Posted in News on

Smart Tips for Safer Winter Bus Riding

Don’t let a little snow and ice stand in the way of your bus ride. Winter may not officially be here yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start preparing for your winter bus travel. As you ride the bus this winter, here are a few smart habits to practice for a safer bus ride.

Bus riding tips for winter months
Posted in In The Community on

Motivational Mondays: Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer's Association: A world without Alzheimer's Disease

November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. This disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 180,000 people in Michigan have the disease.

In our new partnership with FOX 17, we’re featuring organizations and stories to motivate you to make our community a better place. Last week, we featured The Greater Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Alzheimer’s is a journey that many families across the nation face, yet feel so alone. The Alzheimer’s Association knows what those families are going through, and provide so many resources to help out families going through this difficult time. Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research to provide and enhance care and support for all affected and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Not only does the Alzheimer’s Associations provide families with endless resources, they also have committed volunteers who help those affected in any way by Alzheimer’s get to support groups or even special cafes for those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s main office is located at 2944 Fuller Avenue North East in suite 101. Not only is their office located right along The Rapid’s routes, they also have two Memory Cafés and twelve support groups within a five-minute walk of a Rapid stop.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease in any way, or if you would like to help volunteer or support the Alzheimer’s Association, go to alz.org/gmc to see where help is needed in your area.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 180,000 people in Michigan have the disease.

Alzheimer’s is a journey that many families across the nation face, yet feel so alone. The Alzheimer’s Association knows what those families are going through, and provide so many resources to help out families going through this difficult time.

Not only does the Alzheimer’s Associations provide families with endless resources, they also have committed volunteers who help those affected in any way by Alzheimer’s get to support groups or even special cafes for those dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s main office is located at 2944 Fuller Avenue North East in suite 101.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease in any way, or if you would like to help volunteer or support the Alzheimer’s Association, go to alz.org/gmc to see where help is needed in your area.

Posted in News on

Make Your Voice Heard on November 7

make-your-voice-heard-graphic

On Tuesday, November 7, a renewal of The Rapid’s operating millage will be on the ballot.

We have been operating public transportation service for seven years under the current mill rate of 1.47. We are asking the public to renew the rate for an additional 12 years. A renewal of this millage ensures the continuation of the strong public transportation system that serves the Greater Grand Rapids area. Without millage approval, the majority of public transit service The Rapid provides would cease in the six-city region.

The Purpose of the Millage Renewal

At The Rapid, our mission is to create, offer and continuously improve a flexible network of regional public transportation options and mobility solutions. The renewal of this millage directly impacts our funding structure and our mission to provide convenient, affordable and sustainable transportation to the community. Along with passenger fares and state operating assistance, the property tax helps fund The Rapid’s operations budget. The Rapid is a public transit organization funded under Public Act 196 of 1986. This is the method provided by the State of Michigan for local transit operators to provide the necessary local funds for public transit. These local millage funds will provide approximately 35.5% of our operating budget. The remainder is made of fares paid by passengers 16.1% and contract revenues for service14.5% and local bus operating assistance (LBOA) at 32.7% from the Michigan Department of Transportation with other revenue sources making up the balance of 1.2%.

Millage funds are used strictly for expenses directly related to operating service.

Community Impact of Public Transportation

A millage renewal helps everyone, whether you ride the bus or not. The Rapid provides an average of one million rides per month, and these are people who are going to doctor’s appointments, to school, to work, to go shopping, or attending community events. A millage renewal ensures that everyone in our region has access to all of these things.

Minimum- and low-wage earners, persons with disabilities and senior citizens also rely on The Rapid to go about their daily lives. Some people need public transportation to get to their jobs, with more than 80 percent of rides being taken to and from employment. Many passengers use The Rapid to receive dialysis, chemotherapy and other medical treatments. Others are unable to drive or can’t afford to own a car and pay for auto insurance. Special-need students depend on the bus to get to school. The millage renewal is essential to The Rapid’s efforts to ensure our community’s most vulnerable citizens can maintain their independence and help low-income workers have access to affordable transportation options.

