DTA Guide: How to do First Fridays in one night

Waubonsee Community College Aurora Downtown campus library, 18 S. River St., opens “In/Visibility: Hmong America and the Art of Storytelling” on First Fridays from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

First Fridays in downtown Aurora is always a fun night. It started in September 2013 with four venues and has grown to 22 venues this Friday, March 2. Patrons might not be able to hit all the participating venues, but it’s easy to craft an amazing night out in downtown Aurora on First Fridays. Here are our tips for managing the incredible event in just one evening.

Tip 1: Can’t miss venues! Decide what venues you can’t miss and circle them or mark them on your map. All the venues are amazing, but maybe you just went to SciTech last month (or last weekend). You need to prioritize, so if dogs are your jam, then The ArtBar is a can’t miss venue. If you don’t drink coffee, then skip Santori Public Library. If you’re into art, then circle all the openings right now.

Tip 2: Watch the clock! Some venues open right at 5 p.m. and one venue is open until 1 a.m. This is crucial for First Fridays planning. Smartly, First Fridays venues offer staggered times, so stop at Aurora Regional Fire Museum and All Spoked Up first, then wander to Santori Public Library for a quick coffee sample, then head over to Waubonsee Community College and Fox Art Studio. Eat some food and head back out for more fun. Catch the concert at Aurora Public Art. End up at The ArtBar and/or The Web since they are open the latest.

Tip 3: Use your map! Once you prioritize and watch the clock, it’ll be easy to hit several venues just due to proximity. If you are absolutely stopping at If These Walls Could Talk, then you can easily run into Paramount Theatre, Fox Art Studio, and The Pierce Center because they’re all super close to each other. If you are also going to hang out at Endiro Coffee, then pop into Ballydoyle for some free chips and grab a beer at Gillerson’s Grubbery. Easy peasy.

Tip 4: Take the trolley! Walking the core of downtown is a great time during First Fridays. Lots of venues are nearby and it’s easy to park in a city lot and walk around, but it’s also easy to skip venues. The trolley is your friend. Walk the core and then take the trolley to The Web or Aurora Regional Fire Museum. It’s free and runs from 6 to 10 p.m.

First Fridays is a great opportunity to take in some art and live music while keeping up with the community. Visit with local artists and support downtown businesses. It’s a night where families can enjoy free museum entrance, couples can have a date night, young locals can enjoy a safe and fun environment, and everyone is welcome.

Here is the lineup for First Fridays on March 2.


If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave.
Whimsicology: Laura Lynne*
7 to 10 p.m.

Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd.
Grand Gallery Opening Reception*
7 to 9 p.m.

Aurora Public Art Commission, 20 E. Downer Pl. 3rd floor
Nevertheless: Women Depicting Women
6 to 8 p.m.

The ArtBar @ Two Brothers Roundhouse
The Dog Show^
Jeffrey Brooks Photography^
6 to midnight

Fox Art Studio, 9 S. Stolp Ave.
Jim Zimmer & Dada Soul Face
6 to 9 p.m.

Waubonsee Community College Aurora Downtown campus library, 18 S. River St.
In/Visibility: Hmong America and the Art of Storytelling*
6 to 8:30 p.m.

The Web, 134 W. Downer Pl.
The Coven^ featuring artists Lucky Eye Ink, Sandra Law, Teresa Fiehn, Roz Anomaly, and Desiree Franklin.
6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

*Opening night
^One night only


Aurora Public Art Commission, 20 E. Downer Pl. 3rd floor
The Ready Freddies, a (mostly) female Queen tribute band
8 to 9:30 p.m.
$10 suggested donation

Fox Valley Orchestra Small Ensemble Series at Metropolitan Coworking, 14 W. Downer Pl. Ste. 16
Chicago Hot Fives
7:30 to 9 p.m.

Endiro Coffee, 29 W. New York St.
Live music upstairs: Robert Krause
Art in the lower level Brick Gallery feat. Jacqueline Jayne Fowler
6 to 9 p.m.

Gremlen Recording Studios, 130 W. Downer Pl.
Karaoke and Open House
6 to 9 p.m.

Leland Legends, 1 S. Stolp Ave.
Starts at 8 p.m.

Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena Blvd.
M.U.S.I.C. Monday on Friday
6 to 7:30 p.m. Katie Moritz on the hammered dulcimer
7:30 to 9 p.m. Echo and Ransom, acoustic duo
9 to 10:30 p.m. Respect the Mic


Gillerson’s Grubbery, 33 W. New York St.
Goose Island Dry Hopped 312 sampling plus swag giveaway.
6 p.m. until gone!

AKA Dance, 14 W. Downer Pl.
Live Rehearsal
6 to 7 p.m.

SciTech, 18 W. Benton St.
Traveling exhibit: “Climate Change Oceans: Acid vs. Life”
6 to 8 p.m.

Indie Studio Space, 105 E. Galena Blvd.
Chicago Fun Grand Opening
5 to 8 p.m.

Christian Science Reading Room, 34 S. Stolp Ave.
Free kids crafts, prizes & gifts
6 to 9 p.m.

Aurora Historical Society, 20 E. Downer Pl.
Sherman Jenkins Book Signing “Ted Strong, Jr.: the Untold Story”
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Aurora Public Library, 101 S. River St.
Drinking the Whole Tree: Tastings and demos by Endiro Coffee
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.


Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway
Shop a variety of local vendors.
5 to 8 p.m.

All Spoked Up, 14 W. Downer Pl. Ste. 12
Studio88/Short Bench Woodworks
5 to 9 p.m.

Zen Loft Wellness Center, 6 W. Downer Pl.
Wheatley Design
$5 Mini Classes, Demos, Massage
6 to 9 p.m.

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