Nightlife: A look at Fort Collins First Fridays

Anna Hoover

First Fridays, which occur on the first Friday of every month, are where people gather to share artwork and ideas and enjoy each other’s company. It leads you to different galleries and displays around town, where you can interact with artists and see art on display. As an artist myself, I enjoy going out and seeing other’s ideas and creativity during First Fridays.

Photo and artwork by Anna Hoover
Photo and artwork by Anna Hoover

With live performers playing music, reading poetry, and even performing the occasional skit, the atmosphere is lively as the crowds go through the shops and gather in the streets. The music, the art, the artistic people, and the excess of beer creates crowds that are always starting new conversations and bouncing ideas back and forth.


Santa Fe Drive in Denver is just one place where First Friday gatherers can meet. It is always packed with art vendors and spectators, so consider carpooling and going early in order to get a parking spot. Santa Fe is also not far from the 16th Street Mall, which has more restaurants and a movie theater. If you want to go earlier in the day, visit 16th Street for pre-festivity fun and then enjoy the First Friday late into the night as artists mingle and celebrate.

Old Town, Fort Collins also has a celebration where vendors and restaurants open for a night full of festivities. Although not as big as Santa Fe Drive, there is still plenty to see and listen to as you mosey on by the different shops and restaurants along College Avenue.  

Take your time walking through the shops and bring a friend. Don’t worry about being 21+ years old, because it is entertaining enough for underaged drinkers. But beware, a large crowd plus intoxication can lead to some sticky situations (wear an over-the-shoulder bag, ladies and gents). 

As for the other artists out there, learn from the artists you see — don’t be afraid to ask questions! Practice sketching and bring a notebook or sketchbook to capture ideas as they pop in your head. If you feel bold enough, bring artwork that you could possibly sell or trade, or even show to get feedback from other artists. 

Above all, First Friday is a fun way to get out, experience new things, and meet interesting and different people. It’s a great way to get exposure, and a great way to spend an evening. So get out there and enjoy what First Friday has to offer!!

Nightlife Writer Anna Hoover can be reached at or on Twitter @Hoovanna_Disny.