It is growing at an astronomical rate for both business and residential purposes, and is climbing the charts as the hip place to be in Denver. Packed with tons of small, local businesses including galleries, coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, this area is growing at a speed that even the most avid foodies, art aficionados, bar-goers, and brewery connoisseurs in Colorado can’t even keep up with.
Just east of the Colorado Rockies stadium – Coors Field – this is definitely a neighborhood in transition. RiNo used to be an industrial area and is very quickly turning into the place to be for Denver. Especially attracting the trendy, artisanal, creative, artsy crowd, this neighborhood just outside of downtown Denver is a piece of artwork in production. Known to some of the long-time Denver residents as five points, this area is overcoming its past reputation in a very good way.
Clearly evident as you drive, bike or walk down the streets, the building facades vary wildly depending on the state in which they are being developed or in many cases, re-developed. As with the buildings, the residents are also very diverse and are a mix of long-term residents from the pre-resurgence and the new hipster crowd that has rapidly been moving into the area.
There is a large mix of older warehouse-esque buildings (some a bit more rundown than others) and new trendy apartment buildings being added to the mix. For the most part, this part of Denver is a little more off-the-cuff than the rest and has a more industrialized feel to it.
Parking is generally not an issue in RiNo as there are lots of alley ways between the underdeveloped buildings. There are very few meters so parking is generally free and can be as long-term as you want. As a slight downside, due to the lack of attention on parking and neighborhood development of the streets, it’s missing sidewalks and streetlights in some places so it can be a bit intimidating walking at night.
One of the newest additions to Denver’s bar scenes is the Denver pedal bike which takes off from the one and only Denver Mile High Spirits, which you may guess makes their own spirits. If you join this pedal bike, you and 15 friends will enjoy a bar crawl like no other (and one you probably won’t remember). This 16-person bicycle has a BYOB bar on board. You provide the man power (yes, you actually have to pedal) to take yourselves through the streets of RiNo and LoDo, stopping at bars and breweries for a drink and hopefully a bite of food.
As if that bit of teamwork drinking/ biking wasn’t enough, RiNo also features one of the greatest Cooperatives in all of Colorado. The Source is a fantastic collection of food artisans and retailers offering visitors everything from locally-made cheeses to freshly-baked bread to craft cocktails; from street tacos to contemporary flower arrangements and of course, brewed right in The Source, local craft beer.
Aside from Crooked Stave located in The Source, RiNo is quickly becoming the neighborhood mecca of small craft breweries, including the aptly named River North Brewery, Our Mutual Friend, Black Shirt Brewing, Epic Brewing and the up-and-coming new location of a long-time Denver brewery, Great Divide, which is opening a second location in this neighborhood. A not-to-miss spot is Jake's Food and Spirits, which is a gem of a place with a dog-friendly outdoor patio serving area.
RiNo is not only a neighborhood with one of the highest concentration of breweries in Denver, it is also a thriving art district with a plethora of different studios and galleries for all tastes. The Blake Street Glass Shop ( it’s not THAT kind of glass), aBuzz Gallery and Blue Silo Studios, just to name a few.
As the frosting on this already pretty tasty cake, the RiNo neighborhood throws regular streets festivals that include live music, and of course a sampling of the food, beer, and art made and sold right in the neighborhood by the residents that live and work there.
A hidden gem, and by that I mean literally one of the shiniest place in the neighborhood, is the Walnut Room. It appears to be a small pizza place/bar from the outside but once you’re inside you’ll notice a secret door to the back where there is a medium sized concert hall. Check the schedule to see if one of your favorite (or soon to be favorite) bands is playing a show there and you won’t be disappointed by the quaint but loud and rockin’ place.
To steal a line from Mr. Vader, the force is strong with this one. And in this case by force, we mean revival. We can’t wait to see how much more this area will transform in the next couple of years.