Have you heard people talk about First Friday and have
questioned what that even meant? Or have you heard of people partaking but not
been sure where to start? Here is a guide to navigating around different events,
bars, and gallery’s around Indianapolis First Friday Expositions.
As you can tell from the name this event happens the first Friday of each month. Many different areas of Indianapolis have events including musical performances, art gallery exhibits, artisan booths, beer or wine tastings, special store opening etc. This is a time to venture around the city and get to know the hip nooks in Indianapolis. Here are the main areas I have visited:
1. Stutz Building
The Stutz Building is an old car manufacturing building that has been turned into different artist’s workshops and creative studios. This building has many different floors filled with artist and their current art available for purchase. At this locations you will typically find fine art. You can spend about 2 hours here looking in different galleries and adventuring around. This building is typically open from 5-9pm each first Friday.
Address: 1060 N Capitol Ave C200, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Ruckus is large warehouse turned into workshops for various different crafts and creative work. There is a wide variety of artisan crafts and works. Ruckus is typically the best for parking since there is not a lot else out by this area. You can spend about 2 hours here. There is also a beer bar located here and food trucks in the summer.
Address: 1125 E Brookside Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202
3. Garfield Park
Garfield Park the quietest and most intimate area on the list. It is also the furthest away. This should maybe be combined with a larger first Friday scene. This can be a good place to start your adventure out because it is the furthest away and it can be less intimidating since there are typically not crowds of people out. Garfield Park will be an even better spot in the spring. You could have a really nice afternoon picnic at park before you start your evening. They also have a beautiful conservatory which is worth checking out.
Address: 2505 Conservatory Dr. Indianapolis, IN 46203
4. Fountain Square
This is one of the most happening scenes for First Friday. This hot spot has all the art, events, and bar scene in one place. There are multiple smaller galleries around Fountain Square all within walking distance of one another. Here you can also find many different eccentric shops with special opening. Bars such as Revolution or Pioneer typically always have different bands playing with free cover throughout the night. Fountain Square have their own event night as well called Third Friday on the 3rd Friday of each month.
Address: 1136 Shelby St, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Tip # 1 – Pick an Area
There are many different areas but it is extremely challenging to navigate them all. I have tried many times and failed. Although the areas are not far you still would need to drive or uber between. Parking is a nightmare in all these areas on a Friday. It also takes a while to get your bearing on what is available and open when you get there. My advice it to choose one area such as Fountain Square, downtown, or the Ruckus and plan to spend the whole evening there. First Friday hours are typically 6-9pm. You don’t have ample time to travel and see each thing.
Tip # 2 – Start Early
In many occurrences, I have not started the adventure early enough. It typically has felt as if it the night was cut short when most shops and galleries close at 9pm. For an optimal First Friday be prepared to start between 5 or 6pm. There is more to see than there is time to partake in it all.
Tip # 3 – Do a Little Research
You can look up the different events and galleries open at Do317. This can generate some interest on what you are hoping to fit in your night. Some breweries, for example the one in Ruckus, close at 9pm. Each place may have certain opening and closing hours. I have made the mistake many times of not being prepared for this and missing out because something was closing.
Tip # 4 – Have a Plan
Although it is a Friday night and people want to throw out all structure from their long work week; having a little bit of a plan will help you really make the most of all there is to do and see. I recommend having a loose itinerary to be able to soak up all the adventure your evening has to offer.