All eyes are focused on Christmas at this point, but Friday is the first Friday of December, which means that downtown shops, galleries and museums are open later or are offering special deals. It might just be a great night to stock up on some creative gifts for friends and family.
Here are some of the family fun First Friday activities:
One big note: Marbles Kids Museum, which usually is open late on First Fridays, will close early to the general public at 4 p.m., Friday, for its annual Evening with Elves, a ticketed event. At last check, there were still tickets available for this popular event. And you'll need one of those if you're planning on going to Marbles on Friday.
The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, which is open through 9 p.m. on First Fridays, screens "Warning from Space," a 1956 Japanese sci-fi flick, at 7 p.m., Friday. The museum's monthly Teen Science Cafe will focus on how brains work. The free event is 6 p.m. at the Daily Planet Cafe. And the museum offers a buy one get one adult admission to Birds of Paradise every Friday Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. That's a great exhibit.
Raleigh Winterfest, the downtown Raleigh ice rink on City Plaza, is open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., with a DJ spinning tunes from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday. Admission is $9 and includes skate rental.
Speaking of Winterfest, Nüvonivo, the children's boutique at 111 E. Hargett St., will be open until 9 p.m. The shop is a sponsor of the 2013 Raleigh Winterfest ice rink. Sign up for the store's raffle to win two free tickets to skate at the outdoor rink.
ANVIL studio & gallery is open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m . with music by The Chamber Chicks and featured artists Cockamamie Jewelry and Darling & Dear Cards and Prints. They'll also have a kids craft table set up for kids to make an ornament.
Artspace, a collection of studios and galleries in City Market, will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday. This is always a fun place to walk through, talk to artists and see what they're working on.
CAM Raleigh features the Surveying the Terrain exhibition, a hands-on make and take art project, information from middle school docents, food trucks and more. Admission is free. I saw Surveying the Terrain last week. There are several kid-friendly pieces here, including one built to look like a topographic map that you can walk through. My kids really enjoyed it.
The Cupcake Shoppe, 104 Glenwood Ave., offer its buy one, get one half off cupcakes deal on First Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There's also free coffee.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit, 170 E. Davie St., offers free dessert with purchase of a barbecue meat plate and drink or one free kid's meal for ages 12 and under per paid adult meal of equal or greater value.
Ornamentea, the bead and craft store, offers a free project from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of each month (always a great little project if you're looking to make a gift for somebody).
And Lisa Stewart in the Blake Street Shops will offer Stuff Your Stocking from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Pick a limited edition handcrafted leather/suede stocking and stuff it with luxury items for loved ones, friends, and pets in your life.