First Friday Fun

Lauren Koesy, Staff Writer

The first Friday of every month until August, downtown Raleigh offers a fun-filled experience that includes exciting art, music and restaurants that are great for people of all ages and interests. First Friday is a free self-guided tour of downtown’s cultural hot spots, including art galleries and museums.

The event runs from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., but some venue hours may vary. First Friday flags will be displayed at participating venues. A detailed map/guide will also be provided at each venue for event navigation.

“I love the energy and all of the exciting things. It’s a great way to get interested in local bands and hear new music,” said Kieran Garvey, junior.

There are also 26 different galleries, studios and museums that offer a visual art center with artist studios, exhibitions and educational programs set up for people to enjoy. Galleries show a wide variety of exhibitions and artists.

“They also have amazing food. It’s a really nice way to try new food for really cheap because they have all of these dinner specials. My favorite place though is The Oxford,” said Garvey.

There is a wide variety of foods people can enjoy, ranging from Mexican to pizza to burgers. With over 30 restaurants that participate in First Friday, there are many places for people to try and to take advantage of specials.

With over 30 parking decks and lots, ample parking is readily available. Most decks are free after 7 p.m. There is also a free circulator service using eco-friendly buses along the R-LINE to get people from different venues. The buses run every 10-15 minutes. Rickshaws provide transportation as well within the five downtown districts and downtown Raleigh historic neighborhoods.

First Friday is produced by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA). DRA is an award-winning nonprofit organization whose mission is to continue the revitalization of Raleigh’s downtown by enhancing its quality of life and contributing to its economic success.

First Friday’s website ( has more details and can help people plan out their experience.

Two girls enjoy first friday
Two girls enjoy first friday