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How to do First Friday in York: The best routes for art, music, shopping

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When more than 50 downtown restaurants and businesses participate in First Friday each month, it's difficult to figure out where to start.

The event typically draws hundreds downtown to take advantage of special discounts and activities from 5 to 9 p.m. Activities vary month-to-month, but some of the main events at every First Friday are the art exhibits, live music, shopping and food.

Check out August's First Friday York specials here.

Here are three different routes to try on First Friday for the art lover, the shopper and the music fan.

For art lovers

This route gives people a chance to see works — ranging from large paintings to small hand-made items — at downtown art galleries after normal business hours.

Stop 1: i-ron-ic (256 W. Philadelphia St.)

This art gallery/consignment store shows artwork by its featured artist on most First Fridays. Refreshments and live music are also often available in the gallery.

Stop 2: The Rooted Artist Collective (101 N. Newberry St.)

Across the street from i-ron-ic , The Rooted Artist Collective sells paintings, jewelry, purses, dream catchers and other locally handmade items. The shop also usually offers live music and other activities related to the First Friday theme each month.

Dinner: The Waterway Bar & Grill (220 W. Philadelphia St.)

Before you leave the WeCo neighborhood, stop by The Waterway for drinks and/or dinner. You can get your first drink free from 2 to 8 p.m. on First Fridays.

Stop 3: YorkArts (10 N. Beaver St.)

Usually, you can check out YorkArts' latest exhibits on First Fridays. But the gallery is closed in August for renovations.

Stop 4: The Parliament Arts Organization (116 E. King St.)

The Royal Square neighborhood, which is home to many of York's art galleries, is about an eight minute walk from Beaver Street. There, you'll find The Parliament Arts Organization, which shows its latest art exhibit on First Friday each month. If you're not already full from dinner, check out The Parliament's new bubble tea bar, too!

Stop 5: Hive Artspace (126 E. King St.)

Hive Artspace, also in Royal Square, holds an opening reception for a new art exhibit every First Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Prime Art Supply (128 E. King St.) and King's Courtyard Artist Collective (124 E. King St.) are also good stops to check out on First Fridays.

If you go

Parking garages (free after 5 p.m.):

Market Street (41 E. Market St.)

Philadelphia Street (25 W. Philadelphia St.)

King Street (15 W. King St.)

Street parking (free after 5 p.m.):

North Beaver Street closes to vehicle traffic from 4:30-9 p.m., and East King Street closes from 6-9 p.m. All other downtown streets are available for free parking after 5 p.m.

For Shoppers

This route features some of the downtown shops that normally close while you're still at work. On First Fridays, they stay open until 9 p.m., and usually offer First Friday deals and specials.

Stop 1: Indigo Bleu (39 W. Philadelphia St.)

Check out the contemporary, bohemian fashion at this women's clothing and accessories boutique. The merchandise is described on Indigo Bleu's website as "free-spirited, casual and whimsical."

Stop 2: North Beaver Street

Since the shops on North Beaver Street are so close together, you can knock them out all in one stop. Right around the corner from Indigo Bleu is Kimman's Co., a gift shop selling décor, baby items, jewelry, wedding gifts and more. Then, shop for jewelry at The Watchmaker's Daughter and women's fashion at Sweet Melissa's Dream and Arthur & Daughters' high-end consignment store. Finish up your Beaver Street shopping experience by picking up some handmade soap or accessories at Sunrise Soap Company and specialty foods like infused olive oil at Park Street Pantry.

SNACK: York City Pretzel Co. (39 W. Market St.)

After shopping up and down Beaver Street, you've probably worked up an appetite. Grab a soft pretzel or pretzel dog from York City Pretzel Co., which is open until 9 p.m. And don't forget to try one of their signature sauces like their in-house made sweet glaze, in-house made cheese sauce and beer mustard made with local beer.

Stop 3: My Girlfriend's Wardrobe (41 W. Market St.)

Shop for clothing, shoes, purses and accessories at My Girlfriend's Wardrobe. This consignment store is holding its semi-annual fill-a-bag sale on August First Friday. Stop by and fill a bag from the back area of the store for $25.

Stop 4: 56 Urban Provisions (56 S. Duke St.)

Make your way over to the Royal Square neighborhood for the last two stops on this route. 56 Urban Provisions is a modern-day general store selling food, clothes, home-goods, gifts and more. The store often offers samples of some of their food products on First Fridays.

Stop 5: Redeux (113 S. Duke St.)

End the evening at Redeux Marketplace, where you'll find vintage home décor, housewares, furniture, clothing, jewelry art and vinyl records.

For music fans

You won't go hungry on this route, featuring food, local music (and sometimes beer) at each stop.

Stop 1: Healthy World Café (24 S. George St.)

Free live music and a new photography exhibit are available at Healthy World Cafe every First Friday. The pay-how-you-can café also serves soups, sandwiches, salads, hummus and signature dried fruit and oatmeal cookies, each made with local ingredients.

Stop 2: Heidelberg United Church of Christ (47 W. Philadelphia St.)

Next, check out the Heidel-Bean Coffee House, where you'll find live music, coffee, snacks and free Wi-Fi each First Friday.

Stop 3: Mudhook Brewing Co. (34 N. Cherry Lane)

Mudhook regularly brings in rock and folk bands to perform on First Friday. One-man classic rock band Kurt Benit performs from 7 to 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 7. Expect a casual vibe with indoor, open-air and bar seating. While you're there, try one of Mudhook's signature brews, like the Redeye Irish Ale, Hook Bender Double IPA and the Deep Sea Stout.

Stop 4: Baron Von Schwein (35 W. Market St.)

Elijah Cross brings his rock, pop, folk and jazz style to Baron Von Schwein Aug. 7. This pork barbecue restaurant will also offer beer samplings by the Beer Ace.

Stop 5: Holy Hound Taproom (57 W. Market St.)

End the evening at Holy Hound Taproom around 9 p.m, when Mike MiZ begins his live set. Be prepared for a loud, crowded atmosphere. Holy Hound has 30 rotating craft beer on tap and is a great place to hang out for the rest of the evening with friends.