New York is filled with some of the best museums and galleries, but heading indoors isn’t the only way to get your art and culture fix. Take a walk through the city streets and you’ll find colorful murals on walls, big bold writing on subway cars, and spray painted words on sidewalks and streets—basically anything is fair game to act as a canvas. The work you’ll find around the city is bright, inspiring, and incredibly artistic, and these are 10 colorful places to view some of the best NYC street art.
1. Welling Court Mural Project, Astoria
In 2009 Ad Hoc Art NYC in Brooklyn worked with the community to help beautify Astoria’s Welling Court area with the creation of the Welling Court Mural Project. This project’s impact was greater than expected with press from all the top street art publications from The New York Times to The New Yorker. Now, 14 years later, it is one of the longest-running mural projects in the five boroughs. There are over 150 murals painted by artists from all corners of the globe, all of which can be found here.
📍 11-98 Welling Ct.
2. First Street Green Art Park, East Village
This derelict building lot at 33 East 1st Street has been standing as an open art space and garden serving the Lower East Side community since 2008 when FSG successfully incorporated the lot into First Park through working with the NYC Parks and Partnership for Parks. Today, it has become one of the best places to view NYC street art as FSG provides ongoing cultural activity by engaging with artists, community, and cultural groups through a series of programs in this public space.
📍 33 East 1st St.
3. The Bowery Wall, Nolita
The Bowery Wall, located on the northwest corner of Houston Street and Bowery, first came to fruition back in 1982 when Keith Haring created his first public work there at a time when he was only an up and coming artist. Throughout the years it moved back and forth between artistic endeavors and advertising space, but today this wall is reserved for murals by NYC artists.
📍 76 E Houston St.
4. Freeman Alley, Lower East Side
You might pass this little alley without even giving it a second glance—or maybe you had no idea it was there until you decided to dine at Freemans Restaurant—but you’ll find this little alleyway holds some pretty colorful and interesting local artwork and graffiti that’s worth taking a look at.
📍 Between Bowery and Chrystie St.
5. The Bushwick Collective, Bushwick
The Bushwick Collective, conceived and curated by Bushwick native Joe Ficalora, begins on Jefferson Street and continues on Troutman Street towards Saint Nicholas Avenue. Here you’ll find a colorful array of artwork from local, national, and international artists, giving you a great look at what qualifies as true street art.
📍 427 Troutman St.
6. Graffiti Hall of Fame, East Harlem
For more than thirty years NYC artists have been showcasing their art on this wall in East Harlem. The park is not always open so you may not always be able to view this amazing artwork up close and personal, but you’ll still have the option to view it and snap some photos through the fence.
📍 East 106th & Park Ave.
7. Tuff City, Bronx
This tattoo shop has doubled as a graffiti paradise since 2007. Stop by to check out the art covering the entire building before checking out the main attraction—a 45-foot subway car decked out in huge colorful images.
📍 650 East Fordham Rd.
8. Coney Art Walls, Coney Island
Coney Art Walls was an outdoor museum of street art curated by real estate mogul Joseph J. Sitt and superstar art dealer Jeffrey Deitch. Coney Art Walls presented sixty-eight murals and wall projects from 2015-18 by many of the world leading street and graffiti artists, and today it attracts tens of thousands of visitors throughout the summer.
📍 3050 Stillwell Ave.
9. Along the J/M/Z line
This stretch of Brooklyn along the J/M/Z line is filled with no shortage of local street art. A group called JMZ Walls wanted to see more areas of Bushwick benefit from street art beautification, so Alberto Mejia reached out to building owners and launched the project in 2014. Their desire is to “make the JMZ lines more colorful one wall, one gate, one space at a time.”
📍 Brooklyn, along the J/M/Z line
10. DUMBO Walls, DUMBO
DUMBO Walls started in 2012 when eight walls near the York Street subway station began to boast colorful murals. These works highlight the various entry points to the neighborhood while celebrating the various types of artists drawn to DUMBO, including studio artists, street artists, graphic designers, and beyond.
📍 Multiple locations, see more here.