April 5th is First Friday, which means First Friday Art Walks are happening all over Denver (and most larger cities nationwide). April is one of the busiest Art Walks of the year and is sure to be a fun night for looking at art and people watching. Art walks are my favorite free Night on the Town, great for dates, girl’s night, or just get out and wander on your own. Below are some Denver First Friday Art Walks, but if you’re not in Denver, just Google the name of your city and “First Friday Art Walks”. Art Walk hours are usually 5-9pm.
A fun way to start out the evening is with a great Happy Hour cocktail (I’ll be talking about Denver’s Best Happy Hours in future blogs) or wine tasting. In the spirit of keeping it a FREE night on the town, Marczyk’s at 770 East 17th Ave has a great FREE wine tasting from 4-7pm every Friday. (BTW Marczyk’s a is a great place to discover your new favorite wine as most are only $10-$15 a bottle.) http://www.marczykfinefoods.com/wine-store/marczyk-fine-wines/
Note: Many galleries offer wine and/or snacks on First Friday. If you partake, be sure and toss a tip in the jar. It’s just good manners, and believe me, the galleries really appreciate it. Oh, and wear your walking shoes…
Denver’s First Friday Art Walks
1. Santa Fe Arts District – Mostly between 5th and 10th on Santa Fe Drive. This is the big one. It gets VERY crowded down there, and parking can be a challenge, so I recommend going early if you actually want to look at the art. Be adventurous! Don’t just go into the main galleries. There are all sorts of fascinating nooks and crannies and odd little artist’s studios to be discovered. You might even find a fabulous new piece of original art for your walls. (there are great art bargains to be had on Santa Fe) www.artdistrictonsantafe.com
2. River North Arts District (Rino)
I love Rino. This is my new favorite Art Walk. It’s a bit more spread out than Santa Fe so you may need to do some driving, but it’s well worth it. Some of my favorite spots are Plus, Hinterland, Ironton, Weilworks, Plinth, and Dry Ice, though there lots of great galleries and studios. There’s a map of the district at www.rivernortharts.com. Note: While Rino is alive and kicking on First Friday, their big night is Second Saturday (April 13th), with over 50 open studios, food trucks, and music.
3. Golden Triangle Arts District
If your art tastes are a little more high-end, this is the district for you. This one even has a Free art bus shuttle. (www.gtmd.org) There’s more here than you think. Lots of great galleries and studios, and of course the Denver Art Museum, the Kirkland, and the Clifford Still Museum are all located here (though they are not free, they are well worth a visit) This area is growing fast, with new galleries and studios popping up all the time. Some highlights are Walker Fine Art, William Havu Gallery, Gallery 1261, and Sandra Phillips Gallery.
4. Tennyson Street Cultural District
Located between 38th and 44th Avenues on Tennyson. This is a quaint and funky area, filled with cute shops, art galleries, studios and restaurants, as well as the Historic Oriental Theater. Quieter than the bigger art districts, it’s a good one for a romantic date night. www.tscd.org
5. Navajo Street Arts District
This is one of the original Denver Arts Districts, located between 35th and 37th Streets. (www.navajostreetartdistrict.com) Home to the venerable Pirate Contemporary Art, a Denver Art Scene fixture for over 30 years. There are many other fun and eclectic galleries and studios here. It’s always an adventure.
If you happen to miss First Friday, have no fear. Many areas now have Second Saturday Art Walks, including a big one in Rino and the up-and-coming East Colfax Bluebird District. There’s also the Third Friday Collector’s Night on Santa Fe.
Have I missed something? Tell me in the comments section below. Have a fun Friday Night!