Photo Courtesy of Lyndsay Israel

Pick Your Patio: Grand Rapids Offers Plenty of Outdoor Eating Spaces!

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...more

Posted July 3, 2014

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Experience GR News Releases

Find out what's new and exciting from Experience Grand Rapids - check back often for the very latest!

Experience GR News

7/16/2014 Restaurant Week Grand Rapids Today Announces 2014 Mouthwatering 3-course Locally Inspired Menus on RestaurantWeekGR.com
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (July 16, 2014) - Four weeks from today, the 5th Annual Restaurant Week Grand Rapids will kick off for 12 days of great dining out in Grand Rapids. The event takes place from Wednesday, August 13 through Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 66 of Grand Rapids' best restaurants. "Perfect Pairings" is the theme for Restaurant Week GR 2014. Janet Korn, Sr. Vice President of Experience Grand Rapids says, "This year's theme is "Perfect Pairings" to showcase different beverages that pair well with different foods. Restaurants have been encouraged to pair their food selections with wine, beer, spirits or coffee that complement each of their courses. We are happy to see that some restaurants are doing this and supporting our beverage partners."...more
6/17/2014 5th Annual Restaurant Week Grand Rapids will take place August 13 - 24, 2014 Twelve Days of 3-course menus featuring Creative Local Cuisine at 60 Popular Restaurants
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (June 17, 2014) - Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2014 will burst on the scene in August again during the peak of the summer harvest in West Michigan. This year Restaurant Week GR will include 12 days of creative local 3-course menus at over 60 restaurants - from Wednesday, August 13 through Sunday, August 24 - adding an additional day for the event, which since 2010 has been 10 to 11 days....more
6/12/2014 GRAND RAPIDS TOURISM AMBASSADOR PROGRAM RECOGNIZED AS THE FASTEST GROWING IN THE COUNTRY
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 12, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, has certified 1,002 tourism ambassadors since the program launched in August 2013, making it the fastest growing in the country, out of all 21 nationwide programs. This nationwide certification program is a multi-faceted program that serves to increase tourism by inspiring front-line hospitality employees, volunteers, public service staff, community leaders and other proud area residents to turn every single visitor encounter into a positive experience....more
5/27/2014 BEER CITY USA TO HOST CONTEST FOR OFFICIAL BEER COASTER
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 27, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, in partnership with Greater Grand Rapids Beer City breweries and SpringHill Suites North are launching the second annual city-wide Beer City Coaster Contest. The winning artist's coaster design will be used in all the participating breweries during ArtPrize 2014. The top ten designs will be featured at a private event celebrating the artists at the SpringHill Suites Grand Rapids North on July 9....more
5/19/2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ELEVATOR CONTRACTORS TO VISIT GRAND RAPIDS IN 2019
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 19, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced today the booking of the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) in 2019. With over 2,500 attendees and 3,688 room nights in Kent County, the total business sale of this group impacting the community will result in $2,716,876.61. This group will hold its annual convention September 17, 2019 through September 19, 2019....more
5/14/2014 COLLABORATION CREATES NEW ONLINE STORE FOR GRAND RAPIDS MERCHANDISE
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 14, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, today announced the creation of www.GrandRapidsStore.com. This online store provides the community with a one-stop destination for official apparel and merchandise from BeerCityUSA, ArtPrize, Laughfest and GR&®. GR&® (pronounced grand) is making its debut to the public. This brand is a creative way to promote the town and its many "grand" things to experience....more
5/5/2014 INAUGURAL CERTIFIED TOURISM AMBASSADOR STAR OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS OPEN
Experience Grand Rapids today announced the opening of the inaugural Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Star of the Year Award nominations. This award is presented to a Certified Tourism Ambassador who exemplifies excellence in hospitality and customer service. This individual consistently exceeds customer expectations, possesses a strong knowledge of the region and its attractions, and promotes the ideals of the Grand Rapids Tourism Ambassador and the Tourism Ambassador Institute®....more
4/30/2014 WAVE AWARD NOMINATIONS OPEN APRIL 30
Experience Grand Rapids and the Kent County Lodging Association today announced the opening of the 7th Annual WAVE Award nominations. This annual awards program recognizes outstanding service providers in the Grand Rapids and Kent County hospitality industry. Nominations will be accepted from both employers and guests from April 30 - October 12, 2014....more
