Emerging on the streets in the 1970s, graffiti started off as a way for disassociated youths to express themselves, but it was seen by many as an act of vandalism. Over the years, graffiti became seen as an art form, with street art now prevalent wherever you go, with many cities offering tours, and Instagrammers using murals as backdrops.
We pulled through engagement data from Linkfluence to discover the street art hotspots, according to social media, which we’ve revealed below…
1. New York City, New York – 715,000 engagements
Unsurprisingly, the street art hotspot capital of the U.S. is New York, which has loads of hidden gems to discover. However, if you’re short on time and want to visit a couple of highlights, head over to the Upper West Side where you can see Banksy’s ‘Hammer Boy’ (preserved behind plexiglass); or head north of Manhattan to the Bronx, where you can visit the Wall of Fame, featuring the designs of hundreds of artists over the years.
2. San Francisco, California – 59,200 engagements
In second place is the northern Californian city of San Francisco, which is unsurprising, given the sheer amount of beautiful artwork you stumble across when roaming the streets. Some of the best pieces can be found in the Mission District, where a lot of art is created for the purpose of telling a story – Clarion Alley has some particularly brightly colored pieces, some of which date back to 1992; and the Women’s Building on 18th street celebrates all the strong women throughout history.
3. Chicago, Illinois – 58,200 engagements
In third place is creative hub, Chicago. If you’re on the lookout for new urban art, you’ll have to be quick, as the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitisation is pretty on it in terms of cleaning it up; but if you only have time to visit one place, then make it Wabash. Over 40,000 square feet of walls are covered in graffiti, with some of the street murals spanning the grand heights of 12 storeys.
4. Honolulu, Hawaii – 47,900 engagements
Alongside beautiful beaches and fantastic scenery, Honolulu is a hotspot for street art too. Most of it is situated in Kaka’ako, a once industrial neighbourhood that’s now become a hotbed for creatives, and is also home to the POW! WOW! street art festival. Walk around the streets and you’ll see masterpieces from the likes of Kamea Hadar, Tran Nguyen, and Audrey Kawasaki, who created the highly realistic ‘Siren’ mural.
5. New Orleans, Louisiana – 11,600 engagements
Home to a vibrant music scene, all-night parties, and of course, Mardi Gras, it makes perfect sense that the Big Easy would also score highly for its street art! Whilst you won’t see much in the French Quarter, as it’s a protected space, you don’t have to venture far out the city to find what you’re looking for. Make a beeline for Studio Be, which is owned by a local artist and features plenty of street art that depicts political stories. What you may not know about New Orleans, is that it’s home to several of Banksy’s art pieces. Using derelict buildings following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, whilst most have disappeared, one piece of work you can still see is ‘Umbrella Girl’, on St. Claude Avenue and Kerlerec Street.
6. Atlanta, Georgia – 9,820 engagements
Over recent years, run-down buildings in Atlanta have been given a new lease of life thanks to local artists such as Yoyo Ferro and Greg Mike. And the good news is, you’ll find street art scattered through loads of different districts – you just have to look for it. Head to Broad Street in Five Points to see some impressive street art, including the upside-down alligator that hangs out on Mitchell Street; or visit Sumerhill to see the impressive mural that was created by Argentinian artist, Elian. Even Downtown Atlanta has its own street art hotspots – including the photograph hotspot of ‘Atlanta isn’t perfect’.
7. Seattle, Washington – 9,800 engagements
Seattle may not be the most well-known city in America for its street art, but it’s definitely growing in popularity! Start off at Pike Place, where you’ll see the pink floral mural at the bottom of the stairs, before heading to the Republic parking lot, where you’ll find a few different pieces of art, including one that’s been heavily inspired by comics. Finally, make sure you swing by Belltown Dog Park, where you’ll get to see the Pomeranian mural, in addition to the nearby ‘Greetings from Seattle’ piece.
8. Ann Arbor, Michigan – 6,530 engagements
This small Michigan town may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of achingly cool street art hotspots, but it’s certainly earned its place on our list. Graffiti Alley, located on East Liberty Street, is one of the first places to head to. Back in 1999, Katherine Tombeau was the first ever artist to be commissioned by the city to paint the alley; but just a few weeks later, it was defaced, and then painted over entirely, but is now used as a place for artists to share their designs.
9. Portland, Oregon – 6,480 engagements
A hipster haven, it makes sense that Portland would be high up on our street art hotspot list. Once you’ve visited the iconic ‘Keep Portland Weird’ sign (which, by the way, is a copy of Austin’s), head to the ‘Art fills the void’ mural on SE 12th & Division Street, which is one of the oldest murals in the city; or take a walk around the Alberta arts district to see the brightly colored designs.
10. Boston, Massachusetts – 5,670 engagements
If you’re searching for street art in Boston, make a beeline to Roxbury, which was the site of the original graffiti movement in the 1970s. The ‘Faces of Dudley’ mural depicts people who come from the area, including Malcolm X, whereas ‘The Lab’ murals by the O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science depicts a large white tiger, with black stripes that feature several graffiti writers’ names.
11. Austin, Texas – 5,190 engagements
Sneaking in at 11th position is another place that’s sure to spring to mind when thinking of achingly cool art murals: Austin. After all, its street art is just as wonderfully iconic as the people who live there.
Some of the most well-known pieces include the ‘Hi, How Are You’ mural by Daniel Johnston on Guadalupe and 21st, and ‘You’re My Butter Half’ by Creative Suitcase on 2,000 E MLK Jr Blvd.
12. Nashville, Tennessee – 4,560 engagements
Rounding off our street art hotspots is honky-tonk Nashville, which – whilst better known as being the capital of country music, actually has a lot of decent street art. The Downtown core has plenty of street art waiting to be discovered, including the Beau Stanton ‘Nashville Rivive’ mural, and Niels Meulman’s ‘Calligraphy’ mural. After that, head to the Gulch district, where you’ll discover the ‘Nashville Wings’ on 230 11th Ave S., as well as several cute little Lego-inspired murals.