Terms such as “wall wanderings,” “wall crawls,” and “mural hunting” have invaded our vocabulary.
Since creative types started to use street art as a revitalization tool for once derelict neighborhoods, an interest to capture these colorful expressions have sweep the nation (maybe the world).
Hundreds of Instagram accounts have been dedicated to wall and murals. The news about the latest finds are spread with hashtags such as #walltraveled, #wallcharades and #ihaveathingforwalls.
If we use the number of followers of these accounts as an indicator, we can say these artistic expressions are received with great enthusiasm.
I am one of those who have been swept by this trend. Over the past year, I have found myself more interested in finding spots with great street art. Hey, I am not the most athletic or fit person in the world. Therefore, doing a walking tour, with the purpose of finding murals, kills two birds with the same stone.
For a long time, I have known New York City is a paradise for those who are into walls. Even with two weeks in the city, I didn’t find the time to book a tour. But, I was determined to return home with some nice pictures.
One afternoon, after finishing a food tour of the East Village, I decided to go for an impromptu wall crawl since I had a bit more than an hour of sunlight.
Here are my simple instructions to find the best street art in Manhattan.
This is one of the hippest and coolest neighborhoods of Manhattan. Get prepared to find eateries serving delicious and multi-ethnical food. I found great art along 1st Avenue and East Houston Street.
In the area, I found lot of works by an artist called Hek Tad, a native of The Bronx. He is well known by a series of works denominated Love Drunk. His use of color gets my whole attention!
Another famous artist represented in the area is James Goldcrown. His colorful hearts can be seen all over New York and Los Angeles and other places like Chicago and Austin. Not sure if there is a pattern somewhere but the use of hearts is prominent in Manhattan.
Along Houston Street, there is a place called First Street Green Cultural Park. Since 2008, a derelict building lot at 33 East 1st Street has been converted into an open art space serving the community. Today, First Street Green provides ongoing cultural activity in First Park by engaging with emerging artists, architects, community and cultural groups through a series of programs that activate this public space.
The art in here has a lot of substance. By looking at the murals, you start to think about causes such as human rights, political corruption and poverty.
SOHO and NOLITA
It is not simple to determine where one neighborhood in Manhattan starts and where another one ends. For example, some consider NOLITA (North of Little Italy) part of SOHO (South of Houston) but other considers it a different entity.
Even if you are confused by all this terminology, pay a visit to SOHO. It has some of the most beautiful and unique (Cast Iron) architecture in the borough. Plus, of course, it has some of the best street art in Manhattan (by the way, Manhattan is an island).
Well, in the area known as NOLITA, I found murals along Prince Street and Mott Street.
In SOHO, Broome Street has some nice art.
If you walk Broom Street towards the east, you are going to find yourself in Little Italy. Two famous murals by artist Tristan Eaton can be found in the area. One mural features Gigi Hadid and the other one Audrey Hepburn.
There is another work of James Goldcrown on Broome Street.
Once again, some consider The Bowery part of SOHO. One way or another, you are going to find a great concentration of art if you continue walking along Broome Street (and Allen Street).
After taking a look in there, move to Allen Street, north of Delancey Street. This is a wide street, so, you will need to walk on both sides to capture the different murals.
On Christmas Day, my sister and I walked around Harlem. I was able to photograph murals along Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard.
- To spot street art, make sure you look in front of you, behind you, above you and even, at the floor. You may be walking in the direction against the mural, plus, sometimes they are in the least expected spaces.
- I used an excellent resource created by the editors of Wear + Where + Well to find street art in SOHO and NOLITA. They include a map that you can follow. You can find it in here.
- I was interested in taking the Manhattan Street Art Tour offered by Free Tours by Foot. Unfortunately, time was not benign to me. It may be something you want to check out. They offer street art tours in Brooklyn too.
- Find my guide for street art in Dallas here.
Where have you found street art in Manhattan?
Pin it for later?
OMG I love these!!! I love the hearts and the one of Audrey Hepburn! Pinned!!! 🙂 #MondayEscapes
Those are pretty cool and some of my favorites!
Goodness it is all so different yet each very artistic in it’s own right #MondayEscapes
I know. Each artist has a different way to express his / her message. Even works from the same artist are different. I really want to discover more street art from New York.
Ooh, I LOVE street art! Wow, you sure got a cool compilation of street art around Manhattan. I definitely will refer back to these when I visit NYC next.
Nice! I am sure there is more art around. Next time, I hope to take the tour because there are several pieces I know I missed.
