ArtPrize Made Easy: 5 Steps to Enhance Your Visit

Whether you’re an ArtPrize regular or this will be your first trip to the world’s most radical art competition, you can follow these simple steps to make your experience more efficient, pleasant and fun.

The Art Newspaper has officially recognized ArtPrize as the most-attended public art event on the planet – about 400,000 people stream into downtown Grand Rapids during the 19-day festivities. That number is likely to swell this year, as the New York Times highlighted ArtPrize in naming Grand Rapids #20 on its list of 52 Places to Go Worldwide in 2016.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

A little advance planning will help you manage the crowds and get the most out of your ArtPrize visit. Here are a few tips:

1. Ride the ArtPrize Shuttle

With nearly 1,500 works of art spread across three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, it’s flat-out impossible to see everything in a day. Extend your stay with a special ArtPrize Hotel Package that offers such perks as a free shuttle to downtown. Guests at 30 suburban hotels can make their way to the Park & Ride location within 10 minutes of their hotel and board the shuttle to avoid traffic and parking hassles. That gives you more time to focus on art!

2. Visit the Neighborhood HUBs

For the first time, you’ll find eight Neighborhood HUBs throughout the ArtPrize district. Located at major venues, each HUB serves as a great entry point to the event – providing you with the opportunity to register to vote, pick up an event guide and map, get information about neighborhood-specific events, browse ArtPrize merchandise and purchase a Metro Pass.

3. Pick up a Passport (or Two)

You can also pick up an ArtPrize Passport at any of the HUBs. Collect stamps from any five of the eight HUBs and you’ll be entered to win prizes from ArtPrize and Founders Brewing Co. Collect stamps from all eight HUBs plus the exclusive ArtPrize Medallion sticker available only at the Founders Brewing Co. tent at the October 7 ArtPrize Awards public viewing party at Rosa Parks Circle – and you’ll be entered to win a grand prize package. (While you’re here, you can also pick up a Beer City Passport and collect stamps at participating breweries to earn a collectible Brewsader t-shirt.)

4. Whet Your Appetite

You’re going to work up a hunger during your ArtPrize adventure – and you’ll save time by evaluating your dining options in advance. Visit to search for restaurants by region and/or cuisine.

5. Explore All Your Options

Every day of ArtPrize is packed with fun, fascinating, art-focused events – but ArtPrize isn’t the only excitement on the Grand Rapids agenda during these 19 days. From a touring Broadway production of Cinderella, to concerts by Kanye West and Aretha Franklin, to a family-friendly Oktoberfest celebration, you’ll find plenty of ArtPrize “add-ons” to enhance your stay. Search the Events Calendar at to find events that coincide with your stay dates.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

What other tips do you have for attending this fun event? Let us know in the comments!

Six Reasons for a Group Getaway in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids garnered headlines this January when the New York Times named it #20 of 52 Places to Go Worldwide in 2016. But the city won an equally important honor a few months before, when readers of Groups Today magazine voted it the Top Emerging Destination in the U.S. – confirming that Grand Rapids is a great place to travel en masse.

Whether it’s a bus tour or a family reunion, a girls’ getaway or men’s weekend, you can’t go wrong with these crowd-pleasing group ideas.

1. Hit the Beer City Ale Trail.

With more than 40 craft breweries within minutes of the city, it’s no surprise that USA Today just picked Grand Rapids as the nation’s best beer scene. Start your journey with three excellent downtown breweries – including Founders, widely acknowledged as one of the world’s best. Pick up a Beer City Brewsader Passport while in town and visit eight Brewsader breweries to earn a collectible t-shirt!

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

2. Travel the Grand Rapids Food Trail.

Tour 30+ delectable destinations on the Food Trail to learn why Grand Rapids has been named America’s #2 Most Affordable Foodie City. Trail stops include the Downtown Market, a local food emporium featuring 20+ artisan food vendors – from butcher to baker to organic ice cream maker. Still hungry? You’ll find an incredible array of creative farm-to-fork restaurants around every corner.

