Dates: The First Friday evening of each month, rain or shine, year-round 5 to 9 p.m.
Want proof of Philadelphia’s happening art scene? On the first Friday evening of every month, the streets of Old City fill with art lovers of all kinds who wander among the neighborhood’s 40-plus galleries, most of them open from 5 to 9 p.m.
A casual atmosphere encourages art and people watching, eating at Philadelphia’s fantastic restaurants and just plain mingling. There’s diversity both in the crowd and among the galleries, adding flavor to the experience. Most galleries can be found between Front and Third streets, and Market and Vine streets.
First Friday has grown so popular that events now extend to other Philadelphia neighborhoods as well, including Fishtown.
Started in 1991 by a group of galleries as a collaborative open house evening, First Fridays grew quickly into one of Philly’s most vital, signature cultural events. Old City’s historic commercial buildings have fostered a SoHo-like cultural ambiance with the densest network of galleries in the city.
Some of the arts organizations you can visit on First Fridays include the Clay Studio; the Temple Gallery; the cooperative galleries Nexus, Highwire, Muse and Third Street Gallery; and collaborative Space 1026.
Bird Park, a pocket park on Third Street just below Arch, features changing installations by sculptors invited by nearby Gallery Joe. View, converse, relax – it’s free.
And after you hit the galleries, don’t miss out on the superb dining and nightlife that Old City has to offer. The neighborhood is filled with great restaurants, bars, lounges and cafes — Amada, Buddakan, Farmicia, Continental, Fork and Cuba Libre are but a few of the great spots at which to enjoy dinner, drinks, good company and more.
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