Downtown Las Vegas isn’t just about bright lights and casino excitement. Although DTLV is legendary for its neon lights and historic gaming establishments, the area also offers its fair share of arts and culture.
The amazing art scene is due in large part to First Friday — a free art festival held on the first Friday of every month that’s been going strong since its 2002 debut. Today, First Friday welcomes over 20,000 guests and is the largest event of its kind in Las Vegas. First Friday is popular with locals and visitors alike; some guests to downtown Las Vegas travel here specifically for this event. Here is everything you need to know about this eccentric event.
First Friday Transportation and Parking
First Friday is held in the Arts District of downtown Las Vegas. The spacious district also referred to as 18b, is home to a variety of galleries and boutiques that participate in this highly popular event. It’s so popular, in fact, that reaching the festival by car can sometimes be a challenge.
Consider using a parking garage, such as the free lot at 7th and Ogden – just make sure to arrive early at this lot to get a space. Paid parking areas are also an option, such as the Fremont St. Experience lot on 4th and Carson, or The Plaza Hotel & Casino lot on Main and Carson. Royal Rewards members may qualify for free parking.
If possible, walking to First Friday is a hassle-free option, although crowds can get heavy at times.
The First Friday Experience
First Friday is an art event; however, guests also enjoy incredible food and live entertainment. The event is a great opportunity for both visitors and locals to discover talented local artists. Thanks to this venue, pedestrian traffic in the downtown area has grown by leaps and bounds. First Friday has also helped promote the fantastic small businesses in the district.
Dress comfortably — think outdoor festival wear — and prepare for lots of walking. If you need a break, there are ample cafes and restaurants where you can rest your feet and grab a bite. A piece of art purchased at First Friday is a great souvenir to commemorate your time in Vegas.
The Arts District spans 18 blocks; here, you’ll find art galleries and so much more. Visit Glam Factory Vintage on Colorado for incredible vintage clothing. If its home décor you’re after, stop by Inside Style, a boutique specializing in interior décor.
You’re likely to work up an appetite at First Friday — luckily, there are plenty of palate-pleasing downtown Vegas food options available. Casa Don Juan serves up authentic Mexican cuisine, and for fusion fare and cocktails, head to Mingo’s. There are even hair salons and tattoo parlors in this eclectic district.
First Friday: Something for Everyone
Although there’s nothing wrong with relaxing in your plush downtown Vegas hotel suite, First Friday is a fantastic opportunity to get outside and mingle with guests and locals.
You don’t even need to be an art enthusiast to enjoy this event because there’s something to appeal to everyone! Although you’re sure to discover art that appeals to you at this event, there’s plenty of food, beverages, and street entertainment to enjoy as well. When visiting Vegas, attending First Friday is part of a well-rounded experience.