Thirdeyemom

A Street Art Lover’s Guide to Valparaiso

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves”. –  Henry David Thoreau

Valparaiso is an art lover’s paradise. Known as one of the best street art cities in the world, its 42 cerros (hills) and labyrinth of rundown streets are graced with vibrant works of art that seem to cover every open space imaginable. There are no walls left untouched or staircases without color.

With so much art to see, it is easy to feel completely overwhelmed. Although there are plenty of excellent tours, it is not too hard to explore Valparaiso’s street art on your own. The downside is you don’t learn about the history and meaning of the art however the upside is that you can take as long as you want and see as much as you want to see. Since I’m generally not a huge fan of tours, we decided to do it on our own and I’m glad we did. Despite having sore feet and getting lost at times, it was worth the effort as we truly saw hundreds of works of art all at our own pace.

Our Tour

After a delightful Chilean breakfast, we left our hotel, Casa Galos at 893 Templeman (near #16 on the map), a little past nine o’clock into the foggy cool morning notorious for early summer in Valparaiso. I was hoping for a bit of Santiago sunshine but alas we would be stuck in the coastal fog once again.  At least we had the brilliant colors of the street art popping off the walls to brighten our day.

With a highlighted map in hand filled with squiggles, circles and stars, we plotted out our course for the day ahead in search of the best street art in Valparaiso.

Marked up map of Valparaiso, Chile

We began at the top of Cerro Alegre and headed down Monte Alegre and back up Miramar to see what art we had missed from the day before (Click here to read about yesterday’s afternoon walk). The city seemed to be asleep up here in the quiet Cerro Alegre neighborhood and you could hardly hear the horns, traffic and congestion down below near the busy port and commercial area in El Plan.

With camera in hand, I began to snap away getting lost in the technicolor of imagination of Valparaiso’s glorious street art. In retrospect, I wish I had done a better job documenting exactly where each work of art was located however I have tried my best to break it down by barrios. 

Cerro Alegre

Streets to hit: Start at the top of Cerro Alegre at Templeman and Galos, and head down Galos to Monte Alegre. You can follow both Monte Alegre and Miramar all the way down to Paseo Yugoslavo. Be sure to hit San Enrique and Lautaro Rosas as well as the “Happy Hippies” part of Templeman.

Art you will see:

Some of my favorites:

Cerro Alegre, Valparaiso, Chile
Street Art, Cerro Alegre, Valparaiso, Chile

Time to allow: At least 1 1/2- 2 hours to cover all of Cerro Alegre. This is my favorite neighborhood and has lots of wonderful restaurants in case you need to recharge and refuel before you continue on.

Cerro Concepción

Cerro Concepción is another fabulous neighborhood to view Valpo’s incredible street art and probably wins the prize in the most street art per square foot. It is closer to the port and center of Valparaiso so is much busier than quiet, quaint Cerro Alegre. I also found this neighborhood to be a bit more rundown than Cerro Alegre. However, the contrast between the old and new, the dirt and beauty, is what made it all the more fascinating to see.

Streets to hit: 

After reaching Paseo Yugoslavo, continue back up Miramar and wind down Urriola. Be sure to walk down Galvez to Paseo Gervasoni and Paseo Atkinson (where nearby you can look down off the cliffs to see some of the largest murals in the city painted across a few high-rise buildings). There is also a lot of cool art near the Iglesia Luterana such as the famous “piano key” stairs. You can then wind back up A. Montt towards Cerro Alegre again following any streets you missed.

Art you will see:

Colorful Stairways 

Fascinating Alleyways

At the edge of Cerro Concepción looking down over the cliffs are these giant works of art:

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Near Paseo Atkinson and the Iglesia Luterana:

Street Art, Cerro Concepcion, Valparaiso, Chile

Cerro Concepción, Valparaiso, Chile

Cerro Concepción, Valparaiso, Chile

Some of my favorites:

Time to allow: 2-3 hours

After hitting all of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción we were famished and it was time for lunch. We dined at the beautiful, yellow-colored Brighton Hotel eating perched high above Valparaiso and plotted out our course for the afternoon. We would be heading down to El Plan, the business center and up to Paseo 21 de Mayo for a bird’s eye view of Valpo’s port and even more street art.

