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The Rapid Receives National Honor for “There’s More to the Ride” Campaign

APTA Award

This past April, The Rapid launched a new campaign that informs the Greater Grand Rapids region about the merits of public transportation through simple, powerful, consistent, and, most importantly, positive messages about the experience. We’re proud to announce that these stories have received national recognition.

The Rapid is among the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) winners announced during the transit industry’s annual AdWheel Awards at the APTA Annual Meeting held last week in Los Angeles, CA. The awards recognize APTA member public transportation systems and business members for their outstanding marketing and communications campaigns.

The marketing and communications efforts of The Rapid and other APTA members not only help to enhance communities and promote the many benefits of public transit but also improve the lives of the riding public.

The specific stories that passengers shared in The Rapid video outreach campaign demonstrate to our community that everybody in the Greater Grand Rapids area wins with a strong public transportation system, whether or not they ride the bus.

At The Rapid, we believe riding on our buses is about community and the ways that public transportation impacts people for the better every day. The goal of our educational campaign is to show we are stronger, more vibrant and successful when everyone has the opportunity and access they need.

The APTA award entries were evaluated by industry experts and awards were presented in three categories: campaigns to increase ridership or sales, campaigns to highlight transit needs and funding, and educational campaigns. Honors were awarded in four groups, based on system size.

APTA judges praised our campaign for successfully elevating public awareness by reaching 85 percent of the target audience 5-7 times per month. They especially lauded The Rapid for going beyond a transactional “getting from point A to point B” thinking and presenting a value proposition that transcends the traditional numbers about ridership and cost per trip.

The compliments from our industry peers for The Rapid team’s work are terrific, of course. But I encourage you to not just accept the APTA judges’ verdict. Go to MoreToTheRide.org and meet your fellow community members to experience it for yourself.

Posted in Places to Go on

Travel Smarter to ArtPrize Eight

Route 11 downtown

The transformation of downtown Grand Rapids into a giant art gallery is well underway. ArtPrize is almost here with opening day starting this Wednesday, September 21 running through October 9. And in ArtPrize’s eighth year as an event, there’s even more to love.

Once again, The Rapid and ArtPrize have partnered up to offer the coveted ArtPrize Metro Pass. Available for just $5, you’ll also get an ArtPrize Eight Event Guide and Map to help you navigate the event with ease. You can pick up you ArtPrize Metro Pass bundle at seven area Meijer locations–that also double as park-and-ride lots–and the ArtPrize Hub.

Another wallet-friendly option to consider during ArtPrize Eight is the free DASH shuttle service from Grand Rapids parking lots. The Silver Line is also free to passengers when traveling within the No Fare Zone throughout downtown Grand Rapids. Just park your car in the appropriate lot and hop on board.

We had the opportunity to spend some time with Amelia Pegman, Managing Director of ArtPrize. She shared her excitement for some aspects of ArtPrize Eight worth checking out:

Neighborhood HUBs

New to ArtPrize this year, Neighborhood HUBs are located throughout the ArtPrize district. These HUBS function as ArtPrize-operated visitor service locations at eight major venues including the original ArtPrize HUB/HQ at 41 Sheldon Blvd. Each HUB serves as an entry point to the event, a place to register to vote, get more information and find out more about specific tours and events. Don’t forget to check out the new ArtPrize Passport Program at HUBs for a chance to win awesome prizes.

Sustainability

ArtPrize invites visitors to take part in efforts to contribute to environmental sustainability. From alternative transportation options to composting and everything in between, there’s so much for visitors to take part in to create a more sustainable future. This year, ArtPrize has partnered with the City of Grand Rapids, Kent County and WMEAC to increase city-wide waste diversion, recycling and composting efforts. They’re also happy to bring back the ArtPrize Water Share Program for the third year as a way to reduce the prevalence of single-use water bottles.

For first-time Rapid riders, don’t forget to check out our how-to guide to ensure you have a smooth first ride.

We hope you’re looking forward to ArtPrize just as much as we are! See you on board.

 

Posted in Places to Go on

Get Your ArtPrize Metro Pass Beginning Sept. 18

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Are you ready to check out the world’s most attended art event? ArtPrize 2016 is almost here!

Running from Sept. 21 through Oct. 9, ArtPrize Eight will once again transform downtown Grand Rapids into an art museum, performance venue and a chance for public input about art. Founded in 2009 by Rick DeVos as an experiment, ArtPrize has continued to grow and evolve since the start. This art event draws artists and visitors from around the world to Grand Rapids while allowing the community to devour art and cast their votes. This year, there are 1,453 entries, 170 venues, and awards totaling $500,000.

