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Living in RiNo, Denver

Handcrafted rusted steel street art sign with the word "art" cut out

What is the RiNo district—and what does RiNo stand for?
Short for the River North Art District, RiNo (pronounced like the pachyderm) is a magnet for creatives of every ilk. Thanks to scores of artists, designers, architects, brewers, winemakers, coffee roasters, and furniture makers, what was once a once rundown industrial area has been transformed into a thriving art scene—hence the neighborhood’s official slogan, “Where Art Is Made” and the reason people are moving to RiNo in droves. Abandoned factories now house artisan food markets and art galleries, old warehouses are home to breweries and restaurants, and the neighborhood’s once-austere building facades now serve as canvases for vibrant street murals. A grassroots nonprofit called RiNo Arts District works to ensure that new creative initiatives are always in the works for the neighborhood, helping it maintain its status as Denver’s artistic hub.

Where is the RiNo district?
RiNo is just north of downtown Denver, bordered by I-70 to the north, Park Avenue West to the south, I-25 to the west, and Arapahoe Street to the east. While some consider it to be part of the larger Five Points neighborhood, RiNo purists maintain that it’s a neighborhood in its own right.

Why Live in RiNo?
Living in RiNo means being immersed in a cutting-edge creative scene, having access to some of the city’s hippest restaurants and bars, and being part of a community that’s dedicated to arts and culture.

One of the first things you’ll notice when you get to the neighborhood is the street murals on the building facades and in the alleyways. There are nearly 100 to date, and, thanks to the RiNo Mural Program, which works with local artists on monthly installations, more are always on the horizon. Any casual stroll through RiNo will take you past several murals, but if you want the full experience, use the RiNo murals map to plan your tour and learn more about the artists.

Cold out? Not to worry—there’s art inside, too! RiNo is home to some of Denver’s hottest galleries. FoolPRoof, one of Denver’s top contemporary art galleries, shows works from well-known established artists, emerging newcomers, and everyone in between. PlatteForum, a youth-development artist-in-residence program, pairs professional artists with K-12 students from marginalized communities to create a body of work. Anc check out Plinth for its monthly exhibits of contemporary ceramics.

When you’re ready to eat, RiNo has you covered. The Source is great for an indecisive crowd. Housed in an 1880s ironworks building, it has something for everything, including tacos, sushi, israeli fare, pizza, barbecue, coffee, and more. (It’s also a hotel, so a great spot to keep in mind for out-of-town guests.) Denver Central Market is another crowd-pleaser, with options like woodfired pizza, artisanal ice cream, and craft cocktails. Other RiNo favorites include Osaka Ramen for bowls of steaming noodles, Il Posto for Italian, and Work & Class for Latin American fare.

Of course, Denver wouldn’t be Denver without its craft breweries, and RiNo has them in droves. Locals love Epic Brewing, Great Divide, and Ratio Beerworks are great places to start, or you could make a day of it by following the RiNo section of the Denver Beer Trail.

How easy is it to get around RiNo?
Not only can you walk RiNo—you absolutely should! The neighborhood is quite small, so it’s easy to cover it on foot, and by walking, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to take in the street murals, stop in the shops, explore the parks, and enjoy the restaurants and bars. It’s also a great neighborhood to navigate by bike, thanks to the two-way bike lanes. And you have to hop on an eTuk at least once. The three-wheeled electric mini-buses are a delightful way to take in the neighborhood.