Hop-On, Hop-Off: Uncover Grand Rapids with DASH’s Free Bus Service

Dash Bus Grand Rapids - VanderWeide

Explore the City’s Treasures with the DASH Bus

Ready to discover Grand Rapids in a whole new way? Want to trade expensive downtown parking for the $3/day lot? Let’s DASH through the city together—literally!

Dash Bus Instagram Video

With the free DASH hop-on, hop-off bus and city scooters, you’re all set for a car-free, carefree, fee-free exploration of Grand Rapids.

DASH Bus Grand Rapids

And just in time for ArtPrize, too!

The pink DASH Buses are easy to spot and easy to use. We’ll show you how to use the Transit App, what bus stops look like, and show you the great stops on the route.

Happy adventuring!

A Quick Overview: The DASH Bus Advantage

First things first—DASH stands for Downtown Area Shuttle, and it’s just as awesome as it sounds.

It’s the key to unlocking 23 stops all around Grand Rapids. The DASH Bus runs on a 15-minute loop, so there’s always another one coming right around the corner.

And yes — it’s FREE! The buses are kept clean and tidy, too, making for a comfortable, enjoyable ride.

DASH Bus Interior Downtown Grand Rapids VanderWeide

Here’s what you need to know:

Wondering how to hop on the DASH and join the fun?

The Transit app is your secret weapon. This nifty tool gives you real-time info on the bus location, upcoming stops, and even the wait time from your nearest DASH stop.

The app is available on iOS & Android.

It works by pinging your location and showing you the routes/busses available in your area. If you load the app and you’re not physically in downtown Grand Rapids, DASH routes won’t appear until you manually adjust the map to focus on that location.

DASH Bus Transit App Downtown Grand Rapids VanderWeide

Just download the app, and you’ll be a DASH expert in no time!

Let’s Talk Routes

Here’s the deal: there are two types of DASH buses—the general DASH Bus and the WORK Bus.

Dash Bus Route Map Grand Rapids

The WORK Bus is for those nine-to-fivers and doesn’t cover as much of the fun downtown area.

We’re focusing on the general DASH Bus here, which is your golden ticket to all things cool in Grand Rapids!

Note: Make sure you’re not boarding the WORK Bus by accident. Trust us; it’s easy to mix them up. Oops! 🙈

DASH Bus Stops

The DASH Bus travels in two directions: clockwise and counterclockwise.

To catch the bus, make sure you’re on the side of the road that matches the direction you want to go.

DASH Bus Stop Downtown Grand Rapids VanderWeide

Each bus stop has a map to help you know where you are and which bus will be picking you up.

Now, For the Real Fun: Must-Visit Stops!

Navigating downtown Grand Rapids can be tricky if you don’t know where the best museums, parks, shopping and tasty restaurants are.

But don’t worry! We rode the free DASH bus and scoped out the most exciting stops (and the cheapest parking lots!) for you.

dash route stops and where to park

Below is our list of top favorite stops along the route as well as the least expensive places to park. Use it to plan an unforgettable day in downtown Grand Rapids.

Bridge Street Stop

Get off here for awesome eats and cool drinks! Use the DASH bus to get here; parking is limited.

Over the last decade, this West Side neighborhood has become Grand Rapids’ restaurant row. Whether you’re craving tacos, pizza, burgers, or specialty cocktails like those at Drip Drop Cocktail Room, you’ll find it here.

And for those perfect evenings? Enjoy them in the beer gardens or on the inviting outdoor patios that dot the street. It’s a must-visit for any foodie or social butterfly!

Bridge Street Jolly Pumpkin - VanderWeide
Jolly Pumpkin on Bridge Street in Grand Rapids

If you’re into craft beer, New Holland Brewing and Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery won’t disappoint.

Meat lover? Head over to Butcher’s Union for a meat and whiskey extravaganza!

Cooking for yourself? Stop into Bridge Street Market for a lovely array of grocery items, deli items, and Michigan-based products.

Museum District Stop

Get off here for several of the cities larger museums and parks.

Discover the life and times of Gerald R. Ford at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.

Check out the Grand Rapids Public Museum for history, a planetarium, a cafe, and even a carousel ride!

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Take a scenic stroll in Ah-Nab-Awen Park, or follow The Riverwalk for Insta-worthy city views.

Ah-Nab-Awen Park
Ah-Nab-Awen Park

And, don’t miss Lorrie’s Button at the north end of Ah-Nab-Awen Park. It’s a life-sized a climbable red button that’s great for photos.

Rosa Parks Circle Stop

Get off here for the heart of the city.

Rosa Parks Circle is your gateway to a vibrant mix of dining, shopping, and events, often featuring city festivals. The area also encompasses Monroe Center, with its charming brick-lined sidewalks full of shops and restaurants, all anchored by the Art Museum.

Silent Disco Rosa Parks Circle - VanderWeide
Silent Disco at Rosa Parks Circle

In the winter, you can ice skate at Rosa Parks Circle or enjoy summer concerts when the weather’s warm.

Dive into the arts at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and satisfy your cravings at a wide range of restaurants like K-ROK Korean BBQ, Brick and Porter, and Cinco De Mayo.

Craft your signature scent at The Aroma Labs’ DIY perfume lab, or have fun with olive oils and balsamics at Old World Olive Co.

Monroe Center Dining - VanderWeide
Restaurants on Monroe

For the pop-culture enthusiast, Vault of Midnight offers comics, board games, and more.

Stock up on whimsical cards and gifts at Oh Hello Co. Paper & Gifts, and if you’re lucky, catch a live recording at Wimee Store & Studio.

Downtown Market: McConnell-Ionia Stop

Get off at Downtown Market to explore a foodie’s paradise and to catch special events.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market

Explore all of the booths and treat your taste buds to a world of flavors at Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

For a blend of coffee and purrs, the Happy Cat Café is the place to be.

Or, get into a new game at House Rules Lounge.

House Rules Board Game Lounge
House Rules Board Game Lounge

GR Public Library/Children’s Museum Stop

Get off at this stop if you like to play or read.

Little ones will love the hands-on activities at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

And if you’re a bookworm, the Grand Rapids Public Library is just a short walk away.

Will You Be DASHing Anytime Soon?

So there you have it—a quick guide to experiencing the best of downtown Grand Rapids, all just a DASH Bus ride away.

Whether you’re into arts, food, or shopping, this city truly has something for everyone.

Ready to hop on and explore? We’d love to hear about your journey!

Leave a comment if you try any of these spots or have other gems to share – your experience could be someone else’s guide to the city. Happy exploring!


How much is the DASH Bus?

The DASH Bus is free to all users.

When does the DASH Bus run?

The DASH Bus runs:
Wednesday to Friday: 7 AM to 12 AM
Saturday: 11 AM to 1 AM
Sunday: 11 AM to 5 PM

The DASH bus currently does not operate on Monday or Tuesday, or on these holidays:
New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day

Where is the cheapest place to park on the DASH route?

– Area 7 ($4 full day) – 301 Mt Vernon Ave NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504
– Area 9 ($3 full day) – 250 Seward Ave NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Who is responsible for DASH?

The Downtown Area Shuttle, known as DASH, links important spots and parking areas in downtown Grand Rapids. Free for everyone, it offers a handy way to get around the downtown core. The service is a collaboration between the City of Grand Rapids and The Rapid.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *