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GRDadof3

Downtown Entertainment Ideas

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I'd like to hear what you guys think could be added to the downtown entertainment menu for convention goers, that we don't have now. I'd really like to hear from the 33 "no casino" voters. :)

If you've been to business conventions in other cities, then you know what you liked/disliked about that particular city.

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The number of direct flights to and from major cities is probably key. GRR has been adding routes slowly over time (Las Vegas, Orlando), but it's still nowhere near a major hub and is much smaller than other competing cities like Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, etc.

Also, there needs to be some kind of major downtown entertainment. I really think that a Dave & Buster's type place would do well downtown. It would feature a bit of the excitement of a casino but not create the moral friction that a casino seems to cause.

Proper marketing is probably another major factor. Do people outside Michigan or the midwest think Grand Rapids first? Or second or third? The new advertising campaign that the city is cooking up might help. But how large is the area of focus? And what if the marketing plans fails? Should the city put its entire image on the line based on one advertising campaign?

Overall, there just isn't one easy answer.

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I'd like to hear what you guys think could be added to the downtown entertainment menu for convention goers, that we don't have now. I'd really like to hear from the 33 "no casino" voters. :)

If you've been to business conventions in other cities, then you know what you liked/disliked about that particular city.

More weeknight entertainment (I know that's the point of this thread yes :P ). What I mean by that is that on Monday and Tuesdays at night things are really slow around GR, some bars aren't open, and the ones that are, aren't very busy. I know when I'm outta town on business, I like to be able to wander around, maybe check out a few bars. Having a live venue/resturaunt would help (hard rockish), I always stop in to see if anyone is playing if the city has something like that.

Things like a movie theater would be great, maybe a "big kids" arcade, theme resturaunts, etc would all be cool, you just have to get that critical ratio of enough people/enough to do.

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Another thing that I find cool in some bigger cities, that was mentioned in that City Comforts book, is encouraging spontaneous public sidewalk entertainment. It's always fun to be walking down the sidewalk and come across a band playing, or group dancing, poetry reading, group painting sessions, caricaturists, magicians doing tricks, etc.. and not during a festival. There are a lot of talented musicians, artists and performers in GR. :whistling: It would add to the entertaiment aspect downtown, and hopefully convention goers and visitors would spread the word.

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Another thing that I find cool in some bigger cities, that was mentioned in that City Comforts book, is encouraging spontaneous public sidewalk entertainment. It's always fun to be walking down the sidewalk and come across a band playing, or group dancing, poetry reading, group painting sessions, caricaturists, magicians doing tricks, etc.. and not during a festival. There are a lot of talented musicians, artists and performers in GR. :whistling: It would add to the entertaiment aspect downtown, and hopefully convention goers and visitors would spread the word.

What would they do in Dec-March, ice sculptures :P . I will agree, that was something cool about New Orleans when I was there, there are all KINDS of people doing all KINDS of entertaining, some interesting/cool, and some :blink: . Does GR even allow this sort of thing (permit required?)

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What would they do in Dec-March, ice sculptures :P . I will agree, that was something cool about New Orleans when I was there, there are all KINDS of people doing all KINDS of entertaining, some interesting/cool, and some :blink: . Does GR even allow this sort of thing (permit required?)

You'll get some great ones, and some not so great. I don't know if you need a permit, that's what I'm wondering :dontknow: You shouldn't have to (hence the spontaneous part). And the ice sculptures is actually a good idea. There are those guys that do the ice carving South of Wealthy Street. As an idea, I wonder if they would put on a free show during a large convention downtown out on the sidewalks?

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You'll get some great ones, and some not so great. I don't know if you need a permit, that's what I'm wondering :dontknow: You shouldn't have to (hence the spontaneous part). And the ice sculptures is actually a good idea. There are those guys that do the ice carving South of Wealthy Street. As an idea, I wonder if they would put on a free show during a large convention downtown out on the sidewalks?

1.Liscense the pan handlers.

2.A BW-3 style sportsbar. This is a must for out of towners and in towners alike...and NO, GP Sports doesn't count.

3. A Dave & Busters style place

4. A Buffalo Billiards type upscale billiards bar.

5. I like the ice sculpture idea. A DT winter-fest would be great...sledding on the streets, dog sleds, ice skating, ice scuptures, snowman making contests, hot cocoa all around. Try getting any $$$ together for a festival though.

6. More bars for the 27-37 crowd. More bar divani, less taps...

7. Ease up on thesame ol' ultra-conservative rhetoric ...that's what people think of when they think of Grand Rapids, and believe it or not...it scares people. I've met people on business as far away as D.C. and they ask, 'isn't that the place where you can't mow your lawn on Sundays.' Not wxactly the 'Come have a good time and spend a weekend with your company' vibe we need.

.

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My only suggestion - Retail. I have read that they currently have buses taking conventioneers out to Rivertown Crossings so they can shop. With a practice like that, it doesn't help our marketing efforts out by promising bussing to a generic suburb for something to do. Anyways, my $.02.

