Philadelphia’s art scene constantly features some of the best art in the nation, with a myriad of museums and galleries hosting notable shows and exhibits year-round. If you head to Old City or Fishtown during the first Friday of every month, you’ll be treated to an evening of art viewing when admission is free to dozens of galleries.
Here’s what you need to know about First Fridays.
Started in 1991 in Old City, First Fridays are a collaborative “open house” where a dense network of galleries are open from 5 to 9pm for no cost. The historic commercial buildings keep their lights on a little later, and art lovers stroll the streets to create a casual atmosphere. The select dates have become a signature cultural event throughout the city, with crowds filling the blocks and enjoying the shows. Nearly every type of art is on display, with sculptures, ceramics, woodturning, and paintings typically highlighted. Travelers can also the event’s concerts, with jazz and acoustic monthly favorites.
Most of the galleries in Old City can be found between Front and Third streets, and Market and Vine streets. Some of the best spots to check out:
Clay Studio: Whimsical and elaborate clay creations fill the store.
Space 1026: A collaborative gallery that displays contemporary art in a variety of mediums
3rd Street Gallery: An artist-run cooperative space that features fine art from independent artists.
While in Old City, don’t forget to enjoy the exceptional dining options. Whether it’s before or after you’ve enjoyed the artwork, head to some of the great restaurants and bars that the neighborhood has to offer:
Fork: New American cuisine with rotating tasting menus, and a raw bar.
Cuba Libre: Cuban eats, an extensive rum bar where, and late-night salsa dancing.
Amada: Iron Chef Jose Garces’ contemporary take on Spanish tapas.
Buddakan: An Asian-fusion, hip, upscale bistro with a sophisticate dining room and techno music.