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Creative Subways Around the World

subway lisbon

Bringing inspiration and creativity to the masses, public art installations can be found from quiet rural villages to large cities that never sleep. But sometimes, some of the most interesting works of art and design in public spaces are hidden, and in some cases, underground. Prague Station above is a pretty good example.

In cosmopolitan cities around the world, the subway systems that run underground offer some of the most interesting art and architecture, available only to those opting for ticket on public transportation.

New York subway

New York.

An extensive network that shuttles commuters around the busy city, New York’s subway system is an iconic one. An online subway art guide makes it easy to track down specific works as well as look up which artist helped bring a creative eye to your favorite subway station.

New York subway


Located in one of the world’s most design conscious cities, it’s no surprise that the Stockholm is a shining example of how taking public transportation can be a beautiful and uplifting experience. Over 90 of the city’s 100 stations feature work by almost 140 different artists, and is often referred to as the “world’s longest art exhibit.” If you don’t have plans to visit the Nordic capital anytime soon, there’s an excellent photography project to document all of Stockholm’s subway stations, which you can check out here.

Stockholm subway

Stockholm subway art

Stockholm subway art


Opened in 1900 Le Métro is possibly one of the world’s most famous subway systems. At many of the subway stops, the visual experience begins upon entry, marked with the classic Art Nouveau inspired entryways.  Throughout the system there are several notable stops, particularly the stop for the Louvre which makes the traveler feel the subway stop is almost part of the famed museum itself. At the Abesses station in the heart of the Monmartre district, visitors are greeted with colorful murals that cover the walls all the way down a spiral staircase that leads to the underground station. Unfortunately, in recent years, much of the murals have been covered in graffiti.

Paris metro art


Younger than other subway systems (it began running in 1972), Munich’s U-Bahn still has a distinct sense of flair and style. The architecture in many of the stations is progressive and certainly pushes the envelope, bringing in bright colors and strong, modern lines. The station at Sankt-Quirin-Platz has a particular draw to it thanks to its combination of natural and urban elements.

Munich subway art

Munich subway

Munich subway art

Munich subway


Warm colors and a relaxed attitude that are synonymous with the southern part of the European continent are truly reflected in Lisbon’s Metro. Traveling in Portugal’s capital is a feast for the eyes, where all of the city’s metro stops incorporate works of contemporary art. Stations feature a variety of Portugese artists, paying homage to the finest in the country’s creativity and providing a playful space that’s fun to travel in.

Lisbon subway art


Boasting South America’s most extensive and modern metro system – it carries over 2 million people every day – it’s no surprise that Santiago’s subway stations have a compelling look to them. In particular, Estación Simón Bolívar is worth a look, with its LED lit railings and long escalators that look nearly never-ending. The stop for Universidad de Chile features a giant mural that represents the history of the country; other stations offer everything from modern art to landscapes to multimedia installations, providing something to please every eye.

Santiago Subway station

Santiago subway station

Santiago subway station

Santiago subway art


Pretty cool Video here -Dubai Metro at 474 miles per hour in HD.

Dubai Metro station

Dubai subway station

Dubai’s metro only opening in September 2009, but it’s already receiving acclaim. Not only do the trains go incredibly fast – this video clocks it at 474 miles per hour – but as with most structure in Dubai, the subway’s architecture is extravagant and edgy. Travel along these rails and you’ll almost feel like you’ve arrived somewhere far in the future.


Shinjuku Subway Art

Shinjuku Subway Art

Tokio Station

Tokyo reflections by cheungvogl

Subway station art

Prague – line a station

subway station art

Bund sightseeing tunnel

These are only a small collection of the many beautiful subways and subway stations around the world. What are some of your favorites that you find the most inspiring?

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  • Miss Journey

    February 26, 2010

    Whoa! I especially love the images from Stockholm. Certainly makes public transportation a little more interesting 🙂

  • Saj Gidda

    January 29, 2010

    Nice article, especially Santiago and Tokyo. One correction though, you say the Dubai Metro goes at 474 mph, this is wrong. The video has been sped up so that the journey seemingly goes at 474 mph, in reality it couldn’t be more than 100 mph at the most. I believe the fastest is the Shanghai MagLev which is one of the greatest experiences of my life, that approaches 320mph roughly

  • kdub

    January 28, 2010

    It’s so hard to get good scotch at 23rd Street. They always try to give you the cheap stuff.

  • ?????

    January 11, 2010

    wow really creative

  • Access

    January 10, 2010

    I like Munich.

  • IVA

    January 5, 2010

    If filth is iconic then that’s New York all the way! I was just there and don’t even want to know what that stuff was dripping from the ceiling. Viva Stockholm transit, and hail to the beauties above! (From a former New Yorker now living in Stockholm.)

  • wakowrz

    January 5, 2010

    santiago subway stations are very nice…
    i use them every day xD

  • MK

    January 5, 2010

    Taiwan’s Kaohsiung subway station is quite intriguing!

  • Silvi

    January 5, 2010

    Flora in Prague, I go there very often 🙂 Love this post ?

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