Plan Your Visit!
The 6th annual GRandJazzfest presented by DTE Energy Foundation will have something for everyone! We’re talking all kinds of jazz music – from big band to Latin to contemporary – plus a Family Guitar Tent, dancing, free face painting for the kids and much more! Best of all, GRandJazzFest is free! Here are some suggestions for attending this popular family-friendly music festival being held Aug. 19 & 20, 2017, at Rosa Parks Circle in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.
Make a weekend of it! For local hotel information, please visit experienceGR.com. Hotels within walking distance of Rosa Parks Circle:
TIPS FOR GRANDJAZZFEST:
Get there early – especially if you love big band music. Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde kicks off the festival, which starts at noon on Saturday, Aug. 19. The fest goes until about 10 p.m. that night and then continues Sunday, Aug. 20, starting at 1 p.m. and going until about 8:30 p.m.
Plan your trip with Pure Michigan!
Check out GOSite when you’re in town (or online). The GOSite is an innovative, fun and welcoming place for visitors and locals alike to find and share information about Grand Rapids. GOSite is locate in the northwest corner of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, which is adjacent Rosa Parks Circle.
GETTING TO THE FEST
GRandJazzFest will be held at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rosa Parks Circle is located at 135 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. You can find Rosa Parks Circle on Google Maps.
Pedal to the fest!
A bike rack provided by the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition will be at the Rosa Parks Circle venue so you can stow and self-lock your bike.
If you’re riding your bike, here are some helpful links:
Walk to the fest!
Why not?! Depending on how close you live to downtown, it’s a great way to get around! And why not walk around downtown while you’re here? Info on self-guided walking tours can be found at http://www.experiencegr.com/things-to-do/tours/.
Ride the bus!
The Rapid, the Grand Rapids metro area’s bus transit provider, has easy routes to get you downtown fast. Get there even faster with The Rapid’s Silver Line. More on routes and rates at www.ridetherapid.org.
Parking for if you drive
WHAT TO BRING
Bring lawn chairs, mini-coolers if you want, and sunscreen – the venue is a sunny, open area with some shady areas around the perimeter. The fest’s main tent will have bottled water for sale, the adjacent Grand Rapids Art Museum will be featuring a special refreshment area, and there are plenty of places surrounding Rosa Parks Circle to grab a quick bite and beverage. Plus, it’s Restaurant Week during GRandJazzFest! Learn more here: http://www.experiencegr.com/restaurants/restaurant-week/.
Also: Bring your smart phone if you have one – GRandJazzFest’s website is mobile-optimized, which makes it easy to find the fest schedule and more. Plus, you’ll want to take photos while you’re at the fest! And you’ll be able to take our online survey with your phone to help us keep producing great fests (there’s free wifi at Rosa Parks Circle via iserv, compliments of The City of Grand Rapids).
THE FEST HAS MORE THAN MUSIC!
Family Guitar Tent
Hosted by GRandJazzFest performer Bryan Lubeck, this fun family-friendly tent will be a chance for people of all ages to try out different kinds of guitars.
Face painting for the kids
The kids can get their faces painted for free by Fancy Faces! Face-painting artists will be at Rosa Parks Circle.
Join the After Party!
Keep the jazz love going by stopping by The B.O.B. – just a block away from Rosa Parks Circle – for the GRandJazzFest After Party on Saturday, Aug. 19! Jazz performers welcome all for a jazz jam session! The party takes place in The B.O.B.’s Brewery, located on the lower level. Bring your GRandJazzFest event program with you to get into The B.O.B. with no cover charge! The club is featuring special meal deals that night! Jazz, pizza, beer, fun! Join in!
THINGS TO DO AROUND DOWNTOWN
Paddle the river!
Now, you may not be able to kayak right up to Rosa Parks Circle, but you can certainly plan an excursion on one of our area rivers to enjoy “nature’s music” while you visit Grand Rapids. Learn more at http://www.grpaddling.com/.
Another way to enjoy views of the Grand River and our city is from our varied bridges:
Blue Bridge. One of the longest truss bridges in Michigan, this was originally a railroad crossing over the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. It’s been converted to a pedestrian walkway connecting downtown with the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Grand Valley State University.
Pearl Street Bridge. Michigan’s third longest concrete arch bridge is actually not an arch bridge anymore but it retains the historic arch facade.
Fulton Street Bridge. Michigan’s second largest concrete arch bridge retains much of its historical integrity. It runs parallel to downtown’s Pearl Street Bridge over the Grand River. Together, the bridges lend a charming European feel to downtown, especially when they’re lighted at night.
Sixth Street Bridge. This wrought-iron bridge was constructed in 1866 and is the longest pin-connected highway truss in Michigan. The bridge spans 544 feet over the Grand River just north of downtown. HistoricBridges.org calls it “a model for how all bridges, especially historic bridges, should be cared for.”
Enjoy the eateries!
Pop into shops!
Downtown Grand Rapids has a bevy of unique boutique shops. Find them here.
Let us entertain you
Experience Grand Rapids has an entire web page dedicated to the many things to do in and around Grand Rapids. Check it out here: http://www.experiencegr.com/things-to-do/. More info on attractions and events can be found here and here.
WHAT IF THERE’S BAD WEATHER?
GRandJazzFest will delay or cancel specific performances on an as-needed basis. If just light rain – generally, the show goes on! If heavy rain and/or lighting and thunder – we’ll delay or cancel affected performances but start up again as soon as the weather clears. Weather in Michigan in the summer can be stormy one hour and give way to sunny skies the next. Bring an umbrella for rain but also to help shade you from the sun (wear sunscreen too! – Rosa Parks Circle is an open-area venue). An umbrella will be a handy accessory no matter the weather! There are lots of great indoor things to do around Rosa Parks Circle in downtown GR to ride out the weather if needed — including visiting the adjacent Grand Rapids Art Museum as well as nearby Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum; and going to restaurants (it’s Restaurant Week GR!), breweries, pubs and shops. No matter the weather on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, we’re having an After Party jazz jam session at The BOB in downtown GR, starting at about 9:30 p.m. that night. Even if it’s raining, stop by Rosa Parks Circle on Saturday and visit the GRandJazzFest Merchandise Tent to get a GRandJazzFest event program, which can get you into The B.O.B. that night without a cover charge! We hope you’ll join us! More on Planning Your Visit at http://grandjazzfest.org/plan-your-visit/