I’ve spotted a lot of street art in Williamsburg but very few in Manhattan. In Manhattan the best I’ve seen was in Chelsea I think (I was walking on the Highline) by Kobra which depicts the kiss between the sailor and the nurse after WWII (I think).
I didn’t have to check Chelsea or Williamsburg. Those are places I need to stop by on my next visit.
April Berry says
These are beautiful. I loved all of the pictures!! This is the sort of stuff I want to show my kids while on vacations when they get a little older. Thanks for posting! #MondayEscapes
Thanks April! I am sure kids will love these. Good thing is that they are concentrated around a not so big area. Plus, there are tons of restaurants and cafes around.
Photo Cache says
These are the kind of walking tours I am interested in taking either by an organized group tour or DIY. What a goldmine for wall mural lovers. BTW love those hashtags.
I have not taken the tour but I have heard great things about it. My only worry is the pace. Sometimes, I need time to take pictures.
Carol Blanchet says
WOW! Those are amazing images! (both yours and theirs) 🙂
Thanks Carol! So good you enjoyed all the art.
Some of this art is unbelievable! I’m going to have to add this to my list of things to see in NYC. #mondayescapes
I guess artists want to save some of their best for cities like New York. I mean, you will get lots of eyes on your art.
Wow some of these street artists are seriously talented! I would love to see these in person, it must be quite an experience. Thanks for linking to #MondayEscapes
Lisa, seeing street art in person is a treat for me. Now, I am looking for places where with great walls and murals.
Thanks for mentioning our mural guide! We’d love it if you could link back to our article.
Your welcome! You guide was beyond helpful. I am glad I found it.
Pat --Mille Fiori Favoriti says
You found so many wonderful murals in Manhattan, Ruth! I lived in Brooklyn and saw many in the Williamsburg neighborhood. After 9-11 there were many murlas all over the city that were depictions of the Twin Towers and the American flag, but I’m sure by now most have faded away or been painted over.
I believed the ones you are talking about are gone (at least most of them). It will be nice to find some of those. I didn’t spend enough time in Brooklyn as I wanted. There has to be a next time.
Corey @ fifi + hop says
Love this post. There is so much good street art to be found in Manhattan. Fantastic photos – pinning :). #mondayescapes
So cool Corey! Glad I made a case for Manhattan’s street art scene.
Wonderfully colourful examples of street art!
Glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by.
Lovely! You’ve featured a great selection of different artists and even without an official tour it looks like you did great on your own! I’m a BIG fan of STIK and J. Goldcrown, as well as a few others, its fun to see them represented in different cities! #citytripping
I am starting to learn the names of the different artists. A lot of the stuff I saw in Manhattan reminded me of works in Los Angeles. Of course, it is because the same artist has work all over the world.
Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) says
I love the fact that street can tell a story about where the community is at. Really interesting that there are so many hearts. They are beautiful to look at, but I wonder what that says about life in Manhattan/the US? I love this post – gorgeous. #MondayEscapes
That is an interesting way to see things. A lot of artists are into hearts because they want to spread messages about love and harmony.
Sarah Christie says
Ruth I love, love, love this post, the art is just breaking, so so beautiful. I would just love to see these x
Sarah, I can feel your excitement! Hope you can see these one day.
OMG! they are amazing! some of the best I have ever seen.
That is amazing! Have to admit they are very good.
Beautiful and artistic. Very innovative.
Agree! Some of these are very innovative.
Manhattan looks like it has some incredibly beautiful street art! Great post, your photos are brilliant! 🙂 #mondayescapes
Emma, thanks for the compliment. Glad you got a good impression of Manhattan.
Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld says
Oooh, the colours and the designs – love them! I think the ones in Harlem are my favourite 🙂
The ones in Harlem are unique to the neighborhood. They have been created by people of the community not famous artists.
Wow so much beautiful art! I guess that Manhattan is a very inspiring place for artists! I love James Goldcrown’s works in particular 🙂
James Goldcrown is a favorite too (and I think may other people). I am sure artists feel inspired to create.
Fantastic post! Last summer my husband and I opted to walk from destination to destination in NYC rather than take the subway. We saw so much art everywhere! It was almost like we were discovering NYC anew! I definitely have hopes to return and just meander the streets of NYC more thoroughly looking for street art and eating at fun hole in the walls along the way. 🙂
That is a great way to see a lot! I love to walk too and did tons of that during my last trip to the city. Next time, I want to walk around Brooklyn.
