More often than not, the most amazing cities in the world boast the most amazing art museums. And while you can learn a great deal about the history of important movements and iconic artists within those hallowed halls, there's something so raw, real, and "right now" about the art you find when you're just walking down the street! Take a look at this shortlist of cities around the world that are home to some of the best street art to simply stumble upon.
São Paulo, Brazil
Beco do Batman is a hidden treasure in São Paulo and the place to go for vibrant street art. Located in the neighborhood of Vila Madalena, Beco do Batman does, in fact, translate to Batman Alley and yes, you will find some walls dedicated to the comic book character. It all started with a single Batman drawing back in the 80s and the street art never stopped!
Source: Nana Marques
Nearly a mile long, the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany is not only the longest open air gallery in the world but features the longest intact section of the Berlin wall in existence today. Artists from all over the world flocked to the scene when the wall came down and the gallery officially opened in 1990. Must-see murals include Birgit Kinder’s "Trabant" (which features this common East German car "bursting through" the wall) and Dmitri Vrubel’s notorious "My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love," more widely known as "Fraternal Kiss."
Perhaps the most Instagram-able part of the Canadian city, Graffiti Alley is a 3 block stretch of street art running parallel to Queen Street West. And it's all city-sanctioned. After some spats over the difference between murals and vandalism, the Queen Street West Business Improvement Association succeeded in their fight to keep art alive. Since 2011 StreetARToronto, or StART work to secure funding and approval for public works like these.
At the edge of the Melbourne's East End, an area brimming with galleries and creative types, lies Hosier Lane. The cobblestone laneway is a little dead end street with a lot of personality. Massive masterpieces occupy every square inch of the block and give insight into the culture and politics of its daring artists.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Breathtaking street art runs rampant throughout Buenos Aires, in areas like Plaza Matienzo, near the Mercado de las Pulgas fleamarket, and in the off-the-beaten-path neighborhood of Villa Urquiza just to name a few! What is definitely worth a look is the world's biggest mural completed by a single artist! The massive masterpiece was completed in phases by artist Alfredo Segatori over the course of about a year and a half. It covers three buildings and is entitled "The Return of Quinquela" in reference to the famous Argentinian landscape artist, Benito Quinquela Martin, who is featured at the center of the mural.
Source: BA Street Art
The so-called "Yoga Capital of the World" is chock-a-block with ashrams and temples for spiritual studies including the Beatles Ashram. And therein lies some pretty special street art throughout its abandoned grounds. Built in 1968, the Ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi hosted the Beatles during their stays where they wrote hit songs and maybe even honed their yogi practice. After its abandonment just a few years later, artists gave the empty space a creative makeover where art and nature live in harmony.
Source: Jessica Beavon
Located in the outer-borough of Brooklyn, New York, the Bushwick Collective is an outdoor street gallery featuring artists from all over the world. Founded by Bushwick native Jospeh Ficalora in 2012, the gallery began as an effort to celebrate and beautify the neighborhood and has since become a major destination for street art admirers and tourists.
Source: Mad Hatters NYC
What better place to see anonymous England street artist, Banksy's work in its natural environment than Bristol, England? Here you can get a glimpse of Banksy's cheeky "Well Hung Lover" painted on the side of a health clinic as well as the modern-day parody of Vermeer's masterwork, known here as "Girl with a Pierced Ear Drum." The streets of Bristol are all adorned with other well-known artists in addition to hosting "Upfest," the largest annual street art festival in Europe.