I love visiting Grand Rapids, because there’s always something going on in town, and there’s always something exciting to do, no matter the time of year or time of day. Grand Rapids is a vibrant, lively city known world-wide as a destination for the arts, craft beers, and music, so it’s the perfect place to visit as part of exploring Michigan, or when visiting from out of state. Check out the highlights of the city below, and let me know if there’s anything else I should add!
Where to Eat
Grand Rapids is one of the best cities in the Midwest for fantastic food. Read my guide to the 15 Best Places to Eat in Grand Rapids, and read about some of my favorites below. Which of these places are you favorites?
Le Bon Macaron:
Le Bon Macaron is an inviting, lovely little French inspired cafe that handcrafts Macarons that rival those we enjoyed in France.
This place is so obscure it doesn’t even have a sign. Located in the Cherry Market District of Grand Rapids, Donkey Taquería offers guests fresh, authentic Mexican foods and inventive cocktails using alcohols from Mexico and Latin America.
Electric Cheetah in Grand Rapids, MI
Electric Cheetah specializes in macaroni & Cheese and Draft Root Beers, which is one of the best combinations out there! Although they do offer lots of other drinks and foods, it’s impossible to ignore their massive 30+ root beer selection.
Ju Sushi uses the freshest ingredients we’ve ever tasted at a sushi joint, and they offer the most interesting twists on rolls, as well as classic rolls.
Little Bird Cafe:
Little Bird has a very cozy vibe, and has the best breakfast I’ve ever had (and I’m something of an expert on breakfasts).
This had one of the best tofu dishes I’ve ever had. Everything is locally sourced and cooked to taste, making Lucy’s a truly unique dining experience in the area. Lucy’s Cafe has many gluten free and vegan options.
Tapas take on a chic new attitude in Grand Rapids at this restaurant. While it’s not required, we like to dress up and enjoy a nice multi-course meal. We each order a tapa to share, enjoy it, and then order more!
This Scandinavian bar and eatery features a cozy interior with inviting Scandinavian Hygge decor, and a red shipping container turned outdoor bar and dance floor is one of the most unique places to eat in Grand Rapids.
Wiki Wiki Poke:
Unique, minimalistic restaurant featuring some of the freshest fish in Grand Rapids creatively concocted into Poke Bowls.
Where to Stay
We absolutely adored our stay at the Amway Grand Plaza (read about our stay here), decorated by the same people who decorated Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The staff were incredible, the room was spacious and comfortable, beautifully decorated and it had a fantastic view. The hotel also has a stunning swimming pool, two hot tubs, a sauna and steam room, a fully equipped workout room, as well as several attached restaurants and convenient valet parking. The hotel is also located roughly a block away from some of the coolest museums and restaurants in town. If you’re looking for luxury, elegance, and peacefulness in the heart of the city, you’re looking for Amway Grand Plaza!
What to Do
Grand Rapids is one of the most exciting and unique cities in Michigan, because people from all over the world have made this multi-cultural city their home, which means that the music, food, art, architecture, and cultural landscape of the city is influenced by hundreds of different cultures. If you’re in town during Art Prize, you’ll find artists from all over the world and endless inspiration. Outside of Art Prize, the city is filled with adventures, art, inventive cuisine, incredible people, and so much more! Here are a few of the amazing things to do in town.
Art Prize (The Largest International Art Competition & Festival In the World)
Downtown Market Grand Rapids
Explore Public Art Exhibits Around the City
Fish in the Rivers
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Fullton Street Farmers Market
Gerald R. Ford Museum
Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM)
Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra Performance
(We love seeing movies here while the orchestra performs the music in the movies in front of us, it’s such an awesome experience!)
John Ball Zoo
Kayak Down Grand River
Shop Locally Owned Stores Around Town like Books and Mortar & Rock Paper Scissors
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) Museum
Upcoming Events & Festivals:
Art Prize: September 19th – October 7th, 2018
Grand Rapids Restaurant Week: August 8th-19th 2018
Live Performances, Plays, Concerts, Sporting Events, Click Here for Schedules
Beer Month 2019: February 15th-March 15th
Cider Week: TBD
Day Trips From the Area:
Allendale (Home of Grand Valley State University)
East Lansing (Home of Michigan State University)
Grand Haven (has an incredible beach and lighthouse)
Holland (beautiful beaches, parks, and lighthouse)
Lansing (Michigan’s Capital)
Ludington (Sunset Bonfire Series)
Anila Quayyum Agha: Intersection Exhibit at Grand Rapids Art Museum
Art Installations Around Town
Blue Bridge Near Amway Grand Plaza
Breweries Around Town
Davinci’s Horse at Frederik Meijer Gardens
Frederik Meijer Japanese Garden
Frederik Meijer Sculpture Park & Gardens
UICA’s Pantone Color of the Year Exhibit
When to Visit:
There’s always something going on in town, which means Grand Rapids is a great place to visit any time of year. During the colder months you can explore the museums, breweries, and local businesses throughout town, try new restaurants, and even attend cooking or painting classes. During the warmer months, kayak, fish, go mountain biking, or paddle board, play beach volleyball in nearby Grand Haven or Holland, take a walk downtown, explore the adventure parks in the city, and sit on the patio of your favorite brewery or restaurant.
Thank you Experience Grand Rapids for sponsoring our week away!
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