First Friday might seem complicated if you've never done it. It really isn't. If you're like me, you want to know what 's going to happen before you get somewhere. Here are some tips to help you be prepared for First Friday, and to understand how it works.
First Friday Tips
- I don't know why the organization's website calls it both First Fridays (plural) and First Friday (singular). It has always been just First Friday, without an "s". The official website is often not updated, being run totally by volunteers. Go with an open mind, and don't get frustrated if there are some changes or surprises along the way.
- First Friday has grown dramatically over the years. That's great for the downtown Phoenix arts community, but it also means that you probably won't get to see all the art spaces in one evening. That's OK -- they will be there next month.
- The First Friday attendees are predominantly young people, but all ages can be seen browsing the various galleries.
- Many people take advantage of the shuttle service provided. Starting February 2009 the shuttle moved from the library to Phoenix Art Museum. As of 2013, it no longer operates during July and August. You can park for free at Phoenix Art Museum and on surrounding streets. The Museum is on Central, at McDowell. You can also get to Phoenix Art Museum on METRO light rail (Central / McDowell Station). In November two additional trolley hubs were added: one at 15th and Grand Avenues in the Grand Avenue Arts District (you have to drive to this area and park on the street) and one at Arizona Center right in downtown Phoenix (accessible by METRO Light Rail).
- The shuttles constantly circle throughout the evening, using Phoenix Art Museum as their home base.
- The shuttles start at 6 p.m. and are scheduled to run in 15-minute intervals. The shuttles are clean and comfortable.
- Crowds are usually sparse at early in the evening, and some galleries might be a bit slow to open right at 6 p.m. Activity picks up between 7 and 8 p.m.
- The shuttle and galleries map is very useful if you are unfamiliar with the area, or if you don't have a particular destination in mind.
- At the Phoenix Art Museum, you can get a full First Friday map. They are also sometimes on the shuttle buses, but they may run out later in the evening.
- There used to be several shuttle taking different routes. Now there is one larger route that all the shuttles take. It covers the area around Central Avenue and the Phoenix Art Museum, east to 3rd Street, Roosevelt and south to Van Bruen and west, with stops along Grand Avenue.
- Don't count on the Shuttle Bus drivers to be able to give you much information about the stops.
- There are cafes and other food stops along the way. Why not stop, enjoy a glass of wine or cup of coffee, and then start again?
- The last shuttle circuit is at 9:30 p.m.
- If you are on a schedule, or just don't want to take a shuttle, there are places to park along the street nearly everywhere on the First Friday routes. As a matter of fact, you might not want to depend on those shuttle buses even if you aren't on a schedule. My experience with their dependability has varied.
- First Friday is an opportunity for people with political beliefs, condos to sell, petitions to sign, or other information to share to be out and about. If you aren't interested, just be polite and say "no thanks."
- Wouldn't you like to support these artists and businesses and take home a piece of art?
First Page >> First Friday General Information
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.