Make Your Voice Heard

Registered voters who live within the boundaries of the communities identified above in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Grandville, Wyoming and Walker can vote on The Rapid millage renewal at their precinct on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

Posted in Places to Go on

10 Transit-Friendly November Events

November Events

Cold weather and shorter days are here to stay as we welcome November. Fortunately, there is still so much to do throughout Grand Rapids before winter arrives.

Comedy, shopping, museum days and delicious food and drink specials will fill up your calendar this month. Avoid the hassle of parking and ride with us to make the most out of your event travel this month.

1. Grand Rapids Improv Festival

From Oct. 30 through Nov. 6, ride with us to hilarious comedy events throughout downtown Grand Rapids. The home base for the Grand Rapids Improv Festival is Dog Story Theater (7 Jefferson Ave), however, there will be loads of performances, workshops, special events and even networking to partake in during this week of improv. Some events include Beyond Hamilton: A Musical Improv Workshop, Leading Ladies, and Improv Hop! View the full lineup here.

Locations vary based on the events.

2. Beneath the Wreath: a Charitable Shopping Event

Shop for a cause to kick off this holiday season. This event on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 features the best in stylish women’s clothing and accessories, holiday and home decor, handmade arts and crafts, children’s clothing, and specialty local and gourmet foods. This event takes place at The Cultural Center at St. Nicholas on East Paris. Along with 100 percent of ticket sales, these funds directly support Junior League of Grand Rapids’ projects improving children’s physical health in our community, including Backpack Buddies and Kids in the Kitchen.

Routes 5 and 24 can get you there.

3. Fall Festival

Enjoy fall at Richmond Park with this free, family-friendly on Nov. 4. There will be outdoor ping-pong, kayaking on Richmond Pond, cider and donuts, snacks, face painting and more!

Route 9 can get you there.

4. Recycled Art Holiday Market

Do your holiday shopping with 60 artisans who focus on repurposing, upcycling or recycling materials in their work! This holiday market takes place at City High Middle School on Nov. 4. It’s just $2 for admission.

Route 11 can get you there. 

5. Jurassic Quest

Don’t miss the largest exhibition of lifesize, moving museum-quality dinosaurs in North America! This traveling exhibition is coming to DeVos Place on Nov. 3-5. Bring your kids or favorite little ones to see 80 life-size dinosaurs, dig for fossils, play in mazes and do dino crafts. Tickets range in price from $14 for seniors to $29 for all-inclusive kids VIP tickets. Get yours now.

Routes 11, 13 and the SL can get you there.

6. Brain: The World Inside Your Head

Throughout November, make some time to learn more about the power of the brain at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. This exhibit takes you inside the brain to discover basic inner workings!

Routes 7, 9, 12 and 50 can get you there. 

7. Cocktail Week Grand Rapids

Sip local from Nov. 8-19 for a celebration of the art of the craft cocktail in Grand Rapids. Participating bars and restaurants will feature specials to get two Michigan cocktails and a shared-plate appetizer for $25 or less. There will also be a full schedule of cocktail events and other special offers here.

Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6+ can get you there.

8. Comfort Food Friday

On Nov. 10, ride The Rapid to the Downtown Market for a day of celebrating the home-cooked, hand-made and heartiest meals! Market merchants will be serving up homestyle favorites like mac and cheese, cheddar beer bread and smoked meatloaf. Yum!

Routes 1, 2 and the Silver Line can get you there.

9. Annie

Get on board to see this main stage holiday musical at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre! Annie is a musical about an orphan searching for her family in the 1930s. This musical will be on stage from Nov. 17  through Dec. 17. Tickets range in price from $15-$27.

Routes 1, 4, 13, 14, 16 and the Silver Line

10. International Wine, Beer and Food Festival

For a decade, this festival has been serving up more than 1,800 wines, beers, ciders, and spirits. Whether you’re a beverage connoisseur or just a novice, there’s something to please everyone’s palette at this event. This festival takes place from Nov. 16-18 at DeVos Place with single-day admission for $15 or a 3-day pass for $40. Get your tickets here.

