Urban art can be found in pretty much every major city in the world. Most cities have multiple locations where you can go see street art, and graffiti art saturates nearly every city (if you know where to look for the really good stuff 😉 ) 8
So, understandably, choosing just 8 awesome locations for street art and graff – when we have a whole world to play with – is kinda hard!
But still, I have compiled a really, REALLY short list here of 8 stand-out locations that I’ve chosen for being heavy on the urban art, graff and street art.
Don’t worry, I have many more suggestions… so keep an eye out for part 2…3…4… and many more!
#1. NDSM Werf, Amsterdam (Holland)
NSDW Werf in Amsterdam was Europe’s biggest shipyard back in the 1950’s, but by 1984, the shipyard had gone bankrupt. Nowadays this place is used as a creative centre; legal walls to paint on, art workshops, studios, theatre workshops and even an indoor skate park.
This place was so colourful with so much to see that I actually got hit by a moped when I was here because I was too busy looking at street art to watch myself as I crossed the road (yep, I’m an idiot).
Still, the pain of a bruised leg didn’t stop me running around exploring this location – and there was so much to explore.
You definitely need more than a day to really see everything!
#2. Place Suzanne Valadon & Rue Foyatier, Paris (France)
A steep staircase alongside the Sacre Cœur in Montmartre is well known for being a good spot in Paris for street art. Whenever I’m in Paris I visit this street because not only is it in my favourite district, but there’s always plenty of new stuff to see there.
Some of the pieces there are pretty epic, ranging from installations to paste ups… and everything in between.
The only ‘bad’ thing I have to say about it is that sometimes much of the work there appears to be just slapped on with no real thought except, “Loads of tourists are going to see it”. Perhaps I’m being cynical, I don’t know, but some work stands out much more than the others, without having to even try.
Even so, Montmartre is a really chilled and creative place so if you get chance, go there. You’ll see lots of beautiful pieces in the street (and there’s loads of classical-style art in galleries in the surrounding districts if that’s your thing too).
Some really good pieces surrounded by some really terrible ones…
#3. Ferro Dome, Rotterdam (Holland)
You may have seen my recent live stream on the GK Facebook of me exploring the Ferro Dome in Rotterdam… if you haven’t, watch this vid:
The Ferro Dome was something I accidentally discovered after asking a guy in a coffee shop in Rotterdam where to go for street art. This dude drew us a map and we walked for an hour to get there, with the promise that it’d be worth it.
And it was!
The Ferro Dome is a huge, old fabric factory that is no longer in use, instead being inhabited by various people using the surrounding buildings for art shows, various businesses, and live performances. The actual factory is falling to pieces, and isn’t really open to the public (I guess I got lucky being able to go in there) 😉 but eventually it will be possible for street art and graff fans alike to go in and check it out. Floors are crumbling, walls are falling down, there are huge holes in the floor, smashed windows… your typical setting for urban exploration.
But it’s not just the inside. The outside is also saturated in awesome work (though a lot of it was barricaded off when I visited for a performance later that eve).
However, the work I could see was absolutely incredible.
Recently the guys who own it invited loads of street artists in to paint it, hence why it’s saturated inside and out with art. However, they’re not finished…
Once every part of it is covered in art – from floor to ceiling – it’ll be the biggest hub for street art in Europe. Be nice to the guys in the front office and they might just let you in.
#4. Bedminster, Bristol (England)
I’m actually based in Bristol and I do love the street art scene here – it’s pretty famous being the birthplace and playground of stencil artist Banksy.
Thanks to the famous Upfest Urban Paint Festival held in Bedminster (and the sporadic See No Evil festival that happens every now and then in the city centre), thousands of street artists visit Bristol every year, most of them leaving behind huge, amazing pieces that are, in my opinion, far more interesting than most of Banksy’s work.
Walk from Nelson Street in the city centre up to Bedminster and you’ll see plenty of brilliant pieces from artists all over the world.
If you have a couple of days you can’t miss the street art and graff in Stokes Croft either; Bristol’s super-artsy, bohemian-type area, with street art coming and going on the daily thanks to the abundance of legal walls.
#5. Street Art Museum, St Petersburg (Russia)
An old laminates factory converted into a hub for street art in St Petersburg, Russia. Imagine #3’s Ferro Dome, but 4-5 times as big. It’s a relatively new thing (founded in 2012), with exhibition space for artists and so much space that they’re able to create large-scale projects that wouldn’t be possible in normal museums and galleries.
#6. Urban Spree, Berlin (Germany)
Urban Spree is described as, ‘an artistic space in Berlin-Friedrichshain dedicated to urban cultures through exhibitions, artist residencies, DIY workshops, concerts, an art store and a large Biergarten’.
It’s basically a contemporary art space that’s set in an old industrial ground. They have independent art shows every month; the gallery curates independent art shows on a monthly basis, which includes painting the whole compound and the ‘artist wall’, which is a huge wall that gets over a 100,000 thousand visitors a day.
Festivals are also held there, live music, artist studios etc… everything you can ever dream of!
I haven’t actually been yet… but I will 😉
#7. Freeman Alley, Lower Manhattan, New York (USA)
As with most cities, there really are too many locations to list in New York if you want to see any sort of urban art, especially a city soaked in so much graffiti history. And like many graffiti-soaked alleyways in any city in the world, this one can easily be missed when walking past… but when you do find it, it’s worth the spot!
Various artists have painted down here, including J Goldcrown, who painted one of his famous ‘love walls’.
#8. The Heidelberg Project, East Side, Detroit
Detroit is, of course, a graffiti lovers paradise. With so many abandoned buildings left in the shadows of the what was once a booming motor industry in Detroit, graff writers and artists moved in and made of the most of their new urban canvas.
However, to see something really different and curious, check out the Heidelberg Project in the East Side.
It’s described as an ‘open-air art environment‘, and is basically a huge collection of everyday, discarded objects that create an area full of colour and curiosity.
A community project based outdoors, you’ll find kids toys and everyday items collected and created into huge sculptures and installations; broken down and deserted houses decorated with various objects and arty bits; houses painted and decorated with spray paint and various art materials… and more.
Sad times – The project is to be dismantled in the next few years 🙁
Follow me on Instagram!