If you don’t know where to look, it may be easy to miss the colorful street art that graces countless walls and buildings around the city of Boston. I’ve always been fascinated by the skill and creativity reflected in these works of public art, and I love that over the years the city has become more and more accepting of this guerilla-style artwork. For example, did you know that Boston has an 8-acre public park that prominently features world-class street art?!
Looking for the perfect backdrop for an Instagram photo? Already been to the Museum of Fine Arts and Institute of Contemporary Art, but still want to see more art? I’ve rounded up the best works of street art around Boston.
The A-Lyst for Exploring Boston’s Street Art
Located on what used to be a desolate underpass below Interstate 93, Underground at Ink Block is one of my favorite new spots in Boston’s South End. Tucked under the highway, you’ll find landscaped walking and biking paths, benches, and my favorite, street art! The 8-acre public park has several amazing murals, each boasting so much detail and color that you could literally devote a solid 10 minutes just taking in its beauty. Underground Ink Block regularly hosts events with pop-up bars, music, and food trucks, so make sure to follow its social media to keep track of what’s happening!
Modica Way is an alley in Central Square that’s dedicated to street art, specifically graffiti-style art. Artists come from all over to express themselves within the confines of this expressive walkway. Partially covered by colored plastic panes to reflect the sun, “Graffiti Alley” is one of the coolest (and most colorful) places in Cambridge to visit for public art, and it is constantly being updated with new street art.
In 1986, Peter’s Park Art Wall was named a legal graffiti wall in an effort to decrease vandalism in the South End of Boston. Since then, the park has featured many gorgeous murals offering a fantastic backdrop for the countless Bostonians who enjoy the park’s baseball field, basketball court, tennis court, and lively dog park. I especially love the most recent mural in the park, showcasing a powerful image of woman wrapped in an American flag with her arms and legs in shackles.
Hidden amidst the hustle and bustle of Downtown Crossing, Literary District Alley is one of my favorite “secret” street art spots in Boston. Tucked between Winter Street and Temple Place, this walkway features bright murals displaying literary figures who have a connection to Boston. While Literary District Alley is super narrow and slightly hard to find, once you uncover it, it’s quite the sight to see!
Throughout Northeastern University’s campus, which actually features more green space than you might think (fun fact: it’s my alma mater!), are several amazing pieces of public art. The school has created a Public Art Initiative to act as a platform for artists to showcase their work across the university and the result is an amazingly diverse collection of art. I love aimlessly exploring the campus and stumbling upon a new mural! While there are many to enjoy, a few of my favorites include El Mac’s “Ars et Scientia”, Daniel Anguilu’s “100 Years of Solitude” and Ekua Holmes’ “Crosswalks and Bus Stops”.
Located along Lincoln Street in Allston, not far from the Mass Pike exit/entrance, you’ll find Cambridge, MA-based artist Caleb Neelon’s Instagram-worthy mural, Domino Theory. Neelon has several murals around the city, but I admire this one for its lively patterns and awesome use of color. Surprisingly, Allston has quite a few pieces of street art scattered along Brighton Avenue, Harvard Avenue, etc. (you can check a helpful guide here), so you could really make an afternoon out of exploring the public art in the area.
Sweater: Theory Karenia Cashmere Sweater
Handbag: CHANEL Old Medium Boy Bag in Black Lambskin Leather with Gold Hardware (available at CHANEL Boutique on Newbury Street or similar here)
Earrings: J.Crew Gold Circle Earrings
Lipstick: CHANEL Rouge Allure in Seduction
Sunglasses: CHANEL Pilot Sunglasses (similar here)
The A-Lyst is a Boston-based lifestyle blog curating the very best of style, beauty, food, and travel.