I love street art! Thanks so much for sharing all these amazing pictures. We did a walk in Paris focused on street art. Clearly, one in London would be equally as satisfying. I love the heart made from hearts and dots. #CityTripping
I have read posts about Paris’ street art. I am sure it is fun (and surprising) to find street art on that particular city.
Street art is one of my favourite things! I kept scrolling down and thinking “this is my favourite” and then, “no, this is my favourite!” all the way down. Awesome photos! #wanderfulwednesday
That is cool Kat! I know there is a lot of cool art in here. I have problems choosing a favorite too!
What a great post – I’ll have to keep my eye out if I’m in Manhattan again. To answer your question on my blog, the Parthenon in Nashville was originally built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, and rebuilt basically as a tourist attraction.
Al, thanks for answering my question. It would be great to see the Parthenon in Nashville (I have seen the original one).
What a brilliant selection of street art – I adore NY even though I have only managed to visit once but it captured my heart and I can’t wait to get back there. I have pinned this so I will definitely check out the art when I return this year.
Thanks Faith! I think NY has captured a lot of hearts. I hope you are able to return soon.
So gritty and vibrant. It would be hard to pick a favorite. No need to go to a gallery!
That is true! This is art accessible to everyone. I think in a way it is more interesting than getting within four walls.
I really love your pictures you have captured a wide range of street art. There is a lot of artistic talent in Manhattan! #FarawayFiles
Great Jo! Manhattan is boating with great talent and creativity.
Love this post Ruth. It’s been way too long between visits to New York and I love street art. I’d love to do a walking tour as you’ve suggested. To get my fix I have been watching The Get Down – it’s a highly dramatised series about the hip hop scene in NY. Have you seen it?
Katy, I have not watched the series you are referring to. I will need to check that out.
jesh StG says
My favorite is the Audrey Hepburn – artfully done.
That is a cool one! I have seen works by the same artist and they are lovely too.
Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says
These are seriously impressive! Well done for finding them and capturing them so brilliantly on your camera Ruth. Great tips too. Thanks for linking #citytripping
Elizabeth, I am glad you liked the pictures. I had a great time walking around trying to find the pieces.
Erin Gustafson | Oregon Girl Around the World says
You know I love these! Too bad you couldn’t take the street art tour – I loved doing that in Paris. I recognize some of those artists – especially Shepherd Fairey – there is a large piece of his here in Copenhagen and we just saw one when in Paris. I love the hearts – I want that artist to come to Denmark! Cheers thanks for linking with #FarawayFiles
I had to google Shepherd Fairey but I know which of the pieces are his. Interesting how artists moved around the world doing pieces.
Trekking with Becky says
I can’t believe that I didn’t see ANY of this when I was in NYC. I’ll make it back one of these years, and I hope I see some. 🙂
Not sure how recent are these works. I have been to New York before but not to these areas.
How beautiful! It’s been a a very long time since I was in NYC and I know for sure that at that time there wasn’t much street art in the city. I’d love to go back and see photograph these sites, especially since I didn’t have much luck finding street art so far. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Seems like street art started to pop in Brooklyn and Manhattan couldn’t get behind. I really like the East Village, NOHO and SOHO.
Great photos. You captured some really colorful pieces of street art and I love that. I think my favorite neighborhood for street art is the lower eastside. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.
I didn’t go to the Lower Eastside. I have to go back.
I wish I had found this post a few days ago! I was wondering around NY looking for street art but was just too lazy and cold to keep looking. I hardly found anything! These are all SO great and I’m definitely bookmarking this for later
It was cold when I visited. But, I bundled up and get going. I really enjoy walking around.
Sally's Tips 4 Trips says
I love how graffiti artists have turned what was once just a way of being rebellious into an art form. Street art has become such a colourful way to brighten up areas that were once derelict.
Sally, I like that aspect about street art too. Nowadays, street artists are famous worldwide (and accepted as true artists).
Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) says
I love the street art you’ve captured here, Ruth! So colourful and vibrant. I must head back to New York soon and take one of those wonderful-sounding street tours with my kids. Thanks so much for sharing this on #FarawayFiles
I bet you kids will not get bored trying to find these. I think this is entertainment for the entire family.
Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) says
The street art you’ve captured here is just amazing, Ruth. It’s so vibrant and colourful. I haven’t been to New York in years. I’d love to return and do one of those wonderful-sounding street art tours with my kids. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
What a lovely and colourful murals. Great shots, as always 🙂
Thanks a lot!
Oh my gosh I desperately want to spend some time in New York City. I have only been there one time and in my early 20s for New Year’s Eve and I didn’t get to experience much culture at that time. I would love to see these beautiful murals. It’s taken me a while to start liking them but they sure do look better than vandalism.
