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Get in the Holiday Spirit with these December Events

Ice Skating in Grand Rapids at Rosa Parks Circle

‘Tis the season to be jolly!  The Greater Grand Rapids metro area is getting in the spirit of the season with a number of events and celebrations throughout The Rapid’s service area. Enjoy all our community has to offer through the holidays by getting on board. Here are a few events that offer fun for the whole family:

Light Up Downtown

Kick off the holiday season by joining in the holiday festivities in Downtown Grand Rapids! On Dec. 2 at Rosa Parks Circle, come together to see the annual lighting of the Christmas tree, ice skating performances, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, caroling, and much more. There’s a little bit of holiday cheer for everyone in your family to love. The best part is the entire event is free!

Routes SL, 6, 9, 11 can get you there. 

Tuesdays on the Town

Need an excuse to get out and shop? Head downtown to shop and stroll until 8 p.m. every Tuesday! Start your evening with dinner and then enjoy some late night shopping entertainment. Explore all the local boutique shops, sports apparel, kitchen gifts, clothing, specialty foods, and unique gifts, salon/spa services. Various shops will have specials and other features like trunk shows, refreshments, demos, and music. 

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

28th Annual Holiday Artists’ Market Presented by Steelcase

On Dec. 2, don’t miss a chance to visit the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) to shop for locally crafted gifts and goods. The Holiday Artists’ Market features works from dozens of  regional artists, including jewelry, home goods, fine art, holiday cards, accessories, and toys. Attendees will also have access to live music and local food and beverage vendors while shopping for for incredible handmade gifts for friends and family. Support regional artists by shopping locally this holiday season.

Routes 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15  can get you there.

Photos with Santa at Woodland Mall

Santas coming to town! Don’t miss your chance to get a photo with him at Woodland Mall from now until Dec. 24. He will be located in the Macy’s court area. Santa hours are Mon. – Sat., 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Sun., noon – 6 p.m. View pricing and book your photos here.  You can even bring your pets! Just make sure your pet is in a travel carrier if you bring them with you on the bus. 

Routes 5, 6, 17, 28, 44  can get you there.

Giftworks: Make it, Take it, Give it!

Experience the joy of giving with Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Each week offers a new project to create with your child. This event is running until Dec. 23, and takes place every Wednesday-Friday 10:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m., Saturdays from 1:00-3:00 p.m.  and 5:30-7:30 p.m. during Thursday Night Family Night. Price Per Person:  $8.50 ages 1 and up; $7.50 Seniors; $1.75 Thursdays after 5:00pm

Routes SL, 1, 4, 14, 15  can get you there.

Science Tuesdays at the Museum

Every Tuesday, you can visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum for an ongoing education experience offering science programming based on a monthly theme. Science Tuesdays take place throughout the day every Tuesday with a  variety of activities and interactive displays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This month, uncover the science of snow!

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

Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle

Beginning Dec. 2, grab your ice skates and ride with us to Rosa Parks Circle to skate your heart out. Admission for 17 and under is just $1 and those 18 and older pay just $2. If you don’t own a pair of ice skates, you can rent them for free with paid admission.

Don’t forget that open skate hours are weather-dependent. Cancellations will be announced on the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation program update/cancellation line.

Routes SL, 6, 9, 11 can get you there.

Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops

From Dec. 1 – 4, enjoy all of your seasonal favorites at DeVos Performance Hall. Attendees will enjoy Sleigh Ride, the Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus, holiday sing-along, a visit from Santa, and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus finale. There’s no better way to kick off the holiday season.

Routes SL, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

Winter Wonderland at the Downtown Market

Experience the magic of the holiday season… Downtown Market Style! Enjoy special offers from our Market Hall Merchants, experience delicious food and beverage demos in the Market’s Teaching Kitchen, and shop the Holiday Artisan Market. Don’t forget to share your wish list with Santa in the Greenhouse!

The Nutcracker

After a sold-out world premiere in 2014, The Nutcracker, re-imagined by Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg, returns for two weekends–Dec. 9 – 11 and Dec. 16-18–at DeVos Performance Hall. This production features choreography by Val Caniparoli and imaginative set design by Eugene Lee. Sugar plum fairies, fighting mice, and toy soldiers make this enchanting story the perfect tradition for the entire family. The Nutcracker will be performed in concert with the Grammy-nominated Grand Rapids Symphony.

