7 Best Backdrop Murals for Your Next Family Photograph


Colorful and vibrant large-scale murals are popping up all over building facades in the DC area over the last several years. Street art is having a moment (thank you, Instagram!) and Washingtonians have taken notice. Locals and visitors alike flock to these creative hot spots to take the perfect picture. In true Mom-fashion, I am constantly making my family stop for “just one quick photo together” all over the DMV as I cross murals off my street art bucket list. Here are 7 of my favorite DC murals for family photos that we have checked out so far.

1. The Watermelon House Mural

A mother and young son hold hands in front of the Watermelon House mural in Washington DC.
The Watermelon House is located in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington DC.

Where to Find It: 1112 Q Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 (map)

Instagram: #WatermelonHouse

Bonus Tip: There is also a smaller Kiwi mural painted in the same location!

The Watermelon House, a residence in Logan Circle, is an iconic neighborhood landmark. This DC mural is actually painted on the side of a 19th century row house. According to a Washington Post interview, the home’s creative owners painted the watermelon details after the red shade they had originally chosen for the exterior turned out to be more of a “Pepto-Bismol” pink. (Can we talk about turning lemons into lemonade here?!). Need the perfect backdrop for a summertime photo-op? Look no further than The Watermelon House! It’s one of our favorite murals for family photos.

2. The What Lifts You Mural

A young boy looks back over his shoulder in surprise at the mural of a pair of wings painted on the wall behind him.
This fun and interactive mural is located in downtown Bethesda, MD.
An alleyway in Bethesda Row is the location of three pairs of painted wings, which are part of the What Lifts You series by artist Kelsey Montague.
Three sets of wings are tucked away in a narrow alley along Bethesda Row just waiting to be discovered (and photographed!).

Where to Find It: Hagar Lane (off of Bethesda Ave.), Bethesda, MD 20814 (map)

Instagram: #WhatLiftsYou @kelseymontagueart

Bonus Tip: There are three sets of wings painted in this alley: a large-size for adults, a medium-size for kids, and a small-size for pets!

Artist Kelsey Montague has painted three pairs of her ornate wing murals in this unassuming Bethesda Row alley. The wings are specifically designed to have people (and pets!) stand between them to take amazing photographs. Montague notes on her website, “When I made my first pair of wings, the only thing I could think of was that I wanted to make someone happy and feel inspired and feel loved.” After painting her first wings mural in NYC, she has since go on to paint the series in locations all over the world. My kiddo loved that one of the pair’s of wings was just his size!

3. The Heart Mural

A smiling mother bends down towards her young son, while standing in front of a mural of multicolored hearts.
One of my all time favorite family photos! The Heart mural is located on the back side of Washington DC’s Union Market.

Where to Find It: 1309 5th St. NE, Washington, DC 20002 (map)

Instagram: #UnionMarketDC @mrbrainwash

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to look up and spot the giant mural by Yoko Ono, Relax: Your Heart is Stronger Than What You Think, right around the corner on the exterior wall of Union Market.

Located in the alley behind Union Market, the Heart mural was created by contemporary street artist Mr. Brainwash. Is there anything not to love about this mural? I took this photo on a visit to Union Market right before Valentine’s Day and it is one of my all time favorites.

4. The Peace Mural

A young boy stands with his back against a large scale mural that reads P-E-A-C-E.
This mural brightens a back entrance at Cabin John Village in Potomac, MD. My kiddo thought he was blending in so well!

Where to Find It: 11325 Seven Locks Rd, Potomac, MD 20854 (map)

Instagram: #cabinjohnvillage @redswanwalls

Bonus Tip: This mural is located along the back side of the shopping center, next to the entrance that leads to both My Gym Potomac and Shoe Train.

The Peace mural was created by the local muralists of Red Swan Walls as part of a more extensive exterior redesign of Cabin John Village. This colorful mural turned a once blank and outdated expanse into a completely unique and vibrant area.

5. The Bethesda Train Mural

A large scale mural of a steam engine train and a red classic car are painted on the side of a building's brick wall.
This larger than life mural located along Bethesda Row is a fun highlight for any train loving child!

Where to Find It: 4810 Bethesda Ave. Bethesda, MD 20814 (map)

Instagram: @bethesdarowfrt

Bonus Tip: This mural is located across the street from the What Lifts You wing series. If you are visiting Bethesda Row, make sure to check out both!

Created by Chip Gestiehr in collaboration with Jerry, Pat, Bryan and Cory Deere, this large-scale mural will definitely catch the eye of your transportation-loving child.

6. The Love Mural

The Love mural is located in Washington DC’s Blagden Alley.

Where to Find It: Blagden Alley NW, Washington DC 20001 (map)

Instagram: #blagdenalley @lisamariestudio

Bonus Tip: Make sure to explore the whole alley because there is a treasure trove of other amazing murals and delicious restaurants hidden in this little stretch.

Lisa Marie Thalhammer of Lisa Marie Studio created this colorful and iconic DC mural. According to Thalhammer’s website, “Her artistic mission is to create paintings, portraits and public murals that uplift and empower…[and her] artworks frequently communicate messages of strength and hope.” I LOVE the Love mural.

7. The Culture House DC Mural

murals for family photos. The brick exterior of a historic church building has been completely painted over with a colorful abstract mural by the artist HENSE.
This historic building in Southwest DC has been reimagined as a center for the arts and community.

Where to Find It: 700 Delaware Ave. SW Washington, DC 20024 (map)

Instagram: #CultureHouseDC

Bonus Tip: Check out the Culture House DC calendar to plan your visit around its open gallery hours.

Built in 1886, this historic building originally served as the Friendship Baptist Church in Southwest DC. According to the Culture House DC website, “Following a colorful makeover by artist HENSE, the space was reimagined as Culture House (formerly Blind Whino), a bold beacon for creativity and community.”

Share your favorite DC area murals for family photos in the comments below!