Routes 11, 13 and the SL can get you there. Plan your trip.

Posted in Rider Stories on

Local Priest Champions Public Transportation in Grand Rapids

Father Mark smiling on the bus.

It wasn’t exactly divine providence that The Rapid bus service was there to serve the Rev. Mark Przybysz in his time of need.

Rather, Przybysz himself was integral to ensuring that the Grand Rapids area’s mass transit system had expanded over the years — and therefore could conveniently get him to wherever he had to go when he was temporarily unable to drive after suffering a concussion in March 2015.

“The Rapid helped me to continue to function, to live an independent life,” said the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Community in Grand Rapids, who over the years has advocated for financial and other support of the Interurban Transit Partnership, operator of The Rapid. “I did not lose a beat on my ministry life, on my social life, on my health care life — I was able to do everything that I used to be able to do.”

Przybysz’s sudden reliance on The Rapid did not go unnoticed by his parishioners, who were accustomed to hearing him speak in favor of mass transit. Some church members even followed in his footsteps, Przybysz said.

“Some of them actually started to take The Rapid themselves,” he said. “It really is a great service, and it’s great to have it handy for so many people.”

“The Rapid is a friend”

Przybysz’s injury occurred when he was walking his dog and passed out for some reason, hitting his head. He was able to get back to his house and receive medical assistance but was told he shouldn’t drive for six months.

Plenty of people offered to chauffer him while he recovered, but Przybysz opted to turn to The Rapid for his transportation needs. For example, he rode the bus to meetings of the Aquinas College Board of Directors — on which he serves — as well as to get to follow-up medical appointments and to visit parishioners in the hospital.

“The Rapid is a friend,” Przybysz said. “It’s there for you in your time of need and it will help build our community because this is a community of friendships. I think that really sums up what The Rapid is about. Maybe you don’t use it all the time, or even ever, but if you need it, it’s there and you know that it’s a friend that’s not only there for you but that the friend is also helping make our community even stronger. It just reflects who we are as Grand Rapidians.”

Przybysz applauds the evolution of the mass transit system from the original Grand Rapids Area Transit Authority, which offered service mainly in Grand Rapids, into today’s regional Interurban Transit Partnership.

Today, The Rapid serves Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker and Wyoming, with some fixed routes extending into nearby townships, and has buses that run until 11 p.m. It also operates on-demand service for people with disabilities, and car- and vanpooling programs for people living outside the fixed-route service area.

As a result, the transit system has played an important role in Grand Rapids’ transformation into the bustling, thriving community that it is today, Przybysz said.

“It makes our community closer, and it makes our community more alive,” he said. “We get to know each other better. It opens our community to everybody who still doesn’t have a car, which is a lot of people. It helps us to see the different dimensions of our community.”

A robust mass transit system also is integral to economic development, ensuring that workers can get to jobs and helping to attract young professionals, said Przybysz, whose ultimate vision is for The Rapid to become a countywide system.

“It’s a fantastic offering to a new generation,” he said. “The younger generation wants a system where they can use alternative methods to get around.”

Posted in Places to Go on

Ride The Rapid to these 10 Kid-Friendly Halloween Destinations

kid-friendly and transit-friendly halloween destiantions

Halloween is almost here! Are your little ghosts, ghouls and goblins ready to celebrate?

There is no shortage of fun, kid-friendly events to check out throughout Grand Rapids and the suburbs this year. Since riding the bus is an adventure for kids of all ages, we suggest getting on board and riding The Rapid to make your Halloween even more spooktacular. Whether you’re in search of treats or a full-fledged Halloween experience, there’s something for every kid to love.

If it’s your first time riding The Rapid, you can learn about using the bus to get around at ridetherapid.org. As for fares, a single fare is $1.75. While children under 42″ tall ride for free with a paying adult. If you’re planning to ride with us for a round trip or visit several destinations along a route or during a trip, we suggest purchasing an unlimited 1-Day Pass for $3.50. If you have several family members joining you, a 10-Ride Ticket for $13.50 may suit your needs since the rides can be used for more than one person.

