What's Going On Downtown?:
If you have taken a jaunt through downtown Kansas City lately, you’ve bound to have noticed something serious is going on in the Crossroads district. Disheveled buildings have turned into hip art galleries, while run-down businesses have morphed into trendy restaurants. If you’ve ever tried to drive through there on the First Friday of the month, you have most likely been stuck in a surprising traffic jam. What’s going on in the middle of Kansas City, you ask?
First Friday Guide:
What Exactly is "First Friday?":
On the first Friday of each month, the Crossroads Community's art galleries, studios, and restaurants open their doors to showcase local and national artists. Much like the already established First Friday’s of Phoenix and Houston, Kansas City’s version hosts a free evening of art entertainment where people gather to enjoy local and national art, the company of others, and even a free glass of wine.
The Crossroads Community is a mile wide downtown area of Kansas City bounded by 15th St., I-35, the Freighthouse district, and Troost Ave. The heart of the Crossroads Arts District lies long 20th St. and Baltimore.
The Galleries open their doors to the public and have free admission from 7-9 pm. Some galleries not to be overlooked include the The Blue Gallery (19th and Grand), the Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art Gallery (20th and Baltimore), Cube at Beco (19th and Baltimore), and the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (20th and Main), which all offer something for every kind of art lover-- from appreciator to serious connoisseur.
Just a Tip:
Many restaurants in the Crossroad’s offer appetizer and drink specials on First Friday’s. Most like The City Tavern (101 W 22nd) who opens up their patio to First Friday goers who’d like a glass of wine or a quick snack (spinach and artichoke dip is a FF fave) before heading off to the next Gallery. It’s next door neighbor, Lidia's, offers up an ample array of Italian appetizers (think quick fired calamari or bruchetta) as a place to meet up with friends.
First Fridays, while held throughout the year, are not to be missed during the warm summer and fall months. It’s this time of year that the whole city gets into the swing of things and the crowd’s spill out into the streets with street vendors and bands adding to the cultural mix.