Routes SL, 1, 2 can get you there.

A Christmas Story The Musical

Don’t miss the highlight of the holiday season; A Christmas Story, The Musical as it comes to life on stage. From Dec. 27 – 30 at DeVos Performance Hall, this perennial holiday movie favorite is coming to Grand Rapids. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream. What’s not to love? 

Routes SL, 11, 13, 50 can get you there.

Where are we taking you this month?

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Downtown Grand Rapids celebrates Small Business Saturday with #ShopSmallGR

Shop Small in Downtown GR

The holiday season is upon us. And if you’re like us, you probably have a holiday shopping list that needs to be tackled. Once Black Friday is over, the real fun begins. Who’s ready to shop at your local favorites on Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday takes place on November 26, 2016, and is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses throughout the country. Founded by American Express in in 2010, holiday shoppers are encouraged to celebrate this day each year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Last year 95 million shopped at a local business on this day.

This year, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), Avenue for the Arts, and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., The Pop Up Shop GR, and Monroe Mall businesses will be partnering to celebrate Small Business Saturday. Ride The Rapid to downtown Grand Rapids to the Division and Monroe corridor for#ShopSmallGRm, which features nearly 40 small businesses and pop-up vendors. This event takes place from 11:00am-4:00pm on Saturday, Nov. 26.

After you shop until you drop, take a break and grab some coffee or a bite to eat at one of downtown Grand Rapids’ local cafes and eateries.  Turn this Small Business Saturday into a day of local exploration by riding The Rapid. All you’ll need is a bus pass, reusable shopping bags, and a friend.

Here are some #ShopSmallGR participating businesses we know you’ll love:

Dime & Regal

209 S. Division Ave #105
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-4:00pm
Scarves, jewelry, home goods–oh my! This shop specializes in handcrafted goods from local artists at affordable prices.

Gina’s Boutique

40 Monroe Center
#ShopSmallGR hours 10:00-6:00pm
Visit this shop to find women’s clothing and accessories.

#ShopSmallGR hours 10:00-6:00pm

East Meets West Pop-Up Thrift Shop

209 Division Ave. South
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-4:00pm

Feeling thrifty? Visit this pop-up vendor to find new and gently use women’s clothing and accessories in sizes 0-24.

The Artist’s Studio

40 Monroe Center
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-6:00pm

Discover original art, gift-size framed prints, cards, and limited edition giclee prints. All art by Rose Ellis and Jim Starkey. Don’t miss the #ShopSmallGR promotion – 10% off everything in the studio/gallery!

Heartside Gallery and Studio

48 Division Ave. South
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-5:00pm
This program of Heartside Ministry features artwork in a variety of media created by artists living in the Heartside area, often experiencing homelessness or financial distress. Artists receive 74 percent of the proceeds from sales, while the other 26% helps cover the cost of art supplies and taxes.

Apothecary Off Main

40 Monroe Center
#ShopSmallGR hours 10:00-6:00pm
This shop specializes in selling personal, home care products, remedies, and gourmet spices. They even had an entire section of their business dedicate to men’s grooming products. #ShopSmallGR promotion: Spend $100 and receive $10 off your next order. Look for savings on gift sets.

Humanity Boutique

40 Monroe Center
#ShopSmallGR hours 10:00-6:00pm
This style-packed boutique carries a wide variety of  modern, trendy and high-quality women’s clothing and accessories. Humanity Boutique partners with local and global organizations to help those who have been victims of abuse. #ShopSmallGR promotion: look for 25% off all fall styles, $29 premium leggings (reg. $48), $10 and under gifts for her, and a FREE gift with purchase.

Light Gallery + Studio

317 Division Ave. South
#ShopSmallGR hours 11:00-8:00pm

This unique space offers local Grand Rapids artists and makers a chance to display and sell work. The gallery features an array of goods from jewelry, candles, textiles, ceramics, and furniture which is all made by local artists.

There’s many other participating businesses and pop-up vendors to check out.