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I want whirlyball :D

Oh sweet mercy, that would be awesome.

Separately, let's consider the demographic, what are typical conventioners interested in doing? Eating and drinking--so, bars. It seems like downtown is filled with this type of entertainment.

Dave & Buster's? I don't know. If I'm in town shewbeh-shaabin' for a convention, do I really play videogames at night?

Live music gets most people excited, and GR seems to have very little of it going on during your typical weekday. There's a piano bar already, but does anyplace downtown host live blues or jazz regularly?

What about themed restaurant/nightclub. Something with Latin theme. With Latin dancing.

For me (and like-minded residents), I want a 1500-seat venue to host mid/large-sized indie-rock shows. UICA is consistantly bringing in quality acts, but their space is too small. DeVos Hall isn't going to host and act like the White Stripes and the Van is WAY too big. Something the size of the State Theater in Kalamazoo, or the Metro in Chicago would be perfect.

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Dave & Buster's? I don't know. If I'm in town shewbeh-shaabin' a convention, do I really play videogames at night?

Not if it's the American Bankers Association, but if it's any technology based group or telecom, programming, enterprise IT, and life sciences industries...yes. Plus it IS a bar.

Also, I agree about a mid-sized music venue. It's criminal that we can't draw any decent rock shows because there's nothing but UICA, Intersection, and VanAndelArena.

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I went to a Whirlyball place in Ann Arbor/Ypsi area years ago. It was awesome! :w00t: We stayed there for about 3 hours because it was so much fun!

Hey, NIN is playing at the Intersection :rolleyes:

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I think there absolutly needs to be a movie theater dt maybe a 12 or 14 screen one,

as well as a national chain restraunt or two found in other dt so ppl can relate to them ie: hard rock, hob, dave and busters, cheescake factory ect.

street vendors and entertainers would be nice but i think they will come with the more out of towners come which isnt very much right now

also I think a street like Ionia would be a cool street to have a bar district, there are already a few bars down there, with space for more and it would be nice to have a little district for bars so it more like a destination for out-of-towners and they could bar hop

there needs to be more shopping, that is a form of entertainment for some and monroe center should be 100% full with local and national stores on the street level as well as some below ground stores and 2 or 3 floor stores

and if gr wants a lot of attention then a casino a strip club would complete it. If that was to happen it would be really nice if they could go off market south of 131, it would be kind of isolated and no residential near by, 131 kind of fors a barrier with the rest of downtown and those places of contriversy would be an option for big time entertainment but still out of the way for the local nay-sayers

one more things as preveously mentioned, I think non-stop flight to grr are very important. GRR has LOST flights since 911 but still have more passengers, I can remember direct flights to Toronto CHImidway, STL, indy and a few more, places like LA, denver, boston, charlotte, seattle, salt lake, phoenix are possible. We are not going to compete with chicago, detroit or even INdy right now but adding flights to all major hubs would be very nice and put us over places like dayton, ft.wayne, desmoines, ect.

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First, I would identify the demographics. But I really think wth what the convention books currently, there is plenty to do. Until Devos Place is able to pull off large conventions consitantly, then I would see a market created for larger venues and more entertainment. Sometimes Devos Place looks really dead... and I think people notice that.

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I like the idea of a DT video arcade. VR rides and Multiplayer games, along with the convental arcade games, would be packed almost every night of the week.

There needs to be more retail that stays open until atleast 10:00 on the weekdays. This retail needs to be national chains as well as independents. Places like Old Navy, Shoe Carnaval, Target, Banana Republic, Radio Shack, Best Buy, Apple Store and Bed Bath & Beyond will almost always have a regular crowd and are familiar to out of towners.

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I went to a Whirlyball place in Ann

Hey, NIN is playing at the Intersection :rolleyes:

From what i've heard, intersection isn't doin that well due to low attendance for many of its shows and "bar/club nights"... Just the rumor in the "bar district"

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Thats been the going rumor for about a year or so now.

yeah, but it's more prevelant lately with them closing way early (before midnight) on friday and saturday nights due to low attendance.

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My only suggestion - Retail. I have read that they currently have buses taking conventioneers out to Rivertown Crossings so they can shop. With a practice like that, it doesn't help our marketing efforts out by promising bussing to a generic suburb for something to do. Anyways, my $.02.

I agree, I think a strong retail base will help and even foster the success of some of these other suggestions.

But the more retail that is built on the fringes of the city, including the far out suburbs, the harder it will be to establish a good retail base downtown.

My $.02.

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Well what i think Downtown Gr needs is more shoping theres an abundance of resturant eateries but as far as merchandise clothing exct its absent from downtown just a few hip clothing stores i think would be nice then ud bring more teens and parents downtown to shop :D

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You know what would be a cool addition downtown? A big music store that sold instruments and lots of CDs and records and gear. They could sell all different types of music, and they could have a few sound-proofed rooms they could "rent" per hour for local small bands that need a practice space. That would be super-cool :shades:

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