Downtown Dispatch: First Friday Fun

First Fridays is coming up this week and I thought it would be nice to share with you a little history on the event, as well as some tips about where to go, where to park, and what you shouldn’t miss while out during FF.

An artist paints a mural during First Friday. Photo by Chelsea Brown.

During the past several years, FF has seen some major changes. In the beginning, local artists used to rule the streets down Roosevelt and Grand Avenues in downtown Phoenix. A few years later, FF saw a bit of a change as the city of Phoenix became involved, and artists were given the opportunity to set up down the Roosevelt (and also pay a fee to be involved). Today, FF is an art gallery and small booth-based event that commands the attention of hundreds of people and is a great event for local artists and art enthusiasts of all kinds.

So now that you’ve learned a little bit about FF’s history, here’s your field guide to the event:

Get downtown around 6 p.m., park in the school garages if you already have a parking pass (nobody but students can park in these garages and they are the best way to beat the FF parking jams), but if you don’t have a pass, park near the Downtown Phoenix Public Market, or in the parking lot of the Phoenix Public Library (a bit of a walk, but so worth it). Start by checking out all the great boutiques and shops down Roosevelt Row, including The Grow-Op, Butter Toast Boutique, Made, and Jobot Coffee for an evening coffee pick-me-up. Next, explore the art galleries in the same area, including The Eye Lounge, Monorchid, and Modified Arts. Oh, and don’t forget to check out all the booths set up along the way.

After you’ve explored the Roosevelt Row area, walk, drive, or ride the bus down to Grand Avenue and explore all the wonderful galleries that line the street closest to McKinley and Roosevelt. Don’t forget to check out Bragg’s Pie Factory, as there are so many great galleries and shops within it, and if you’re hungry pick up something to eat at Sapna Café (located on the corner of Bragg’s).

First Friday is this Friday, March 4 and usually runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.