4/29/2014 EXPERIENCE GRAND RAPIDS NAMES STEELE AS NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (April 29, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, today announced the appointment of Nichole Steele as its national sales director. As national sales director, Steele will handle corporate, pharmaceutical, women's groups, Greek sororities, finance/insurance, environmental, and technical/engineering markets....more
3/19/2014 CAR AND BIKE EVENT COMING TO GRAND RAPIDS; GIVING BACK TO VETERANS
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 19, 2014) - Grand Rapids learned today of a new event coming June 25-29, 2014, the inaugural Freedom Cruise sponsored by Village Motorsports. Freedom Cruise 2014 will feature car and bike events & cruises throughout West Michigan bringing in enthusiasts from all over the country. The five day event will be in part a fundraising opportunity for local veterans through a new nonprofit, Finish The Mission Veteran Relief Fund....more
3/17/2014 NEW SUMMER EVENT CRUISES INTO GRAND RAPIDS
This summer, a new event is cruising to Grand Rapids and you're invited to share in the news. Join us as we reveal a one-of-a-kind event complete with county wide activities featuring national cable television celebrities and special events raising money for the community....more
3/14/2014 Experience Grand Rapids, Gerald R. Ford International Airport and Steelcase, Inc. Unveil New, Redesigned Visitor Information Area
Grand Rapids, MI, March 14, 2014 - Steelcase, Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry aims to establish great experiences and make every moment more meaningful for people, wherever they are. When teamed up with additional local partners, that is exactly what they have done for the millions of visitors that pass through the Gerald R. Ford International Airport each year! Experience Grand Rapids, The Gerald R. Ford International Airport and Steelcase, Inc. have collaborated for several months to redesign the Visitor Information Area at the airport, and the official ribbon cutting ceremony was held today....more
2/28/2014 EXPERIENCE GRAND RAPIDS NAMES BENNETT VICE PRESIDENT, SALES & SERVICES
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 3, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, today announced the appointment of Tom Bennett as its vice president, sales & services....more
2/18/2014 MICHIGAN READING ASSOCIATION TO VISIT GRAND RAPIDS IN 2015, 2017 AND 2019
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (February 18, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced today the booking of the Michigan Reading Association Annual Conference for 2015, 2017, and 2019. Each conference will bring an estimated 3,500 attendees and 2,700 room nights to Kent County. The total business sale of this group impacting the community over the three years will result in $6,450,984....more
2/3/2014 STUDY SHOWS $22 MILLION ECONOMIC IMPACT DURING ARTPRIZE 2013
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (February 3, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids (EXGR), the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, released today a study by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group (AEG) that reveals ArtPrize 2013 added $22 million to the local economy, attracted more than 380,400 attendees and created 253 jobs....more
1/27/2014 TOURISM IN KENT COUNTY SEES ANOTHER RECORD YEAR
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (January 27, 2014) - Experience Grand Rapids (EXGR), the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, reported a record high of 137,490 hotel rooms booked for future group business in 2013. These groups will contribute a future total business impact of over $141 million. Kent County hotel room revenue also grew to another record-high of over $139 million, a 9.7% increase over 2012's record level. This success is a direct reflection of the sales and marketing efforts led by EXGR and through collaboration with its partners....more
12/19/2013 LOTT CAREY FOREIGN MISSION CONVENTION TO VISIT GRAND RAPIDS IN 2019
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (December 19, 2013) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced today the booking of the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Annual Convention in 2019. With over 2000 attendees and 4,507 room nights in Kent County, the total business sale of this group impacting the community will result in $4,268,561....more
12/17/2013 EXPERIENCE GRAND RAPIDS LAUNCHES GRCITYTWIST.COM, A PERSONALIZED TRAVEL PLANNING WEBSITE
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (December 17, 2013) - Experience Grand Rapids (EXGR), the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced today the launch of its new personalized travel planning website, www.GRCityTwist.com....more
12/12/2013 EXPERIENCE GRAND RAPIDS PUTS A NEW TWIST ON A PERSONALIZED PLANNING WEBSITE
The official destination marketing organization for Kent County has invited the hospitality community, business and political leaders, and its Certified Tourism Ambassadors (CTA) to a kick-off event for a new personalized planning website. The new site will be complimentary to the official destination website ExperienceGR.com. The content for the new site will help in the way web users get to discover things in the destination. Experience Grand Rapids is inviting CTAs to contribute to the site as a way of continuing to enhance it. The private, interactive event will encourage participants to discover their persona....more
