australia. One of my favourite pieces in Auckland is this impressive stairway art at the Elliot Street Arcade
(on Elliot, between Wellesley and Victoria). It is unusual in that it is a collaborative effort between three well-known street artists: Askew One, Elliot Francis Stewart and Gary Silipa. With this mini plaza currently under construction, the fate of this particular street art is yet to be determined. If you are looking for other Auckland street art, be sure to check out the side roads off of Karangahape (K-Road).
From Paula of Contented Traveller
Stavanger in Norway is a city of street art.
Stavanger is an affluent city in Norway and is famous for its beautiful old wooden houses. Located on the northwest coast of the North Sea, Stavanger is the fourth largest city in Norway. When oil was discovered in the North Sea, Stavanger was in the prime location to benefit and is also home to NATO’s Warfare Centre. This means that there are people from all over the world who live and work in the city, giving it a very cosmopolitan feel. While the city is charming, it was quite a discovery to find out that Stavanger in Norway is a city of street art.
Stavanger in Norway was an early adopter of street art, and they hold the Nuart street art festival annually attracting some of the best of the best international street artists like Dot Dot Dot, Bordalo, and Fintan Magee, an Australian favourite. There also walking tours to show you the 16 years of street art in the city. On the day, we were there it was National Independence Day in Norway, so we went on our own voyage of discovery to find these works ourselves. Many were on the sides of the beautiful old wooden houses, which Stavanger is famous for, and many were entirely satirical statements.
From Dean of Lavida Global
There is one city in the world that many consider a single work of art. While many cities now have pieces or even pockets of street art Valparaiso in Chile
could easily be described as the world’s largest canvas.
And in a city filled with colour and creativity, it is the small street of Almirante Montt that stands out in a field of many strong candidates. Many of the greatest names in South American street art have contributed to this outdoor gallery and it should not come as a surprise to discover that you have spent up to an hour admiring this short stretch of road. Perhaps the best of all is just off Almirante Montt, up the Piano Keyboard stairs and is a collaboration between famous Spanish artists Cuellimangui and ASJ. Difficult to photograph but truly awe-inspiring to witness, this stunning creation blends the realistic and abstract to perfection.
From Paula of Sydney Expert
Running parallel to Newtown’s main thoroughfare King Street, Lennox Street boasts more large-scale street murals in its 500-metre length then I have come across anywhere else in Sydney.
Most of these large works are the result of an innovative Perfect Match program run by the Inner West Council that unites property owners with artists to create new art on walls that have previously attracted tagging or were just generally unattractive.
My favourite here is by Ox King (Steven Nuttall) and is called the Promise. The mural is based on the story of Miss Havisham, the jilted bride from the novel Great Expectations who was who insisted on wearing her wedding dress for the rest of her life.
While you could easily spend a day checking out the rest of the suburb make sure you don’t miss the Lennox Street and the streets running off it including Mary Street. I have made a little map of the area that includes a couple of suggestions like a Young Henry’s beer at the Courthouse Hotel, coffee and of course a slice of the infamous watermelon cake from Black Star Pastry or a Cocktail and some Spanish tapas plates.
From Bec of Wyld Family Travel
One thing that you will notice about Reykjavik in the winter is that it can get dark and gloomy quickly. We visited in January and the one thing that stood out was the amazing street art that was all over the city. From huge murals on the side of a building to small pieces in little alleyways, it was brightening even the coldest of days.
As some of you may know Iceland is a very expensive place to visit but wandering the city to see as much of the street art you can is free while you are there! You just need to stop every now and then for a nice, warm drink. The Reykjavik city centre was the place that we focused on as our two daughters found the wind cold at times and we could shelter in a cafe until they warmed up. We made our way down the street from Hallgrimskirkja all the way to the Harpa (Concert Hall) checking out as many as we could on the way.
Where do we stay in Iceland?
We stayed at Downtown Reykjavik Apartments. Apartments at Downtown Reykjavik Apartments are modern and offer a kitchenette free wifi and very friendly staff who love to help you. There are also multiple apartments designed for families.
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It filled in about an hour and a half (with a couple of stops for a warm up) and we saw so many beautiful murals on the sides of the buildings. It is a fantastic free thing to do in Reykjavik!
