Denver Travel Tips from the Cofounder of the City’s Most Vibrant Arts District
Tracy Weil, one of the founders of the RiNo Arts District, has left an indelible imprint on the Mile High City. Here, he shares his favorite galleries and more spots to have fun in town
When artist Tracy Weil cofounded Denver’s River North Art District in 2005, he sparked a neighborhood transformation. Today, the city’s former industrial center is a hub of creativity, lovingly nicknamed RiNo. Weil’s studio and gallery, Weilworks, is a must-visit contemporary-art space in the area.
Weil is a regular at Safta at the Source Hotel and Market Hall and Hop Alley. Safta has amazing food (pictured above) inspired by the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa, plus a welcoming bar with great views, he says. His go-to order: crab hummus, roasted cauliflower, and crispy eggplant. Hop Alley, located on the east side of the district, serves progressive Chinese fare and specialty cocktails. Weil’s favorite dishes include the spicy fried chicken, Beijing duck roll, and salt-and-pepper soft-shell crab.
The RiNo art district has 22 galleries and more than 200 artist studios district wide. The best opportunity to see the galleries and studios is on the first Friday of each month, says Weil. There is an amazing diversity of artwork in the district, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, digital art, and more. “Some of my favorite galleries are the Pattern Shop Studio, Helikon Gallery, Plinth Gallery, fooLPRoof, Dateline, and Visions West Gallery,” he says. “Your first stop to the district should be the RiNo Made, where you can find over 100 of the local artists’ work as well as area maps of the district and murals.” The neighborhood’s hundreds of murals are created during the RiNo’s annual urban-art festival called CRUSH (Creative Rituals Under Social Harmony) WALLS, held the first week in September. “This is where over 70 local artists and seven international artists converge in the district to create 80-plus murals in one week,” explains Weil. “Most artists include their Instagram on their pieces and we encourage visitors to tag the artist in their photos of the works.”
Thomas J. Story
The Ramble Hotel (pictured above) is located in the heart of the art district off of Larimer and 25th, central to district murals, galleries, and restaurants. “I love that when you walk into the hotel you actually walk into the Death & Co. bar to check in,” says Weil. “The rooms are beautiful and the authentic new architecture fits into the neighborhood aesthetic.”