For those ready to dig into art early, ArtPrize Preview Week kicked off on Sept. 14 and will run until Sept. 20. This event is new in 2016 and offers a first look at what’s to come when voting begins on Sept. 21.

Make your ArtPrize Eight experience even more convenient and wallet-friendly by purchasing your ArtPrize Metro Pass to ride The Rapid to, from and around Grand Rapids. Purchase an ArtPrize Metro Pass for just $5 beginning this Sunday, Sept. 18 at seven Meijer locations. Spending just five bucks (one time) will get you unlimited rides on the Silver Line, and 10 rides on The Rapid’s fixed routes. This amazing deal will provide transportation for the entire 19-day event.

Where to Buy Your ArtPrize Metro Pass

Not only can you purchase your ArtPrize Metro Pass from these locations, you can also catch a bus there to head straight to ArtPrize!

Riding From: Take This Bus:
Alpine Meijer
2425 Alpine NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Route 9
Alpine
Gaines Township Meijer
1801 Marketplace SW, Gaines Twp, MI 49316
Route 4
Eastern
(Note: This route does not run on Saturday or Sunday)
Grandville Meijer
3434 Century Center SW, Grandville, MI 49418
Route 8
Grandville & Rivertown
Knapp’s Corner Meijer
1997 E Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Route 15
East Leonard
Standale Meijer
315 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Route 7 & Route 12
West Leonard (7) West Fulton (12)
(Note: These routes do not run on Sundays)
28th Street/Kalamazoo Ave Meijer
1540 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Route 2
Kalamazoo Ave
54th Street/Clyde Park Meijer
5500 Clyde Park SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
Route 10
Clyde Park

Plan your trip to ArtPrize: http://ridetherapid.org

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DASH Around Downtown Grand Rapids

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ArtPrize is just around the corner. Forget driving around downtown Grand Rapids searching for the perfect parking spot. Now, the City of Grand Rapids and The Rapid have made major modifications to the city’s DASH and Silver Line bus services so that parking and getting around the city will be easier than ever before.

These new modifications that rolled out recently enable drivers to park in exterior lots and take DASH around downtown free of charge. While the Silver Line’s new No Fare Zone offers a chance individuals to get around downtown at no cost! Whether you’re riding in from 60th Street after parking your car or just hopping on board to head to lunch, the Silver Line’s No Fare Zone offers an easy and cheap way to experience downtown. The Silver Line No Fare Zone encompasses Silver Line Stations from Rapid Central Station to Wealthy Street Station.

The improvements to the DASH shuttle service took elements of DASH Hill and South have consolidated them into the new DASH West route. DASH North will only have minor changes. Take a look at the new map. The new routes are marked in red and blue and the city’s parking lots are labeled in grey.

The city’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department are currently funding the pilot project.

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Ride The Rapid to The Conscious Collective

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Seeking gently loved items to add to your fall wardrobe?Look no further than The Conscious Collective!

Located at 445 Bridge Sweet Northwest in Grand Rapids, you can get on board Routes 7, 9, and 19 to visit this local shop. The Conscious Collective is located in a gorgeous building, nestled between other great businesses, on Grand Rapids’ West Side. Shoppers can find clothing for women and men, as well as an assortment of beautiful home goods.

For those looking to make some money,The Conscious Collective not only sells gently used goods that are high quality, but they also offer a consignment process. By consigning your used clothing and gently used items, you can get up to 40 percent payback on what you paid for your objects.

We partner with FOX17 to bring you transit-friendly deals from businesses located throughout the community. Here’s another great one to check out:

Thrifty Thursday Deal

Now through September 30, if you mention you saw them on the Fox 17 Morning Mix, you can get 20 percent off one item in the store.

The Conscious Collective is located at 445 Bridge Street Northwest in Grand Rapids. For more information, call (616) 719-2222.

 

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Ride DASH to Receive a 20 Percent Dining Discount

DASH and DINE

Riders who take advantage of the City’s new and improved free DASH shuttle service at least once Tuesday, Sept. 6, through Tuesday, Sept. 13, can enjoy bargain pricing on meals at more than a dozen of Grand Rapids’ most popular Downtown destinations as part of a special “DASH & Dine Discount” promotion.

“We believe the “DASH & Dine Discount” marketing event is an excellent opportunity to build understanding of our expanded free Downtown transit service and inform the public that the shuttle is now available to everybody who travels Downtown,” said Joshua Naramore, Mobile GR & Parking Services Department manager.

