This week marked my one-year Denver-versary, which I know isn't a word, but for the sake of this article, I will use anyway.
In my 52 weeks in the great state of Colorado, I had a whopping dozen friends come out to visit.This number is up exponentially from where I last lived, which topped out at two visitors over two years.
Outside of discovering the best route to DIA, I learned while many people really enjoy Denver, they enjoy telling people they were in Denver even more. They're doin' it for the 'gram (It's a thing kids say; look it up)
Armed with this knowledge, I compiled a short list of places you can take your friends or selfie-loving relatives that undoubtedly says "Hey guys, I went to Denver."
9. Capitol steps - Capitol Hill
This one is a no-brainer. We're in the Mile High City! The air is thinner up here! There's no better way to show this than with an artsy photo on the stair that says "ONE MILE ABOVE SEA LEVEL." Even though the Capitol is currently under construction, if you zoom in enough, it looks like you're in one of The Most Historic Places Ever.
In full disclosure, this exact pose is my cover photo on Facebook, so there is no judgment here; it's a really cool photo op.
8. Ironic pot shop selfie - Nearly anywhere in Colorado
If you're unlucky enough to have that one friend who says they are coming to visit you but is really coming for the legal weed, this photo is paramount. Yes, marijuana is legal in our great state, and those who live in a state where it's not cannot fathom that reality.
Even for non-smokers, seeing a pot shop is kind of cool -- so it makes sense to memorialize that moment. Maybe don't put it on Instagram, though.
7. Red Rocks - Morrison
Everyone from coast to coast knows about the world-class venue and park that is Red Rocks in Morrison. Seeing a show here is live music goals, and we should all aspire to be so lucky. But for those who plan a visit to Colorado outside of Red Rocks concert season, the amphitheater is still there for you to freely pose in without judgment.
Unbeknownst to many a tourist, there are also trails you can hike and bike here if you want to seem more Colorado-ish.
6. Union Station - LoDo
Even though it's a literal train station, my friends (largely from the southeast) are really into the fact people who don't have a plane to catch hang out here. To be quite honest, I (who is also from the southeast) was also astonished by this.
You can catch a drink, a quick game of shuffleboard, or a ride to Golden from this LoDo spot. However, you don't even have to go inside to snap a picture of that majestic "travel by train" sign.
5. The Big Blue Bear - Central Business District
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This blue bear that's leaning on the Colorado Convention Center is as cute as it is confusing for tourists, therefore it is peak IG goals. Created by local artist Lawrence Argent, "I See What You Mean" stands a whopping 40 feet tall and is super-Denver (it was installed in 2005). Argent told VISIT DENVER the blue color for the bear was actually an accident, but I think we can all agree it was an amazing artistic choice.
4. Artsy beer photo - Denver as a whole
Colorado is known for its beer. And with dozens of breweries in just Denver, your friends who consider themselves brew aficionados will want to show off they are visiting a boozy hotbed.The brewery doesn't matter, but places with a rooftop and/or a mountain view would be preferred.
3. Rocky Mountain National Park - Grand County
OK, so this isn't in Denver. But what really matters is that everyone who has come to see you is convinced this actually IS in Denver, and that you're mistaken. If you're willing to drive the 70-ish miles out of the city, you'll take in some awesome views, which makes for some bomb photos.
And admit it -- even if you live here, a trip to RMNP is always welcome, especially if you get to see some elk.
2. Larimer Square - LoDo
Everyone gets a little basic when string lights are involved, right? Larimer Square, which is walking distance to a ton of other touristy locations, is a great place -- day or night -- to pose for the frame. According to its website, Larimer is Denver's most historic block, but we promise that is not why your friend wants a photo there.
1. The Denver "Love this City" mural - Five Points
Nestled on a wall at the corner of Broadway and Park Avenue West, this mural has everything to elicit that 'like' from even the pickiest scroller -- bright colors, the word "Denver" in all caps and the phrase "Love this City" to prove you, in fact, love this city.
I, personally, have not managed to snag a photo here (there's always a pesky car with the nerve to be parked in the PARKING LOT), but I've had some out-of-town buds who have. Denver's website did a cool write-up on this artist who made one of the most gram-able places in the city.
Runners-up include: Mount Evans (to make it look like you hiked a 14er but didn't), Wash Park (to pose mid jog and look into your reflection in the water) and Snooze (it's not even a Denver-only thing anymore but still).
Do you have anymore iconic places to take my friends? I'd love to hear from you!