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Top 10 Places for Denver Photography

written by: Steve Graham•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/5/2010

Denver, Colorado, is a photographic gem. Between the mountains, rivers, parks and architecture, learn what the top 10 Denver locations are for capturing the best photographs.

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    Denver Photography - Top 10 Locations for the Best City Pictures


    Denver photography is a nearly limitless mix of natural and manmade gems. Here are some Denver photography highlights, including some less famous landmarks.

    1. Red Rocks: I'll start with the obvious. Possibly the nation's best outdoor music venue, Red Rocks has a natural amphitheater made famous in numerous live albums and videos. With or without a concert in the foreground, the top of Red Rocks also offers stunning Denver skyline photography, as well as a visitors' center hewn from natural rock and a surrounding park with beautiful vistas and numerous trails.

    2. Buffalo Bill's Grave: Another Denver photography landmark, over the hill from Red Rocks, is the peak of Lookout Mountain. As the name suggests, it offers more great views of Denver, Golden and the table mountains. The peak is also home to a beautiful mountain park and the kitschy gravesite and store dedicated to Buffalo Bill. Careful with your captions, though, as it should be noted both Colorado and Wyoming claim to house Buffalo Bill's grave.

    3. Buffalo herd: Staying in the foothills, the Genesee Mountain Park is home to a herd of buffalo that was originally brought from Yellowstone National Park to maintain healthy populations of the iconic American animal. The park also has an elk herd.


    4. Waterton Canyon: Further south is another Denver photography gem. A favorite spot for local hikers and cyclists, the floor of Waterton Canyon is the starting point for the Colorado Trail, which ends nearly 500 miles away in Durango.

    5. Colfax Avenue: Known throughout the area as simply Colfax, the 26-mile street is the east-west corridor in the heart of the city. The Denver photography landmark was once known as Main Street USA. It is now home to funky motels, historic bars and unique architecture.

    6. Casa Bonita: One outstanding piece of Colfax architecture is Casa Bonita. Made famous in a "South Park" episode, Casa Bonita is part Mexican restaurant and part amusement park. After buying some food (which is mostly mediocre at best — skip the meal and wait for the sopapillas), you'll walk into a maze of booths, caves, pools and waterfalls. The highlights of the restaurant are the cliff divers and costumed characters. Take the kids for an entertaining meal and capture some great Denver photos.


    7. Civic Center Park: Finally, head downtown and into Civic Center Park, with its fountains, arches and a stage. But the real highlights for capturing the best photos surround the park. Civic Center Park is bordered by the state capitol, the Denver City and County Building and the Denver Art Museum, a modern architectural wonder with wonderful outdoor sculptures. Just beyond lie the skyscrapers of downtown and the Denver Mint, the largest coin maker in the world.


    8. Brown Palace Hotel: Among the downtown buildings lies the historic and stately Brown Palace Hotel. Elvis Presley described the hotel as "the best hotel in the world," but he also came to Denver for his grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches, so I'm not sure about his taste.

    9. Confluence Park: Two more great parks make for classic city pictures. Downtown Denver workers love to spend their lunch hour in this downtown park where two rivers meet. They watch kayakers paddle, dogs swim and children play.

    10. City Park: Finally, one of Denver's largest parks offers the reverse of Red Rocks: great Denver photographs of the mountains. It is also home to the historic Denver Museum of Nature and Science.