Arts & Culture Bars & Nightlife Family Food, Restaurants & Dining Music & Events Fara Illich December 3, 2009

PuppetGoing to Artlink: First Friday reminds me of a treasure hunt. So many wonderful little shops and galleries are dotted along the route – which is pretty darned big – that it’s easy to miss the lesser-known gems.
For most First Friday goers, myself included, the Roosevelt area is a regular stop. Who could resist the gooey Tammie Coe cupcakes, the ongoing Block Party or the abundance of small galleries and quirky, all-ages-included crowd?
After you’ve been to First Friday a few times, though, you’re ready to venture out some more. If you’re not big on long walks, you might take the shuttle. Hop on at any of the stops; the shuttle is free and goes to all participating galleries. Another option, if you live downtown, is to burn off some of those Tammie Coe calories with a bike ride.
So, now that you’ve got some transportation options, get yourself a First Friday map at Phoenix Art Museum and check out some of these hidden gems:
Space 55
This small performance venue and gallery hosts improv groups, musical acts and new plays, from the outrageous to the serious. Lots of homegrown talents get started here. 636 E. Pierce Street.
Great Arizona Puppet Theater
As many times as I’ve been to First Friday, I’ve managed to miss this spot. As a certifiably goofy adult who sees every Pixar film and has a thing for stop-motion, animation and puppets, that’s a mistake I have to correct. Adult puppet shows are shown most First Fridays and there’s an ongoing puppet exhibit and store with books, puppets and stages for sale. 302 W. Latham Street.
Artlink Gallery
Who knew? The sponsors of First Friday have their own gallery, featuring local artists. Go and support these folks, who’ve really done great things to help foster downtown’s creative movement. The gallery is located in Heritage Square.
Arizona Club
For a big-city experience, hop on the elevator at the Chase Tower and visit the Arizona Club’s sophisticated penthouse digs. Since its inception in 1896, the Arizona Club’s membership has included our state’s alpha dogs in fields like politics and business. On First Friday, you can order a drink at one of their bars, enjoy the panoramic city view and check out the work of local artists. 201 N. Central, Suite #3700.