12/10/2013 GRAND RAPIDS NAMED NUMBER ONE U.S. DESTINATION TO VISIT BY LONELY PLANET
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (December 10, 2013) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced today that Lonely Planet has listed Grand Rapids and the Gold Coast, also known as Michigan's West Coast, as the number one destination on its Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2014. The world's leading travel media company has produced this list since 2010....more
11/18/2013 IMPACTING HOSPITALITY CELEBRATION TO RECOGNIZE HOSPITALITY SERVICE PROVIDERS
Experience Grand Rapids and the Kent County Lodging Association will celebrate the sixth annual Impacting Hospitality Celebration recognizing outstanding service providers in the Grand Rapids/Kent County hospitality industry through WAVE Awards and Grand Rapids Hometown Champions....more
11/7/2013 2013 WAVE AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (November 7, 2013) - Experience Grand Rapids (EXGR) and the Kent County Lodging Association (KCLA) today announced the 2013 winners of the 6th Annual Way Above Visitor Expectations (WAVE) Awards - a program that recognizes outstanding service providers in the Grand Rapids and Kent County hospitality industry....more
10/24/2013 GRAND RAPIDS TO HOST JOB'S DAUGHTERS INTERNATIONAL AND HEARTLAND TRAVEL SHOWCASE IN 2016
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (October 24, 2013) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced today the booking of the Job's Daughters International 2016 Annual Supreme Session and the 2016 Heartland Travel Showcase. The total business sale of these groups impacting the community exceeds $2,600,000....more
10/22/2013 Experience Grand Rapids Announces Final Results for Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (October 22, 2013) - Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small announced this evening that over $17,000 was raised this year during Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013. More than 70 participating restaurants donated $1 from restaurant week meals sold and a total check for $17,135 was presented to the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education Student Scholarship Fund at GRCC....more
10/16/2013 Participating Restaurants in Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013 will Present a Donation to the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at GRCC Student Scholarship Fund
The donation will be made during a 5:45 - 6:15 Awards Program on October 22, 2013 in the Pietro and Regina Amphitheater at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at GRCC preceding the Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013 Appreciation Gala...more
10/15/2013 More than 330 Cetified Tourism Ambassadors Now Serving Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (October 15, 2013) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, has certified 336 tourism ambassadors in just two months since the program launched on Aug. 1. Out of the 336 Certified Tourism Ambassadors (CTA) trained in the last two months, 25 CTAs went through the facilitator class to learn how to train future CTAs....more
10/14/2013 GRAND RAPIDS-AREA BREWERIES DEDICATE BREWERS GROVE AND $8,000 TO FRIENDS OF GRAND RAPIDS PARKS
Seventeen Grand Rapids-area breweries will host a dedication party for the Brewers Grove being planted at Riverside Park on Thursday, Oct. 17. The Brewers Grove is made of 30 trees, all sponsored by sales of tree-inspired beers sold in Aug. at the participating breweries...more
10/8/2013 EXPERIENCE GRAND RAPIDS TO HOST AREAS FIRST REUNION PLANNING SEMINAR
Experience Grand Rapids will host the area's first ever reunions planning seminar on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Celebration Cinema South Grand Rapids. Anyone interested in learning more about how to plan the perfect reunion for a club, organization, class or family is encouraged to attend....more
10/2/2013 MICHIGAN CHRISTMAS TREE ASSOCIATION AND POTATO ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA CHOOSE GRAND RAPIDS FOR NEXT MEETING DESTINATION
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (October 2, 2013) - Experience Grand Rapids, the official destination marketing organization for Kent County, announced today the booking of the Michigan Christmas Tree Association 2014 Winter Meeting and the Potato Association of America's 2016 Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids. The total business sale impacting the community exceeds $490,000....more
9/19/2013 Experience Grand Rapids Honored by Michigan Society of Association Executives
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (September 19, 2013) – Experience Grand Rapids (EXGR) won two Diamond Awards for Excellence and a Gold Honorable Mention for its innovative work in public relations, marketing and collaboration from the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE). The awards were presented September 18 at the MSAE 12th Annual Diamond Awards Banquet in Rochester....more
9/10/2013 WAVE AWARD NOMINATIONS CLOSE OCTOBER 7
