Melbourne’s street art ranks among the best in the world and local Melburnians are proud of this heritage. Melbourne’s reputation for street art has been shining away for over a decade. It offers a feast of colour, ideas and energy and brings to life an otherwise colourless city that is made up of browns, greys and blacks. The street galleries of Melbourne enliven the ordinary and change the way we view our city. These public spaces provide a gallery and stage for public expression and transform Melbourne’s laneways into intriguing, captivating and sometimes challenging spaces for artistic exploration.
Street art in Melbourne is a legal trade. The City of Melbourne requires street artists to have permits from the council and the building owner for any street art work. Unfortunately, this is not always adhered to and some vandals choose to put their spray painted works in illegal spots when no one is watching.
Common street art forms in Melbourne include large and small commissioned spray painted works, stencilling and papering. Some of the best examples of street art can be found in Hosier Lane, which needs to be seen to be believed.
Hosier Lane Street Art
Hosier Lane is street art central and this laneway draws the largest crowds of photographers, art enthusiasts and admiring tourists. On any given day or time, you can expect to see several locals and tourists taking photos of the colourful walls, as well as newly wedded couples posing in front of these beautiful backgrounds to add to their wedding album.
Nothing is spared on Hosier Lane as every surface is spray painted in a multitude of colours. Even the garbage bins that line the laneway are not left untouched. Some of the spray painted artworks in Hosier Lane are quite old. For example, the spray painted image of Ganesh, the Indian god was painted over ten years ago and remains an icon among the Hosier Lane’s masterpieces.
Don’t forget to look up as you walk around Hosier Lane. Some of the best street art works are painted on the 2nd and 3rd levels of tall buildings.
If you’re lucky, you might get the chance to see a street artist at work while visiting Hosier Lane. On our visit to Hosier Lane, we were fortunate enough to watch a street artist in action who was spray painting a birthday message on a wall for his girlfriend.
Melbourne Graffiti Tour
While Hosier Lane has the best street art in Melbourne, there are other laneways around the city that have great examples of street art too. If you’re interested in taking a self-guided street art tour around Melbourne, we’ve provided a list of laneways you should visit, each of which are plotted on the map above. Start at Hosier Lane and make your way across the city to Carlton. Expect to spend around 2 to 3 hours on this tour. Weekday mornings and afternoons are the best time to visit to avoid the crowds.
If you’re interested in background information on the street art works, consider taking a guided street art tour. There are a few companies that conduct guided graffiti tours around Melbourne. Prices range from $60 and above and usually include a street art tour guide, drinks and food. Below are the best Melbourne street art tours.
Street Art Tour – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30pm
Art Aficionado Tours – Wednesday to Saturday from 12 to 2:30pm
Hosier Lane Restaurants
In addition to street art, Hosier Lane also has one of the best restaurants in Melbourne. The Spanish restaurant, MoVida is located in Hosier Lane and provides some of the best Spanish food in Melbourne. Bookings are required and sometimes you need to book months in advance for a weekend seating.
Best Time to Visit Hosier Lane
Weekdays are best to visit Hosier Lane, preferably in the morning or afternoon to avoid the crowds. Weekends are busy with locals wandering around the city.
Where is Hosier Lane?
Hosier Lane is located in the Central Business District (CBD) of Melbourne city. It can be accessed via Flinders Street and Russell Street.
How to get to Hosier Lane?
The easiest way to get there is to take a train to Flinders Street station. Get out at the Swanston Street end and walk along Flinders Street past St Paul’s Cathedral. Hosier Lane is on the left before Russell Street.
Tell us what you think. Is a Melbourne street art tour on your agenda? If you’ve visited Hosier Lane before, what was your favourite piece of art work?
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Hosier Lane Map