I have been visiting Raleigh’s 1st Friday Gallery Walk for about 8 years. I don’t make it every month, but I always find some new gallery to check out when I go. There are a few that I just can’t keep from visiting regularly. First Friday Gallery Walk is held the First Friday of each month. Each gallery has slightly different hours, but the majority of the exhibits and specials run from 6/7pm through 9/10pm. If you definitely want to make it to a certain gallery, I would make sure to be there before 9pm.
If you are a super planner like myself, you might find the list of galleries and restaurants a bit daunting. If you just don’t know which ones to check out first, I would suggest that you do just one thing: pick a downtown restaurant that you have been meaning to check out and then go see the galleries near there. Assuming you live in Raleigh or can visit regularly, you’ll be able to check out others in the next few months.
I keep an Evernote list with galleries I’d like to check out, so each First Friday, I just consult my handy dandy list. It sure beats stressing out when you’re trying to figure out the best place to park! I would also download this handy dandy .pdf with all of the participating galleries, restaurants and retailers!
Fayetteville Street Area
- Parking Find a spot on the street or park in deck @ Alexander Square (120 S Wilmington St)
- Eat At Siti, Beasley’s Chicken & Honey or Capital Club 16
- Retail Store: Stitch | Holly Aiken I have been a long time Holly fan…since we carried them at Dilly Dally (a baby design boutique) about 10 years ago. She ALWAYS has PBR in a big ice chest (which is why my husband agrees to go with me at all) and a new local artist on the walls.
- The Mahler Fine Art This is one of the places that I come back to time and again. Probably my favorite.
Moore Square Park
- Parking Find a spot on the street or park in the Progress Energy deck above Calavera
- Eat At BuKu or Calavera
- ArtSpace The artists in here are amazing! There is always an exhibit on the first floor that expands your idea of what “art” really means.
- Blake Street Shops I think Blake Street might be one of my favorite little streets. Check it out and you won’t be disappointed!
- Lump I haven’t been, but I’ve heard good things.
Nash Square/Warehouse District
- Parking Find a spot on the street at Nash Square or CAM and walk
- Eat At Poole’s Diner, The Pit, or Humble Pie
- DesignBox There is always something new and interesting at DesignBox. You’ll notice lots of First Friday flags once you find DesignBox.
- Contemporary Art Museum Been meaning to go!
- Visual Art Exchange LOVE!
- Gallery C In addition to Matisse and Picasso, they have amazing contemporary artists on the walls and bits of furniture for sale. All reasonably priced.