Best place for an Instagram-worthy photo shoot: ‘The Great Wave’ mural in Georgetown

Media Credit: Graeme Sloan | Contributing Photo Editor

Tucked in between a row of townhouses, the immense wave mural covers the entire side of a home in Georgetown.

Location: 3510 O St. NW
Readers’ pick: The Roof Terrace at The Kennedy Center

Only a short walk from M Street in Georgetown, the wave mural will differentiate your Instagram feed from basic photo shoot locales around the District.

Tucked in between a row of townhouses, the immense blue wave covers the entire side of a home in Georgetown. Painted by architect and artist John McConnell, the piece was originally commissioned in 1974 by McConnell’s friends and past owners of the home, Michael and Merete Gerli.

One night at dinner, the friends discussed how to dress up the unadorned wall on the side of their home and McConnell eventually decided to replicate “The Great Wave” by Hokusai – an iconic piece of Japanese art from the mid-1800s – because of the work’s popularity.

McConnell said the mural took him about three weeks to complete, and impressed onlookers often stopped him to ask questions about the eccentric addition to the residential neighborhood. The foamy wave spans the entire left side of the building, crawling up the wall and cascading onto the ground in realistic detail.

Since then, the mural has become a destination for Instagram photos, wedding snapshots and even for professors of Japanese history who have brought their students to the mural for lectures and discussions.

“I never would have dreamed in 1974 that 45 years later people would still be interested in it and still writing about it,” McConnell said.

Because of its location off of M Street, the mural is off-the-beaten-path, making the perfect backdrop for your next artsy Instagram post if you want to stand out despite the app’s ruthless algorithm.

So the next time you’re in Georgetown, admire this historic hidden gem. You can add a creative flair to your feed by pretending that you’re surfing the wave or perhaps that the water is crashing on top of you.

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