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Your Guide to First Fridays in Old City

Exploring Old City’s vibrant art galleries, boutiques, shops, restaurants and cafés provides a sumptuous taste of nouveau Philadelphia. And there’s no better way to experience Old City’s unique flavor than to visit on the first Friday of any month from 5–9 p.m..

A neighborhood tradition since 1991, First Fridays are essentially a collective open house. A celebration of all that is Old City. Featuring special events and an energetic buzz, it’s an opportunity to mingle with art lovers from all walks of life and the local artists that create the scene.

While most visitors are casual browsers, First Fridays also represent an opportune occasion for serious art buyers to add fresh works to their collection.

Notable Architecture & Cultural Ambiance

Old City is home to the most robust concentration of galleries in the city, with most venues lying between Front & 3rd Streets and Market & Vine. Set in historic commercial buildings and revamped industrial warehouses, a journey through the dense network of galleries feels akin to a meander through SoHo.

Don’t forget to swing by Bird Park to contemplate the changing outdoor sculpture exhibit sponsored by adjacent Gallery Joe.

Delight in a Show

Along with visual exhibitions, Old City is home to a number of renowned theater and dance companies pushing the envelope with cutting edge performance art.

Every medium is represented, offering a truly remarkable selection of shows and events.

Stick Around for Dinner & Drinks

Much of the First Friday experience is extending your evening past gallery hours with a charming dinner and hand-crafted cocktail or two.

Amada, Fork and Buddakan are top restaurants found in the district. Martini aficionados will wish to set aside an hour or two for an olive-laced chat over drinks at the famed Continental.

First Fridays are as much about the nightlife as they are about the art.

Make it an Overnight Affair

Plan a romantic night out by checking into the historic Hotel Monaco at 433 Chestnut Street, a remarkable renovation project in the old Lafayette Building. Reserve one of 17 luxury suites at this boutique property delightfully decorated as if the hotel itself were a world traveler.

Whether you’re planning an intimate private meal at the Friends of the Chef’s table or a hip professional bar crowd at the lively yet sophisticated Stratus Rooftop Lounge, an overnight stay at Hotel Monaco adds a layer of pampering to your First Friday.

The Culture Is Growing

Consider making the trip to Fishtown or Kensington for a hipster or working-class celebration of the arts. As the First Fridays tradition spreads across town, more neighborhoods are embracing Philadelphia’s newfound reputation and identity as a place where the arts can and will flourish.