Berlin is a magnet for street art. From the political murals hidden in the suburbs to colorful street art that leaves you speechless, these are the best street art murals Berlin has to offer
From its outstanding and world-renowned museums, to the street art movement artists began in the 1960s against the government, Berlin has always been a cultural hub for art. It is a city that attracts artists from all fields and from all over the world, and wherever you walk around, it is visible art played some kind of role in the city’s development.
Furthermore, Berlin has a very complex history that shaped the way locals see art. Places like the East Side Gallery offered in the 1980s a getaway to artists and non-artists to show their opinions of the cold war. And later, once the Berlin Wall felt down, a new exciting urban scene developed.
Today, there is art everywhere and Berlin can be considered an outdoor museum for art. After living in this city for almost four years, I got my favorite districts to visit to explore street art and of course, my favorite pieces. From murals that succeed imagination to pieces of art you can only see at night, these are my favorite pieces of street art in Berlin and here are the locations where to find them.
It’s time to dance by SOBR
Location: Everywhere around Berlin – Especially around Kreuzberg/Friedrichshain
First appearing in SOBR’s hometown Paris and later in the city of London, these dancing confetti girls arrived in Berlin to become a symbol of the freedom Berlin offers to its clubgoers. Unlike many other cities in the world, people in Berlin don’t party to impress or show off. People in Berlin party to become who they truly are and disconnect from the world.
“It’s time to dance” artworks are located all over the city, but if you are looking for an exact place to go, the RAW area or Schlesische Strasse are two places to start.
Israel/Palestine by Shepard Fairey
Location: Bulowstrasse 31 (open in Maps)
Shepard Fairey is not a newcomer in the street art scene. He is one of the most recognizable artists in the world and his works are known for showing his opinion about social and political issues.
He is also not a new face in Berlin. He painted several murals around the city and his recognizable style has even got the attention of the ex-president of the United States, Barack Obama (he even designed his first “hope” poster). However, if I have to choose one piece of his work in Berlin, it has to be the two large murals at Bulowstr. called “Israel/Palestine”.
Sven Marquardt by Vhils
Location: Postdamer Str. 151 (open in Maps)
Known for being the doorman of the famous Berliner nighclub, Berghain, Sven Marquardt became in some way a symbol for the uncontrolled and crazy nightlife in Berlin. His tattooed face is recognized by almost every Berliner under the age of 30 and Portuguese street artist Vhils saw his portrait as an inspiration for one of his jackhammered murals.
X-Ray female portrait by Insane51
Location: Bulowstrasse 94 (open in Maps)
If there is an artist whose creativity blows anyone’s mind, it has to be Insane51. This Greek artists is known for his unique technique of photorealism and overlaying street art. What does it mean? Insane51 places two murals in the same surface with completely different colors and while it looks very confusing on a first sight, once the viewer observes the piece using these very old 3D red/blue glasses the artwork takes form in front of your eyes.
In this masterpiece, once you put the 3D glasses and cover one eye, you either see a woman or her skeleton – it all depends in which color are you looking things at.
Huzur by Selfmadecrew
Location: Bulowstrasse 98 (open in Maps)
This is by far my favorite piece of street art in Berlin and a piece that represents the power of art. “Huzur” is a statement about overcoming the social issues the infamous Bulowstrasse has. Drugs, prostitutes and crime have been in the headlines of the Bulowstrasse for years and with street art the guys of Selfmadecrew in collaboration with the Urban Nation Museum are trying to change that.
“Huzur” features four residents of a building, who are designed only using brown tape on a window. However, what makes this piece so unique is that this is the only piece of street art in Berlin you can only see at night.
How? Once the sun goes down and the lights of the building at Bulowstrasse 94 turn on, the artwork comes to life and different shades forming four faces appear. A gem that shows how the Bulowstrasse can also change for good at night.
Elephant Playing With a World Balloon by Jadore Tong
Location: Wilhelmstraße 7 (open in Maps)
Probably being the most visually interesting mural in the whole city of Berlin, “Elephant Playing With a World Balloon” is massive, colorful and simply outstanding. Looking over a street football/basketball field in Kreuzberg, this is not a piece of art you should miss while visiting Berlin.
Due to its massive size, you can find hundreds of details the more you look at it. Furthermore, Jadore Tong painted this magnificent mural in one of the areas with most social conflict in the city as a statement to proof how street art can be used to make districts better.
Which are the best districts to explore street art?
As I mentioned before, artists are now using their work to change districts that have been struggling in the past decades. Bulowstrasse was known for being a street full of prostitution and drugs. For many Berliners it was a no-go zone late at night and really not the nicest place to be wondering around.
With the arrival of the Urban Nation Museum and artists from all over the world, today the Bulowstrasse is one of the best spots to explore new street art. Big names have contributed their work and you can even pay a visit for free to the Urban Nation Museum, the first museum for street art in Germany.
Visited by every Berliner at least once in their lifetime, the RAW Gelände is one of these places that truly represent Berlin. Rebellious and dirty, but still colorful and vibrant, this abandoned railway station turned into a clubbing area is usually the first place to go if you are planning a night of drinks. However, once the sun goes up, the club lights turn off and party goers go to sleep, the RAW area can be one of the most beautiful spots to explore some street art in Berlin. From tiny stencils made by newcomers to huge colorful murals painted with permission of the city council, the RAW is street art at purest form.
Planned as a Nazi military-technical college, later turned into a NSA listening station in the 70s and finally abandoned for over a decade, there are few places in Berlin with so much conflicted history as Teufelsberg. And while it seemed that this place was not going to be able to ever recover again, Teufelsberg became a magnet for artists and adventurers looking forward to exploring something new.
For the past decade Teufelsberg became the hub for street artists in Berlin and in the past years the former listening station is rising again from the ashes and its turning itself into a street art gallery.
Unlike the other places of this list, travelers unfortunately have to pay 6 EUR to see the street art displayed in these old concrete walls. This raises a fair question? Is good street art going to become at some point as exclusive as modern art?
What about the East Side Gallery?
The East Side Gallery is an iconic piece of culture in Berlin. There is no doubt about that and if this is your first time in Berlin, you should definitely pay a visit. However, the works of art at the East Side Gallery are mostly restorations from old pieces painted in the 80s and modern street art has no place in this wall.
A visit to the East Side Gallery is definitely worth it. However, it is also nice to explore something different and see how street art is constantly evolving.