First Friday is a free outdoor food, art, and music festival held every first Friday of the month in Downtown Las Vegas. The event, which has been around since 2002, is an alternative to the typical Friday night in Vegas that includes hitting up the numerous bars and casinos on The Strip. First Friday offers a more laid-back experience with a bit of arts and culture. If you’ve just moved to the city or you’re a local who’s never attended, here’s what to expect at First Friday.

The Basics

Photo courtesy of First Friday LV

First Friday is located at 1025 First Street in the Arts District. The area covers a lot of space, so as you approach, you’ll start to see festival tents on streets like Charleston Boulevard, Main Street, and Third Street. First Friday is usually held from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., but the times may vary so it’s important to check the event’s social media accounts for any last minute updates. There’s no front gate or formal entrance, and the event is pet and family-friendly. The event’s theme also changes from month to month, so you’ll experience something new each time you attend.

Parking and Transportation

As mentioned on the Plaza Hotel and Casino website, there are a few places to park for the event. There’s the Fremont Street parking garage at 4th and Carson, the parking lot off 7th and Ogden, or parking at one of the casinos in the vicinity. There are also parking lots around the festival grounds that charge between $5 and $10 for parking. If you want to avoid paying for parking, then you can look for street parking in and around the Arts District, although it may take a few trips around the block to find an available spot.

For anyone who doesn’t want to deal with parking, according to the First Friday Facebook page, there are shuttles to get you to and from the event, with pickup locations at El Cortez and The Golden Nugget. Downtown also has various RTC Bike Share kiosks where you can rent a bike to get to the event. Also, check the First Friday social media accounts for occasional discount codes.

But if you live in this neighborhood, then you’re in luck because Downtown Las Vegas is very walkable, making it easy to get to the event on foot.

The Booths

Photo courtesy of First Friday LV

There’s an eclectic mix of vendor booths at First Friday. You’ll see everything from organic dog treats and leggings to essential oils and candles. You’ll also see booths offering psychic readings and even a truck offering free STD testing. The festival also includes plenty of booths where local artists showcase their latest art pieces as well as art galleries like The Arts Factory, which is open during the festival for visitors to walk in and check out the latest exhibits on display.

Food and Drinks

When you attend First Friday, come hungry. There’s an entire street lined up with food trucks, ranging from street tacos and lobster rolls to corn dogs and Mediterranean cuisine. The prices are reasonable too, so it’s possible to get full for just under $20.

If you’re looking for an alcoholic beverage, there are a few tents that sell beer, wine, and cocktails. But you’ll also find sodas, juices, and bottle water available throughout the event.


Photo courtesy of First Friday LV

As if First Friday wasn’t entertaining enough with food trucks, art displays, and people-watching, it also provides great live music to enjoy. The event has a main stage with a variety of performers and musical acts. But if you want to continue strolling through the event without missing a beat, you can also spot local street performers, dancers, singers, and musicians in any direction. It's also not uncommon to see attendees dancing in the street and enjoying the entertainment along with the performers.

After the Event

If you want to keep the festivities going after the event, there are plenty of fun options in the area. On Main Street, west of the First Friday location, you’ll find popular bars like Rebar and Ninja Karaoke, as well as additional art galleries and shops. South of the event on Las Vegas Boulevard is Dino’s, a local bar that offers a casual vibe and affordable drink prices. Also, Downtown Las Vegas houses, The Smith Center, Fremont Street, Container Park, and a wide selection of dispensaries.