We talked about 7 of the best street art cities in the world before, but today I bring you 99. Whether you call it street art, urban art, or graffiti art, it is coating cities across the globe. It becomes art when it’s no longer a form of vandalism. Talented artists, famous and not as much, are using colorful strokes to portray important social messages as well as to cheer up otherwise depressing or hidden spaces.
Urban art is becoming more and more mainstream bringing travelers, locals, and tourists to visit and photograph places that they would otherwise not think to go.
In some cities in the Czech Republic, they’re hiring artists to decorate and revitalize the urban scene with their art with the sole purpose of attracting tourists. And Lisbon is one city in Europe using graffiti art very successfully to promote eco-tourism.
There are other reasons why cities are recruiting artists to brighten their cities. In smaller cities like El Paso, Texas and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, street art projects have revitalized public space. It has brought up expected and unexpected positive impact including bringing communities together, increasing foot traffic, and increased investment in businesses like restaurants and retail.
We can’t talk about street art and not mention the British artist, Banksy. He’s probably the most famous graffiti artist in the world and his identity has been secret and unverified for decades. His often controversial, satirical, and dark humour art appears in random places around the world. One recent example is the “Walled Off” hotel with “the worst view of the world” separating Israel from the Palestinian territories.
There are even festivals dedicated to urban and graffiti art like POW!WOW! which grows every year. It has gone from a simple show in Hawaii to offering educational opportunities, exhibitions, and even recently teaming up with Austin’s SXSW. And in India, they’ve turned the Lodhi Colony in Mumbai into India’s first public art district with the St+art India festival.
At Bombing Science, they’ve discovered the top 99 cities around the world for graffiti art by pulling up Instagram hashtag data. The numbers have been rounded up and results are in. From South, Central, and North America, to Europe, visuals have identified the top 99 cities for graffiti art. NYC, London, and Paris, not surprisingly, made the top 3 and some surprising cities also made the cut.
The top 99 consists of the top 25 cities across North America, Europe, and South America. They’ve included Mexico in the South America category, even though Mexico is considered part of North America. Central America is an isthmus and not an actual continent. I know, a bit confusing.
So, in North America, the results weren’t surprising with cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, and maybe a bit surprising – Austin. Austin is a new player in the urban art game but they’ve got it strong.
From Canada, only Toronto and Montreal took a spot in the top 25.
Europe has a really strong game when it comes to urban art. Some countries had more than one city make it to the top 99. Germany, for example, has Dusseldorf (spot 11) and Berlin taking the number 5 spot which has decades of practice and history. The west side of the wall was covered in graffiti before it came down and since has spread across the city.
London took the number one spot in Europe, and second overall in the list. Other major contenders were Paris (3), Barcelona (8), Reykjavik (9), Moscow (15), Madrid (16), Lisbon (17), Rome (18), Milan (19), and Amsterdam (22).
South America and Mexico
San Paulo and Bogotá both made it to the top 10 overall. Other cities that made the top 99 were Rio de Janeiro (20), my dear Mexico City (23), and Buenos Aires (24th).
Here’s the whole list!
How many of these cities have you visited?