Heading to the Mile High City and want a hip, happening, and culturally cool experience? Make your way to Denver’s trendy River North Art District. Fondly called ‘RiNo’ by the locals, this dynamic neighborhood boasts an exciting blend of industrial revival and urban charm with an eclectic, laid-back vibe.
Clinging to its punk-rock roots, RiNo rocks the creative scene with experimental galleries, vibrant street art, and underground concert venues in revamped industrial buildings. Adorned with rainbow-hued murals, Upper Larimer Street is home to creative businesses, from designers to winemakers.
Buzzing brewpubs, chic cocktail lounges, and late-night food trucks come alive at night to the sounds of jazz floating in the air, and hole-in-the-wall venues host up-and-coming bands.
Ready to Rock RiNo? You’ll have the River North Art District (RiNo), Denver, at your fingertips with this complete guide for what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay!
What to see & do in Denver’s River North Art District
Denver Central Market
Stock up on goodies for your stay at the Denver Central Market. Home to the city’s finest local vendors and artisans, this vibrant food hall and marketplace is a must-visit for fresh produce and delicious homemade treats.
Situated at 27th Street and Larimer Street in the heart of RiNo, the Denver Central Market has been the place for fresh produce, meats, and other delectable treats since the late 1800s. Exuding a blend of old-world charm and contemporary flair, the market truly captures the essence of Denver’s culinary and cultural scene.
Wander around the enticing array of food stalls and eateries selling everything from artisanal cheeses and freshly baked bread to gourmet chocolates. Denver Central Market also has an assortment of specialty shops like a butcher, a fishmonger, a florist, and a wine shop. If you’re looking for high-quality ingredients, unique gifts, or fresh flowers, this treasure trove won’t disappoint!
Get a real taste of RiNo’s creative spirit at The Source. Located in what was once an old iron factory, The Source Hotel & Market Hall is an innovative complex with a Scandi-style boutique hotel and a market hall with artisanal eateries.
The thoughtfully designed Source complex reflects the industrial vibe of the former low-rise manufacturing area and the creative ethos of Denver’s RiNo Art District. Grab a quick bite at one of the complex’s eateries on the ground floor, or head up to the rooftop bar and restaurant for a languid lunch with skyline views.
One too many cocktails at the bar? Spend the night at the stylish hotel where the focus of the rooms and suites is the breathtaking city views.
Forney Museum of Transportation
Cars, bikes, trains, and planes – the Forney Museum of Transportation has them all! If you’re a fan of machines and motors, carve out a few hours to explore this gem! Boasting an unrivaled collection of over 600 artifacts relating to transportation throughout history, this unique Denver museum promises an unforgettable journey through the world of transport.
Established in 1961 by J.D. Forney, the Forney Museum of Transportation houses an eclectic assortment of vehicles, from antique cars and motorcycles to trains, bicycles, and aircraft. Marvel at beautifully restored classic cars like Ford Model T, Rolls-Royce, and Corvette. Admire the incredible array of two-wheeled wonders, from early Harley-Davidsons to Indian Motorcycles and Triumphs.
At the Forney Museum of Transportation, you’ll also discover an exceptional collection of trains and rail-related artifacts. Explore vintage locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses that once traversed the railways of the United States. The museum’s train exhibits offer a fascinating look into the bygone era of steam and diesel-powered locomotion, with meticulously restored engines still captivating the imagination.
Globe Hall Live Music and BBQ
Live music and BBQ sound like a plan? Add the aptly named Globe Hall Live Music and BBQ to your Denver trip itinerary for a night to remember! A staple of Denver’s robust live music scene, this vibrant joint combines fantastic live music performances with mouthwatering barbecue and cold beer– what more could you want?
You’ll find Globe Hall on Logan Street in Globeville, in the northern part of RiNo, in a rustic building with a restaurant and a music hall. Go hungry and tuck into plates of succulent brisket, tender ribs, flavorful pulled pork, or juicy chicken and sides!
After dinner, head next door to the music hall to enjoy live music performances by various talented artists. One of the coolest places to visit in Denver for music fans, the venue offers a diverse lineup of local and national acts, from rock and folk to country and blues. Whether you prefer grooving to the tunes of a local band or witnessing a renowned musician, Globe Hall promises an unforgettable dining and live music experience.
The Mission Ballroom
Another fantastic spot to dive into Denver’s thriving music scene is the Mission Ballroom on Wynkoop Street. This state-of-the-art venue is one of Denver’s premier live music venues, offering a world-class experience for artists and concertgoers.
