Travel Inspiration

Street Art Around the World

Street Art Around the World

Street art used to be cities’ little secrets, clinging to the sides of busy railway bridges and illuminating dimly lit underpasses. Then Banksy came along and completely changed the game. Now, street artists’ work sits front and centre, brightening the canvases of some of the world’s biggest cities. In San Francisco’s Mission District, it’s all about celebrating Latino heritage, while in Melbourne, sky-high murals pay homage to the country’s colourful culture. With a plethora of instant Instagram backdrops at your disposal, we can’t think of a better way to saunter through some of the world’s most vibrant cities; ogling art, taking pictures and discovering what makes them tick. Read on to discover the best of the best street art around the world.

  1. George Town, Malaysia
  2. San Francisco, USA
  3. Melbourne, Australia
  4. Lima, Peru

George Town


George Town’s street art movement all began in 2008, just after UNESCO christened Penang’s capital a World Heritage Site. In a bid to raise the city’s profile, they installed 52 unique iron sculptures to breathe new life into its inner streets. But it wasn’t until Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic came along with his 3D wall murals that George Town was put on the world’s street art stage. Using the world around him, such as disused motorbikes, chairs and swings, he creates scenes of children playing on them. His most famous is Boy on a Bike, which features a real bike propped against a dilapidated door and a young boy riding it gingerly. There are ten dotted around the city; the perfect excuse to wander the town at a leisurely pace, taking in its colonial architecture and quirky combination of ancient and modern cultures as you go.

San Francisco


If you want to feel cool, like really cool, head to San Francisco’s Mission District to see some of the best street art around the world. As the city’s resident Latino quarter, it comes as no surprise that its murals are big, bold and full of meaning. In fact, local and international artists come far and wide to put their two cents onto its 24th St and the Balmy and Clarion alleys. Head to the corner of York St and 24th St to see Juana Alicia’s La Llorona come to life on the wall of the Taqueria San Francisco, or swing by the House of Brakes to see Daniel Galvez’s 1983 colourful commemoration of the Mission’s inaugural carnival celebration in 1979. There’s no better spot on this virtual outdoor art gallery tour though than Clarion alley. More than 700 murals have graced its walls including Saif Azzuz’s Justice, WHOLE9’s Living Street and a tribute to Prince called Rest in Purple.



Ever since American artist Keith Haring sprayed Australia’s second city with several street art pieces in 1984, Melbourne has been mural mad. First on your hit list has to be Hosier Lane. Known as ‘Practice Alley’, it’s where artists go to perfect their spray strokes and let loose before hitting their chosen canvas. It’s quite the multimedia mash up, but spend a little time looking around and you might just stumble across something that hasn’t made its way onto Instagram yet. Next on the tour has to be Gumbaynggirr native Aretha Brown’s mural on Fitzroy’s Converse Store. Apart from its striking looks (we recommend Googling it), she uses the piece to draw on the integral role of First Nations elders and acknowledge the importance of the Young Mob. If you have time for one more, we recommend AC/DC Lane. The physical embodiment of Melbourne’s love affair with Rock ‘n Roll, you’ll have to practically restrain your fingers from making the sign of the horns as you walk by. It’s also home to a number of equally grungy (yet effortlessly cool) cocktail bars and clubs where you can dance, jump and frolic the night away.



Last up on our street art around the world tour is Lima – or its Barranco district, to be precise. Nestled between sea and the city’s Surco district, it has a long tradition of producing engaging art and artists like the portrait photographer Mario Testino, who has a gallery dedicated to him in the neighbourhood. Today, the bohemian Barranco is known more for its wealth of street art, which it has fully embraced as part of its identity. In fact, ever since sixty murals were destroyed by Lima’s mayor Castañeda Lossio in 2015, artists such as Elliot Tupac, Entes and Jade Rivera came back with vengeance with the movement #BorraronUnoPintaremosMil (‘they erased one, we will paint a thousand’). Head to the Puente de Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) for a street art smorgasbord, where every inch of wall is covered in bright scenes of children, animals and bold colourful Peruvian sayings.

Written by Naomi Pike

Image by Alix Pardo