It’s the ideal summer night: a picnic on the lawn with local food and beverage and great music. In Grand Rapids, outdoor summer concerts that allow you to bring your own picnic is a well-loved tradition.
Here are just a few options, along with where to source those picnic fixin’s for your perfect BYOF (bring your own food) summer concert.
Grab a 'take-out' pizza at Licari's Sicilian Pizza Kitchen before heading to the Celadon Summer Concert Series.
Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids
Celadon Summer Concert Series
Date & Time: Every Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 PM between June 14-August 23
Address: 2050 Celadon Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
On the northeast side of town by Knapp’s Corner, the Celadon New Town by Mosaic Properties is a recently established development of condos and houses with a community pool and garden, as well as a wine shop (The Crushed Grape) and Italian restaurant (Licari’s Sicilian Pizza Kitchen). This new neighborhood also features an amphitheater which they put to good use in the summer with Celadon Summer Concert Series, a free, weekly concert series open to the community.
Every Thursday night starting mid-June, you’ll find local and regional bands playing family-friendly tunes including blues, folk, and even alt-country at Celadon New Town’s amphitheater.
A different food vendor is featured every week, but attendees are also allowed to bring in outside beer and wine (liquor is not permitted).
Before heading to the weekly concert series, stop by Licari’s Sicilian Pizza Kitchen for some of the best pizza in town, and grab a bottle of wine at The Crushed Grape for a quick and easy picnic spread.
Horrock's Market has all the necessities before heading to the Kentwood Summer Concert Series, including produce, baked goods, deli items, and alcoholic beverages.
Photo Credit: Horrocks Market
Kentwood Summer Concert Series
Date & Time: Every Thursday from 7 to 8:30 PM between June 14-August 2
Address: Kentwood City Hall, 4900 Breton Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
Some of the region’s most-beloved musicians including May Erlewine, The Crane Wives, Big Dudee Roo, and more, are all taking a turn on the Kentwood City Hall lawn this summer for the Kentwood Summer Concert Series.
Although a full roster of food trucks will be on-scene, attendees are also welcome to bring beer, wine, and food to the concerts.
Kentwood is home to families from around the globe, so this is a great opportunity to explore Mediterranean, Asian, and Latino cuisines from various restaurants just blocks from City Hall. Or, if you’re looking for a speciality grocer for picnic fare, stop by nearby Horrock’s Market for a wide selection of produce, baked goods, a deli, and you can even sip a local beer while you push your cart around.
Visit the Kentwood Summer Concert Series Facebook page for additional details.
Jazz in the Park
Date & Time: Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 PM between June 11-August 20
Address: Ah-Nab-Awen Park, 220 Front Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Formerly known as Jazz at the Zoo, Jazz in the Park has relocated to Ah-Nab-Awen Park overlooking the Grand River.
The concert series presented by the West Michigan Jazz Society contributes to Grand Rapids’ vibrant jazz culture.
Food trucks line the streets for this fun event, and attendees are also able to bring their own food and adult beverages as long as they are kept in a cooler.
If you’re looking for additional dinner options before or after the show, Ah-Nab-Awen is conveniently located near great restaurants including two authentic Mexican spots: Tacos El Cuñado (a traditional taco stand) and El Granjero (a full sit-down experience).
Start your work week off right by attending Jazz in the Park every Monday through August 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.
Located in the heart of Grand Rapids near Rosa Parks Circle and Monroe Center, GRAM on the Green is nearby plenty of restaurants.
Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids
GRAM on the Green
Date & Time: Every Thursday between July 12-August 16 (Times and lineup coming soon)
Address: Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Smack dab in the middle of downtown, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) boasts an eye-catching design and coveted outdoor courtyard perfect for hosting the annual GRAM on the Green concert series.
On Thursday nights, the community is invited to enjoy the free outdoor concert, as well as free access to explore the museum thanks to Meijer’s Free Thursday Nights. Outside alcohol cannot be brought on the premises, but attendees are welcome to purchase wine and craft beer offerings at the GRAM on the Green’s cash bar.
With a prime downtown location, this event offers easy access to countless food trucks and great restaurants. You could also try ordering carryout from one of the many downtown restaurants. Consider pizza from the newly-opened Uccello’s Ristorante; sushi from Ato, Sushi Yama, or Soho Sushi; or grab some picnic staples at Grand Central Market and Deli.
Martha's Vineyard offers deli items, handmade pizza, produce items, and a wide selection of beer and wine.
Photo Credit: Martha's Vineyard
Tuesday Evening Music Club
Date & Time: Every Tuesday from 7 to 9 PM between July 3-Aug 28
Address: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is known for its beautiful botanical gardens and collection of sculptures, but in the summer their impressive concert lineup is all the rave.
Head to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s Tuesday Evening Music Club to witness affordable entertainment by regional performers.
These family-friendly shows are free for Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park members. The general public is welcome to attend the Tuesday Evening Music Club for the price of paid admission to the Park. Plus, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is open until 9 PM on Tuesday Evening Music Club nights!
Concert attendees can bring their own food and nonalcoholic beverages into Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, or they can take advantage of the Park’s fully-stocked concessions stand including food, beer, wine, and some mixed drinks. Consider stopping by nearby Knapp’s Corner and grab cuisine from one of the many food vendors.
Note: No outside glass containers or alcoholic beverages are permitted within Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
Picnic Pops is a beloved summertime tradition.
Photo Credit: Terry Johnston for Grand Rapids Symphony
Grand Rapids Symphony's Picnic Pops
Date & Time: Thursdays and Fridays starting July 12 and ending August 3. Gates open at 5:45 PM
Address: Cannonsburg Ski Area, 6800 Cannonsburg Rd NE, Belmont, MI 49306
Each summer Cannonsburg Ski Area transforms into the home of the symphony’s Picnic Pops series. Whether you decide to spring for a reserved table, reserve a own chair that awaits you in a special seating area, or use your own blanket or chair for the lawn, you can bring your own picnic.
Consider packing an impressive picnic with cheese, pizza, and other goodies from Martha’s Vineyard and its equally delectable neighbor the Nantucket Bakery before making the 20-minute drive to Cannonsburg.
Read our recently posted blog for more information on outdoor concerts in and around Grand Rapids!