Street Art Walks - 10 Best Guided Tours in Urban Centers

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April 15, 2014

Street art walks are a great way to see some of the urban centers such as London, Berlin, or New York from a different perspective, or simply to get to know your own city better. Rather than creating your own “must see” map, let the experts guide you. Many tours are designed by resident street artists that will give you a detailed insight into the history and origins of this global phenomenon. Street art and graffiti have become as important part of the every major city's character as its architecture, sculptures, or museums, and given that the street art is ephemeral in its essence, there is always fresh work to see.

Here are the ten best street art tours!

New York Street Art Walks

This two-hour long tour gives you a detailed look at the walls of New York City and the works of famous artists such as FAILE, C215, Invader, ROA, to name just a few. For $25 per person, you can get a tour of the most popular artworks which can be found in Lower Manhattan, Bushwick, and Williamsburg with a bit of history about the origins of the movement. The tour includes a diverse array of mediums such as paste ups, stencils, murals, stickers, left objects and graffiti.

Street Art London Tour

Having close ties to a great number of London’s street artists, the tour guides have a firsthand experience of the London street art scene. They know where all the best and the latest street art is to be found in East London, and on one of their street art tours you will discover the works of over 40 street artists.  Most importantly, Street Art London documents city’s ephemeral street art every day, and showcases the work over on its website. All this gives them credibility, and, for us, confidence to go on a tour with them.

Melbourne Street Art Tours

Melbourne Street Art Tours were designed by street artists to give the best representation of the Melbourne underground street art scene. These tours are managed by Adrian Doyle. Doyle is currently a PhD candidate in Fine Arts, who has set up and managed the Blender Studio, a street art hub, since 2001. He is also the director of Dark Horse Experiment and Melbourne Projection Windows. Doyle is currently working with the city of Melbourne as a street art consultant to develop a sustainable strategy for Melbourne City and its policies on street art.

For $69 per person, including a drink and snacks, you will be guided by street artists Daniel Lynch (aka Junkie Project), Mike Makatron and Michael Fikaris. If you are under 16 years old, you get a 50% discount.

Underground Paris

First of all, street art tours by Underground Paris are not History of Art graduate-led museum walks around ethnic neighborhoods. However, after visiting the Louvre you can combine two pleasures and see Invader’s Mona Lisa on the street (since he did his 1097 invasion of Paris). Underground Paris focuses on graffiti, believing that only by understanding tagging one can understand street art. For €20 (€15 when booked online) you can expect to see the artwork of dozens of artists in a range of media and learn all about the street art and graffiti culture, its contradictions, and the political artistic culture of Paris. You will also have the opportunity to visit a street art gallery and meet the artists. Profits made from the tours are invested into Underground Paris’ documentary work about street art in Paris.

Street Art Scout San Francisco

If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to scout for street art with Russell H. This local curator will show you all of it, helping you discover a subculture that is a reflection of the Bay Area's colorful history, radical politics and diverse population you might otherwise miss. Russell has been wandering the streets of San Francisco and staring at the walls, poles, fences, and sidewalks, since 1997. He has been documenting, writing about, and making stencils since 1995. In 2008, Russell wrote the book Stencil Nation: Graffiti, Community, and Art. It has over 500 photos and 400 artists from 28 countries. He also has a website with almost 20,000 photographs of street art documented.

Walk Alternative Art Milan

The qualified tourist guides of Milan offer the exploration of the city in an unconventional way. One of the alternative tours that you can take is the street art tour. Their two-hour tour will take you on the discovery of history, origins and motivation of the protagonists of street art phenomenon, starting from the streets where the works were born.

Buenos Aires Street Art Tour

With the experts on Buenos Aires street art you’ll have the pleasure of exploring different parts of the city and discovering the works of more than 50 artists. They work closely with the city’s artists, so you can expect an updated tour with the newest and best murals. Voilà! Everything you thought you'd never see, for two and a half hours and $20 in one of the street art capitals of the world.

Alternative Berlin

Alternative Berlin tours are guided by street artists/graffiti writers and experts who will show you some of the best stencil art, throw ups, mural art , hall of fames, paste ups, tagging, ad busting, heaven spots, burners and installations, while teaching you who is behind the art and what their motivations were. This two-part tour through Berlin will help you find some of the latest, greatest and oldest examples of street art, graffiti and mural art in this famous capital of urban art. You’ll get a detailed look at over 50 local and international artists on the streets, such as Blu, Os Gemeos, Ema Jones, ROA, to name just a few of them. Even some visits to the studios of local artists are possible. Also, you will have an opportunity to visit their workshop location in the former margarine factory, where you will be encouraged to paint your own canvas piece, while receiving instructions on various street art and graffiti techniques from both local and international artists.

Alternative London

Meet the East London specialists. All of Alternative London’s guides are locals and are either well known street artists or actively involved in the creative community. London's original off-the-beaten-track tour provider takes you into the heart of city's vibrant East End to explore the past and present of the capital's cultural and creative hub. Within two hours, you are guaranteed to see a huge range of artwork from around forty artists per tour. This is the first London tour to run on a pay-what-you-like basis. This ensures that it is accessible to everyone - regardless of the budget.

Sao Paulo Graffiti Art

During this three-hour private tour you’ll discover São Paulo’s downtown, as well as the ‘barrios’ (neighborhoods) of Vila Madalena and Vila Santana. You’ll see graffiti-covered streets and alleys and learn about a new generation of Brazilian artists, such as Carlos Dias, Daniel Melim, Nunca and Titi Freak. While walking and viewing the vibrant works spray-painted on walls, you will become familiar with their artistic origins, such as Brazilian folk art and pixo reto (São Paulo's original graffiti style). A visit to a street art gallery is included.

Berlin Street Art Tour

When we say the whole city of Berlin is a canvas for numerous street artists coming from all around the world to paint there, we mean it. Often called “the mecca of graffiti”, the German capital is host to a great number of awesome artworks, but if you don’t know where to look, you might just miss them. This is where Berlin Street Art Tour comes in, led by experienced urban art gallerists who have been immersed in the local scene for many years now. Their tour is strictly limited to 10 people, as they focus on quality and conviviality, and has proved to be something you should definitely not miss when in Berlin!