Here are some great Halloween events to check out:

Kentwood Trunk or Treat

Kentwood Parks and Recreation is hosting their “trunk or treat” event at Kentwood Department of Public Works on Oct. 21. Children are encouraged to come in costume and bring their own candy-collection bag. More than 20 businesses and City departments will be handing out candy and other treats. Kids can also enjoy games, face painting, a bounce house and hay rides.

Ride Route 2 or 44.

ZOO GOES BOO AT JOHN BALL ZOO

Visit John Ball Zoo on Oct. 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 for loads of Halloween fun including trick-or-treating, activities and animals. Admission is $8 for non-members and $3 for members. Children under two years of age get in for free.

Ride Routes 12 or 50 to get there.

Wicked at DeVos Performance Hall

Get your witch fix by catching Wicked presented by Broadway Grand Rapids at DeVos Performance Hall! This Broadway sensation gives an inside look at what happened in the Land of Oz from a completely different angle. It’s the perfect Halloween musical. Wicked is on stage from Oct. 18 – Nov. 5.

Ride the Silver Line and Routes 11 and 50.

Trick or Treat Night at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Bring your little ghosts and goblins for a special night of Halloween fun at the Children’s Museum on Oct. 26. Decorate a treat bag, create spooky art projects and trick or treat throughout the museum. All trick-or-treat activities are included with the $1.75 admission after 5 p.m.!

Ride Route 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15.

Kid’s Night Out BOO BASH at MVP Sportsplex

On Oct. 27, ride Route 24 to MVP Sportsplex for a spooktacular night of games, swimming, pizza and more – wear a bathing suit, not a costume. Boo Bash is from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Admission is just $20 for members and $26 for non-members.

Ride Route 24.

hOWLween at Blandford Nature Center

Get up and close with night animals within Blandford’s enchanted forest! This event takes place from 6 p.m. – 7: 30 p.m. on Oct. 26. Come dressed in your costume to meet the animals, enjoy a treat and do a creepy craft. For those looking for more Halloween fun, come back for an afternoon of Scary Tales on Oct. 28. Tickets are $5 for members and 48 for non-members. Register here.

Ride Route 7.

Monster Mash at Kroc Center

Ride the Silver Line to Kroc Center for Halloween “trunk or treat” fun on Oct. 28! Come dressed in your favorite costume and visit local organizations and businesses in the Kroc Center parking lot to collect candy and other goodies. This is a free event. All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Ride Route 1 or the Silver Line.

Halloween Good Night Storytime at Books & Mortar

Enjoy storytime with local author Rebecca Grabill as she reads her first book, “Good Night Halloween,” at Books & Mortar Bookstore Oct. 21. Grabill will also be doing a reading at Hopscotch Children’s Store on Oct. 28. After storytime, you can do a bit of Autumn shopping and enjoy a walk around the neighborhood! This event is free and family friendly.

Ride Route 6 and 14.

Alger Heights Halloween 5K/10K

Stay active with your family while celebrating Halloween! This annual family-friendly fun walk and run takes place on Oct. 28 in Alger Heights. Register now! Entry fees are just $30 and $40.

Ride Route 4 or 24.

Día de los Muertos at Grand Rapids Public Library

Celebrate Día de los Muertos with the Grand Rapids Public Library! Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that honors family and friends who have passed on. Loved ones come together to build altars that celebrate the life and memory of the dead. This is a time of celebration and joy, filled with talk and memories of those who have died. Altars from members of the community honoring family and friends will be on display. Every altar is unique and taken together they create a fascinating portrait of what citizens of Grand Rapids hold close to them. This event is free to the public.

Ride 4, 6, 14 and 15.

Posted in Silver Line on

The Silver Line: More than a Name

Silver Line

Michigan’s first bus rapid transit (BRT) line, currently known as the Silver Line, may be in for a name change.

As of June 28, 2017, The Rapid Board approved selling the naming rights of the Silver Line as a fiscally responsible opportunity for partnership within the community.

Why now for the Silver Line? And what does selling naming rights entail?

