Grand Rapids Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Grand Rapids Trip Guide

Things to do in Grand Rapids, Michigan, include attending the annual ArtPrize competition and visiting Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

The state's second-largest city has developed a big reputation for culture and cuisine. The annual ArtPrize extravaganza reflects the metro’s focus on innovation.


ArtPrize The fall competition (September 20 to October 8, 2017) is part art walk, part city tour. Wander among 1,500-plus paintings, sculptures and installations at 160-some venues such as bars, coffeehouses, restaurants, churches and parks. Give a thumbs up or down to art pieces via your smartphone. Votes help choose the winner of a $200,000 grand prize.



The B.O.B. The Big Old Building buzzes with energy from its occupants: restaurants, bars, night clubs, a comedy club and brewery.

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park Waterways and paths lead through the 30-acre sculpture park featuring 60 pieces. A Japanese garden highlights contemporary sculpture in a traditional setting.

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Photo courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum This museum dedicated to the 38th president of the United States, a Grand Rapids native, explores key moments in his life.

Grand Rapids Art Museum A collection of 5,000 pieces spans the pre-Renaissance Era through the 21st century in the world’s first Gold LEED-certified art museum.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market The indoor market combines a traditional farmers market with a hall for year-round local produce, fish, meats and cheeses.

John Ball Zoo All the staples of a small-city zoo—lions, tigers and bears—are here, but a petting corral, camel rides, aviary, funicular tram and a four-story zipline separate this zoo from others.

Meyer May House Considered one of the country’s most complete Frank Lloyd Wright restorations, the Meyer May House was originally designed for a prominent clothier. After the owner died in the 1930s, the house sat vacant until it was restored and reopened in 1987. Free.


Brewery Vivant The chapel of a former funeral home is now a bastion of French and Belgian ale microbrews. Pair the dark, roasty Undertaker with inspired pub food such as duck confit nachos.

Brewery Vivant

Brewery Vivant

Grove Relying almost entirely on area sustainable farms, Grove offers fine dining on beef tartare, beet salad and house-made ramen. Michigan's abundant produce influences the fusion of Asian, French and American foods at this JW Marriott restaurant. Dinner might include kale salad with tart local cherries and chicken breasts with heirloom carrots.

Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop A dozen made-from-scratch soups fill the chalkboard. Some of the most popular? Vegetable cream cheese, lobster bisque and white chicken chili.


Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Crystal chandeliers and gold leaf details hint at the opulence of the restored 1916 AAA Four-Diamond hotel. Guests have nine on-site dining options, including the upscale 27th-floor restaurant, Cygnus 27. Try a Brew and Renew at The Spa and Salon for beer-inspired services.

JW Marriott Grand Rapids The luxury hotel strives to make guests’ stays as relaxing as possible with touches including bergamot-scented bath products, soft and firm pillow options, and rental bikes to explore downtown. An on-site spa offers treatments with local flavor such as the Sweet Cherry Rebalancing Facial.

More information: Experience Grand Rapids

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