YOUR WEEKEND: Great time of year for First Friday

First Friday, the arts festival in downtown Las Vegas, happens every month, but to be perfectly honest, some months are better than others. It’s not a question of the quality of the art or live entertainment, it’s a question of the weather. If you haven’t been, First Friday typically involves a fair amount of walking and standing around out of doors, so if it’s particularly cold or hot, the event can lose some of its appeal. (Thanks to the prolonged drought and climate change, it almost never rains here anymore, so you probably don’t have to worry about that.)

Barring something very unusual, May is one of the good months. So, this Friday, First Friday comes highly recommended. Things tend to get going around 6 p.m., but if you like crowds, peak attendance is closer to 8.

The main centers of activity are:

• The Arts Factory, near Main Street and Charleston Boulevard, which is a hive of galleries on two floors.

• The outdoor festival area at Casino Center Boulevard and Colorado Street, where you’ll find food, drink, live music, booths and antique stores. This month, there also will be sword swallowing and belly dancing. Diversity, thy name is First Friday!

These spots, however, are far from the totality of First Friday. There are galleries along Main Street, lively bars within walking distance and other shops and galleries scattered about.

Parking can be a task but certainly this shouldn’t deter anyone from making the trek. One clever idea: Park at the newly renovated El Cortez casino on Fremont Street and take the express trolley to First Friday.

Everything you need to know about Friday evening’s festivities, including parking advice and a detailed map, can be found here.

— Geoff Schumacher