In search of instant Instagram gold? Look no further than these urban art tours, writes Katie McGonagle.
Berlin’s street art tradition owes its origins to the presence of the Berlin Wall which, in the 1980s, became a blank canvas for political expression – but only on the western side. After the fall of the wall in 1989, artists were invited to even things out with the mile-long East Side Gallery, one of the largest open-air art galleries in the world. Its 105 works range from Dmitri Vrubel’s famous Fraternal Kiss between Soviet leader Brezhnev and east German president Honecker, to the iconic Trabant – the car that was once ubiquitous across east Germany – breaking through the wall.
Book it: Viator offers a three-hour Berlin Street Art Private Bike Tour taking in the East Side Gallery and the districts of Mitte, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, from £22.
While Valparaiso, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires get more attention for their artistic leanings, there’s a run-down residential district in the eastern suburbs of Santiago that has been transformed by street art initiative the Open Sky Museum. In 2010, thanks to the efforts of two local residents, artists came from across South America and Europe to San Miguel, filling every available wall with huge murals depicting messages of social injustice, local culture and images of Chile’s history – and rejuvenating an entire neighbourhood in the process.
Book it: Urban Adventures’ In Focus: The Residents of Art Street is a three-and-a-half-hour guided tour of San Migel, including a meal with a local family, from £46.
Working-class Wynwood has transformed over the past decade from a district full of run-down warehouses into a hub for creative types, bringing with them hipster bars, quirky restaurants, start-up businesses and innovative art galleries, at their best during the annual Art Basel contemporary arts festival. That’s due, in large part, to the fact that urban developers encouraged street artists to come and make their mark here, turning windowless factory walls into huge canvases for more than 200 colourful murals, spread across 50 city blocks.
Book it: Do Something Different has a Wynwood Art & Beer – Small Group Tour starting at £51 for a two-hour tour of Wynwood Walls and Wynwood Doors plus two local breweries.
Melbourne has Hosier Lane and Sydney its Bondi Beach Wall, but did you know Perth’s flourishing street art scene is quickly catching up? The city’s youthful vibe and ongoing urban development have given rise to hundreds of incredible murals adorning bars, coffee shops and just about every spare wall, from a black-and-white portrait of Alfred Hitchcock on the side of the art deco cinema, to an enormous fresco on the corrugated iron façade of furniture warehouse East West Design. If that whets the appetite, look out for the public silo trail around southwestern Australia, transforming industrial sites into outdoor art.
Book it: Oh Hey WA offers a Perth Small Bar & Street Art Tour starting at around £22 for two hours.
Fancy having a go at creating your own Banksy-style masterpiece? Your clients can – and where better than the place where contemporary graffiti is said to have started back in the 1950s? New York is the spiritual home of this urban art form and Brooklyn’s Bushwick Collective has transformed it once again. Pick up some tips in tagging from a local artist then pick up a spray can for a try at artistic expression – and a killer Instagram shot at the end.
Book it: Isango offers a one-hour Paint with a Graffiti Artist: Brooklyn Street Art Workshop tour from £26 per person.