The Best Cities To Explore Street Art | Part 1

The Best Cities To Explore Street Art | Part 1

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From its humble beginnings to headline-grabbing auctions with works selling (before self-shredding) for upwards of $4 million, street art has shed its grimy reputation and acquired critical acclamation in the process.

Still, spotting urban masterpieces in situ - from tiny stencils by renowned artists peeping from the cracks of the pavement to colossal murals of unknown origins crawling up the sides of a high-rise building - is hard to beat, as these outdoor galleries prove.

WYNWOOD DISTRICT, MIAMI

Miami may be known for parties and palm trees, but beyond its glossy veneer, the city's creative scene offers a different perspective. 

Peaking during Art Basel, Miami's acclaimed contemporary art can be enjoyed all year round - if you know where to look. Home to over 70 galleries and with street art adorning every wall in sight, Wynwood Art District is one of the city's most vibrant areas.

If you're visiting on the second Saturday of the month, stroll "Art Walk" - a monthly, late-night gallery event with free entry and free drinks. Expect crowds of people and a vibey atmosphere, supplemented by a solid bar scene.

WOODSTOCK, CAPE TOWN

Woodstock has transformed into a burgeoning cultural neighbourhood, owed largely to a 2009 street-art project which set out to change the area through colourful, socially-conscious murals.

The regeneration project is plastered across the walls of the suburb, with over 100 paintings and installations by 40 artists on display. Themes range from the deeply political, such as Freddy Smith's black-and-white piece commemorating 20 yers of democracy in South Africa, to interpretations of Cape Town's mountainscapes and wildlife. 

Our advice: book a thought-provoking graffiti walking tour gain insight the art's wider context.

THE MISSION DISTRICT, SAN FRANCISCO 

A city known for creativity, social movements and political progressiveness, San Francisco's liberal spirit is palpable. From crocheted bin covers to building sculptures, art is abundant throughout.

Visit Balmy Alley, an ever-evolving canvas used to express communal concerns ranging from gentrification to governmental injustice.

A few blocks away is the Mission Cultural Centre for Latino Arts and further along that stretch you'll find Clarion Alley. Stop to peruse social-political murals before grabbing an ice-cream from Bi-Rite Creamery and lounging on the grass at Dolores Park.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

The self-acclaimed "edgy part" of Australia, Melbourne's street-art scene certainly backs up its title. 

A hub for hipsters and creatives, this temperamental city's graffiti is as changeable as the weather. Ramble through Fitzroy Street, where you'll find sophisticated and technically skilled street daubing covering every alleyway and backstreet.

Continue to Rose Street for more of the same, bypassing the throngs of tourists crowding along Union Lane.

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