Denver Skyline and the Mountains from City Park
The View: This is the classic view of Denver with a lake in the foreground, the skyline spread along the horizon and snowcapped peaks behind the buildings. Best location is on the outdoor deck on the west side of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science or on the plaza below the museum. There is an outdoor fountain of squirting water that children play in, another attractive aspect of this site.
Timing: The view is facing west, so best light is early morning or at sunset, however can be shot throughout the day.
Directions: The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is located at 20th and Colorado Blvd. The location is on the west side of the building.
Contact: Laura Holtman, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, 303-370-6407, firstname.lastname@example.org
Denver Skyline and the Mountains from City Park Golf Course
The View: A rolling, green golf course with the skyscrapers of Denver behind it and 120 miles of snowcapped Rocky Mountains behind the city.
Timing: The view is facing west, so best light is early morning, however can be shot throughout the day.
Directions: The golf course runs east-west along 23rd Ave. between York and Colorado. Filming locations are available anywhere along the course.
Denver Skyline from Civic Center Park
The View: The park is a pleasant oasis in the heart of the city with expansive green lawns and flower gardens with the city's modern skyscrapers as a backdrop. There are two "Old West" statues in the park by Alexander Phimister Proctor including a cowboy on a bucking bronco that make great settings of "old and new" west. The views from the park can include the Colorado State Capitol, the Denver Art Museum, the City & County Building or Denver's skyline. A farmer's market is held at noon on Wednesdays during the summer.
Timing: The skyline is northeast of the park and can be shot throughout the day but is best in late afternoon. The Capitol is best in late afternoon. The gardens and Art Museum are best in the morning.
Directions: There is car parking along Bannock Street between Colfax and 14th Ave. The statues and flower gardens are in the center of the park.
Mountains and Denver Skyline from Colorado State Capitol Building
The View: It is against state law to build any structure that would block the view of the mountains from the State Capitol. You can view 120 miles of mountains from here, including 200 named peaks, 32 of which soar to 13,000 feet and above. In addition to the view, there are Civil War statues and cannons, the "mile high" marker (13th step on the West side of the building is marked as being exactly one mile high) and the interior of the Capitol are possible shots. There are also views of the downtown skyline.
Timing: Looking west, so early morning to mid afternoon best.
Directions: Colfax and Lincoln. The views are all from the west side of the building.
Vibrant City Scenes
The View: This is a block of quaint, restored Victorian buildings that have been turned into Denver's trendiest shops, clubs and restaurants. Possible viewpoints include: the outdoor deck of Tamayo restaurant at 14th and Larimer overlooking the street; the outdoor sixth floor roof of Larimer's parking garage; the view from the street of one of the many outdoor cafes that line Larimer; or across the street in the plaza at Writer's Square, an attractive outdoor plaza with cafes and flower baskets.
Timing: Busiest at lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and in evenings.
Directions: Larimer Square is at the intersection of 15th and Larimer Streets.
Contact: Margaret Ebeling, (303) 534-2367, email@example.com
16th Street Mall
The View: This mile-long pedestrian promenade is the heart of Denver. Designed by I.M. Pei, it is made of colored granite in the pattern of a diamondback rattlesnake. The Mall is lined with 28 outdoor cafes and more than 50,000 flowers are planted along the tree-lined path each year. Free electric hybrid buses leave either end as often as every 90 seconds. Horse-drawn carriages go up and down the Mall after 6 p.m. There are many possible viewpoints along the Mall: Skyline Park at 16th and Arapahoe offers views of the D & F Tower (pictured right), which was the third highest building in the U.S. when it opened in 1910 and is a 2/3 replica of the Campanile of St. Marks in Venice. The Tabor Center, a two-block long glass enclosed shopping center, is best viewed from Writer's Square at 16th and Lawrence. Denver Pavilions at 16th and Glenarm is a two-block shopping center capped with a 20-foot high sign that spells out "Denver" and is lit at night (pictured below right).
Timing: Busiest at lunch hour (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and in evenings. Lighting is even throughout the day.
Directions: The Mall runs one mile from Wynkoop to Broadway
Contact: Rich Grant, firstname.lastname@example.org, (303) 571-9450; Jen Elving, email@example.com (303) 571-9451.
