RiNo/Five Points Tour

By Tessa Cheek
Photos by Sarah Harvey

An industrial neighborhood wedged between the South Platte River and the historic neighborhoods of Five Points and Curtis Park, RiNo (River North) is Denver’s newest arts district. Curtis Park and Five Points are some of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Denver, and many of the service agencies serving those experiencing homelessness are located here.

Art by Book Williams, Jr.

1. RedLine: Start with art 

Inside their avant-garde building, the artists, curators, and innovators at RedLine are busy bringing the community together in creative ways. Swing by to check out the work of local and international artists committed to RedLine’s vision for beautiful social change.  

Location: 2350 Arapahoe St. 

Hours: Tue–Fri 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
                 Sat–Sun 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Contact: 303-296-4448, redlineart.org

Vendor Lando Allen: “I remember when they had a temp service down here, Trojan [near Park Ave. and Stout]. I used to wake up and go to it every morning. It was so convenient because it was close to the shelters. People used to go there and work their butt off. Now you have to walk all the way down Colfax for Ready Man. Personally, I don’t like dealing with Ready Man. That’s the reason I came to the Denver VOICE.”

“I stayed at Jesus Saves. I wouldn’t recommend it,” says Lando, laughing. Then he stops laughing, when he remembers the time he stayed at Samaritan House and his belongings were stolen: “I lost the only picture I had of my daughter. That was very painful.”


2. The Big Wonderful  

If you’re in RiNo on a Saturday, you may be asking yourself, “Where is everyone?” This outdoor market-meets-beer-garden is large and lovely. Live music blares from the truck-bed stage, food trucks abound, and folks of all ages play in the sandbox/volleyball courts.  

Location: 2600 block of Arapahoe St. 

Hours: Sat, noon to nightfall 

Contact: thebigwonderful.com


3. Gallery Alley:  

Locals know that much of the art in RiNo isn’t in galleries, it’s on them. Work your way north from 25th St. via any of the alleys between Lawrence and Blake. You’ll be treated to canyons of story-high murals and sneak peeks of the overgrown industrial yards that are the neighborhood’s secret gardens.  

Location: Alleys between Lawrence and Blake, 25th through 32nd 

Hours:  Always, although murals are most easily seen in light of day. During the evening, those who use the alleys for shelter are settling down for the night. 


4. Get on the Sunset Train 

With some of the largest-remaining open spaces in downtown Denver, and perhaps the highest density of breweries, RiNo is the best area in town to scope a late-afternoon brew and sit down looking west. We recommend Black Shirt Brewering Co. A bartender may have to teach you how to drink from their trademark asymmetrical snifters, but you’ll be sipping with a smile when you get a look at the slow trains passing the Rockies from the brew pub’s back patio.  

Location: 3719 Walnut St.

Hours: Weds & Thurs 5 p.m.–10 p.m.,
                Fri–Sun 2 p.m.–10 p.m.

Contact: 303-993-2799; blackshirtbrewingco.com


5. Denver’s Oldest Park 

Mestizo-Curtis Park isn’t just Denver’s first park, it’s also the beating heart of RiNo and connected neighborhoods. Check out the historical markers to find out when public “spooning” first became legal in the Wild West, then cool off in the community’s favorite outdoor pool. Open swim is every summer afternoon and passes are $1 for kids and $3.50 for adults.  

Location: 31st Ave. & Curtis St.

Hours: Park: all day; open swim: noon–6 p.m.

Contact: 303-292-2363, denvergov.org/swimmingpools

Vendor Joe Osckel grew up in the Curtis Park neighborhood. It’s still his favorite park in Denver.