La Raza Park



United States

La Raza Park

Located in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood, this 2.9-acre site was developed and named Columbus Park in 1931 by the local Italian-American community in honor of Christopher Columbus. After World War II, demographics in Denver shifted and the neighborhood became home to a predominately Chicano population, who referred to the park as La Raza, meaning “the people” or “the community” in Spanish. Challenging racially-motivated social disparities and seeking control of the institutions within their community, members of the Chicano population staged protests in the park in the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in several violent standoffs between police and community members. Following one standoff, the city demolished the park’s community pool due to neglect and upkeep costs.  

Comprising one city block, the park is anchored by a red-brick and concrete-paved rectangular plaza known as “La Raza Plaza.” El Kiosko, a raised, pyramid-shaped pavilion built in 1990 with murals depicting the Mexican fight for equality painted on its interior, is situated in the center of the plaza with an ADA-accessible ramp extending off its northern edge. Diagonal paths emanate from the plaza to the north, west, and south into expanses of lawn planted with oak and evergreen trees, extending to the sidewalk. To the east of the plaza, stepped concrete seating descends to a basketball court while a playground is located just to the north. Lamp posts, picnic tables, and raised planters of perennial and annual flowers surround the plaza. A metal sculpture of an eagle rises from one of the raised planters. In 2021, the park was officially designated as La Raza. 

Location and Nearby Landscapes

Nearby Landscapes