The Mission Ballroom’s architectural design is both visually striking and acoustically exceptional. The venue boasts a spacious, open floor plan that can accommodate up to 3,950 people, allowing for an intimate yet energetic atmosphere.
The cutting-edge sound system is one of The Mission Ballroom’s standout features. Equipped with advanced technology, the venue delivers crystal-clear audio that captures the nuances and power of live shows. Whether it’s the thumping bass of a rock concert or the intricate melodies of an orchestral performance, be prepared to be blown away!
If you’re a punk and rock fan, head to the Larimer Lounge for an evening of cool cocktails and live music. Synonymous with Denver’s live music scene, this iconic music venue is one of the city’s original independent music venues and still rocks!
A cozy, intimate atmosphere abounds at the Larimer Lounge and offers concertgoers the chance to experience performances up close. The venue’s lineup showcases an eclectic mix of musical genres, from indie rock and alternative to punk, folk, and electronic music.
The Larimer Lounge hosts a variety of other events and activities. These may include DJ nights, dance parties, themed events, and special showcases. When you need a break from the chaos, kick back in the lounge over cocktails or on the spacious outdoor patio under the stars.
Where to eat & drink
With its industrial charm and artistic flair, RiNo has become a hotbed for culinary innovation, attracting food enthusiasts from near and far. From mouthwatering barbecue to Latin American delights, wine bars, multi-purpose venues, and lively bars, RiNo promises a culinary adventure like no other.
Calling all barbecue lovers! Smōk Barbecue is a must if you love mouthwatering, slow-smoked meats. Tuck into succulent brisket and tender ribs to juicy pulled pork cooked to perfection using traditional smoking techniques. Prefer your meat white to red, order the famed Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich and a raft of southern-inspired sides – you won’t be disappointed!
Take your tastebuds on a culinary journey to Latin America with an elevated dining experience at Mister Oso. Acclaimed chef Blake Edmunds produces mouthwatering dishes of traditional flavors with a modern twist. Think ceviche, empanadas, and wood-fired meats, all paired with creative cocktails and global wines.
When it’s wine o’clock, the only place to be is Barcelona! Stylish and sophisticated, Barcelona Wine Bar is wine-lover heaven! Boasting over 400 wines from around the world, including rare finds. Pair your vino with various delectable tapas, including patatas bravas, gambas al Ajello, and charcuterie boards.
Coffee, beer, and live music come together at Improper City. More than just a bar, this sprawling indoor-outdoor venue offers a rotating selection of craft beers, specialty cocktails, and a curated coffee program. Grab some grub from rotating food trucks and kick back to regular live performances.
If you’re looking for a spot that combines the unexpected, the delightful, and the downright quirky, Finn’s Manor is your go-to. Spirits flow freely (over 800 of them!), and the bartender’s mixology skills are as impressive as a wizard conjuring in this whimsical wonderland. Order the Gallow Glass or the Nutella Favela for something out of this world!
A neighborhood favorite with a lively atmosphere and a laid-back crowd, Meadowlark Bar is a fantastic spot for a night out with friends. With its warm ambiance, local artwork, and friendly bartenders, it feels like a home away from home. Sip on craft beers, creative cocktails, or your favorite spirits while tapping your feet to live music from local bands or DJs.
Where to stay
Although the accommodation selection is limited, River North Art District is one of the coolest places to stay in Denver. If you run out of options here, Downtown Denver and Lower Downtown (LoDo) are just steps away and host many of the city’s top hotels.
With a contemporary design, comfortable rooms, and convenient amenities, Vīb Hotel by Best Western Denver RiNo offers modern and stylish accommodation in the heart of the vibrant River North Art District. Explore the area on free bikes and unwind over drinks on the spacious terrace.
Expect Scandi-style rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and charming city views at the Source Hotel. Upgrade to a suite for extra space and soaking tubs and stay connected with free Wi-Fi. Relax on the rooftop terrace over drinks from the hotel bar and cool off in the plunge pool. Dine at one of the many eateries on the ground floor.
Artsy and creative, the Catbird Hotel is an upmarket apartment hotel adorned with original artwork. Spacious studios have kitchenettes, dishwashers, living/dining areas, and cozy sleeping lofts. Dine on casual cuisine at a laid-back café or a stylish rooftop and stay connected with the world with free Wi-Fi.