This question was posted 2 years ago. I'm asking myself the same thing now, but it still appears that Visual Studio Code is the way most people go here.
Visual Studio 2019 includes the ability to do Node.js projects, but doesn't mention SharePoint Framework. I'd guess that the method could be worked out, but personally I'm going to go with the approach ...
Here is the code for attaching an 'ItemAdded' event receiver with CSOM:
var serviceUrl = "https://remote-event-receiver-service-url";
var list = clientContext.Web.Lists.GetByTitle("TestList1");
var eventReceiverInfo = new EventReceiverDefinitionCreationInformation
EventType = EventReceiverType.ItemAdded,
Synchronization = ...