The First Friday Festival Of The Arts is held on the first Friday of the month in the Las Vegas Arts District. The Arts District bridges the gap between the north end of the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Fremont Street, which are the two busiest tourism destinations in the entire valley. The First Friday event zone stretches from the Strat Casino to East Fremont Street, so the weekend warriors will find plenty of room to roam in this section of downtown Las Vegas! City bus routes are close by, so the “rolling drunk tanks” are a nice convenience for the artsy party animals.
The Las Vegas Arts District is saturated with antique shops, pawn shops, art galleries, Las Vegas memorabilia shops, dive bars and diverse ethnic restaurants. Next to the arts District is the old Skin City section of the Las Vegas Strip, so a seedy undertone is also present. Old hostels, street hustlers, motels with hourly rates and an active police presence all add to the inspirational atmosphere. Throw in a few graffiti artists, skateboard gangs, street musicians and some good old fashioned carnival style flimflammery and you will see that this is an art district like no other! This hip seedy Las Vegas dive neighborhood certainly is the perfect place for an event like First Friday!
If watching the bank account numbers drain right into a slot machine is not your idea of a fun time on a Friday night in Las Vegas, then the First Friday Festival Of The Arts will be to your liking! This big event has become a local Las Vegas tradition in recent years. The entire arts district of downtown Las Vegas turns into a big street festival that appeals to visitors of all ages. The local streets are blocked off and only pedestrian traffic is allowed during this event. Wandering around on a Friday night while doing a little shopping for unique works of art is now a tradition in the city of neon lights!
First Friday is not exactly like walking through a boring art museum that has a curator with a dreary monotone voice. This art festival is more like a gigantic block party event. There are several band stages and the music venues range from classical Spanish guitar and ’60s hip folk music to techno and DJ hip-hop. Local street busker musicians also do their thing. The variety of music at First Friday definitely promotes diversity at this cool event!
The First Friday Arts Festival is also an organized food truck roundup. Many SoCal and Las Vegas food trucks set up shop at the First Friday festival and some even come from as far away as the east coast. Las Vegas is famous for food trucks that serve cutting edge snack food, so First Friday will certainly please the gourmet junk food aficionados!
During spring and summer, the extreme heat of the day does carry into the night well after sunset, so it is important to stay hydrated when strolling about in this vast area. Fortunately, there are plenty of beer, wine and signature cocktail tents available for quenching the thirst. The local lounges also cater to the First Friday crowd and this is where the post festival parties can be found.
The photos for this article were from a few years of September First Friday events. September is when the nights become cooler after the long hot summer, so the attendance numbers rise dramatically. This month is also when the art students return to the local colleges, so First Friday becomes their outlet for expressing what true art really is. Just like the name of this event suggests, the First Friday of each month is all that has to be remembered when seeking an alternative entertainment venue in Las Vegas!
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