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Ride The Rapid to the Newly Renovated Gerald R. Ford Museum

Gerald R. Ford Museum

The Gerald R. Ford Museum is back and ready to show off their new exhibits. We’ll do the driving.

Located at 303 Pearl Street Northwest, Gerald R. Ford Museum reopened back in June after undergoing a face lift to rebuild and improve exhibits.  Along with the new Oval Office exhibit, they also have the DeVos Learning Center. With these new classrooms and meeting spaces, kids can get a hands-on experience with learning. Routes 7, 9, 19, and West DASH can get you within walking distance.

Thrifty Thursday Deal

Once again, we’ve partnered up with FOX17 to bring you an awesome local deal worth checking out! Throughout the month of November, stop by the Gerald R. Ford Museum on Thursdays and mention the FOX17 Morning Mix to get two admissions for the price of one. So if you buy one admission, you’ll get one free.

For more information on their hours and exhibits, give them a call at (616) 254-0400 or visit their website.

For maps and schedules of The Rapid, click here.

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College & University Holiday Service Schedules 2016

Holiday Service Schedule

With the holiday season comes many schedule changes for college and university routes. We ask that you please plan your travel accordingly during the holiday season to do your best to manage these schedule and service changes.

We would also like to remind everyone how our real-time information system works during these holiday service changes. When routes are not in service, you may still see route information available on our mobile website and apps. This is due to the scheduled times running in the backend via Google Transit. We know this can be confusing and we apologize in advance. The same thing happens when GVSU routes are on break service schedule. During these times, we ask that you use static schedules to plan your travel.

Thanksgiving Holiday GVSU Bus Service:

  • Tuesday, 11/22/16 – Normal Fall 2016 Schedule
  • Wednesday, 11/23/16 – Break Schedule
  • Thursday, 11/24/16 – NO SERVICE
  • Friday, 11/25/16 – Break Schedule
  • Saturday, 11/26/16 – Sunday, 11/27/16 – Normal Fall 2016 Schedule (weekend service)

December Holiday GVSU Bus Service:

  • December 19-22 – Break Schedule
  • December 23 – January 2 – NO GVSU SERVICE
  • January 3 – 8 – Break Schedule
  • January 9 – Normal Fall/Winter Schedule

Ferris State University Holiday Bus Service:

  • No service on Route 100 on the following dates: Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 19-Jan. 3.

GRCC Holiday Bus Service:

  • No service on Route 60 on the following dates: Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 19-Jan. 8.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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Ride The Rapid to explore Beer City USA

Beer City USA Brewsader

We’ve partnered up with FOX17 for another awesome Thrifty Thursday deal we know we know craft beer fans will love.

There’s no shortage of craft beer here in Grand Rapids. So when it’s time to explore all that Beer City USA has to offer, let us do the driving for you.

Not sure where to start your beer journey? Experience Grand Rapids has you covered thanks to their Ale Trail map, which features more than 60 breweries and cider facilities the Greater Grand Rapids area. Many of which can be reached by riding The Rapid. On top of that, you can get a Beer City Brewsader Passport which features 23 different breweries in a passport. If you go to eight of the locations and get a stamp to show you were there, then you can redeem your passport for a t-shirt at the Welcome Center located inside the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

For those looking to get even more out of their Beer City exploration, there’s also the option for a staycation through Beer City package deals. The J.W. Marriott offers an awesome Beer City package deal that includes an overnight stay with them, breakfast vouchers along with four seasonal beers in their room along with snacks. The spa even has some beer and wine-themed package deals, too.

Thrifty Thursday Deal

If you are interested in a Beer City package, in the month of November, book it online, print this coupon and you will receive $30 off.

Hoppy drinking! Don’t forget to travel responsibly and plan your trip with us at

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Thank You, Veterans

Thank you, Veterans

Today we remember and honor the service of our veterans. We thank the brave men and women who selflessly served our country and risked their lives to protect our freedom. It’s an honor having you on our team at The Rapid, as well as on board our buses every day.


