- The first known graffiti artist was Cornbread
- Proof of graffiti was found in Roman architecture
- Graffiti began in Philadelphia in the 1960s
Just because museums are closed for lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t get your art fix during COVID. In almost every city in America, graffiti artists take to the streets, sharing their talents with the world, and beautifying the urban landscape. Some art is commissioned while others are unsanctioned artistic displays. Take a drive through your nearest city and get ready to ramp up your Instagram feed with these top street art locations dotted around the country.
10. St. Louis, Missouri
Street art murals of St. Louis are found all around the city. With a compact city such as St. Louis, it's realistic to visit many of the area’s top street art locations in a single visit. Head to Cherokee Street to check out some of the city’s most popular graffiti. The building on the corner of Cherokee & Jefferson is used as a canvas for a rotating display of street art.
South Broadway Street, in the Southern neighborhood of Carondelet, is home to historically themed murals. Since Carondelet has some of St. Louis’s oldest homes, it’s appropriate the art takes on has that old-time feel.
9. Seattle, Washington
During Seattle’s lockdown due to COVID-19, many storefronts boarded up their facades with plywood in an effort to minimize theft and vandalism. This dismal sight added to the depressing vibe running through the city until local artists began using the boards as a canvas.
On a drive around Seattle, travelers no longer saw despair and sadness in the closed businesses but vibrant works of art, lifting the spirits of the people of Seattle. When life returns to normal, and business are fully open, the plan is to remove the street art and auction off the pieces to raise funds for local businesses impacted by the shutdown.
8. New York, New York
Street art is synonymous with New York City. It’s home to the graffiti movement of the 1970s, which began on subway cars before moving to outsides of buildings. Today much of New York City’s street art consists of commissioned legal murals. Bushwick Brooklyn is home to some of the most well-known commissioned street art around. Joe Ficalora developed Bushwick Collective. He coordinates commercial real estate owners with artists to produce a rotating collection of art within a six-block area of Bushwick.
7. Washington, DC
Washington, DC is home to world-renowned museums, but these institutions aren’t the only place to experience culture. There are many areas in DC to admire the artistic talents of street artists, but the city is famous for a few well known outdoor art pieces.
Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street is known for more than just their spicy bowls. Even if visitors are unable to dine at Ben’s iconic establishment, they can check out the latest giant mural outside the building.
Appropriately placed in Washington, DC is a giant funky portrait of our founding father, George Washington in the city’s NoMA neighborhood. Painted with a purple face and colorful background, it’s not the typical portrait found in museums or history books.
Fans of old-time Hollywood can head to Dacha Beer Garden to view a larger-than-life portrait of the renowned movie star, Elizabeth Taylor.
6. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is peppered with street art-ridden neighborhoods. The murals are often an expression of political views, but a variety of art is showcased throughout the city. The Pilsen section of Chicago is a Latino neighborhood, well-known for its murals. Street art painted in vibrant colors are found in this ethnic community.
Wicher Park, one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods, is full of boutique shops and cafes. Street art is in abundance in this section of the city, and the murals reflect the hip vibe represented in this area.
5. San Francisco, California
Though street art is found all over San Francisco, the city’s Mission District is best known for its murals. In the 1990s, a movement was spearheaded by art students taking their creative talents to the streets. Typically the art in Mission District reflects political views and immigration struggles.
4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Those a drivable distance into Philly can head to the Northern neighborhood of Fishtown to check out the best of Philly murals. What was once the hub of Philly’s fishing industry today is a hotbed of art, culture, and music. Street art in Fishtown goes beyond the exterior of buildings. Trash cans throughout town are also used as canvases. Much the street art found in this trendy neighborhood of Philly depicts an aquatic theme in keeping with the history of the area.
3. Denver, Colorado
One of the top attractions to the Mile High City is its impressive array of street art found in The Rino Art District. Street art in Denver has grown into an array of projects and events. The annual Crush Wall Festival is an annual attraction each September with world-renowned artists gathering in Denver. Details are not yet released, but street art fans and artists alike are hoping the festival will continue in Fall 2020.
2. Austin, Texas
Austin has quickly become a hot spot for travelers. Those lucky enough to be within driving distance can browse some of the most famous street art found. Austin is a city fast becoming as well-known for its artwork as its music scene. Among some of the must-see street art pieces is South Austin’s “Greetings From Austin.” Visitors can experience a larger-than-life postcard of Bat City.
Another popular mural depicts the city’s signature bullfrog. This iconic bullfrog is not only depicted on souvenir mugs and t-shirts but on Guadalupe Street’s outdoor mural with the famous headline “Hi, How Are You?”
1. Miami, Florida
Just north of Downtown Miami, the Wynwood section of the city is a hub for art, culture, eateries, and boutiques. The area is best known for its impressive street art displays painted on the sides of buildings. Drive through Wynwood to gain an appreciation of some of the best mural displays in the country.