“Our goal is to help promote awareness of the new DASH benefits that clientele patronizing Grand Rapids’ outstanding restaurants and food retailers as well as the general public and even out-of-town visitors can receive every time they park Downtown,” Naramore said.

Passengers who utilize DASH services at least once from Sept. 6–Sept. 13 are eligible to receive 10–20 percent discounts off their entire food purchase or other bargains redeemable at participating restaurants and retailers exclusively on Monday, Sept. 12, and Tuesday, Sept. 13. The discounts – which do not include alcohol, tax or gratuity – will apply only to customers with proof of a DASH & Dine Discount ticket. DASH drivers will provide passengers who ride the shuttle during Sept. 6–Sept. 13 with a discount ticket to present at participating merchants to receive their DASH & Dine Discount.

DASH bus

Restaurants participating and offering deals in the DASH & Dine Discount campaign include*:

-    Brick and Porter Pub and Kitchen, 47 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (20 percent)
-    Black Heron Kitchen & Bar, 428 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 (15 percent)
-    El Barrio Mexican Grill, 545 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (20 percent)
-    Grand Rapids Brewing Co., 1 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (20 percent)
-    Grand Woods Lounge, 77 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (15 percent)
-    Harmony Hall, 401 Stocking Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 (10 percent)
-    HopCat, 25 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (20 percent)
-    Love’s Ice Cream, 435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (free waffle cone or sauce with any scoop purchase)
-    Rocket Pies, 109 Logan St. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503; free additional premium topping with any pizza purchase
-    Relish Green Grocer, 435 Ionia Ave. SW, #106, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503 (10 percent off total purchase)
-    One Trick Pony, 136 E. Fulton St., East Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (15 percent)
-    Stella’s Lounge, 53 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (20 percent)
-    Spice Merchants, 2213 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 (10 percent)
-    The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 48503 (15 percent)
-    Making Thyme Kitchen, 966 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 (10 percent)

The DASH & Dine Discount event is a partnership launched by the City’s Mobile GR & Parking Services Department, Experience GR and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) to help explain the comprehensive reforms Grand Rapids introduced last week to modernize its public parking and local transit systems while making getting around Downtown easier than ever.

The marketing push is spurred by results from a recent Mobile GR & Parking Services Department survey that shows more than 80 percent of Downtown’s monthly parking customers say that they have not used the DASH service during the past 12 months. Just under half of all respondents – 49 percent – say they are less than somewhat familiar with DASH services and routes, including 28 percent who are not at all familiar.

The City’s messaging efforts include an updated website – www.grparkingchanges.org – featuring information tailored to specific groups of customers based on their transit and parking usage, as well as social ads, postcards that will be distributed to patrons throughout Downtown, public signage and news media coverage that encourage people to learn more about their options. Grand Rapids also is utilizing two new free mobile apps – GR Park and myStop Mobile – that cell phone users can download to instantly navigate their array of Downtown travel and parking opportunities.

In addition, the City of Grand Rapids, Mobile GR & Parking Services Department, The Rapid and DRGI are teaming to create a “Park Once” district in Downtown. The “Park Once” district will allow drivers to park once and travel throughout Downtown via free public transportation.

The City is increasing DASH service to create a true high-frequency Downtown DASH Circulator – a de facto Downtown Area shuttle – that complements the current Rapid public transit network. The no-fare service will run on weekdays, with exceptions on holidays. The City is consolidating service lines from the existing four DASH routes to two new routes – DASH West and DASH North – that are both within easy walking distance of all City-owned parking facilities.

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 1, DASH service operation hours were increased to run from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, with  a frequency of 7- to 8-minute service all day long. A fleet of seven DASH buses will operate at all times to connect current City parking facilities to Downtown destinations, as well as to link all major destinations through a simple pair of routes connecting Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. Trips on both DASH routes can be completed end-to-end in approximately 15 minutes, providing a fast, easy and convenient mode of transportation, Naramore said.

Another highlight that kicked off Sept. 1 allows Downtown travelers to ride Grand Rapids’  Silver Line service at no cost, all day long, from north of Wealthy Street and throughout Downtown.

Grand Rapids has not raised parking rates beyond the rate of inflation since 2000. Rates have only minimally been raised an average of 1 to 3 percent annually over the past 10 years and have not kept pace with increased demand and growing costs for providing services to customers, Naramore noted.

Posted in Places to Go on

Places to Go: Ride The Rapid to these September Events

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Hello September!

While summer may be winding down, there’s no shortage of events to enjoy this month. From numerous happenings at Grand Rapids parks to ArtPrize, there’s something for everyone to get out and enjoy this month.