Here are The Rapid employees who have served our country:

Jim A.- Navy, 1983-1989
Henry B.- Army, 1980-2010
William M.- Army/National Guard, 1981-present
Steve C.- Army/National Guard, 1986-2008
Bob B.- Army, 1974-1994
Norm Y.- Army, 1975-1977
Donell H.- Air Force, 1981-1985
Jodie B.- Air Force, 1985-1987
Elza B.- Marine Corps, 1984-1988
Manny E.- Army, 1967-1970
Robert O.- Navy, 1983-1993
Abe R.- Army, 1979-1982
Doug P.- Air Force, 1975-1979
Noel P.- Army, 1984-2009
Dan S.- Navy, 1970-1973
Terry B.- Navy, 1992-1999

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Sip Local at Cocktail Week GR

Cocktail Week GR

Move over craft beer. It’s the craft cocktail’s time to shine.

If you’re looking for an excuse to discover all Grand Rapids has to offer in terms of craft cocktails and spirits, Cocktail Week GR is for you. From November 9 – 20, Experience Grand Rapids is encouraging Grand Rapidians to sip local and celebrate the art of the cocktail.

More than 35 locations including Rockwell Republic, Bistro Bella Vita and New Holland – The Knickerbocker will participate and create specialty drink and food menus for the 12-day celebration. For the pair-and-share deal, you’ll get two Michigan cocktails and a shared plate appetizer for $25 or less. If the participating bar doesn’t serve food, you may be in for another special surprise with your Cocktail Week GR deal.

We joined Stephanie Kotschevar of Experience Grand Rapids to go behind the bar and get a taste of what’s to come with Cocktail Week GR. We hopped on board DASH North and spent some time at Gray Skies Distillery where co-owner Brandon Voorhees shared his excitement for the 12-day event and prepared one of their Cocktail Week GR specials.

Gray Skies Distillery boasts more than just a production facility, it’s also home to a bar and tasting room. You can indulge in their wonderful handcrafted cocktails featuring their unique spirits and even take them home to recreate cocktails on your own. During Cocktail Week GR, you can get a choice of two cocktails, plus a set of four Gray Skies slate coasters for $25. Free distillery tours will be available on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Tuesday, Nov. 15. Located at 700 Ottawa Ave. NW, DASH North and Routes 11 and 19 can drop you off just a short walk away.

Enjoy Cocktail Week GR until the very last drop. This year, the celebration coincides with the annual International Wine, Beer and Food Festival from Nov. 17-19 at the DeVos Place Convention Center. One highlight of this year’s event is the expanded spirits area.

Let The Rapid be your designated driver during Cocktail Week GR. Ride with us to and from participating bars and restaurants and don’t forget to check out Grand Rapids’ Park Once District and the Silver Line’s No Fare Zone for wallet-friendly travel options.

For a full list of bars and restaurants participating in Cocktail Week GR, visit

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Ride The Rapid to these November Events

Grand Rapids in fall

The days are growing shorter and the weather colder. But staying inside doesn’t have to mean missing out on fun events and destinations throughout the city.

Music, shopping, theater, cocktails — November has it all. As you gear up for the holiday season, make some time for you and your family to appreciate local events. Whether it’s enjoying a drink special during Cocktail Week GR or catching Beauty and the Beast at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, there’s no shortage of arts and culture to fill your calendar with this month.The best part is that you don’t need to drive your car or deal with parking to enjoy these destinations.

E.T. – Movie + Score by the Grand Rapids Symphony

Avoid the hassle of parking downtown and ride The Rapid to DeVos Performance Hall to see Steven Spielberg‘s heartwarming masterpiece. Experience all the mystery and fun of the unforgettable adventure of this beloved movie that captivated audiences around the world, complete with John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score performed live by a full symphony orchestra in sync to the film projected on a huge HD screen. This production is running from Nov. 4 – 6 with tickets starting at $18.

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

Girls Night Out Sip & Shop Multi-Vendor Event

On Friday, Nov. 4, grab some friends and ride Route 13 to Diamond Street Hall for this multi-vendor event and party. Shop from local consultants of brands like Stella & Dot and Scentsy, as well as local craft vendors. Enjoy access to a cash bar, snacks and free samples while you shop. This event is free and there will be multiple giveaways, raffles and amazing prizes.

Route 13 can get you there. Plan your trip.

