On the first Friday of every month, shops in Bellevue, Kentucky, stay open late and welcome visitors to their histoic riverside town. Similar to Final Friday in Over The Rhine, Bellevue businesses host an open house-style event, where most shops offer free samples, small bites, special discounts, or wine.

Free samples of Cinnamon Knot pretzels at Twisted Sister.

First Friday takes place along Fairfield Avenue, the town's main street. Convenient and easy to find, this is the same street that runs in front of Party Source; the shopping district is just a few blocks east. From restaurants, boutiques, coffee houses and antique shops, there's something for every interest.

Twisted Sister: a pretzel restaurant
Thyme Square: specialty herbs and teas
Schneider's Sweet Shop: an old-fashioned ice cream parlor

If you're looking to start your evening in Bellevue with dinner, there are many delicious choices. Siam Orchid serves up tasty Thai food for under $10.00 a plate. Up the street, Bellevue Bistro specializes in handmade sandwiches and soups.

My personal favorite is The Elusive Cow, which boasts an organic menu for both meatlovers and vegan-friendly options. They also have a full bar. I highly recommend trying the bison burger, tacos, falafel, or my go-to item: the fish sandwich. It's so huge, it looks like it's swimming off the bun!

I found several hair fascinators inside Fabulous Finds For Less, which featured a sale on hair accessories and derby hats. At only a couple dollars each, I bought a few bright colored flowers in colors I've never found elsewhere. They also carry an assortment of clothing, handbags, and cosmetics.

Home goods store Interior Visions is packed to the brim with dishware, candles, antiques, books, gardening accessories, wine tools, and other decor. This shop is definitely geared to an older clientelle; it's one of those shops where even some adults feel the need to keep their hands in their pockets! Nonetheless, there's a good variety of trinkets great for shopping for a mature relative or friend.

If you're less traditional and more quirky, definitely check out Purple Monkey. This shop is similar to Spencer's Gifts, but not vulgar. Instead, you'll find cheeky, fun gifts here for both children and adults. My favorite find has been the collection of plush microbes, which add googly eyes and soft fur to shapes like The Common Cold, a Brain Cell, a Bed Bug, or Flesh Eating Bacteria.

First Friday runs from 6:00PM - 9:00PM, though it's better to come earlier than later in case some shops close up early. With free, ample street parking and a festive, walkable community, Bellevue gives visitors a unique way to kick off their weekend.