On the First Friday of every month, the arts district in Phoenix turns into an all out street party. Known collectively as Roosevelt Row, the art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and bars around East Roosevelt Street become hosts to arguably the best night out in Phoenix. From live music to food trucks to local artists selling their crafts, it's a fun and lively scene.
The best way to enjoy the evening is to stroll down Roosevelt, starting where it intersects with Central Avenue, and head east. The main road has a lot to offer, including some restaurants, bars and galleries, and the side streets, all the way from 1st Street to 5th Street, have all kinds of hip businesses and interesting street art.
The party runs from 6 pm to 10 pm, so you should probably grab some dinner first. Carly's Bistro and Short Leash are two great local restaurants/bars located right on Roosevelt Street, between 1st and 2nd Streets. Carly's has great, hearty sandwiches and cocktails, while Short Leash will surprise you with their gourmet hot dog dishes and extensive craft beer selection.
Or, if you'd prefer not to do a sit down dinner, you can check out all the food trucks lined down the street and in the lot just before 4th Street. From tamales to BBQ to vegan trucks, there's something for everybody's taste buds.
After you've had your fill of food, walk it off as you explore the exhibits at the galleries on Roosevelt. You'll see photography, paintings, sculptures and everything in between. And as you walk between venues, you'll be treated to musicians playing on street corners and the occasional bizarre street performer. Don't bypass the craft vendor tents in the lot by Revolver Records -- artists are selling everything from jewelry to clothes to weird home wares and trinkets.
Once you've fought through the crowds to see all the art, make your way over to 5th Street. On the corner of 5th and Roosevelt, Made Art Boutique will have a bunch of their local artists hanging in the yard to chat about their artwork. Then head down 5th, where there will be an eclectic offering of live music at Jobot's Coffee, Lost Leaf, and Lawn Gnome Publishing.
Lots of Phoenicians end their nights on this street, so be prepared for crowded venues and a pulsing lively atmosphere. Jobot's usually sets up a DJ in the front yard patio space while its next door neighbor Lost Leaf has a tiny stage area inside where any and all genres of music can be found on a given night. Just down the street at Lawn Gnome, a used bookstore, you may find a storytelling, poetry reading, or live band on their backyard stage.
And if somehow this hasn't completely tired you out, ask around to find where the after parties will be at.
(Brought to you by Ally Thibault)