Cocktail Week GR

From November 9 – 20, get a taste of Grand Rapids’ cocktail culture by sipping local at bars throughout the city and suburbs. Get two Michigan cocktails and a shared-plate appetizer for $25 or less at more than 30 participating bars and restaurants. Cocktail Week GR is a great time to check out new bars and visit your stand-by favorites.

Plan your trip.

Beauty and the Beast

Based on the Academy Award®-winning, Disney animated feature. Don’t miss this production of this tale as old as time at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. Recommended for audiences age 6 and up. Get your tickets now! Prices range from $18-$37.

Routes 1, 4, 6, 13,14, 15 & DASH can get you there. Plan your trip.

International Wine, Beer & Food Festival

Head to DeVos Place to celebrate culinary crafts from Nov. 17- 19. There you’ll find the largest wine, beer and food tasting event in the Midwest featuring more than 1,500 wines, beers, ciders and spirits! The International Wine, Beer & Food Festival will deliver a grand experience that is sure to please every palette. You can purchase a ticket for single-day admission for $15 or $40 for three-day admission.

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

Movies NOT in the Park

The snow and cold are due any time now. But Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. isn’t letting the change in weather ruin a chance to enjoy great movies. They’ve teamed up with the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA) to bring you your favorite winter-themed movies. Enjoy a selection of holiday films for free in the UICA Movie Theatre on Nov. 5, 12 and 19.

Routes 1, 4, 6, 14, 15 & DASH to get there. Plan your trip.

Whales: Giants of the Deep

Discover the world of whales at the Grand Rapids Public Museum! The exhibition is a unique blend of science, storytelling, and innovative interactivity that’s fun for the whole family. Be one of the first people to enjoy this exhibit by visiting this month! Admission for non-member adults is $13 and $8 for children ages three through 17.

Ride Routes 7, 9, 12 & 50 to get there. Plan your trip.

A.M. Yoga at Founders Brewing Co.

Join A.M. Yoga at Founders Brewing Co. on November 26 for a morning of yoga and beer in the Centennial Room. For just $15 + convenience fee, guests will enjoy a one-hour guided yoga session. After the session, you will be given a ticket for a free pint of beer is included in the ticket price!

Founders is located directly across the street from Rapid Central Station. Plan your trip.

Live Music at H.O.M.E.

The B.O.B. is welcoming music lovers to their newest venue, The House of Music & Entertainment. Enjoy live music with an easy going atmosphere, approachable menu and classic beverage list. November’s performance line-up offers music for everyone to love.

Ride routes 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and more to get there. Plan your trip.

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to relive this Peanuts! classic. Go behind the scenes at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for a look at the making of the animated classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Entrance to this exhibit is included with general admission to the GRPM and free to museum members.

Ride Routes 7, 9, 12 & 50 to get there. Plan your trip.

See you on board this month!

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Instagram Roundup: October 2016

Rapid Operations Center
It’s clear from the photos we’ve been tagged in that October was a month for beautiful views. We saw the leaves transition, warm and sunny days, as well as stunning sunrises and sunsets. Here’s a few of our favorite Instagram photos from October. Don’t forget to tag us when you ride with us this month!
Have you started following us yet? Check us out and tag us or use #ridetherapid next time you see us or ride with us: @ridetherapid.

Wait on it like @ridetherapid | New Blog post from @justbriyourself_ | . – . Coming Monday!!!

A photo posted by Alfield Reeves Photography (@alfieldreevesphotography) on


|| Rooftop walkways are the best for a brisk autumn morning walk break at @ridetherapid ||

A photo posted by A I L E E N L E M A N S K I (@aileenleman) on

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Halloween 2016 Photo Contest

Halloween at The Rapid

Happy (almost) Halloween!  We’re looking forward to another year of seeing your awesome costumes and getting you to your Halloween destination.

Once again, we’re hosting a Halloween giveaway! Ride The Rapid on Halloween (Monday, Oct. 31) and find a bus operator dressed in costume. Snap a photo of the operator via a selfie, photo before you board, or if you’re feeling shy, a photo from the mirror above the bus operator. Share it to our Facebook timeline to be entered to win a 31-Day Pass, tote bag, and mug! You will have from Monday, Oct. 31 to 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 1 to post the photo to our page. Only once photo contest entry per passenger will be considered.

The winner will be chosen through a random drawing. Happy riding!