On a recent trip to Denver, we set out to visit the city’s most hip and rapidly developing neighbourhood, RiNo. This area includes the older communities of Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Cole, and Five Points. Check out this gallery of old photos and to learn more about these communities.
Over the past few years, this part of north Denver has started to take on the name RiNo after the establishment of the River North Art District (“RiNo”) in 2005.
RiNo is a collective of non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting art, creating art, and developing lively infrastructure. Read more about RiNo’s history and mission here.
In the summer of 2020 a local resident named Shannon Martin started a petition to shift the name of this historically Black/African-American neighbourhood, once thought of as the Harlem of the West, back to its original name of Five Points.
Representatives from the River North Art District responded that RiNo is the nickname of their business, and they are not imposing that name on the neighbourhood itself.
Just like with “RiNo,” there is a trend among Denver residents to rename popular neighbourhoods with abbreviated nicknames like “LoHi,” “LoDo” and others, so the name RiNo just sort of stuck.
RiNo members have put in immeasurable amounts of time, effort, funds, and writing grants to receive additional opportunities that are invested back into the River North Arts community and to the artists/residents within it.
River North Art District forms a triangle tucked into the junction of 70 to the north and east of 25, expanding southward to Coors Field and westward to York Street. The South Platte River runs right through it.
What drew us here were stories of mural walking tours, and we were not disappointed. Check out a map of current murals here, though it is constantly changing, evolving, and living work of art in progress.
From the 38th & Blake Station, the RiNo district features appear concentrated along Blake Street, Walnut Street, and Larimer Street, down to where they intersect with Broadway.
Keep your eyes open for unsuspecting alleys, because you will be delightfully surprised.
Lunch was on the brain, and we made the most excellent choice in paying a visit to Rye Society.
Rye Society is a made-from-scratch New York style deli with Jewish cuisine that sources their ingredients from local businesses and farms. The owners’ families have owned and operated stores and restaurants around Denver for over a century and there is also a second location of Rye Society in Boulder.
We started with the pickled veggie plate and an order of latkes. I noticed that they make and sell their own Everything seasoning too, so I just had to buy some.
We shared the classic Reuben and even a vegan Reuben version, and both were perfect in differing ways.
I was hoping to visit Zeppelin Station, Denver Central Market, or The Source, all indoor markets with dozens of food, booze, clothing, art, and home goods vendors, but we were stuffed and had more murals to catch. The Source is unique in that it doubles as a hotel.
Other restaurants in the area include the experimental Comal Heritage Food Incubator, Work and Class, Cart & Driver, Nocturne, Himchuli Indian & Nepali Cuisine, Fish N Beer, Bigsby’s Folly, Dio Mio, Il Posto, Owlbear BBQ, Beckon, Acorn, Biju’s Little Curry Shop, Stowaway Kitchen, and SO many others.
Denver is a craft beer haven, so you can count on the RiNo to deliver.
Epic Brewing, Blue Moon Brewing Company, Our Mutual Friend Brewing, 14er Brewing, Black Shirt Brewing Company, Mockery Brewing, Great Diving Brewery, Odell Brewing Company, Bierstadt Lagerhaus, and Federales Denver are among the many you can visit here in this neighbourhood alone.
Epic Brewing has held its place at the top of any Best-of lists for years, notable for the view from its deck and over 20 rotating taps of their own. They moved from Utah to Denver in facilitate making more of their own small-batch brews with a serious alcohol content.
Coffee Shops like Port Side, Blue Sparrow, Crema Coffee House, and Novo Coffee are a must, whether you are into craft beer or not.
You can usually find some sort of dispensary on every corner, but in Denver, some of these places are lush and elegant, high security, high profile, and successfully entering one can be a memorable experience of its own.
My favourite treats were the lemon crumble edibles and the cannabis coffee line.
Outside of eating and lushing around, and after you have tracked down as many murals as you can, visit the Forney Museum of Transportation.
The museum was established in 1921 and soon encompassed a massive collection of planes, cars, motorcycles, steam locomotives, and other relics of the transportation world. You can even book a guided tour.
Nightlife in RiNo is endless, with so many breweries and restaurants, but be sure to catch a live concert or event at Mission Ballroom.
The EXDO Event Center is another great option, sometimes with more family-friendly events, and their event schedule includes everything from skating parties and fashion shows.
In the area for a while? Follow us to other awesome neighbourhoods in Denver like LoDo and Berkeley, or to Red Rocks, Breckenridge, Alma, and Boulder!
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8 thoughts on “RiNo, Denver’s River North Mural Wonderland”
I need to remember all of this next time I visit Denver! Thanks for putting this all together! I’m looking forward to using the mural map!
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Hey babe! Hope you have the best return trip, maybe we will finally go together 🖤
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