There is so much to see in New York! I have been several times and still have to check a lot of things. Need to go back to check out the art on the streets.
budget jan says
We stayed in East Village in 2015 and loved how “out there” it was. I can imagine that their current wall art would be inspiring. How wonderful it would be to visit again. Great photos Ruth.
That is a cool area to stay. It feels more local and authentic. I visited for the first time last December and it is an area I would like to visit again.
Jim ~ Reflections Enroute says
I love the work from James Goldcrown, but so much street art looks like it really should be in a gallery.Thanks for linking up, see you next weekend! #wkendtravelinspiration
So glad you got that impression! TO be honest, I do not think I would go to a gallery. Therefore, I prefer these works to be on the street.
Bumble Bee Mum says
That’s some amazing street art going on in Manhattan! I’ve pinned it up and hope that I would get to see them with my own eyes one day! #CityTripping
This would be a nice tour to do with your kids. I know how funny they can be, so, I expect great pictures.
Ava Meena says
You’ve captured an incredible amount of interesting street art here – wow! Thanks for sharing.
Glad you enjoyed these!
These are some awesome street art photos! I love walking around and seeing the public art any time I’m in a new city! Awesome
We are on the same page Natalie! I am crazy about street art!
Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) says
Street Art always amazes me; the talent is just awesome! The number of murals you found in Manhattan is fantastic – had no idea there was so much! Thanks for the great pictures!
I think there is much more in the area. That is why next time I want to take that tour.
So cool! I live in Philadelphia and there’s lots of mural art here and I love it. I will have to remember this post the next time I am in NYC!
I went to Philadelphia and wasn’t able to find the street art. Have to admit I was a bit pressed for time. Hopefully, I will find tons of examples next time.
They’re all so interesting! I usually only find 2 or 3 per city that I visit but I think I’ll give it a go to find more on my next visit to New York!
It is great when you find tons of art in an area. I think more and more cities are welcoming this trend.
Wow, I had no idea ll this street art was in Manhattan. I loved seeing your pictures, most especially the cartoon characters: Charlie Brown, Pepe Le Pew, and Yosemite Sam!
Isn’t it funny? I guess these artists get inspired by cartoons! I am sure there is a message behind.
Sallie (FullTime-Life) says
This is all amazing Ruth! I had no idea about how popular hunting for street art has become . Beautiful examples here — such varied styles .. The heart ones make me smile; I would be happy to have a print of that artist’s work hanging in my home. But some of the others make you think harder. The policeman with all the reasons people have been killed swirling around his head made me want to cry.
The murals on the East Village were charged with social and political content. I noticed the less touristy the neighborhood, the more real the art got.
Wow I didn’t know of all these places to find great street art in Manhattan. Now i have a lot to put on my list for the next visit!
Now you know! Hope you can visit soon.
Mary(The World Is A Book) says
These are so neat! You captured such a great collection of street art here. We like walking around cities looking for murals too. That tour would have been perfect. What a great resource for our next NYC visit.
Thanks Mary! Hope you are considering a visit to New York.
Paula Mcinerney says
Awesome, you did Manhattan Street Art and I did Melbourne Street Art. This always makes a city that much more inviting, than bare concrete walls. Love them
That is cool Paula! I would love to visit Melbourne.
Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields says
You are right about streetart sweeping the world. I have just been in Napier, New Zealand where there are stunning murals.
This is real art ! Some of the wall paintings are really very beautiful. We have in Brussels also a map, indicating wall paintings concerning famous Belgian cartoon artists like Lucky Luke etc.
You gave me a good idea ! I should do this walk.
H!! Nice collection of street art. I feel the vitality from many pictures. I enjoyed very much. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks most sincerely for the lovely comment you left on ~ My little old world ~, I truly appreciate it !
Wishing you a most beautiful remainder of your week
XOXO Daniela at ~ My little old world ~
artmusedog and carol says
Great street art ~ NYC is fun ~ too bad traveling is no longer fun ~ thanks for the great visual tour ~
Wishing you a Happy Day ~ ^_^
Hello, what a fun tour. The street art is beautiful. I see so many favorites, the hearts do stand out. Lovely murals and art work. Thanks for sharing your NYC visit. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!
NatureFootstep Travel says
lots of street art in Manhattan
Hi, these are great, I can’t wait to find them in person! I’m curious if you know where a James Dean mural in NYC is located, I’ve seen pictures of it.