DENVER | I’ve been to many cities around the world with neighbourhoods that are known for their street art. After exploring the street art of Denver’s Five Points/RiNo, I have no hesitation in calling it one of the best neighbourhoods for street art in the world.
RiNo, short for ‘River North Art District’, is a micro neighbourhood of sorts. Located within the Five Points neighbourhood proper, it’s one of the most exciting parts of Denver. It’s an area that’s rich in history, full of brilliant bars, restaurants, and of course street art. As is the case with many similar areas in the world, it’s a neighbourhood that’s rapidly gentrifying, and figuring out how to evolve without losing its soul.
At one time, Five Points was the historic centre of Denver’s black community, the “Harlem of the West”. Traces of this past exist, but are becoming increasingly hard to find. If you didn’t do your own research, you’d never know. There are many murals in the area that deal with this history, gentrification, and the wider political and social landscape of the city.
As well as these topics, the street art of RiNo/Five Points covers and assortment of topics. There are murals large and small, murals that began as illegal installations that became beloved by the community, and murals with no wider meaning other than that which is personal to the artists. Artists from Denver, the rest of the US, and the world, flock to the neighbourhood to create their pieces.
In my RiNo/Five Points street art guide, I’ve dealt with things a bit differently that in most of my street art guides. Because the neighbourhood has such a vast amount of street art throughout, I’ve set up the guide as suggested walk, providing you with a route that will allow you to see some of the area’s best murals.
Given just how much art is in the area, I encourage you to go ‘off route’ when exploring the street art of RiNo/Five Points. If you see something interesting and that takes you on a little journey to a part of the neighbourhood not covered in this guide, do it. You can always circle back later on in the day.
What I would suggest is that you dedicate a full day to exploring the neighbourhood. With all of the food and drink in the area, independent boutiques, and street art, you can easily enjoy a full day without leaving RiNo/Five Points. In fact, it took me a day and a half to explore everything that I wanted to during my visit, and even then I know that I only scratched the surface. Happy exploring!
Larimer & Walnut Streets
A lot of the RiNo/Five Point’s murals can be round along Larimer Street and Walnut Street. You can use these two main streets as the anchor for your street art walk. Start at the corner of Larimer and 26th, and walk up towards the corner of Walnut and 30th. There’s lots of street art on Larimer and Walnut, as well as the smaller streets and alleyways that run between them.
Depending on the time of day, you might feel like a bite to eat, any maybe a coffee or something stronger to drink. Great options in this part of RiNo/Five Points are Crema Coffee House for coffee and brunch; Redeemer Pizza for some of the best pizza (whole or by the slice) in town; and Our Mutual Friend Brewing for a diverse selection of some of the best beers in a neighbourhood that’s full of breweries. Pit Fiend Barbecue, next door to Our Mutual Friend, does some of Denver’s best low and slow BBQ, while Denver Central Market is a refurbished 1920s building that’s home to vendors selling an assortment of top quality food and drink from around the globe.
Even if you don’t go to Denver Central Market to eat or drink, be sure to check out the alleyway and carpark at the rear of the market. It’s full of very impressive large-scale murals.
Once you hit the corner of Walnut and 30th, you have two options. You can continue east along Larimer until you reach Downing Street, which forms the eastern border of RiNo/Five Points, or walk back to 26th street, along Blake Street.
There are murals all along Blake Street. In particular, explore the area between 31th and 27th. If you get thirsty, pop into Bierstadt Lagerhaus. The local brewery specialises in German and Central European style beers, brewing what are considered the best beers of those styles in town. Their ‘slow pour pilsner’, which takes 5 minutes to pour and comes with a tall, creamy head, is legendary. For coffee, check out Blue Sparrow Coffee.
Across The Rail Lines (Downing Street)
Downing Street forms a kind of four way intersection with Larimer Street, 36th Street, and E 37th Ave. Head north up 36th street and you’ll see an overpass that allows you to cross the rail lines. Head over, and you’ll find an area that’s full of construction. It’s also full of street art. In particular, the area between the rail lines, the Platte River, 38th street, and 35th street.
In this area you’ll find the Vīb Hotel By Best Western Denver RiNo. It’s where I stayed while I was in town, and it’s worth considering if you’re looking for accommodation in Denver. It’s a new hotel, reasonably priced, and as this guide shows, is in a great location.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat in this part of town, check our Levantine restaurant Safta, which offers contemporary takes on the dishes and flavours of the region. If you’re in the mood for a drink around here, check out Yacht Club. It does require you to head back over the rail lines and onto E 37th Ave, but is well worth it. It’s considered one of the best cocktail bars in town and I rate it highly.
Identified artists featured in the image gallery include:
- Armando Silva
- Austin Zucchini-Fowler
- Carmen Richards
- Casey Kawaguchi
- Chad Bolsinger
- Danielle Seewalker
- Jeremy Burns
- Juls Mendoza
- Kenzie Sitterud
- Koko Collab
- Latasha Greene
- Lindee Zimmer
- Marissa “Revery” Napoletano
- Menace & Resa
- Pat Milbery
- Thomas “Detour” Evans
Happy discoveries on your walk through RiNo/Five Points using my RiNo/Five Points street art guide. What are your favourites places for street art in RiNo/Five Points? For more places to find street art in Denver, be sure to check out my Denver Street Art Guide.