LoDo Historic District
The View: LoDo (short for Lower Downtown) is a 26 square block historic district that has more than 100 brick buildings from the turn-of-the-century and Victorian period that have been converted to more than 90 brew pubs, restaurants, rooftop cafes, jazz clubs and sports bars, all surrounding Coors Field, the 50,000-seat home to the Colorado Rockies (pictured right). There are numerous viewpoints that capture the flavor of the district: Union Station, 17th and Wynkoop. This historic train station has a famous electric sign that at night reads: Travel by Train. It is still used by Amtrak. Oxford Hotel, 17th and Wazee. Denver's oldest hotel opened in 1892 and has an attractive Western lobby and the famous Cruise Room, an Art Deco bar that is on the National Historic Register. Wynkoop Brewing Company, 18th and Wynkoop, is the largest brewpub in the nation and has an attractive outdoor deck and an entire floor with 23 pool tables, as well as a visible brewing area. Denver's current Mayor John Hickenlooper founded the brewpub, although he no longer owns it. Denver brews more beer than any other city. The Tattered Cover at 16th and Wynkoop is the largest bookstore in the city and a Denver icon with wood floors, comfortable overstuffed chairs, and thousands of books in wood bookshelves. Rockmount Ranch Wear at 17th and Wazee is a classic Western wear store with cowboy hats, boots and colorful Western shirts. The founder, Papa Jack Weil, is 107 years old and still comes to work most weekday mornings from 8 until noon. He was the inventor of the snap button Western shirt and is available for interviews. Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (14th and Delgany) was designed by London architect David Adjaye and is a LEED-certified building with changing exhibits. There are gorgeous views of LoDo and Denver from their outdoor rooftop cafe. LoDo's Bar & Grille (1946 Market) has a rooftop outdoor patio offering great views of Coors Field and of the other bars and clubs in this area. El Chapultepec (20th and Market) is a Mexican restaurant and jazz club where everyone from Frank Sinatra to Sting have visited and sang. Esquire picked it as one of the "50 best bars in America," and even President Bill Clinton once played sax here. The outdoor neon sign is particularly colorful. Coors Field (20th and Blake) opened in 1995 and is an "old school" brick baseball stadium. There are great views of Denver from the top deck. A statue of baseball player is located near the main entrance. The row of purple seats in the stadium is exactly one mile high. Timing: The area is best in evening or just before or after a scheduled game at Coors Field. Schedule: www.rockies.mlb.com
Contacts: Wynkoop Brewing Company: Jamie Webb (303) 595-3500.
Historic Denver & the Old West
Brown Palace Hotel
The View: This grand dame hotel opened in 1893 and features one of the most beautiful hotel lobbies in the world -- an eight story atrium topped by a stained glass window (pictured right). A formal Victorian high tea is served every afternoon.
Directions: 17th and Tremont
Contact: Shannon Dexheimer, (303) 312-5921
The View: Denver's oldest saloon and restaurant has more than 500 stuffed animal heads on the walls, many of them placed there by Shorty Zietz, the founder of the restaurant and a one-time member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Buffalo Bill frequented the restaurant and five presidents have dined there. There are guns, historic photos and Old West mementos on the walls, while the tables feature red-checkered tablecloths. The menu has buffalo, elk, quail and even rattlesnake. Ask for Rocky Mountain Oysters, which are deep fried bull's testicles and for Buffalo Bill's favorite cocktail (Bourbon and apple juice).
Directions: 10th and Osage
Contact: (303) 534-9505
Buffalo Bill's Grave & Museum
The View: Spectacular views of Denver and the mountains from the gravesite and from rooftop viewing deck of the museum. The museum has historic photos, mementos, guns and outfits of Buffalo Bill Cody, the West's most famous scout, Pony Express rider, buffalo hunter and showman. From 1883 to 1913, he and his show, "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" toured the globe, performing in over a thousand cities in a dozen different nations. At its height, the show made more than a million dollars a year in profit, played before the crowned heads of Europe, crisscrossed America in a special train of 52 box cars (10 more than the great Barnum & Bailey Circus), featured the third largest buffalo herd in existence and employed over 640 cowboys, Indians, vaqueros and rough riders. He was buried in this beautiful location on top of Lookout Mountain in 1917. www.buffalobill.org
Directions: I-70 to Exit 256, follow signs. Approximately 20-25 minutes from downtown. Denver's buffalo herd is also located at this exit (see parks).