Essentially, The Rapid would offer to rename the Silver Line based on an advertising partnership. Typically, naming rights partnerships offer a huge return on advertising dollars that is far above what can be achieved through traditional marketing channels. The Rapid provided approximately 808,000 rides to passengers this past year on the Silver Line, so the visibility of the Silver Line route is enormous.

“Teaming with The Rapid also demonstrates that a company is committed to our community and a recognition that everybody in Grand Rapids wins with a strong public transportation system, even if you never ride the bus,” said Michael Bulthuis, Marketing and Communications Manager of The Rapid.

The Silver Line launched in 2014 and was under budget and ahead of schedule. The capital cost of the Silver Line was $40 million, which came from a mix of state and federal grants. Operational expenses for the Silver Line are covered through a portion of the millage collected from the six cities The Rapid serves, as well as fares and state operating assistance.

At The Rapid, we’re not only focused on safety and customer service for our passengers; we’re also committed to strong financial stewardship to the public that funds our system. Opening up naming rights on the Silver Line helps ensure we don’t have to raise fares or raise property tax rates. This is also why we’re committed to asking for a renewal of our currently operating millage on Nov. 7, 2017.

“Some benefits of revenue generated from naming rights include offsetting fluctuating costs of fuel, landscaping and utilities,” said Bulthuis. “We have a balanced budget. This is simply an opportunity for The Rapid to diversify its revenue streams without requesting more funding from local taxpayers.”

While the Silver Line may be the first BRT in Michigan, it’s not the first transit system in the US to sell naming rights sponsorships to its assets. Public transportation agencies across the country routinely explore this option as a way to offset growing capital and operating expenses.

“We truly see this as a win-win-win opportunity for The Rapid, the public and a private entity that wants to help promote the benefits of public transportation while demonstrating their dedication to Greater Grand Rapids,” Bulthuis said.

Posted in News on

Free Ride Fridays are back for the 2017-2018 Grand Rapids Griffins Season

Griffins

The 2017-2018 Grand Rapids Griffins season just started! For those Grand Rapids Griffins fans looking to save a bit of money, avoid the hassle of parking and travel safely to hockey games, The Rapid can get you where you need to go at no cost.

This year, we’re once again offering free rides to Grand Rapids Griffins Friday home games at Van Andel Arena. This Free Ride Friday promotion gets you to and from the game at no cost to you. Just show your game ticket (paper or on your mobile device) to your bus operator when boarding.

You can plan your trip to Van Andel Arena by visiting ridetherapid.org and using our RapidConnect Trip Planning tools, as well as simply planning your trip on Google Maps (just choose the transit icon).

Happy riding!

Posted in Places to Go on

10 Transit-Friendly Events in October

Autumn in Grand Rapids

Autumn is here, which means changing leaves and crisp sweater weather. If you’re like us, you’re likely hoping to make the most of the cooler, more enjoyable temperatures. Get the most out of the month of October by packing your event calendar with transit-friendly events and destinations.

Whether you’re planning on continuing to take in the variety of art throughout the city, celebrate fall with a harvest festival or enjoy local food and drinks, there’s something to meet your needs. Relax and leave your car at home or park it in one of the downtown Grand Rapids parking lots and get on board to ride with us for a relaxing trip to your destination.

Here are some events to check out in October:

1. ArtPrize

Get on board to enjoy the last week of ArtPrize Nine! Through Oct. 8, you can explore venues and exhibits throughout Grand Rapids.  This world-famous event offers the opportunity to indulge in art, explore your surroundings and take in all Grand Rapids has to off. With nearly 200 venues throughout Grand Rapids, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

Plan your trip.

2. ArtPrize Street Party with Local First

On Oct. 1 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., ride The Rapid or DASH to get to Sundance Grill for their first ever street party during ArtPrize. The party will take place on the Pearl Street side of the restaurant. Long Road Distillery will be joining Sundance Grill with some of their specialty cocktails, along with Founders Brewing Co. Aside from delicious craft beverages, each vendor will also be providing swag for the public.

