My number one thing to do when I travel is to learn about the location’s culture through art. I find art- especially street art- is the key to discovering the pulse of a city. It’s a free outdoor gallery and also makes for a great photo op.
After researching which cities to add to my list of favorites, I discovered these eight are some of the best locations to see street art in the United States.
Please note: Street Art by nature is a living canvas, therefore public artworks are constantly being changed. You might discover some of the work shown in this article no longer exists. In its place, there may be a new piece.
The Atlanta metropolitan area and neighborhoods in surrounding counties have a diverse street art scene. Stroll through the city using the Atlanta Street Art Map. The map gives you information about the artists and provides the addresses for the murals.
Visiting Atlanta? Check out the murals in nearby Marietta. This city, northwest of Atlanta, has a vibrant art scene. Their downtown mural program is one highlight of the annual M2R TrailFest, a public arts festival on the Historic Marietta Square.
Photos: Gina Duncan
Austin is known as the U.S. capital of live music. Its murals also represent the city with pride. Visit any neighborhood and you will find amazing street art. Check out this self-guided tour of Austin’s murals.
Planning a trip to Chicago? Add exploring the city’s colorful street art to your list of things to do. A seven-block area along Wabash Avenue, known as the Wabash Arts Corridor, is a great place to start. Plan your tour of Chicago’s murals now.
Take a walk around downtown Cincinnati and you’re sure to see one of the public murals created by Artworks Cincinnati. When you are exploring the city, you will find many of the murals are within walking distance of each other. Here are my favorites.
Explore Denver it has a whole other level of street art. I especially like the pieces in the RiNo Art District. But there is public art throughout the city. You never know what vibrant works you might find in unexpected places.
“Houston is Inspired” -the city’s most iconic mural defines Houston’s public artworks. The local culture, diversity, and social justice influences its street art. A definite must see is Midtown’s “Graffiti Park”, because it is where you will find the city’s highest concentration of murals. You can locate many more remarkable art installations throughout the area on the Houston Mural Map.
Photo: Gina Duncan
New York, NY
New York is the city for lovers of street art. Graffiti took shape on the city’s subway cars and buildings as a response to the turmoil caused by New York’s socioeconomic state and high crime in the 70s.
Today it is a welcome form of pop art. Discover it on every corner. But the best places to view it are Brooklyn’s DUMBO and Bushwick, Astoria in Queens, and Manhattan’s World Trade Mural Project, in Harlem, the Houston Bowery Wall and First Street Green Art Park. See if you can find pieces from popular artists, Eduardo Kobra, Keith Haring and Banksy throughout the city.
You won’t be able to stop talking about the street art vibe in Philadelphia. In fact, the city has been called the world’s largest outdoor gallery and the “Mural Capital of the World”. Everywhere you look, new pieces appear. Explore with a self-guided tour.
Are you planning a trip this summer? Which city will you visit?
Please share your favorite public artworks from your trip to one of these cities in our comments section.