From Sally of Our3kidsvstheworld
Melbourne has to be the street art capital of the Australia, we have laneways dedicated to the stuff! whether you’re a lover or hater of it, it has to be said that some pieces of street art are pretty impressive. Some of the most famous are Hosier Lane which is ever changing and probably one of the originals, AC/DC Lane dedicated to the Heavy Rock band of the 70’s and 80’s originating from Melbourne, Degraves Street famous for its cafe scene and brilliant coffee culture and Union Lane right in the middle of bustling Bourke St Mall.
You can visit these laneways anytime of the day and someone will be working on a master piece and if you return a few months later it is likely to have been painted over with a just as brilliant new piece of artwork. Melbourne encourages street art and the locals seem to have embraced it. Doesn’t really matter where you go in Melbourne’s CBD you are likely to find some street art somewhere so keep your eyes peeled to the laneways, you might just find a ripper!
From Marley of Wyld Child Travel
Lisbon Portugal is one of my favourite cities that I have ever been to. On our last trip, Mum and Dad made us walk up the steepest hill to the lookout called Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Luckily for me, there was plenty of street art along the way for me to rest and look at.
On our way up there were so many different types to look at. There were some that looked like graffiti, there were some really big murals on boards and then there were some murals just on the walls of the buildings. Right near the top, there was a man painting a new mural and we got to watch him for a little while. It was very intricate and I liked watching him. We saw plenty of other street art murals all over the city as we travelled around it. It really is a beautiful place and I can’t wait to go back and find some more to look at.
From Debbie of Travel with the Greens
Wynwood Walls, Miami.
Street art at Wynwood Walls is one of the highlights of Miami, USA. Only a 15 minutes drive from Miami Beach to the centre of the Street Art.
Make sure you allow at least half a day to explore the area of Wynwood Walls. The whole Wynwood area is an open-air art gallery with murals around every corner. We enjoyed our time walking from street to street looking at so many different pieces both arty and political. It was interesting to watch the kids interpret the street art and discuss their favourite pieces. In between the street art pieces are amazing shops, quirky bars and great restaurants.
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There is also a gallery at 2520 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami where there are local artists working and selling their art pieces. There is plenty of street parking in the area, bring some coins for the parking meters!
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Gordon of Short Holidays and Getaways
It took us awhile to find any street art in the vibrant city of Saigon, which is what the locals call Ho Chi Minh City. The crazy thing was that in an alley right next to our hotel on the riverfront of the city, we found street art. Most of the best things in Saigon
are found in little alleys, backstreets and laneways including food, coffee and in this case street art. This entire alley has old French factory buildings and is devoted to street art, little galleries and tea houses. It is a popular place to gather for trendy young people. The alley is called 3A-Station or 3A Ton Duc Thang and is opposite the Saigon River in the city’ central district.
Mexico City, Mexico
From Katja of Globetotting
One of the things that I loved the most about living in Mexico were the colours. In Mexico City, where we were based, houses were painted in bold colours like fuchsia and tangerine and lively local markets exploded with all kinds of colours.
And then there was the street art. This capital city is filled with colourful urban artwork and, being one of the largest cities in the world, it offers artists plenty of canvas space. Street art can be seen throughout the city but some of the best neighbourhoods for spotting urban design are La Roma, Condesa and along Avenue Reforma, one of the city’s main thoroughfares.
One of my favourite artworks can be found in the Mercado de Jamaica, the lively wholesale flower market located in the Southeast of the historic centre.
From Anna of My Well Traveled Friend
It was hard to pick just one piece of Berlin street art to feature for this piece. Berlin’s sprawling urban landscape and affordable bohemian lifestyle has meant some of the most important and diverse street artists come and visit and create hundreds of thousands of art pieces.
I walk past this piece 5 days a week and it still fills me with awe. Created in 2007 this floating piece called “Cosmonaut” by Víctor Ash is the worlds biggest public art stencils. It’s exact dimensions take up 22 x 14 meters and it can be found on Mariannenstrasse in Berlins Kreuzberg neighbourhood. I highly recommend taking a street art tour when visiting Berlin, it definitely gave me a new perspective of the city and taught me to look up and
I am sure there are thousands of places that we have not included and some that are still undiscovered but as you can see the Street Art phenomenon is spreading everywhere. We hope you get to wander a city and see some of these murals but if you don’t we hope you loved this post!
Here are two other articles from Wyld Family Travel that you may find interesting!