Valparaiso, Chile Valparaiso, Chile

Stay tuned…Since I don’t want to overwhelm you too much with photos, I decided to break this guide up into two parts. Coming next is Cerro Bellavista and Paseo 21 de Mayo

25 comments

    • thirdeyemom

      Thanks Sally! It was really lovely. The most fascinating part of it is that the city is really run down and falling apart. Without the art, I would not see much charm in Valparaiso but so much creativity and brilliance do wonders to make this a very interesting place. 🙂

    • thirdeyemom

      Yes, it is overwhelming all the art. So much of it and hard to figure out exactly what I wanted to share. The piano stairs are super cool. It is a great city to explore!

  1. Hi Nicole, I had no idea that the murals here were so extensive. The ones in the sliding viewer thing are very speccy. Definitely on the South American list.( that won’t be for few years.) Hope you and the family are well. I have been very back on my blog for quite a while.Life has been a bit crazy for about five months so time to get some structure and back on track. Louise

    • thirdeyemom

      Thanks so much for stopping by Louise! Yes, the street art is quite extensive and pretty spectacular. Glad you are back to blogging! I see you have a post waiting in my inbox. Looking forward to reading it! 🙂 Nicole

  2. Heide

    Gosh. I’m kinda speechless — I had no idea Chile was such a hotbed of extraordinary street art! And you’ve captured it beautifully … I feel as if I’ve been there with you. Thank you for this lovely antidote to a Minnesota winter day. 🙂

  3. Louise Talley

    Hola, Nicole, I LOVED this blog…You may recall I hired a guide in La Paz, Bolivia 2 yrs ago to take me to see some street art that I had seen on your site and the web. He said it was the 1st time anyone had asked to see it. I HOPE I find some in Morocco this August. Louise from Wa

    • thirdeyemom

      Oh wonderful Louise! This makes me smile and so glad you enjoyed the post as well as found my Bolivia one helpful! What are you doing in Morocco? Have you been?

    • thirdeyemom

      Thanks Sue! I found it a bit overwhelming but glad we did so much! I loved all the art we saw and I left several pieces out of the post since there were just too many pics to share!

  4. Yes that is fantastic – i had no idea – who started this – most city fathers would have a fit if people were painting all over their houses with bright perfectly wonderful images.. really – I must visit

  5. I hope this doesn’t sound egotistical, but I felt like you were writing this for me Nicole, given we are heading to Chile very soon. I can’t believe how much time we have devoted to planning this trip and brushing up on our Spanish. Thanks so much for this post. Your photography is stunning!

    • thirdeyemom

      LuAnn, you made my day!!!! I have spent so much time on these posts and sometimes feel like no one is reading them. To know that they are helping makes me feel so happy!!! I have two more to write on Valparaiso. They will be for you! I can hardly wait to hear about your trip! Will you be posting on social media or other places as well so I can follow along? Not sure if you do Facebook or not.

      • I took your Valparaiso post and did a cut and paste, so I have all your instructions. I plan to use it like a map to make our way around the city. I do FB and usually only link my posts to it but I might do other postings on my FB site as well. I set up an Instagram account but have never used it, believe it or not. I just don’t use my iPhone much for photos but I am thinking I should reconsider. I would love your thoughts on Instagram as I know you use it.

      • thirdeyemom

        Yay! That makes me feel so happy LuAnn! One word of wisdom is be careful with your bags in Valparaiso. One poor guy stepped in dog poo, set his backpack down and it was gone with his laptop, camera, passport, etc. They were normal looking and following them. I think unfortunately high unemployment has risen petty theft as we witnessed another robbery at a store in Santiago. Not wanting to worry you. I felt very safe. Just a note. AS for IG, I use it but it is so time consuming and perhaps not worth it. Just have fun! 🙂

      • Thanks so much for the tips Nicole. We had been reading about the problem with theft in Valpo, so I’m not surprised. We try to practice caution whenever we travel. From what I have been reading about IG, I have felt the same way, so have never done anything with my account. I think for now I will stick to FB and my blog.

      • thirdeyemom

        p.s. do you post on a facebook page or your account? I’d love to follow you there if you are putting on pictures! 🙂

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