Colorado’s capital city is a great place to explore with your camera, even if it’s just phone shots for your social media pages. You could easily spend from sun-up to sunset snapping beautiful pics around town. Late spring or early summer may be the best time for cooperative weather. Be sure to stay hydrated in this dry climate!
Denver is a very walkable city, but also offers scooters and bikes for rent. There's also plenty of parking if you prefer to cruise around on 4-wheels. Free shuttles run along 16th Street giving you a convenient way to hop on and off, as photo-worthy spots catch your eye.
Here are a few destinations you could hit in one day to get a wide range of snaps reflecting the history of the city that got its start during the Pike’s Peak gold rush that began in 1858.
View from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science:
For an Instagram worthy pic of the downtown Denver skyline backed by the Rocky Mountains, park at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and walk to the west side of the building. If you arrive close to sunrise, you'll be rewarded with some rosy hues painted like watercolours across the mountains. The sky just after sunset is also spectacular. In the spring and fall, colourful trees frame the foreground. A winter morning after a fresh snowfall is sparkly clean and magical from this vantage point.
LoDo’s Union Station and Coors Field Ballpark:
The northwestern area of downtown Denver is called LoDo, or Lower Downtown. You and your camera will find countless photo ops while walking around Coors Field and Union Station. A blend of older buildings and modern glass and steel structures provide cool angles and reflections, textures, and moods. When you need a rest, you will find plenty of spots for a good bite to eat, and a place to sit and people watch. If you decide to attend a ballgame, all the better. More great photo ops, like the gorgeous sprawling turf, will greet you inside the home of the Colorado Rockies. The lush, green turf will inspire you to turn your lawn into an homage to Coors Field. The groundskeepers here are happy to share their secrets, including what kind of grass to plant and how often to mow and water.
RiNo’s Murals and Development:
Just north of LoDo, enter the River North or RiNo area. The city transformed it from a warehouse district to an art district to a hot spot for craft brewpubs, restaurants, coffee shops, and hangouts. Millennials moving from other states have favored this part of town, giving it a young, up-and-coming vibe. Capturing photos in RiNo is like preserving moments in a rapidly changing urban timeline. You can learn about the history and current initiatives by visiting the RiNo art district website.
Photo Credit: Geoff Livingston
No summertime visit to downtown Denver would be complete without a stroll around Larimer Square in the evening. White lights strung across the street create an enchanting feel on both sides. Certain nights, the street is closed off, tables and chairs are set up, and visitors spend a lovely time dining under the lights in a scene reminiscent of Europe. If you catch the annual two-day Chalk Art Festival in June, you will find some stunning street art to inspire you.
Winter on the square is also picture-perfect. Catch a shot of the ice skaters, horse-drawn carriages, or Victorian carollers in December.
Colorado State Capitol Building:
Photo Credit: Bill Badzo
Since its opening in 1894, the Colorado State Capitol building, with its gold leaf gilded dome, has offered photographers interesting exterior shots. The pictures get even more colourful when you go inside and gaze at stained glass windows and the iconic inside view of the dome. The neoclassical architecture features white granite, and on the interior rose onyx and marble, all collected from Colorado quarries. Climb the western exterior steps to find three markers noting the spots that measure exactly one mile above sea level. There's a reason Denver is called the Mile High City. If you're a history buff, consider taking one of the free weekday tours to provide great captions under your photos.
Red Rocks Amphitheater:
You can’t leave Denver without a visit to, or a picture of the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater. The concert venue is actually located near the town of Morrison, but it’s owned by the city of Denver. The drive up to the park is just as breathtaking as the amphitheater. Want a good workout? Try climbing the 130 steps from the stage to the top! This naturally formed venue is just 15 miles west of downtown. As one of the most photographed spots in Colorado, be sure to make room for your fellow Instagrammers.
About the Author:
Laura Dexter is an avid hiker and runner who travels around the country, taking part in marathons and 10Ks throughout the year. When she’s not writing about her races or travels, you’ll find her racing up and down the steps at Red Rocks or hiking in Colorado with her husband and three children.