Grab your bus pass and get on board The Rapid to ride to these great events:

1. Monarch Day at John Ball Zoo

Spend a day celebrating the beauty of Monarch Butterflies at John Ball Zoo! On Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., round up your friends and family to bid farewell to the Monarchs before their annual migration south due to winter. You’ll have a chance to help release 300 butterflies!

Routes 12, 50 can get you there. Plan your trip.

2. Tribute on the Grand

Founders Brewing is teaming up with FOX17 to host this fundraising event in support of Grand Rapids Whitewater. This free community event takes place on Sept. 10 from 3 p.m. – 11 p.m at Ah-Nab-Awen Park. Don’t miss an afternoon filled with yoga in the park, beer tents, musical acts and more. If you stay out later than we do, please consider taking an Uber or catching a ride with SteadyFare to get home.

Routes 7, 9, 12 can get you there. Plan your trip.

3. Vintage Street Market

Make your way to the Downtown Market on Sunday, Sept. 11 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. to find your next vintage treasure. This monthly vintage market if your chance to get your hands on vintage clothing, home goods, decor and other items. This is the last Vintage Street Market event of 2016, so don’t miss out!

Routes 1, 2, SL can get you there. Plan your trip.

4. Relax at Rosa

Head down to Rosa Parks Circle for the last Relax at Rosa event of the season! This free lunchtime entertainment series is one of our favorite things to do. Pack your lunch or buy some goodies from the food trucks from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, SL can get you there. Plan your trip.

5. Tuesday Swing Dancing

Looking to try something new this month? Come out for Tuesday swing dancing this month! Here’s the list of swing dance locations:

-  Sept. 6 -Rosa Parks Circle

-  Sept. 13 – DJ Blue Bridge Dance

-  Sept. 20 – Rosa Parks Circle

-  Sept. 27  - Rosa Parks Circle

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13, SL can get you there. Plan your trip.

6. New Inspired Style Exhibit at the GRPM

The Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) is partnering with Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) Pamella Roland DeVos School of Fashion to open a new fashion exhibit, Inspired Style. This exhibit–running until January 2017–is a collaborative fashion project, where students used the Museum’s fashion Collection for inspiration to create new, modern interpretations of the historic pieces.

Routes 7, 9, 12 can get you there. Plan your trip.

7. Rock of Ages

Ride The Rapid to the Circle Theatre to catch Rock of Ages. Set in L.A.’s infamous Sunset Strip in 1987, Rock of Ages tells the story of Drew, a boy from South Detroit and Sherrie, a small-town girl, both in Los Angeles to chase their dreams of making it big and falling in love. Watch this musical on Saturday, Sept. 17. Tickets are $27.

Routes 6 & 14 can get you there. Plan your trip.

8. Oktoberfest West Michigan

Yes, you read that correctly. Oktoberfest in September! Oktoberfest West Michigan is an annual celebration of German heritage & traditions held at John Ball Park. The festival features many different beers brought in from Germany as well as authentic food, music, games, and more. This family-friendly event is perfect for the whole family and takes place on Sept. 23 and 24.

Routes 12, 50 can get you there. Plan your trip.

9. Made in MI Pop-Up Marketplace

Ride with us to the Downtown Market on Sept. 25 for a chance to shop all Michigan-made vendors. You’ll find artisan gifts, local treats and more. After you’re done shopping, stop in the Market to enjoy a meal. This event takes place from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Routes 1, 2, SL can get you there. Plan your trip.

10. Cinderella

Get on board to head to DeVos Performance Hall for Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love— the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists. It’s running in September on the following dates: Sept. 27 – 30.

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

 

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Changes Coming to DASH Shuttle Service & Silver Line on Sept. 1, 2016

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On Thursday, September 1, 2016, the City of Grand Rapids’ Mobile GR & Parking Department will make improvements to ensure easier travel throughout Downtown. There will be major modifications to the City’s no-fare DASH shuttle service and the start of the Silver Line’s No Fare Zone, encompassing Silver Line Stations from Rapid Central Station to Wealthy Street Station.

“In order to best serve the current and future needs of Grand Rapids residents, businesses and visitors, our Parking Services Department must evolve to meet existing and projected transportation demands,” said Joshua Naramore, Mobile GR & parking manager.

“Overall, our plan is to improve automobile traffic, while integrating the goals of the City to improve conditions for pedestrians, bicycles and transit,” Naramore said.

We’ve teamed up with the City of Grand Rapids, Mobile GR & Parking Department, The Rapid and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DRGI) to establish a “Park Once” district in Downtown. The “Park Once” district will allow drivers to park once and travel throughout Downtown via free public transportation.

