MD/DC/VA

How to do a Walking Tour of Washington, D.C. Murals

How to tour DC murals when you don’t know where to start.

If you are like us, you probably have been living in DC for many years and have not even thought about a walkable tour of the city’s murals or street art. Most people visit the District for its museums and historical landmarks, and rarely pay attention to the street art.

I personally never thought about it, until last year a friend of mine told me that her sister was coming to DC to paint a mural sponsored by POW!WOW! DC. The POW!WOW! movement grew from a week-long event in Hawaii, to a global network of artists. Each year they sponsor events in different cities where they organize mural projects, gallery shows, lecture series, live concerts, etc.

After this experience, I became more interested in the City’s murals and the artists behind them. This is how I found MuralsDC. This project was created in 2007 to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works. The aim is to revitalize communities, and educate and engage young artists with the art of aerosol painting. I highly encourage you to look at their website and learn about how each mural tells a unique story of DC’s diverse neighborhoods.

How to do a walking tour of the DC murals?

  • First, write down the murals you want to check out, using MuralsDC as a resource.
  • Map them down. I used the Google maps label feature. A great resource for this was CURBED DC, which has a feature mapping 61 street murals in DC. To locate the Pow!Wow! murals, I used www.nomabid.org.
  • Try to start at the place where most of them are conglomerated. Shaw, U-Street, and NoMa are great places to start. Then, depending on the day, your motivation, and means of transportation, spread out to other areas.
  • Though this is an obvious step, walk, take pictures, and write down the name of the artists (I did some research on the artists before I headed out, but this is optional).
  • Eat! This is also a great opportunity to try out restaurants that you have never been in before. We had lunch at Union Station and dinner at a place called Taqueria del Barrio in Petworth. Tacos and margaritas!
If you want to see the photos I took as well as the name of the artists and addresses, click here.
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