Inside Denver's First Friday Art Nights

With a handful of First Friday art walks each month, Denver has enough galleries, studios and museums to satisfy the most voracious art lover (and enough restaurants, food trucks, bars and breweries along the way to fill the hungriest belly).
 

By: Colorado.com Staff Writer
Updated: June 5, 2024

River North Art District

First Friday:   6–9 p.m.

Don’t let the industrial vibe fool you. River North — or RiNo — is one of Denver’s artiest neighborhoods. Start on the Brighton side at Plinth Gallery, which features work by contemporary ceramic artists, or the community-driven RedLine, which curates not only art but positive social change as it fosters education and engagement. 

RiNo is also an incubator for Denver’s craft beverage industry, and these worlds collide on First Fridays, with Stem Ciders, Infinite Monkey Theorem winery, and breweries like Great Divide and Black Shirt Brewing doubling as art galleries. Hungry? Duck into food hall Zeppelin Station to snack on everything from Mexican elote to cappuccino to sushi.

Best Art Walk For: Pairing art and beer (and wine and cider).

Art District on Santa Fe

First Friday: 5:30–9:30 p.m.

Head to the Art District on Santa Fe to take in Denver’s largest art walk, boasting more than 100 artist studios, galleries, shops, bars and restaurants. Start your night on the west end of the district at Brewery Bar II, where anything on the menu that comes with a side of their famous pork green chili is worth ordering. Once you're good and fueled, wander five blocks of clustered studios and galleries, including the Access Gallery, a nonprofit featuring artists with disabilities; and Artists on Santa Fe Gallery, with its brightly painted façade. Jewelry and other metal-arts fans will want to stop into Hardy & Fuller to see what's cooking, and other Francophiles will find Alliance Française Gallery on Sixth and Galapago well worth the short detour.

Best Art Walk For: Hitting as many galleries as possible in one night.

Tennyson Street Cultural District

First Friday: 6–10 p.m.

Denver’s oldest art walk, on Tennyson Street, hails from the historic Berkeley neighborhood and is a decidedly family affair with street performers and food vendors on every corner. Nature lovers will marvel at ultra-magnified digital photos of leaves, flowers, fruits and stones at the Kirk Norlin Studio, or tickle your punny bone with Ryan Rice’s color-saturated paintings at R2 Studio and Gallery.

Best Art Walk For:   Music lovers. Street musicians perform during the warmer months, plus you can catch a concert at the Oriental Theater after the galleries close.

40 West Arts District

First Friday: 6–9 p.m.

Denver city limits don’t have a monopoly on art walks, and 40 West Arts District's First Friday events in Lakewood is a testament to the fact. 40 West Arts District is a Certified Colorado Creative District located within the historic West Colfax Corridor with more than 70 public art installations and dozens of creative enterprises a short drive from downtown Denver. The 40 West Arts Gallery on Teller Street, which houses the works of painters, glassblowers and other local creatives, hosts an opening reception every First Friday. Look for the ArtLine, a 4-mile walking and biking arts experience that connects the district’s parks and artsy destinations. 

Best Art Walk For: Families. 40 West Arts District has several fam-friendly dining options — including Casa Bonita, a local legend owned by the creators of South Park with cliff-diving shows and all-you-can-eat sopapillas.

    Other Art Walks In & Near Denver

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