My goodness, Denver is incredible. We fly to, and from, there every November to spend Thanksgiving in Estes Park. Not being ones to miss out on the enjoyment of any destination, we’ve been making it a priority to spend some time in Denver before embarking on our journey through the visually stunning Rocky Mountain pass to Estes. After all, it’s the journey.
Being a photographer, what spins my spurs is the urging need to make images wherever we go. So, this post will be about how to enjoy time in Denver, but also make some fun images of the historic and beautiful Queen City of the West.
To say one is a master of anything is pretty bold, so I’ll say that we’re darn capable of maximizing time in a city. Give us 24 hours in Denver and we’ll know how to spend each one. Let’s go.
Landing at the Denver International Airport
To fly into the Denver airport is to land in a field surrounded by golden grasses. Upon landing, we immediately make our way to the train. The train from the Denver Airport to Union Station in downtown Denver is right around $11 and only takes about 40 minutes. One of the best parts about train transportation is that it offers passengers a way to see the landscape, and cityscape, as you make your way into town.
On to Denver!
The final train destination is Union Station. This place is such a gem. There is lodging there called The Crawford and an award-winning restaurant called Mercantile Dining and Provision. If all you did was stay there and eat there, you’d be all set.
If those arrangements don’t suit you or you have other plans, just top by the Terminal Bar. Whatever you do, enjoy Union Station because it’s simply astounding.
With a short trip to Denver, lodging close to the station is quite important. The Art Hotel Denver is extraordinary. On the most recent trip, The Maven was our place to kick off the boots. Both places are beyond exceptional.
One of the best ways to experience a city is by bike tour. We used Mile High Bike Tours on our most recent excursion and couldn’t be more thankful for the experience and tour. Cycling along the urban streets is a perfect way to immerse oneself in the rhythm of what Denver has to offer. Bike tours also allow you to experience a huge area in a relatively short mount of time.
We traveled past incredible architecture (Denver has a ton of it) and when you travel by bike, you have a greater appreciation of your city and surroundings.
One of our quick tour stops was the Denver Art Museum. We didn’t make time to go inside but the museum is a piece of art itself.
In close proximity of Union Station is Confluence Park. It’s a tranquil place in the heart of the city so do go there.
Another wonderful place for food that’s within walking distance of the park, and Union Station, is Proto’s Pizza.
We’ve been so impressed by how much there is to see by walking through Denver. Some city centers don’t offer a lot but Denver certainly does. Fine dining, shops and art are all easily accessible.
Once you’ve experienced all these places and spaces, you’ll have a thorough idea of what Denver has to offer. And, you’ll be wondering how soon you can return.
Denver offers a dizzying array of street photography opportunities. Since our time there was short, I opted to use the more-than-capable iPhone because of it’s speed, convenience and quality.
Architecture and people are what I gravitate toward while photographing. Obviously, you photograph what you enjoy most. My photography approach is to simply have my iPhone ready whenever possible. Sometimes a photo is one I can make while standing and carefully composing a scene, while at other times a photo is a split-second reaction to whatever unfolds nearby.
Another advantage of a cell-phone camera is that it’s usable while rolling luggage, which is exactly what I’m doing while capturing many of these images. With such a short time in Denver, and trying to enjoy the city, time for photography is fleeting so it’s important to maximize what is available.
Another great time to photography is early in the morning. Sleeping in is tempting—believe me, I know—but photographs don’t make themselves and a quick walk in any direction can yield fantastic photos that wouldn’t be captured if you were snoozing.
Denver is a fun place to photograph. There is a color, energy and life to the streets which all are exciting because that means the place is rife with photographic possibility.