DASH Changes

The City is increasing DASH service to create a true high-frequency Downtown DASH Circulator – a de facto Downtown Area shuttle – that complements the current fixed-route public transportation network. The no-fare service will run on weekdays, with exceptions on holidays. The City is consolidating service lines from the existing four DASH routes to two new routes – DASH West and DASH North – that are both within easy walking distance of all City-owned parking facilities.

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 1, DASH service operation hours will increase to run from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, with frequency of 7- to 8-minute service all day long. A fleet of seven DASH buses will operate at all times to connect current City parking facilities to Downtown destinations, as well as to link all major destinations through a simple pair of routes connecting Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

“Trips on both DASH routes can be completed end-to-end in approximately 15 minutes, providing a fast, easy and convenient mode of transportation,” Naramore said. “Employees, students and visitors will have access to the entire Downtown for both work and discretionary trips as the shuttle connects several large parking facilities and retail locations, both current and proposed, to and from their favorite institutions and destinations.”

DASH route map

Silver Line No Fare Zone

Another highlight that begins Thursday, Sept. 1, will allow Downtown travelers to ride the Silver Line at no cost, all day long, from north of Wealthy Street and throughout Downtown within the No Fare Zone. The new pilot project is a partnership between the City, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and The Rapid.

No Fare Zone Poster

As Grand Rapids has experienced growth and development, the number of visitors and residents traveling to and from the central business district has increased accordingly, straining the existing parking supply and creating congestion within the downtown core. The rate changes are aimed at helping to resolve these issues and address future parking needs.

 

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The Rapid will Host Job Fairs on Sept. 3 & 10

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The Rapid is seeking to hire part-time and full-time bus operators!  We’re hosting two job fairs to find exceptional candidates that excel in customer service to join our fall bus operator training class.

The first job fair will take place on Saturday, September 3, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at York Creek’s Community Building, which is located at 3999 Alpenhorn Drive NW, Comstock Park, MI 49321. While the second job fair will be held on Saturday, September 10, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at LifeQuest Ministries located at 1050 Fisk Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507. Get on board Routes 2 and 5 to get there.

We offer competitive pay, great benefits, and the opportunity to work with a group of people who take pleasure and pride in making an important difference in the lives of others. Part-time bus operator’s work up to 29 hours a week at an hourly rate of $17.91. We are also seeking full-time bus operators to join The Rapid team.

How To Qualify

-    Ability to read, interpret and follow run guides for assigned routes, and be knowledgeable of all equipment usage.
-    Must possess valid Michigan driver’s license with less than 4 points.
-    Must be physically capable of operating lift or ramp equipped vehicles (50 pounds).
-    Must understand and speak English fluently.
-    Must pass Department of Transportation physical and drug test. (Insulin shots will disqualify you)
-    Ability to understand and carry out oral and written instructions.

Job Fairs

Date: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Time:  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: York Creek’s Community Building
3999 Alpenhorn Drive NW, Comstock Park, MI 49321
You can ride Route 9 to get there!

Date: Saturday, September 10, 2016
Time:  10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location:  LifeQuest Ministries
1050 Fisk Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
You can ride Routes 2 and 5 to get there!

New hires must obtain a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) before the first day of class (we provide assistance with this). A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) must be obtained by the end of the training period.

More information on the bus operator position is available online at www.ridetherapid.org. If you can’t make it to these job fairs but are still interested in applying, applications are accepted Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at our Administrative offices located at 300 Ellsworth Avenue SW in Grand Rapids.

The Rapid is an equal opportunity employer and encourages minorities and women to apply.

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Ride The Rapid to Beltine Bar

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Ride the Silver Line, Route 1 or Route 28 to head to one of Grand Rapids staple dining establishments! If you’re looking for a great atmosphere and a good deal, Beltline Bar is worth visiting.

When you’re dining out on a budget, keeping track of weekly deals can save you a lot. This is why we’ve partnered with FOX 17  for Thrifty Thursday to bring you transit-friendly and wallet-friendly destinations throughout Grand Rapids.

Sizzling fajitas, wet burritos and margaritas! The menu at Beltline Bar has something for everyone to love.  Located on 28th Street and Division Ave., you can dine-in or get food to go any day of the week. Their Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 3p.m. – 6p.m. and 10p.m. – close. During this time you can get $5 margaritas, $2 select drafts, $3 baja eggrolls, $3 chicken quesadillas and $3 chips and cheese.

Best Beltline Bar Deal

Every Thursday, you can enjoy a margarita and a fajita for $12.99.