With 300 days of sunshine and a skyline framed by the spectacular Rocky Mountains, it's no wonder that Denver has attracted a wide array of talented photographers over the years. We've put together a list of some of our favorite Denver spots to get perfect shots.
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THE VIEW: Denver was founded at this park, which marks the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. There is always a lot of activity here: two of the city's longest bike trails merge here and there are frequently kayakers shooting rapids on the South Platte with the skyline of Denver in the background. To get the city skyline in the background, Confluence is best photographed in the afternoon.
DENVER ART MUSEUM
THE VIEW: The eye-popping Daniel Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum opened just a few years ago, but it has rapidly become a true icon for the city - and an extremely popular spot for visitors and locals alike to get their picture taken. Its bold, jagged look was inspired by the Rocky Mountain and geometric rock crystals found in the foothills near Denver. If you're behind the lens, you may have to get a low-angle shot to capture its grandeur in full.
Denver is known for street art as well as cycling. Sometimes you can combine the two.
CIVIC CENTER PARK AND THE COLORADO STATE CAPITOL BUILDING
THE VIEW: Civic Center Park (101 W. 14th St.) is a pleasant oasis in the heart of the city with expansive green lawns and flower gardens with the magnificent gold-domed Colorado State Capitol Building (200 E. Colfax Ave.) in the distance. There are several "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 Denver Art Museum, the City & County Building or Denver's modern skyline.
RED ROCKS PARK & AMPHITHEATRE
THE VIEW: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre 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." Get some shots of the venue and stage, but also get some panoramic pics of Denver and the plains from the top of the Amphitheatre.
THE VIEW: Denver's favorite park is extremely photogenic, with two lakes, two formal flower gardens, bike and pedal boat rentals and thousands of joggers and bicyclists. Washington Park is a great place to capture the spirit of this city that loves the outdoors and recreation.
ANSCHUTZ FAMILY SKY TERRACE
THE VIEW: The Anschutz Family Sky Terrace in the Denver Museum of Nature & Science offers unparalleled views of The Mile High City. See well above the trees in City Park with the downtown skyline and the capitol dome in the distance. On a clear day, you will see views from Mt. Evans to Longs Peak. The best time to go is a cloudless morning when the Museum opens for the day. Bonus: The museum has solar telescopes set up on the Terrace on select mornings.
16TH STREET MALL
THE VIEW: This mile-long pedestrian promenade is always buzzing with energy and activity. Designed by I.M. Pei, the 16th Street Mall 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. Get a shot of the historic D&F Clocktower on 16th and Arapahoe, or the Denver Pavilions' 20-foot high sign that spells out "Denver" and is lit at night.
DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS
THE VIEW: Denver Botanic Gardens is 23-acre oasis in the middle of the city has 45 different gardens (some 33,000 plants), as well as one of the nation's top 10 conservatories. Everywhere you point your camera will capture nature at its most glorious.
'I SEE WHAT YOU MEAN' (AKA THE BLUE BEAR)
THE VIEW: Head down to the Colorado Convention Center for a photo beneath "I See What You Mean," AKA "The Big Blue Bear." The sculpture, created by local artist Lawrence Argent, stands a whopping 40 feet tall, and appears to be curiously peering into the Convention Center lobby. Position your subject underneath the bear, stand back about 50 feet and point and click. Voila - a true "Only In Denver" photograph.
LOWER DOWNTOWN (LODO) AND UNION STATION
THE VIEW: Not quite as many trains pass through Union Station as they once did in its heyday, but the beautiful 1914 building still attracts photographers with its Beaux Arts-style design, expansive interior and stone clock tower. Get some shots of the building's inspiring façade, surrounded by Lower Downtown's skyscrapers and refurbished historic buildings.
THE VIEW: While you're in City Park, you'll be treated to unbeatable views of Denver's skyline, framed by the spectacular Rocky Mountain Front Range. You may not find a better panorama in all of Colorado. The best time for a family photo is just before dusk ("the magic hour," as the pros call it), as the sun begins its gorgeous descent behind the mountains.