For as many great First Friday spots as there are on Roosevelt Street between 3rd and 7th streets, there are just as many hidden gems sprinkled throughout the streets between the Roosevelt and Grand sides of the First Friday commotion. This month, take it upon yourself to explore some of the side streets for events you may have otherwise missed. There is plenty to do away from the most hectic of areas, and it is all within walking distance from the Central/Roosevelt light rail station.

If you exit the light rail at Roosevelt (or, say you park at the Phoenix Art Museum and start heading south), keep strolling down Central to Garfield Street, then hook a left. At the corner of 1st Street and Garfield is Paulina Miller Gallery (817 N. 1st St.). Miller’s gallery has been standing here for years, and it often is forgotten because it’s a block or two away from the vendors, performers and galleries of Roosevelt Street.

Robert Denning's "Guess I'll always care." Photo courtesy of Phoenix Art Space.

Miller’s soaring, bright gallery seems right out of Santa Fe, and its focus on mixed-medium contemporary art — anything from sculpture to photography to music — always keeps the space feeling fresh. Currently, Miller is hosting “The Dream and the Time: Journeys of Cuban Artists” through March 18. Eleven artists in all adorn the walls — picture bright, bold paintings in a number of modern styles and you’re on the right page. Miller’s gallery is open from 6:30-10 p.m.

From Paulina Miller Gallery, continue heading south on 1st Street to Pierce. Apart from the eats and drinks at PastaBAR, Sens, the Turf (all at 705 N. 1st St.) and the Breadfruit (108 E. Pierce St.), the Urban Grocery & Wine Bar (14 E. Pierce St.) will be on your right. This First Friday debuts expanded Friday and Saturday hours (now open until 11 p.m.!) and sports the musical stylings of John Diaz in the Royal at the Market space in the building. Stop on in for a cappuccino and some free live jams. The music starts at 7 p.m.

From the grocery, it’s a short five or so blocks over to the Coe House (365 N. 4th Ave.), where the artwork is always in your face and the conversation is never hard to spark. This month, three artists are showing in the historic home: Rocco Menaguale, Robert Denning and Galen Hasenpflug. Menaguale is showing a “representational drip paintings on glass” collection, paired with Denning’s “pop art with a witty twist” and Hasenpflug’s “abstract expressionism with Asian and graffiti influences.” Tell me that doesn’t sound intriguing.

On your return trip, you’ll head up 4th Avenue past Local Breeze (606 N. 4th Ave), where the outdoor bar and firepit with plenty of lounge seating is always inviting for a nightcap. Continuing on 4th toward Roosevelt, you’ll pass some of the Roosevelt Historic District’s notable homes — the perfect contrast to the sheer urbanity just a few streets over.


  • Rudi

    I’m really glad DPJ posted this. I always go to First Fridays but sometimes I find it overwhelming and too crowded to really enjoy it – especially because it’s gotten so much more popular. Plus, a lot of the time I feel like I’m seeing the same old stuff. I’m definitely going to take your suggestion tomorrow night and stray from my usual Roosevelt route!