A trip to Chile is not complete without a little street art and graffiti sighting. Most of the art can be found in cities, Valparaiso and Santiago. Here’s a look at some of the best spots to find it:
1. Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Alegre, Valparaiso
Bring your walking shoes to Valparaiso! This city is full of hills and packed with colorful street art. The most popular hills are Cerro Concepcion and Cerro Alegre, which can both be accessed by foot or old-fashioned funicular. The hills sit side by side, which makes it easy to wander between the two.
Each time you visit, you will find something new and different. Artists, both well-known and undiscovered, frequently come to the hills and create new work.
But even with new art popping up, there are some pieces that never change. The piano stairs, for instance, is a Valparaiso classic. Rightfully so, you can find these steps on Beethoven Street.
Another favorite sighting is the “We are Happies, not Hippies” painting on Templeman and Lautaro Rozas. Art+Believe, an artist team from the United Kingdom, painted this piece and it is now a popular spot for group photos. “It captivates the colour, vibrancy and the philosophy of the Chilean people today, now free of dictatorship,” writes Art+Believe, taking pride in the piece they consider the “mantra of their travels.”
2. Museo a Cielo Abierto, Santiago
Nestled in the heart of San Miguel commune is a place called Museo a Cielo Abierto, or in other words, “Open Air Museum.” It’s not a typical museum, but more of a designated area that displays a number of giant murals.
The project started several years ago as an initiative to restore deteriorating buildings in this working-class neighborhood. In order to improve the quality of the neighborhood, the community came together to create a free, public space for people to view large-scale artworks.
The space features more than 4,000 square meters of colorful, creative murals. Museo a Cielo Abierto has been both nationally and internationally recognized for its art and impact in the San Miguel community.
3. Bellavista, Santiago
Bellavista is a popular spot for both tourists and locals in Santiago. Besides nightclubs and lively restaurants, the neighborhood has plenty of unique street art. It’s a young area due to its funky atmosphere and the nearby universities. However, the neighborhood can easily be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Close to Bellavista is La Vega Market and a popular hiking spot called Cerro San Cristobal. Wander to these touristic hotspots and check out the street art as you go.
You can spot cartoonish characters, abstract shapes and different surreal scenes painted on the colorful buildings. The murals vary in content, but always offer something interesting to look at.
4. Cerro Bellavista and Florida, Valparaiso
Don’t limit yourself to just Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion when visiting Valparaiso. There are many other hills and neighborhoods to explore, many which offer a more “off-the-beaten-trail” experience. One spot to visit is Cerro Florida and Bellavista.
Cerro Florida is the hill where a famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s “La Sebastiana” house is located. Not far from the house is the Valparaiso Museo a Cielo Abierto (Open Air Museum) in Cerro Bellavista.
This project was directed and led by artist and university professor, Francisco Raúl Méndez Labbé in the 1990s. Renowned painters sketched the murals and university students worked together to execute the vision.
There are 20 different murals in the space and the art takes up several blocks, coloring sides buildings and stairways. Each mural has a sign with the name of the artist who envisioned it.
5. Barrio Yungay, Santiago
Among Santiago’s many neighborhoods is Barrio Yungay. It’s an old, yet charming community close to Quinta Normal Park. The neighborhood prides itself on being one of the oldest, most historical spots in the city, with some buildings dating back to the eighteenth century.
The neighborhood represents great economic prosperity and cultural development in both Santiago and Chile. Many successful artists, politicians, and intellectuals once resided in this community.
In addition to its historical roots, Barrio Yungay also has a lot of interesting street art. The combination of history, colonial buildings, and modern street art definitely give this neighborhood a unique feel.