Contact: Steve Friesen, (303) 526-0744
Timing: Views look east to Denver, west to the mountains.
Black American West Museum & Heritage Center
The View: Historians say that one-quarter of the cowboys on the great cattle drives of the Old West were African Americans, many of them freed slaves who migrated West after the Civil War. Their forgotten story comes to life at this museum through exhibits and historic photographs that document the contributions that African Americans made to the settlement of the West. 84-year-old Paul Stewart is the founder of the museum. He traveled 100,000 miles around the West collecting the materials that formed the basis of the collection and has stories about African American rodeo stars, cowboys, jazz musicians and politicians.
Directions: 3091 California Street
Interviews: Paul Stewart, historian, 303-699-2042
Colorado History Museum
The View: The entrance to the museum has a photogenic, block-long, outdoor mural that mixes photos and images of Colorado history. Inside, there are dioramas of Denver in 1860, Indian cliff dwellings, miners, stagecoaches and buffalo hunts, as well as historic photos and exhibits from Colorado's colorful history.
Directions: 1300 Broadway
Timing: The mural faces south and has good light in afternoon.
Contact: Rebecca Laurie, 303-866-3670
Denver Public Library
The View: The library was designed by British architect Michael Graves and features a series of towers and rotundas in southwestern colors. Inside is the largest library devoted to the American West with historic photos, maps and paintings. The Western History Library on the 5th floor has a sculpture by Michael Graves that mimics a western well.
Directions: 13th and Broadway (best view from the plaza in front of the Denver Art Museum across the street).
Contact: Celeste Jackson 720-865-2044
Rockmount Ranch Wear
The View: This store opened in 1946 when "Papa Jack" Weil invented the classic snapbutton Western shirt that features snaps instead of buttons. The shirts have been popular with Ronald Reagan, Elvis, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Redford and many others and have appeared in countless movies, including the recent Brokeback Mountain. Papa Jack has come to work everyday since the store opened. On April 1, 2008, he celebrated his 107th birthday, making him the oldest working CEO in America. The store has cowboy hats, boots, shirts, buckles in an iconic Old West setting. A small exhibit traces the history of Western wear in America.
Directions: 1626 Wazee, www.rockmount.com
Interviews: Papa Jack works most weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon and is available for interviews. His grandson Steve Weil runs the business and has written a book on the history of Western shirts and is also available for interviews.
Culture & Art in Denver
Denver Art Museum
The View: There are two buildings: the original building is a 26-sided, castle-like structure covered with a million gray tiles designed by Gio Ponti of Milan, Italy; the new Hamilton Building opened in 2006 and is an angular structure of titanium peaks and shards designed by Daniel Libeskind to mimic the Rocky Mountains. It was Libeskind's first building in the United States. The museum has one of the nation's best collections of Native American art as well as more than 30,000 other art objects. Most of the Native American artworks are exhibited in a 360-degree format without glass and can be filmed dramatically from all sides. The exhibits cover all the tribes of North America.
Timing: The older building is best viewed in morning light. The new building can be shot from 14th Street in the morning, and from 13th Street and Acoma in the afternoon. There are several public art sculptures here including 20-foot high cows and a 30-foot high dustpan (pictured right).
Directions: 14th Avenue and Acoma.
Contact: Kristy Bassuener, firstname.lastname@example.org
Denver Performing Arts Complex
The View: This is the second largest performing arts complex in the United States seating 10,000 people in ten venues for theatre, opera, ballet and symphony. The complex covers four square blocks and has a dramatic 80-foot high, block long glass arch. Best exterior visuals are the galleria, which can be shot at ground level or from a six-story parking lot that makes up the north side of the galleria and has open viewing areas to look down on the theatres. Interior visuals could include the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, one of only three in the nation to feature in-seat translation devices; the Buell Theatre, which has walls made of Colorado sandstone; and the Boettcher Concert Hall, the second symphony hall in the round built in the U.S. The complex also has a unique voice research laboratory that was built to help performers prolong the use of their voice in musical performances. The Dancers are two 50-foot high abstract dancers on the lawns behind the complex at Speer and Champa.
