Explore New York City

Street Art in New York City

These murals will bring some color into your day.

New York City is a place filled with art. Whether you're visiting an art museum, seeing a Broadway show or listening to a street performer, it's the best city to get creative in. Over the years, local efforts have been made to encourage the community to join in on the action. Mural projects and art collectives have been established throughout the five boroughs to add color to the Big Apple. If you're looking for a way to brighten up your city stroll, visit these local street art sites.

NYC’s Street Art Scene

First Street Green Cultural Park

Street art is an excellent way for people to get outdoors while also letting their talents shine. There's one local group on the Lower East Side that wants to combine those two goals in everything they do. First Street Green Cultural Park started as a building lot that was converted into an art space in 2008. People come to the area every day to get creative, whether painting a new mural or planting a fresh flower in the garden. There's always a different mural on display, and they range from colorful graffiti to traditional art made in every style you can imagine. If you want to get involved but don't know how they also offer art workshops and other events like concerts to get the community involved in their work. 

First Street Green Cultural Park New York | WhereTraveler
First Street Green Cultural Park (Photo by Brad Rosenberg)

The Audubon Mural Project

If you're a fan of wildlife paintings, you're in luck. You can find street art of different types of birds throughout Harlem and Washington Heights, thanks to the Aubudon Mural Project. This art initiative was created to raise awareness for the bird species currently affected by climate change around the world. These gorgeous murals bring the birds to life right before your very eyes, and each one is hard to miss. Some murals are as small as a storefront window, while others take up the entire brick wall of an apartment building! You can find murals of birds like bald eagles, ospreys and spotted owls waiting to greet you on each block and keep watch over the city. The Audubon Mural Project lets everyone see these birds up close and know how beautiful they truly are.

Houston Bowery Wall

One of the oldest street art projects in the city is the Houston Bowery Wall in the East Village. The wall started as a single mural gifted to the neighborhood in the 1970s but has become much more extensive than its original piece. Since then, the mural displayed on the wall has changed to various art pieces. Some are filled with color and bold images, while others are more abstract and subtle. No matter what mural is painted when you visit, each piece is sure to inspire and provide hope to everyone who sees it. The best part is the murals are constantly changing into new pieces, so you'll always be treated to something different when you visit. The Houston Bowery Wall will brighten anyone's day whenever they pass it.

Houston Bowery Wall New York | WhereTraveler
Houston Bowery Wall (Photo Courtesy Ruwan J.)

King of NY

If you're a rap fan, you'll want to check out this larger-than-life mural in Brooklyn. New York City has several murals of famous rappers who grew up in the Big Apple and died young. The most well-known piece has to be "King of NY," a mural depicting Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. It takes up an entire wall of a building on Fulton Street and shows him wearing a shining gold crown, letting everyone who sees it know of his reign. The neighborhood takes pride in the mural, but it was almost taken down in 2017. After public outcry, the city declared that the mural could remain standing, allowing this king of New York to rule for a little longer. "King of NY" is a beautiful tribute to an artist taken too soon, and any fan of Biggie Smalls is sure to appreciate it.

The Bushwick Collective

If you want to see street art outside of Manhattan, visit the neighborhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn. The streets of Bushwick are bursting with life thanks to the artwork on display by The Bushwick Collective. This community project has been ongoing since 2011 and hosts the perfect blend of graffiti and street art. Many of the artwork you'll find is done in the style of realism, so the walls of the neighborhood are covered with faces of real people you can find walking along the street. Others are powerful pieces painted in black and white depicting different causes affecting society today. To further celebrate the artwork, they host an outdoor festival every summer to showcase the new murals to the community. The Bushwick Collective is an excellent collection of street art that will have people talking.

The Bushwick Collective New York | WhereTraveler
The Bushwick Collective (Photo Courtesy Angie W.)

Welling Court Mural Project

Another long-standing community art project is Welling Court Mural Project in Queens. This initiative has been encouraging artists to create street art for over 11 years and continues to inspire the community to make something true to themselves. Famous artists have taken part in the project over the years, such as Lady Pink, Crash and Queen Andrea, but it's mainly geared towards young and up-and-coming artists who want to express themselves through art. Welling Court is its own museum, as its brick walls are covered in the artwork of every color and style. From loud and bright colors to the quiet shades of black and white, there's something for everyone to enjoy when they visit these city streets.