Downtown Grand Rapids
Have a Grand Time in Grand Rapids
Known fondly as Furniture City, Grand Rapids retains its Midwest, Americana charm while offering visitors a host of first-rate, urban amenities. The following are a few of our favorite things to see and do in Grand Rapids.
History buffs are sure to get a kick out of the Gerald R. Ford Museum, where a range of exhibits highlighting the lives of former President Ford and Mrs. Ford.
Learn a thing or two.
Families traveling with youngsters in tow won’t want to miss a chance to check out Grand Rapids Public Museum. Not only do a range of permanent and traveling earth-science-themed exhibits fill the museum, but there’s also the Chaffee Planetarium, which invites you to explore the entire universe. There are also special Science Tuesday events every Tuesday, teaching kids the ways things work through hands-on activities.
Get a lay of the land.
To find a sense of local history, plan a stroll of the Heritage Hill Historic District. Architecture nerds will appreciate examples of more than 60 styles of architecture across 1300 homes dated from the 1840s to the 1920s. A self-guided walking tour brochure is available at the HHA office at 126 College Avenue.
Take a walk on the wild side.
Get close-up looks at everything from stingrays to bald eagles at the John Ball Zoo. Home to more than 1,100 animals from over 240 species, the zoo is a popular draw thanks to exhibits like the Mokomboso Valley Chimpanzee Exhibit and the African Veldt Exhibit
Catch a ball game.
Grand Rapids may not lay claim to an MLB team of its own, but in the summertime, visitors can enjoy America’s Favorite Pastime with the West Michigan Whitecaps. Class-A Affiliates of the Detroit Tigers, the future big-leaguers of the Whitecaps round the bases at Fifth Third Ballpark.
See a show.
Grand Rapids is a regular stop on some of the biggest concert tours each year, and the Van Andel Arena is the go-to venue.
If you’d rather see a band on the rise than a big act, check out the eclectic calendars of spots like The Pyramid Scheme, One Trick Pony, and Intersection Lounge.
Take in the Arts.
The arts are alive in Grand Rapids and ArtPrize is arguably the pulse. For three weeks every fall, artists from all over the world descend upon Furniture City to showcase their works in more than 200 venues, competing for $500,000 in cash prizes. September and October visitors would be remiss not to check local listings and be a part of it all.
Drop a line.
Of course, if your idea of a relaxing time is a day of fishing, Grand Rapids has you covered. Fish Ladder Park is a great place to drop a line. So many salmon can crowd the shallow waters in the early fall that it’s almost like shooting them in a barrel.
There are also plenty of places to cast out along the Riverwalk Trails, which cover miles along the banks of the Grand River.