3. Shop ‘til you Drop.

Five huge shopping centers include a new Tanger Outlet Mall, home to 80+ brand-name designer discount stores. Distinct neighborhood shopping districts offer more unique items, and downtown’s Avenue for the Arts is lined with artisans selling handmade goods.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

4. Soak up the Culture.

Downtown hosts four world-class museums, including the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, which is undergoing a major renovation in advance of a June 7 reopening. Just 10 minutes away is Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, named one of the world’s Top 30 Must-See Museums. Don’t miss the breathtaking Japanese Garden there.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

5. Get Your Art On.

ArtPrize, the world’s richest, most radical art competition, draws half a million people to downtown Grand Rapids each year. (This year’s event takes place September 21-October 9.) But art is everywhere you look, every day of the year – on sidewalks and buildings, in three art museums, and throughout neighborhoods and business districts.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

6. Enjoy Nights on the Town.

From Broadway musicals to live-music bars, from comedy clubs to pro sports games, Grand Rapids offers something for every taste when evening rolls around. Much of the nightlife is concentrated in downtown’s safe, walkable entertainment district – including this year’s biggest theatrical show, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera (May 18-29).

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting Grand Rapids? Share with us by commenting below!

Seven Reasons to Experience Grand Rapids’ Tanger Outlets

As schools will soon be opening their doors for another academic year, there isn’t a better time to take advantage of the incredible deals and specials available before the first day of class. If you’re looking for great deals in an unbeatable atmosphere, Experience Grand Rapids shares seven reasons to consider the Tanger Outlets Grand Rapids.

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1. The Experience

Tanger Outlets customer service mission is to “wow” customers, and with the amenities you’ll receive and diversity of merchandise offered, you can expect a one of a kind experience when visiting.  From affordable, top-of-the-line brands to stores offering Michigan-made products, there’s truly a stop for every guest.

2. Group Shopping

If you’re interested in bringing a large group to the Outlets without the worry of driving, simply grab at least 14 of your best shopping partners and book a bus tour. Bus programs for groups of 15 or more is a perfect way to experience the conveniences of Tanger while being able to relax and spend time with friends. With a 24-hour advance reservation, everyone on the bus receives a complimentary coupon book and directory so they are ready to shop as soon as they step off the bus.

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3. Shop and Stay

Hyatt Place, Residence Inn, Bay Pointe Inn at Gun Lake and the Baymont Inn across the street in Byron Center offers coupons through the Tanger Outlets coupon book. If you are a TangerClub member receiving a complimentary coupon book on a regular basis, you will have coupons to those four locations.

4. Tanger Club

For only $10, shoppers can join the Tanger Club for life. While non-members pay for their coupon book, Tanger Club members receive them free and are enrolled in the TangerClub Rewards program earning points with every purchase. Other benefits include seasonal TangerClub member specials, exclusive TangerClub web offers and special savings, free birthday reward, no fees on gift card purchases and free strollers.

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5. Store Offerings and Layout

Shoppers at the outlet will notice no detail has been missed! The 350,000 square foot space offers covered areas to relax, inviting fire pits with ample seating and electronic charging stations to give your devices a boost. Tanger Outlets Grand Rapids is designed with the shopper in mind in an effort to give you the best experience imaginable.

6. Downloadable App

To help you shop even easier, Tanger Outlets has an app for Android and iPhone users offering shopping tools, location-based offers and directions to help you navigate your way around the outlets.

Tanger Outlets GR 1

7. Other things to see in Grand Rapids

While you’re in Grand Rapids, don’t forget about the world-famous ArtPrize competition, taking place 23-October 11. More than 1,500 works of art throughout Grand Rapids will be on display, with many coming from local artists. Tanger Outlets are located less than 15 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, which makes it a perfect “home base” for a weekend of shopping and art.

What do you love most about the incredible shopping experience offered by Tanger Outlets?