Since Banksy began spraying socially-conscious messages around the world, people have started to recognize graffiti as a legitimate artistic medium. Street art often depicts the mindset of a particular culture and can enhance drab urban walls with vibrant colors. Remarkable works can be found abundantly in cities throughout the country. Yet in order to achieve high status as a graffiti artist, you need to offer something extra. Only some displays are worth making a trip. We included a few guided tours to make planning this outing a little easier.
1. New York City
Every New York City borough offers its own flavor. Their distinct characters are definitely embodied in the wide range of graffiti art. From Brooklyn student murals to colorful 80s tags, it’s all one-of-a-kind.
Must see areas: Bowery Mural, Welling Court, Johnson Avenue, Bronx Wall of Fame and 100 Gates Project
Top tour: Graff Tours NYC (Bushwick, Brooklyn)
2. Los Angeles
Los Angeles is world-acclaimed for its street art. Just browse Instagram—the proof is in the pinning. Murals, mosaics and collages provide a diverse mix.
Must see areas: Venice Art Walls, Art District, Murphy Ranch, Echo Park and Downtown
Top tour: LA Art Tours (Art District)
Miami’s graffiti has plenty of aesthetic appeal. However, many of the pieces are also acts of visual political and social commentary.
Must see areas: Wynwood Arts District, Domino Plaza and Little Havana
Top tour: Miami’s Best Graffiti guide by Wynwood
4. San Francisco
San Francisco’s graffiti scene dates back in the 1930s when Diego Rivera imprinted his first piece outside of Mexico. The movement continues to thrive with an emphasis on multicultural public art.
Must see areas: Haight (upper and lower), Tenderloin, Mission District and SOMA (South of Market Area)
Top tour: Art Primo SF (Tenderloin)
Just as Hawaii’s culture has a strong identity, the graffiti art demonstrates its independence. Additionally, each year a street art festival called POW! WOW! celebrates this art form.
Must see areas: Cooke Street, Auahi Street and Lana Lane, Mother Waldron Park and Pohukaina Street
Top tour: Paradise Pedals (Kaka’ako)
Rather than fighting the graffiti problem, Philadelphia decided to start making opportunities for large-scale murals. They even have The Mural Arts Program (MAP), which hires graffiti artists who have been arrested in the past.
Must see areas: Spring Arts District, Graffiti Underground, Olde Kensington and Chinatown
Top tour: Mural Mile (north and south of Market Street)
Atlanta hosts the annual street art conference Living Walls, the City Speaks. But that is only one of many reasons people are speculating whether Atlanta will be the next major street art city.
Must see areas: King Street Tunnel, Atlanta BeltLine, Cabbagetown, Edgewood Avenue and East Atlanta Village
Top tour: Atlanta Street Art Tours (begins at Edgewood Avenue)