One of my favorite things about traveling to a new city is getting to see all the different culturally significant factors within the side streets and away from all the tourist traps.
One great way to see a new city like a local is to check out the street art and graffiti scene around different neighborhoods and regions.
If you pay attention, you can learn a lot about a countries culture from the “writings on the wall.” From past struggles and popular events to athletic rivalries and inside jokes. All important for traveling deeper and traveling like a local.
Here are four of my favorite cities to walk around and see the street art:
As sophisticated and refined as London is known to be, there is a much more color and edge to the city than the queen would like to admit.
Home to perhaps the world’s most famous graffiti artist, Banksy, the British graffiti scene stretches from the Camden Market, just north of city center, to East London, while hitting all the beautiful old buildings along the way. While taggers haven’t conquered too much of the financial district of Canary Wharf, they have managed to make a name for themselves almost everywhere else.
I would highly recommend setting up shop in London for a few weeks, or even months if possible, and rent one of the many London vacation apartments to see the city like a local and experience all the incredible artwork.
Being referred to as “the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world,” by art critic Emilie Trice proves that Berlin has come a long way since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now, the only walls they put up have incredible urban masterpieces on them.
It’s crazy to think, but the Berlin Wall actually helped develop the urban art scene as people used the canvas to convey their political viewpoints anonymously.
Now, spray painting isn’t exactly legal today in Berlin, but artists like XOOOOX, Alias and Mein Lieber are definitely making people take notice.
Berlin is definitely on my bucket list!
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I have the absolute privilege of being able to call Buenos Aires, Argentina my home for almost a year and I must say, the city offers one of the most colorful and eclectic mixes of urban art I have ever seen.
The art scene in Buenos Aires in general is huge and so much so that it literally spills into the streets. Whether it is political, fanatical or artistic in nature, every barrio (neighborhood) is lined with street art from ridiculously talented Argentine graffiti artists.
I recommend cruising around the streets of Palermo and checking out all the colorful buildings and then take the 152 bus to San Telmo to see a more gritty side of the stenciled murals.
Miami, United States
Miami is known the world over for sun, sand and beautiful people. This is all true, but Miami is also becoming one of the world’s great graffiti cities with the influx of immigrants and bustling art and music scene.
Latin culture mixed with hipster artists and gangster taggers makes for one hell of a combination… it almost rivals the former beach and babes… well, in the world of street art anyway.