G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) kinases (GRKs) phosphorylate activated heptahelical receptors, leading to their uncoupling from G proteins. Here we report six crystal structures of rhodopsin kinase (GRK1), revealing not only three distinct nucleotide-binding states of a GRK but also two key structural elements believed to be involved in the recognition of activated GPCRs. The first is the C-terminal extension of the kinase domain, which was observed in all nucleotide-bound GRK1 structures. The second is residues 5-30 of the N terminus, observed in one of the GRK1·(Mg2+) 2·ATP structures. The N terminus was also clearly phosphorylated, leading to the identification of two novel phosphorylation sites by mass spectral analysis. Co-localization of the N terminus and the C-terminal extension near the hinge of the kinase domain suggests that activated GPCRs stimulate kinase activity by binding to this region to facilitate full closure of the kinase domain.