Dayton’s open house!

Urban Nights highlights urban living, art, food and fun

 By Stacey Ritz
 Photo: Dancing in the Street was one of the highlights of last fall’s Urban Nights. This spring, the event will feature dance entertainment on a stage at the International Street hotspot, on Second between Main and Jefferson.

Urban Nights began in 2002 as a downtown art hop and has grown since that time. “The main goal of Urban Nights is to highlight the many things to see and experience downtown year-round. The only complaint we receive is that there is too much to do. We think this is a good problem to have,” explained Kristen Wicker, public relations and promotions manager for the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “We love seeing that more than 30,000 people come downtown and have so much fun experiencing all that downtown has to offer.”

Urban Nights will be held from 5-10 p.m. Friday, May 10 in downtown Dayton, the Oregon District and Wright-Dunbar Business Village. Wicker explained, “This year, Urban Nights is getting an updated flavor and feel. Entertainment now will focus on three ‘hotspots’ located throughout downtown. A variety of activities will be held at each hotspot, which will be in a different downtown location during each Urban Nights.” The first hotspot is International Street,  which includes Second Street between Main and Jefferson Streets. Here you will enjoy dance performances from a variety of groups, games, good food and craft brew. Arts Corner is the second hotspot, located at St. Clair and Fourth Streets. Arts Corner will feature the motto “Walk on the Creative Side,” and will host live entertainment, exhibits and special sales. Entertainment at this location will be provided by Sweet Betsy, By Means of Words at CADC and Miss Lissa & Co. at Serendipity Bistro. “The Dayton Art Institute will host a photo booth where you can transform your image into an Andy Warhol-style work of art,” said Wicker. The third hotspot is Live on Five, at the corner of Fifth and Pine Streets in the Oregon District. Here you can listen to a variety of live bands and grab a draft brew straight from the beer truck. Music will be provided by The Broken Lights Band, Meghna & the Majority, Cherry Lee and Daddy Katz and Magic Jackson.

In total, more than 100 establishments will showcase downtown’s “dining, nightlife, art, music, retail and housing options. The best way to see as much as possible during Urban Nights is to walk, and many of the destinations are just a short distance from each other. Greater Dayton RTA also will provide free event busses to help visitors get around,” explained Courtney Deutsch and Wicker.

“We celebrated the 10th anniversary of Urban Nights last year and felt it was a good time to re-evaluate the event. It’s clear Urban Nights has been extremely successful. Many business owners report record sales and we continue to receive a great deal of positive feedback from the community about Urban Nights,” said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “Still, we wanted to make sure Urban Nights more effectively meets its overall goal: to showcase all downtown has to offer and the places that only can be experienced in downtown Dayton. We believe this new plan will encourage people to visit more places downtown during Urban Nights while giving us the opportunity to better highlight different areas in our center city.”

Some of the many events that will take place during Urban Nights include but are not limited to: tours and exhibits commemorating the Great Dayton Flood of 1913, a self-guided architectural tour organized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Dayton Chapter – for those interested in the architecture of Dayton and the history behind it. If you enjoy cycling, enjoy Urban Nights on your bike: join hundreds of cyclists on this police-escorted ride through downtown. Maybe you’re interested in the Great Dayton Adventure Race – an urban scavenger hunt right at the center of the Urban Nights activities. Those interested in jumping in the adventure race can learn more at There will also be many creative art opportunities available including steamroller printmaking, the Light My Fire exhibit of more than 100 hand-crafted mosaic lanterns, abstract paintings by Rebecca Sargent and Erika Hess and don’t forget the Mosaic City Photo Show – an exhibit that will include work by artists Glenna Jennings, whose photographs “depict residents and visitors to downtown Dayton observing historic images from the National Cash Register archive.”

“We recommend planning your visit ahead of time because there are so many things to see and do! A program with a map and details about everything taking place at the more than 100 participating locations will be available at in early May. Visitors can get information about parking, directions downtown and much more on our website,” added Wicker.

“I have gone to Urban Nights in the past and it has been a blast. I’m looking forward to going again this year and it sounds like it’s going to be even better! There is so much to do in downtown Dayton and the event does a great job at highlighting so many great things in the area,” commented Dayton resident Sherry Dunaway. “From art works, to good food and drinks – oh, and live entertainment – we have a great time and I know we’ll have a great time again this year! If you’re considering going to Urban Nights, do it, you’ll be glad you did!”

Urban Nights takes place Friday, May 10 from 5-10 p.m. For a complete listing of activities, visit 



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