Timing: Best when there is an evening performance and crowds in the Galleria.
Directions: 14th Street and Curtis is the main entrance to the Galleria
Contact: Jenny Schiavone, 303-803-8791
Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver
The View: The museum opened in 2007 and was designed by London architect David Adjaye. It is a LEED-certified building and has changing exhibits. There are spectacular views of LoDo from the outdoor rooftop cafe.
Directions: 1485 Delgany Street, www.mcadenver.org
Denver Public Art
The View: One percent of all construction in Denver must go towards public art, with the result that there are numerous pieces of public art on display in the city. Some popular photogenic favorites: Blue Bear by Lawrence Argent at Colorado Convention Center (14th and California Street, pictured right) is a 40-foot high blue bear statue made out of 10,000 triangles that appears to be peaking in the center; Dancers by Jonathan Borofsky at Denver Performing Arts Complex (Speer and Champa) are two 50-foot high abstract dancers; Evolution of the Ball by Lonnie Hanzon at Coors Field (20th and Wewatta).
Contact: Pauline Herrera, 720-865-4309
Denver Parks, Gardens and Recreation Areas
Red Rocks Amphitheatre & Park
The View: This is a 9,000-seat amphitheatre that is carved out of 300-foot high red sandstone monuments. Besides the amphitheatre, there are acres and acres of huge red rocks in dramatic formations. Everyone from the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen has played "the Rocks." A museum and "Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame" have visual exhibits on the many groups that have played here. A 1.5-mile trail winds through the rocks offering great views. There are panoramic views of Denver and the plains from the top of the Amphitheatre.
Timing: The amphitheatre faces east and is best shot in morning to mid-afternoon. With the mountains to the west of the rocks, they begin to get in shadows in late afternoon. Special permission is need to shoot when there is a concert.
Contact: Erik Dyce, 720-865-4227, www.redrocksonline.com
Directions: Exit 259 off I-70
Denver Buffalo Herd & Mountain Views at Genesee Park
The View: The City of Denver maintains a herd of 30 buffalo in a scenic location just off Interstate 70, about 20 minutes from downtown Denver. This location also offers a beautiful view of snowcapped peaks in the distance. The buffalo are direct descendents of the last wild herd of buffalo, which were in Yellowstone National Park. The buffalo have their own tunnel under the Interstate highway and can be found on either side of the road. With prior arrangement, it is possible to film them with the city's buffalo handler.
Timing: The scene is looking west so best morning to mid-afternoon.
Directions: Exit 254 off I-70, about 20 minutes west of Denver.
Contact: Jill McGranahan, (720) 913-0633
The View: Denver was founded at this park, which marks the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. Two of the city's longest bike trails merge here. There is a man-made kayak chute and there are frequently kayakers shooting rapids on the South Platte with the skyline of Denver in the background. In the immediate area there is also a bright yellow open-air trolley car that runs on tracks along the river during the summer months. Also here is the REI Flagship store, which has 100,000 square feet of recreation equipment in an unusual brick building. The centerpiece of the store is a 45-foot high rock-climbing wall that usually has climbers dangling from ropes.
Timing: To get city in the background, best in afternoon. River can be shot at any time.
Directions: By car, 15th Street to Platte Street, parking in the REI parking lot.
Contact: Jill McGranahan, 720-913-0633
The View: Denver's favorite park has two lakes, two formal flower gardens, bike and pedal boat rentals and thousands of joggers and bicyclists. A great place to capture the spirit of this city that loves the outdoors and recreation.
Directions: Cars can enter at Downing and Exposition, parking by the lake.
Contact: Jill McGranahan, 720-913-0633
Cherry Creek Shopping District
The View: This is the largest shopping district between St. Louis and San Francisco, Denver's "Rodeo Drive" with more than 500 department stores, boutiques, one-of-a-kind galleries and outdoor cafes in two distinct settings: an enclosed upscale shopping center and on tree-lined streets in Cherry Creek North.
Directions: Located at the junction of Speer Blvd. and University, 3 miles from downtown.
Contact: Cherry Creek North: Christina Brinkley, (303) 394-2904; Cherry Creek Shopping Center: Angela Baiuer, (303) 388-2522