The party is free and everyone is welcome. Drop 35 will be playing your favorite 80s and 90s tunes on the parklet. Also, in efforts to assist our friends in Texas suffering from this natural disaster, Sundance Grill will be donating 15% of all outside sales to the Red Cross.

Routes 6, 11, 13 and DASH can get you there. Plan your trip.

3. First Friday Gallery Hops 

South Division Ave becomes the ultimate destination to find artwork by local artists, handmade goods, and food and drink specials. While you’re out enjoying ArtPrize on Oct. 6, take a stroll down Division from 6 – 9 p.m. to visit local shops and see what’s for sale.

The Silver Line and Routes 1, 3, 4, 6, 14, and 15 can get you to Division Avenue.

4. Harvest Hullabaloo

Ride The Rapid to the Downtown Market on Oct. 7 to celebrate everything autumn has to offer from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. This family-friendly event features fall-themed specials from around the Market Hall; fresh fall produce and products from local farms; kids activities and games, including sack races, pumpkin races and a donut challenge, and last but not least, square dancing demos!

Routes 1, 2, 5 and the Silver Line can get you there

5. CARE Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty

On Oct. 7 and Oct. 8 at theEast Grand Rapids Performing Arts Center, CARE Ballet brings the condensed version of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet of Princess Aurora to life on stage. The one-hour version retells the story of the evil spell that puts the entire kingdom to sleep when the princess pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. With a kiss, the handsome Prince breaks the spell and awakens Sleeping Beauty. A wedding celebration follows, and several of Aurora’s favorite childhood characters arrive and perform for the Prince and Princess. Puss and Boots, Little Bo-Peep, Little Red Riding Hood, and Bluebird and Princess Florine all make an appearance.

Route 6 can get you there.

6. Midnight at the Museum

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum isn’t just for kids. Visit the Children’s Museum on Oct. 13 for an adult 21+ game night!  game night for adults 21+ at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum with the Vault of Midnight gaming experts and refreshments from Elk Brewing. Tickets $15 per person and include admission, games, and one drink ticket. Additional tickets available for purchase.

Routes 1, 4, 13, 14 15 and the Silver Line. Plan your trip.

7. Yoga at the GRAM

The Grand Rapids Art Museum and AM Yoga will be hosting Yoga at GRAM, sponsored by Priority Health on Oct. 19. Bring a friend for Vinyasa-style yoga classes with instructors Ashley Yost and Mali Jane. All levels are welcome.

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, Silver Line and DASH. Plan your trip.

8. Meyer May Home Tour 

On Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in October, ride with us to the Meyer May Home.  Recurring weekly this free tour lets you inside the famous Frank Lloyd Wright house located at 450 Madison Avenue SE. Take a step back in time to enjoy the beauty of this unique home.

Routes 3 and 5 can get you there

9. Grand Rapids Comic-Con 

Get on board to ride The Rapid to DeVos Place from Oct. 20– 22 for Grand Rapids’ very own comic and popular arts convention. Day tickets and weekend packages are available for purchase.

Routes 11, 13, 19, 50  and the Silver Line can get you there. Plan your trip.

10. Fork Fest

Enjoy an evening of local food and drink at  Romance Gardens & Greenhouses for Local First’s 7th Annual Fork Fest! This year’s event is presented by  Brewery Vivant and takes place on Oct. 26 from 5- 9 p.m. Stroll from booth to booth and try samples from more than 40 of West Michigan’s finest restaurants, farms, grocers, bakeries, breweries, and more. All samples are included in the price of admission and a cash bar will be available. This year’s event includes a quiet space, a large-print map of the event, wider pathways, and clearly marked way-finding signage.

Route 14 can get you there.

Posted in News on

9 Tips for Exploring ArtPrize Nine

ArtPrize 9

With more than 1,300 entries being displayed throughout Grand Rapids over 19 days,  ArtPrize Nine kicks off on Sept. 20 and runs until Oct. 8. This renowned event is the perfect chance to rediscover Grand Rapids while indulging in a variety of art, music, film and other entertainment.

