Welcome one, welcome all to one of the best First Fridays yet. It's celebrated nationwide, statewide, and in Doylestown, Lancaster, Phoenixville, Hatboro, West Chester, Fishtown, Frankford Ave and the Main Line, but nowhere is it celebrated better than Old City (okay, arguably, but go with it.) If you've never tried out First Friday in the Old City District of Philadelphia, today is the day.
Where can you drink for free? While most art galleries in Old City offer wine or beer, the only place to get an Alex's Lemon Moonshine Margarita is the Drink Philly One Year Anniversary First Friday Party Benefitting Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.* There will also be a chance to get your photo taken like a red carpet rockstar, samples from Khyber Pass Pub, jazz and of course art from local aspiring artists. From 5-9 p.m., head to 239 Chestnut St in Old City.
Your next stop (or first stop) of the night should be Penn's Landing. At 7:30, The Smooth Jazz Summer Nights begin: From now until the end of August there's a free jazz concert at the Riverstage of the Grand Plaza at Columbus Boulevard and Chestnut Street. This week's headliner is the talented Four 80 East with guests Matt Marshak and Marcus Anderson.
Before after or during the concert, saunter down to the Race Street Pier at Penn's Landing to join in on the First Friday Party On the Race Street Pier. Between 7 and 10 p.m., enjoy something a little more upbeat than the smooth jazz down the street with music by DJ Jack Tripper and the Trinidelphia Steel Drum Band. Run by the Race Street Peers, (Friends of the Pier, clever, right?), and sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, food and entertainment will be readily available.
For some family-friendly fun, or a bit of a trek from Old City, Fantastic Fridays at Penn Treaty Park provides a free concert and after-show fireworks. Tonight, the Sensational Soul Cruisers will be tearing it up as the 11-man horn group, which makes no sense because they don't all play the horn, playing classic tunes stolen from masters like Barry White, the commodores, the Drifters and Otis Redding. The magic starts at 6:30 and the dancing no doubt will follow soon after. Like Jazz Summer Nights, this concert series continues throughout August with dates on August 19 and 26, so if plans for First Friday take over you can still hit up the free music show later in August.
In Center City, Art After 5 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art continues. It's free after admission ($19.50 adults, downwards for kids, students and senior citizens) to "Catch a Set, Have A drink, Stroll the Galleries." Take advantage of the limited time happy hour if you're headed to the museum, because some tinis during Martinis On the Portico will loosen you up for some saucy Latin dancing later - Art After 5 today is a full-on Salsa Party, with music from the Johnny Cruz Latin Ensemble from Raices Culturales Latinoamericas. It all starts at 5...and goes until you can't take the Latin heat anymore! (or the band stops playing. Then it's kinda lame to stay.)
*Full Disclosure: Drink Philly is a client. ( But that's not why their party is on here. It's because it's going to rock.)