By Donna Fowler
Art that grabs a hold of you and won’t let go is what has made Denver’s River North Art District ─ RiNo ─ one of Local Planet’s 10 Hottest ‘Hoods in the Country to Visit. Here, artists of all stripes create everything from street murals and craft beer, to jazz, poetry and meals not to be believed.
Tucked away in Denver’s industrial district, RiNo is located between Park Avenue and I-70 to the south and north, and I-25 and Lawrence Street to the west and east. Interspersed among the galleries, art collectives, businesses and eateries are pockets of unique and inviting residences.
Bradford Real Estate broker Greg Wilcox is a former RiNo resident who knows all about RiNo’s charms and makes a point of dropping by his old neighborhood whenever he gets the chance.
“RiNo is such a creative, forward-thinking community,” Greg says. “They collectively support their artists and neighbors, whether they’re sculptors, architects, designers, craftsman or restaurant owners. More and more of its work spaces have become social communities. It’s like a movement that has a really good vibe.”
The area’s location and mixed-use development make for a great place to both live and work. Packed with everything from grocery stores to gyms to a robust restaurant and bar scene, community members don’t really need to venture far from home for what they need.
Much of RiNo is accessible by foot, and while he admits that it can sometimes feel like you’re walking around what seems like an industrial graveyard, Greg says this is where you’ll find the hidden gems. It also has great bike access to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for opportunities to get out, explore and socialize, there are plenty from which to choose. For instance, RiNo’s galleries and other creative venues host First Friday art events, while Final Fridays, held May through August, focus on music.
Then there RiNo’s many restaurants and bars. These six are Greg’s stand-outs.
Bar Fausto, 3126 Larimer St., is a fun casual bar/eatery that serves specialty and classic cocktails, unique Italian-inspired bar snacks, oysters and charcuterie.
Central Market, 2669 Larimer St., brings a mix of Denver culinary favorites under one roof. The Denver Post calls Central Market a “one-stop culinary adventure where people can find cheeses, breads, fresh seafood, cured meats, pastries and delicious cocktails.”
Bigsby’s Folly, 3563 Wazee St., is a full-production urban craft winery that bills itself as a cozy neighborhood establishment that brings its customers closer to the art and science of wine making. “This is a great place to have a glass of wine before dinner while waiting for a table at one of your favorite restaurants in town,” says Greg.
The Ramble Hotel, 25th and Larimer streets, is a boutique 50-room hotel set to open in early 2018. The hotel will include a classic theatre and bar, flexible event space and retail on the main floor. Death & Co from New York City will handle The Ramble’s beverage-forward room service program and lobby bar. The hotel will also feature a new restaurant from the creators of Work & Class.
Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee St., is a 100,000-square-foot marketplace and creative workspace. It features eight international street food stands, a full-service anchor restaurant, two bars and a unique collection of design-forward goods and garments.