With so much to see and do in such a short amount of time, it’s important that you get the most out of your ArtPrize experience. Here are 9 tips for getting the most out of ArtPrize this year:

1. Leave Your Car At Home

Parking spots are a hot commodity during this event. Rather than dealing with the stress and cost of parking, leave your car at home or park it at Meijer and ride The Rapid. If you’re traveling from the outskirts of Grand Rapids, seven area Meijer locations are offering up their parking lots for you to use. You can also park at either of the Silver Line Park ‘n’ Ride lot located at 60th Street and Division and Burton and Division. We’ll help you do the driving and make your ArtPrize experience more enjoyable.

2. Purchase an ArtPrize Metro Pass

While at Meijer, you can also purchase an ArtPrize Metro Pass. For just $5, you’ll receive unlimited rides on the Silver Line and 10 rides on Rapid fixed-route buses. This amazing transit deal also includes an exclusive day pass to the ArtPrize Clubhouse where you can enjoy a free drink, snacks and a place to rest in between venues.

3. Try New Transit

Transit is the smartest way to get around ArtPrize, so why not give all forms a try? Aside from The Rapid’s regular fixed-route buses, there’s also the Silver Line and DASH that can keep you moving. All three of these bus options provide unique benefits and connection opportunities. Whether it means parking and riding the Silver Line from 60th Street or using one of the parking lots on the edge of Downtown, these transit options can get you to the center of the ArtPrize action.

One major bonus is that both Silver Line and DASH are free to passengers riding within the Downtown area. This year, DASH West will even be running on extended hours seven days a week to ensure that you can see all that ArtPrize has to offer with the ease and convenience of the Downtown shuttle service. ArtPrize is the perfect excuse to get out and try a new form of transportation!

4. Get Friendly With Apps

Did you know that ArtPrize has its very own app? Aside from being able to cast your vote for your favorite entries, the ArtPrize app also offers visitors continuously updated information on announcements, events, venues and much more. Download the app from the Apple Store of Google Play today to get prepared for the week ahead.

If you’re riding The Rapid, DASH or the Silver Line, you can also access real-time bus information via several different third-party bus tracking apps. Our favorite is myStop, which will allow you to plan your transit trips, track your bus in real time and see what stops are nearby. This will make navigating the city and transit even easier for you.

5. Check out the Pantone Pathways

These pathways provided by X-Rite Pantone offer clear paths of travel for ArtPrize explorers to navigate their way through this 19-day event. There are six pathways that highlight each neighborhood’s character including local businesses, distinct neighborhoods as we as features venues and activities. Each path is just 2.4 miles or less so you can experience nearly all venues from pathway access.

6. Experience Beer City

Take in all that Beer City USA has to offer by using ArtPrize’s Brew Lovers’ Experience Guide. You’ll start your journey at Founders Brewing Co. (across the street from Rapid Central Station) and journey through Grand Rapids as you explore beer offerings. There’s also the option of some coffee exploration on the guide. Check it out.

7. Enjoy Music + Film

There’s a lot more to ArtPrize than just art installations. ArtPrize Nine attendees will have access to ArtPrize on Screen, which is a film festival featuring six feature-length documentary films, each accompanied by a Michigan-made short. This year, you can also enjoy music at the second annual HopCat WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival with music from eight musicians and bands from across the country.

8. Make It A Family Experience

ArtPrize offers fun for the whole family. Enjoy a variety of interactive activities to unleash your creative spirit during this event. Stop by ArtPrize Labs Studios to create your own piece of art, visit the STEAM Village to experience the power of art and creativity and so much more. Here’s the full list of family-friendly events taking place throughout the city.

9. Plan Ahead

With so much to see and do in such a just over two weeks, checking out the artists and venues beforehand is a great way to ensure you don’t miss anything. Take a look around the ArtPrize website to map out all of the locations you don’t want to miss and even discover news places in Grand Rapids! You may even want to plan your walking, biking or transit trip in advance. Our RapidConnect Trip Planner is a handy assistant for this task.

Enjoy ArtPrize! See you on board.