Your Guide to the Street Art in Denver – Where to Find the Most Instagrammable Murals and Tips for Shooting Them

One of three “Love this City” murals by Pat Milbery. This one is at Broadway and Arapahoe.

At one point in time, graffiti was considered a faux pas, a destructive defacing of cities and public buildings. Some murals were politically charged and anti-establishment, a way for rebels to quietly protest, while physically leaving their mark on the city. It was art with a powerful message that started as an underground subculture.

Sometime during this millennium though, a curious thing happened. Street art evolved into a genre accepted by the masses, worth being explored, photographed, and even commemorated in museums. It’s not necessarily highbrow couture, but it is respected. The Tate Modern in London opened the world’s first exhibit dedicated to solely street art in 2008 and people like Banksy became household names.

“Love this city” mural on 12th and Acoma behind the Denver Art Museum

Street art has completely changed the way we travel. Instead of seeking out historic landmarks, whimsical millennials seek out colorful murals and rainbow desserts to practice their photography, promising to garner Instagram likes and follows. The world became a canvas and cities with extensive street art scenes suddenly became cool.

Denver is one of those places and embraces public art as a way to beautify the city. In fact, 1% of any capital construction project over $1 million dollars must go towards public art; ensuring the city’s collection of street art and sculptures is continually expanding.

Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
“Love this City” on 7th and Santa Fe in the El Taco de Mexico parking lot

With more than 100 new murals popping up last summer alone, drive down any of the main thoroughfares – Broadway, Colfax, or Santa Fe — and you’ll be greeted with a modern city awash in color. The vast majority can be found in RiNo (River North) between the 25th and 31st blocks of Larimer Street, Denver’s most conspicuous example of neighborhood gentrification. Warehouse conversions, boxy construction, patterned designs, and sculptures paint a cheery façade on a downtown that’s growing far beyond its britches. Is it covering up a larger problem? Maybe, but it is also adding to Denver’s curb appeal and that’s a debate for another day. Take the art at face value and enjoy the creativity.

Here are a few of my favorite pieces to look out for:

Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
A colorful new beauty at Broadway & 19th (where the “You are Brave, You Are Enough” mural used to be)
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
My current favorite piece of Denver Street Art. Paint drip mural 31st and Larimer, RiNo
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
The sister piece is at Local 46 (46th and Tennyson)
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
Dinosaur Mural at Larimer Lounge, 27th and Larimer, RiNo
Get Closer Mural, Nova Coffee 38th and Larimer, RiNo
Fun geometric mural in the alley across from Improper City at 32nd and Walnut, RiNo
“Create More” Mural, Between 21st and 21nd on Market Street, LoDo
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
Lawrence and 22nd, LoDo
Mile High Spirits, 22nd and Lawrence, LoDo
Geometric paint mural at Our Mutual Friend Brewery, 28th and Larimer, RiNo
29th and Larimer, RiNo
RiNo alleys (no longer there)
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
RiNo alleys
RiNo alleys
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
 Two-sided Larimer Boy & Girl mural (27th and Larimer) in RiNo, Denver
26th and Larimer, Rino
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
This has since been replaced with the eyes below.
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
The eyes have it mural, 25th and Larimer, RiNo
Cartoon caracters in RiNo alleys
 “Colfax is for Lovers” mural (Colfax & Garfield, Denver)
Project Colfax (Williams and Colfax)
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
Project Colfax (Williams and Colfax)
Love photography? The Denver street art scene has exploded with murals and graffiti everywhere you turn. Here are the best ones to blow up the 'Gram and enjoy the art in colorful Colorado. Spoiler: it's one of the best things to do in Denver! #streetart #denver #colorado #usa #graffiti #art #travel #weekendgetaway
27th and Larimer, RiNo

CRUSH Walls – 10th Anniversary Festival

New murals are added every year after the CRUSH Arts Festival in early September. Standing for Creative Rituals Under Social Harmony (yeah, it’s deep), artists spend a week beautifying the city and adding new murals to the RiNo district. Since this was their 10-year anniversary, a ton of new pieces were added, some of which you can see below.

Broadway and Larimer, Rino
A rhino in Rino
Crema Coffee, 28th and Larimer, Rino
26th and Larimer, Rino
26th and Larimer, Rino
Rino
Rino
30th and Larimer, Rino
Channeling early 90’s MTV, 30th and Larimer, Rino

Now that you know where they are, how do you get the best street art photos?

When shooting murals, a little pre-planning goes a long way. Think about what you’re going to wear and bring. Bright, sold colors generally compliment the art, while busy patterns may clash. It’s always a good idea to pack 1-2 outfit changes to see what looks best (that’s a pro Insta tip) and accessories like hats and umbrellas to compliment the design.

There’s a debate as to whether posed or unposed shots look better. My thought? Just take a bunch and see which turns out the best. If you have an iPhone, leave Live Photo on so you can view different keyframes and have even more options to choose from. Since I normally travel solo, a tripod and remote are how I get most of my shots (random strangers usually don’t result in good photos and aren’t always around).

Always check the weather before you head out. Lighting is the #1 photo killer so harsh midday sun (or inclement weather) can be a buzzkill. Considering most street art is in busy commercial areas, parking lots or otherwise, it’s always a good idea to visit on off-peak hours, either early in the day or late in the day and during the week over the weekend. There will almost always be some type of obstacle that you can’t prepare for from people staring to cars and construction cones (once I even had a surprise porta potty) so often times you simply have to play the waiting game (I’ve have to return to the same place multiple times to capture some of these).

Don’t get frustrated, just use it as motivation and celebrate when you finally do get that one perfect shot. Also, while you do want to visit at off-peak hours, some of these are in areas that could be considered sketchy so be aware of your surroundings and stay vigilant about traipsing through alleys by yourself – bring a buddy if possible.

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Looking for things to do in Denver, Colorado this weekend? Check out the downtown street art and murals for photography and pictures. The Rino and Lodo neighborhoods are especially good for Instagram spots, views, breweries, and travel attractions. Make it a must do photoshoot this summer or fall. #denver #streetart #murals #usa #southwest #america
Looking for things to do in Denver, Colorado this weekend? Check out the downtown street art and murals for photography and pictures. The Rino and Lodo neighborhoods are especially good for Instagram spots, views, breweries, and travel attractions. Make it a must do photoshoot this summer or fall. #denver #streetart #murals #usa #southwest #america

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8 Comments

  1. You can’t go wrong with street art as colourful as this! I especially loved the one you took at RiNo, perfect pose, it made me laugh.

  2. I am a passionate lover of murals and Denver seems like an awesome place to visit for every street art lover, Lo. Your pictures left me speechless. Are these murals easy to find there?

  3. Great art! Great shots! Love it down there … Maybe we’ll see you on our tour sometime … Denver Graffiti Tour

  4. I am about to fly from Denver to Vegas and I was researching places to take pictures here for my blog. Great post. I love street art. As soon as I finish this cup of coffee I’m out!

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