Some of my favorite family vacation memories involve the exploration of urban street art. It all started a few years ago when my wife and I visited Wynwood Walls in Miami, and we were amazed by the power of paint to transform an entire, previously underdeveloped neighborhood.
Since then we’ve been drawn to street art wherever we go. On our way to Lake Joseph in the Muskoka district of Ontario, we took a detour to Toronto’s Graffiti Alley. We all had a great time admiring, learning about, and posing in front of the imaginative murals. As is the case with many families, each kid comes out different despite being raised under the same roof. So when you find an activity that everyone can enjoy together without complaint, that’s a precious thing.
No matter how far from home we might be, strolling through an outdoor art gallery brings us familiar pleasure and comfort. Over the holiday break of 2016/17, we ventured to our beloved nanny’s home country of Chile. As luck would have it, she was raised in Valparaíso, a town that is famous for its abundance of creative murals. After we had wandered the streets together, absorbing the beautiful sights, she pointed out the apartment in which she had grown up. It was such a special family bonding experience on multiple levels.
A couple of years later, we vacationed in San Miguel de Allende, an artsy Colonial town and culinary hub a few hours drive from Mexico City. In addition to signing up for a food tour and scenic hot air balloon ride, we of course had to follow the hotel concierge’s suggestion to take a walk through Barrio de Guadalupe, which boasts the city’s highest concentration of street art. After an organic lunch that suited the neighborhood’s bohemian vibe, we happened upon another café a little off the beaten path with one of the most inviting and fun facades I’ve seen:
With travel a lot harder these days due to the pandemic, I look back even more fondly on the ability to just wander new streets and be surprised by what’s around the corner. For now, I will content myself with the great memories and thoughts of where we will go next.