Featured photo by Alyssa Karpa
The Colorado Springs art scene has been growing more and more awesome every year, or maybe every month. This greatness is never more evident than on First Fridays, a monthly celebration of our artistic community, where the galleries and studios throughout the area throw open their doors to welcome visitors. The monthly First Friday ArtWalk has expanded, making it difficult for participants to get to more than a few locations in a single evening. Until now. The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region has introduced the First Friday ArtWalk FREE shuttle buses.
There are two routes, one throughout downtown Colorado Springs and over to Old Colorado City and another that Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.Stops on the downtown route:Cottonwood Center for the ArtsDowntown / Acacia ParkColorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado CollegePlaza of the RockiesArt Depot GalleriesOld Colorado CityOld Colorado City to Manitou Springs Route:Old Colorado CityManitou Clock TowerWest ManitouManitou Art Center
For a map of the route and the number of galleries at each stop, click here.First Friday Shuttle Hours and Dates
The First Friday shuttle will run for the next nine months starting April 5, 2019. With the addition of the OCC-Manitou route, we now have three buses, two for the Downtown-OCC route and the third for OCC-Manitou. Shuttles come by each stop every 20 minutes for Downtown-OCC and every 30 minutes for OCC-Manito. In order to enjoy the routes, riders will need to transfer from one route to the other in Old Colorado City. The shuttles run from 4:30-9:30 to allow riders to enjoy local dining options. Even if the venues are closed (because not all open every month), the shuttle will still make the stop to ensure you can grab a meal or park in an area that’s closest to your final destination. You can find a schedule here.No Ordinary RideMake no mistake, this is a big deal. Everyone is excited about this new endeavor and the community and the artists have worked hard to make it extra special. Here are a few of the cool things you’ll encounter on your outing:A visit to the incredible gallery and community work space at CottonwoodDance lessons and walking tours in the downtown areaA First Friday art party at the Fine Arts Center that includes comedy and storytelling ($)A free ride to oft-overlooked (and very inspiring) Art Depot DistrictDemonstrations, music and tons of galleries in Old Colorado CityDemonstrations, and meanderings in the Manitou Springs Creative DistrictThe ride itself will include local artists and performers who will share cool Colorado Springs facts, fun stories and other entertainment as you travel from gallery to gallery.Parking and Other Tips
Just because you have a bus to take you around doesn’t mean you won’t need to strategize. We’ve got some key details to consider to help you have a good time.
– Parking: Most areas you will park in downtown will be free after 6 p.m., but it’s highly recommended you park in the garages for a $1 to free up the streets for non-shuttle users. You’re going to be out all night, free up some spots for local businesses and restaurants.
– Maps: You can find a map in the link above to help you navigate your way to different galleries once you’ve hit your stop.
– Food & Drinks: You’ll find food and beverages at every price point along the route. Not only that, you’ll find a variety of types of cuisine, so even the pickiest of people won’t be left hungry.
– Get Home Safe: If you do choose to imbibe, make sure you plan for a ride home. With cabs and other ride options, you can get home safely and get your car the next day. The First Friday ArtWalk free shuttle is an exciting addition to our vibrant and growing art community. Take time to visit the galleries you’ve never been to before and enjoy the brilliant works of Colorado Springs’ talented artists. For more information, visit Peak Radar.