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Regular Experience Grand Rapids blog readers know we love food, beer, wine, and fun with friends. When I say we, I certainly mean the resident team of bloggers… but I’m also talking about Grand Rapidians. We’re constantly celebrating our city and one of the best places to do that is at the table. It’s the best time of the year for farmers markets and gardeners (holy summer squash!), which means locavore chefs are smiling, too. So whether you’re a West Michigan resident or planning a visit (welcome), it’s time to warm a restaurant seat because Restaurant Week Grand Rapids (RWGR) is upon us.

Let’s start with the need-to-know. RWGR 2014 happens Wednesday, August 13 to Sunday, August 24. Sixty restaurants offer three-course tasting menus featuring their culinary team’s skills and the West Michigan harvest. It’s an invitation to leave your oven off and gather at a local restaurant to soak up the waning summer.

Three-course menus are $28 per person, though you’ll find two for $28 at several restaurants: Lindo Mexico, Rezervoir Lounge, Fajita Republic and Osta’s Lebanese Cuisine. Check out Fajita Republic’s DIY guacamole – fresh haas avocados with a selection of toppings (spiced pepitas, pico de gallo, bacon, chiles, oh my!) that you can mix until your heart’s content. [read more…]

A father and son enjoy a  day riding the mountain bike trail at Kent County's Luton Park. The trail was built and is maintained by the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance.

A father and son enjoy a day riding the mountain bike trail at Kent County’s Luton Park. The trail was built and is maintained by the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance.

More than 60 miles of mountain bike trail can be found in and around Grand Rapids, making this bike-popular city a haven for off-road cyclists. There are easy trails that wander through fields and forests, technical trails to challenge advanced riders, and some that become popular gathering spots for people who enjoy mountain biking.

What many don’t know is all 11 trails to date are maintained by enthusiastic local riders, members of the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance (WMMBA).

“We surveyed riders and were amazed to find more 50-plus riders than teens and 20-year olds,” said Grandville realtor, Kevin Allen, the 47-year old president of WMMBA, a chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association. “Many were professionals, well-established people. We asked whether they knew who maintains the trails. Everyone said ‘the local municipality or township.’

“When we told them it was WMMBA they said ‘I had no idea. How can I get involved?’ It was an absolute eye-opener. We estimate 5,000 to 7,000 riders use the trails. Maybe 1,000 know who built them. About 300 are members.” [read more…]

GRandJazzFest-Logo-for-Web-Header

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, jazzy…and free! The third annual GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation is coming back to Rosa Parks Circle for two family-friendly days of free music and fun.

GRandJazzFest runs Saturday, August 16 from noon until 10 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 17, from noon to 8 p.m. and primarily features Michigan-based jazz artists.

“This year’s lineup, like the past two years, puts the spotlight on the incredible diversity of the jazz art form – Latin jazz, Big Band, Contemporary and so much more. Those who love jazz will be in heaven and those who are new to jazz will fall in love,” said Molly Klimas, one of the festival organizers.

The event will host 10 acts including Saturday night’s headliner trumpeter Rick Braun, who has toured and recorded with Rod Stewart, Tina Turner and Tom Petty. [read more…]

Everyone knows that summer flies by, so make sure you make it count.  Move the eating, drinking and being merry to a patio near you!  Recently, the Michigan laws regarding patio construction have been clarified and don’t require a fence or a barrier between you and the street. I’ve highlighted a few of the finest restaurant patios in Grand Rapids- let us know the patios we missed!

Founders Outdoor Patio Restaurant

Founders Outdoor Patio Restaurant .
Photo Courtesy of Lyndsay Israel

[read more…]

Michigan Modern Exhibit

Bold, geometric shapes. Pops of bright color. Lines and materials echoing industry and prosperity. All were hallmarks of the modern design movement, and designers, architects, artists and manufacturers from Michigan played a huge role in its evolution.

From automobile and watercraft design to distinctive midcentury furniture, to revolutionary architecture and office design, Michigan’s role in the modernist movement was undeniably influential. And for a limited time, Grand Rapids visitors and residents can view some of the most iconic examples of Michigan-made modernist design in the exhibit Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America, on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum through August 24, 2014. [read more…]

4th of July Fireworks Spectacle in Grand Rapids

FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS AROUND GRAND RAPIDS

West Michigan is brimming with options when it comes to Fourth of July Fun! Local communities are going all out with fireworks, festivals and parades this year. Show your stripes and take your family out to one of these great hometown Independence Day celebrations!

This year, Celebration on the Grand in downtown Grand Rapids is merging with the City’s Independence Day activities, making for two full days of fun! On July 4th find free entertainment for all ages in Ah-Nab-Awen Park, with live music from 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM. The fireworks come a day later, on July 5th following family activities in the early afternoon and concerts and entertainment throughout the evening. The fireworks are at dusk on July 5th in Ah-Nab-Awen Park.

Another option is to head over to East Grand Rapids and watch the fireworks over Reed’s Lake at dusk on July 4th. They also have a community parade at noon, as well as food vendors, children’s activities, and concessions. If you go, you won’t want to miss the water ski show on Reed’s Lake – a long time local favorite.

If you’d like to head over to the big lake, consider visiting Grand Haven for fireworks after the evening’s showing of the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. Or stop off for the Holland State Park Fireworks, which go off at dusk.

Looking for hometown festivities? The historic Village of Ada puts on a full day of fun July 4th, starting with a parade in downtown Ada at 10:00 AM followed by activities on the Ada Village Green from 11:00AM to noon. Top off the evening with Fireworks at dusk at 7590 E, Fulton Dr in Ada.

You’ll find another small-town celebration in Grandville for the Fourth. Starting with a pancake breakfast at 7:30 AM, the flag-raising ceremony follows next at 8:30 AM. There is a parade at 11:00 AM and the rest of the day promises an arts and crafts show, food vendors, chainsaw demonstrations, face painting, carnival games, live music and more. The annual fireworks are at the Middle School (3535 Wilson Ave SW) at dusk.

Have fun celebrating our nation’s birthday with your family this fourth of July!

Coming Soon to a (New) Bus Stop Near You: The Rapid Silver Line

by Kirsetin Morello June 17, 2014

People ride the bus for a variety of reasons, among them saving money and being “green.” The Rapid’s new Silver Line is upping the convenience factor and the benefits; if you haven’t ridden the bus before, this may be the time to give it a try! Beginning August 25, 2014, Grand Rapids will have a […]

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All-Star Baseball and the Meijer State Games of Michigan Heat Up June in Grand Rapids

by Amy Busse June 12, 2014

Attention sports fans! Whether you prefer to spectate or participate, Grand Rapids is the place to be for this summer. On Tuesday, June 17 the 50th Midwest League All-Star Classic baseball game comes to Fifth Third Ballpark. With reasonable ticket prices of $8-$14, you can see the highest caliber players in the league including Whitecap team […]

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The Best Players in Ladies Golf are Coming to Grand Rapids This August!

by Amy Busse June 10, 2014

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour will be in town August 4-10 for the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft at the Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids. The inaugural event brings with it a full field of 144 players playing 72 holes during the four days of competition. And with a purse of […]

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There’s Nothing Quite Like An Outdoor Summer Concert in Grand Rapids

by Kirsetin Morello June 5, 2014

Grand Rapids residents are proud of the national, big-name musicians the city regularly brings to our region. But summer has a sound all its own in Grand Rapids, with a plethora of outdoor concerts for residents and visitors to enjoy—many of them free. One popular free series is Jazz at the Zoo, now in its […]

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