Experience Grand Rapids and the Kent County Lodging Association are accepting nominations for the 6th Annual WAVE Awards until Oct.7. This annual awards program recognizes outstanding service providers in the Grand Rapids and Kent County hospitality industry. Nominations are being accepted from both employers and guests. One award will be presented in each of the following categories: Transportation, Retail & Service, Attractions/Events, Nightlife, Restaurants/Breweries, Lodging < 150 Rooms, Lodging > 150 Rooms, and Volunteer in Hospitality....more
9/9/2013 MICHIGAN COAST RIDER TO RAISE MONEY FOR SAFE WATER IN ECUADOR
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (September XX, 2013) - Michigan Section American Water Works Association (AWWA) will host its 75th Annual Conference & Exhibits at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Sept.10-13. In support of its mission to enhance the knowledge for public water suppliers to produce a safe and reliable supply of drinking water, Michigan Coast Rider Mike Roon will travel 120 miles from Saginaw to Grand Rapids to raise funds for Safe Water in Ecuador....more
9/4/2013 All Signs Point to Success for Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (September 4, 2013)—Restaurant Week Grand Rapids has concluded after an eleven day run through one of the best times of the year to experience local produce and products from area farms. This year Restaurant Week Grand Rapids, which took place from August 14 – 24, focused more than ever on farm-to-table dining. Most of the over 70 restaurants in Greater Grand Rapids and throughout Kent County offered fresh-from-the-farm menus at a price that is never seen at this many restaurants at once – 1 person for $25 or 2 people for $25 for three courses....more
8/22/2013 Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013 Invites the Public to Attend the Announcement of the Winners of the Grand Cocktail 2013 Competition
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (August 22, 2013)-- Grand Rapids Area restaurants participating in Restaurant Week Grand Rapids will soon learn who the winners are of the judged and people's choice competition for winning the best cocktail in two categories for the Grand Cocktail 2013 competition held during Restaurant Week Grand Rapids....more
8/14/2013 Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013 Kicks Off today August 14, 2013 The Annual 11-Day Culinary Event Celebrates Grand Rapids 4th Year holding the largest Restaurant Week event in Michigan
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (August 14, 2013)—Restaurant Week Grand Rapids kicks off in Grand Rapids, Michigan today. The event spearheaded by Experience Grand Rapids was developed in 2010 to profile the scores of quality locally owned farm-to-fork restaurants that are also making Grand Rapids grow in culinary stature and reputation....more
8/9/2013 Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013 Instagram Contest and “People’s Choice” Voting on Your Favorite Cocktail
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (August 9, 2013)-Restaurant Week Grand Rapids is less than one week away. (Restaurant Week Grand Rapids officially kicks off on August 14 - 24). But the public can start getting ready to dig in with two contests where the winners will take home prizes. Restaurant Week's #MyRWGR Instagram Contest Experience Restaurant Week Grand Rapids through your instagram photos. This year for Restaurant Week, Experience Grand Rapids is hosting a photo contest called #MyRWGR . The objective is to take a photo in Instagram during Restaurant Week from August 14 - 24, 2013 and enter the contest on RestaurantWeekGR.com. Those who enter have a chance to win one of ten $50 gift cards for a participating Restaurant Week restaurant that can be used over the next 12 months....more
8/8/2013 NATIONAL TOOTHPICK HOLDER COLLECTORS SOCIETY 38TH ANNUAL CONVENTION VISITS GRAND RAPIDS
The National Toothpick Holder Collectors Society (NTHCS) will meet in Grand Rapids for the celebration of its 38th Annual Convention August 8-10 at the Crowne Plaza. The public are invited to attend on August 10, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to view hundreds of toothpick holders on display....more
7/30/2013 GRAND RAPIDS-AREA BREWERIES CREATE TREE BEER IN SUPPORT OF COMMUNITY PARKS
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (July 30, 2013) – Seventeen area breweries have joined forces to create tree inspired beer in support of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and their Urban Forest Project, an initiative to maximize the tree canopy in all parts of the city....more
7/29/2013 Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013 Announces Finalists in the "Grand Cocktail 2013" Judged Competition
Winners of the judged competition will be announced on the final day of Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013 – August 24, 2013...more
7/29/2013 Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013 Announces Finalists in the “Grand Cocktail 2013” Judged Competition
GRAND RAPIDS, MI (July 29, 2013)--Grand Rapids Area restaurants participating in Restaurant Week Grand Rapids competed today in a judged competition for winning the best cocktail in two categories for Grand Rapids. Twelve finalists competed to win the "Best Manhattan" competition and twelve finalists competed to win the "Best Creative Cocktail". The winners will be announced on August 24th the final date of Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2013....more