One of the artiest neighborhoods in the American West didn’t always start that way. Once lined with factories and warehouses and not much color was transformed into the place “where art is made,” according to their slogan. Full of fun and colorful murals, breweries and entertainment venues in reworked industrial buildings, River North Arts District hosts a hip and eclectic crowd. Commonly shortened to RiNo “pronounced “Rhino” if the neighborhood’s adopted Rhino motif wasn’t enough of a clue, small and walkable, and full of some of the city’s coolest breweries, restaurants, and bars, this is our guide on what to do in RiNo.
1. Where to get breakfast in RiNo
Start the morning off in RiNo the right way: with coffee and something to eat to get you fueled for exploration. Crema Coffee House does artisanal coffee while places like Bodega and Stowaway Kitchen do sandwiches, small breakfast and lunch plates, and more. Denver Biscuit Company is exactly what it sounds like, Super Fruit Republic does Acai bowls, and if for some reason none of those sound good, head over to either The Source Market Hall or Denver Central Market for a larger selection of vendors within one space (more on those markets later) but Reunion Bread is a great choice for pastries located in the Source and was actually a James Beard SemiFinalist this year.
- Stowaway Kitchen
- Crema Coffee House
- Super Fruit Republic
- Reunion Bread
- Denver Biscuit Company
- The Source or Denver Central Market
2. Explore 3 different food halls in RiNo
We think that one of the best ways to get a feel for the DNA of a neighborhood is through their food halls, and luckily, RiNo has 3 separate ones that are all very unique. From The Source Hotel & Market Hall which you can also utilize as a staycation in the neighborhood to Denver Central Market and new-er comer Zeppelin Station. A list of vendors can be found in our more in-depth article here.
- Zeppelin Station
- Denver Central Market
- The Source Hotel & Market Hall
3. Where to see the best art and murals in RiNo
With nearly 100 murals and pieces of street art hidden around RiNo, there’s plenty to take in. If you didn’t know, each year CRUSH Walls tapped local and international artists to create brand new murals in the neighborhood, making it a rotating showcase of talent. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, we’d recommend booking a street art tour with a business like Denver Graffiti Tour or Happy Hour Tour with is similar to the first but with an added drink stop. There’s also RiNo Beer and Graffiti Tour which takes you to see some of the best murals in RiNo and some of the best breweries. Don’t forget to attend during First Friday Art Walk, which has been on hiatus but is returning this Spring. The first Friday of every month sees art galleries and art stores stay open later with free entry so you can scope out some of the coolest contemporary art from small artists.
4. What are the best restaurants to eat at in RiNo?
Some of Denver’s most exciting restaurants have set up shop in RiNo, from new places that have just opened like galactic-themed Major Tom which shares a fence and owner with chef-driven Beckon in Larimer, alongside favorites like Il Posto, to fire-oven pizza and raw oyster spot, Cart Driver. Uchi’s beautifully designed greenhouse restaurant sits on Lawrence St. and James Beard Award nominee and executive chef of the new Casa Bonita, Dana Rodriguez, has laid her mark on two RiNo restaurants: Super Mega Bien and Work & Class.
5. End the night with your choice of a variety of live music
There’s plenty of places to enjoy live music in RiNo from swanky spots like Nocturne Jazz Club to venues hosting some of the best international musicians. ReelWorks is hosting enchanting candlelit concerts this year, from a special set of electronic hits on strings from Zedd and other artists happening at the end of March to a touching tribute to Selena Quintanilla in April. Mission Ballroom has some heavy hitters performing this year like Steve Aoki, Billy Idol, Death Grips, the Pixies, and Ice Cube, and Larimer Lounge has a lineup of alternative and punk bands and electronic artists to enjoy.