The River North Arts District, or RiNo, started as an unassuming, historic neighborhood in north Denver that was home to abandoned industrial spaces, vacant lots, and railroad tracks. Entrepreneurs and artists saw beauty in the rustic buildings and began transforming them into mixed-use spaces for retail, startups, and studios. Thus, the River North Arts District was born in 2005 and has been attracting visionaries ever since.
Here’s what it’s like to live in this desirable neighborhood.
Countless publications have long cited RiNo as one of the hippest Denver neighborhoods. Restaurant openings, new breweries, and innovative events seem to crop up in this small district just outside of Denver’s bustling downtown.
RiNo’s streets are lined with colorful murals, eye-catching artwork, and a multitude of visitors, transplants, and natives who are drawn to this quirky enclave. The neighborhood buzzes with energy no matter the time of day. When the neighborhood underwent a resurgence, developers and city officials took special care to ensure the happening area retained much of its charm and industrial feel. RiNo’s vibe melds a progressive, downtown energy with individualistic inspiration that drives its residents to continue creating, innovating, and progressing.
Things to Do
There’s no shortage of things to do throughout the River North district. Year-round activities include bar-hopping between its many local breweries or cozying up with a sweet treat and hot toddy at one of two indoor markets.
The neighborhood’s roots are deeply grounded in its artistic background, made apparent in numerous studios that line the main drag and pepper back alleyways, side streets, and loft spaces. Art enthusiasts can spend an entire week touring studios, meeting other creative people, or participating in workshops.
Photographers, both amateur and professional, will enjoy strolling up and down RiNo’s lively streets and snapping photos of renowned murals. From mystical mountain-scapes to pop-art inspired geometric patterns, dress in your cutest summer outfit for Instagram worthy pics in front of legendary graffiti.
Sip one at one of the original wine canneries, Infinite Monkey Theorem, or catch a show at Mission Ballroom. Sway to some groovy jazz at Nocturne or meander through artist booths at First Friday, a monthly art showcase that always draws a crowd.
The entire neighborhood of RiNo is walkable from tip to tail, but visitors and residents can enjoy easy cruising via electric scooters, bike rentals, eTuks, or pedicabs. Many residents of RiNo find they don’t need cars to access all that the city has to offer.
The Light Rail station at 38th and Blake also offers RiNo dwellers an easy way to commute to the Tech Center and other outlying suburbs. But most RiNo residents will agree that walking is the best way to get from point A to point B in this lively enclave.
Characterized by high demand and prices, the RiNo real estate market is red hot and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Space is limited with much of it dedicated to office, retail, and restaurant spaces. Single-family homes are few and far between but true gems when discovered.
Loft spaces for purchase are aplenty and contribute to RiNo’s overall industrial, urban vibe. Modern, open floor plans meld with brick and steel furnishings to create a warm, inviting downtown dwelling. Homes, condos, and lofts currently range anywhere from the high $300s to over $1.5 million, according to neighborhoods.com listings.
Where to Eat and Drink
Tourists can spend an entire week in RiNo, dining out for every meal, and still not scratch the surface of the neighborhood’s restaurants, bars, and eateries. As this area continues to grow in popularity, new dining establishments are putting down roots here.
RiNo’s restaurants offer fine dining Italian cuisine, authentic Mexican food, and much more. The Denver Central Market and The Source boast fantastic dining-hall options and are consistently packed on the weekends. Browse a variety of food and beverage options, from barbeque to burritos and everything in between.
For an upscale adventure and incredible atmosphere, head to Bigsby’s Folly or indulge in a hearty bowl of handmade pasta straight from the motherland at Dio Mio. Grab a quick bite at Comal Heritage Food Incubator or load up on street tacos and margs on the rooftop deck of Los Chingones.
Beer enthusiasts needn’t travel far for a refreshing, distinctive craft brew. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a brewery or distillery in RiNo. Our Mutual Friend, 10 Barrel Brewing, Epic Brewing, Ratio Beerworks, and more pepper each block offering an array of brews from folks who enjoy making it just as much as they love drinking it.
While there are few greenspaces within RiNo, the neighborhood is surrounded by some of Denver’s most beloved parks. Just west is Confluence Park that draws people to the banks of the Platte River all summer long. Mestizo-Curtis Park and St. Charles Place Park are just outside the neighborhood bounds and provide some additional nature in the heart of Denver.
The Bottom Line
It should come as no surprise that RiNo consistently tops lists of the coolest neighborhoods in Denver. It’s mix of eclectic studio spaces, open-air lofts, and refurbished industrial spaces foster the district’s cool vibe. Life in RiNo is anything but boring, and residents will find their social calendars completely booked if they so desire. For interested homebuyers, RiNo showcases all the best that Denver has to offer.