Developed around the Grand River, Michigan’s second-largest city is known for its craft beverages, cuisine and cultural destinations.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki

Bucket List

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Waterways and paths thread through gardens and the 30-acre sculpture park. More than 200 works of art include Nina Akamu's American Horse, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci drawings.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Take a spin on the 1928 Spillman Carousel and explore a menagerie of topics at the Grand Rapids Public Museum: Exhibits span an 1890s streetscape, West Michigan wildlife habitats and a LEGO re-creation of 1920s Grand Rapids. 

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Check the art museum's calendar for Gallery Chats, when docents stationed around the wide-ranging collection offer drop-in insights on themes such as gender or color. 

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

At the presidential museum, see one of President Richard Nixon's tape recorders and courtroom sketches from the Watergate trial, which helped paved the way for Gerald R. Ford to become the 38th United States president.

Heritage Hill 

More than 1,300 homes reflect 60 architectural styles in this historic neighborhood adjacent to downtown. Take a self-guided tour or visit May 20–21, 2023, for the annual home tour. 

Terra pizza with egg
Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki

Family Hits


You know you're at a good spot when the kids' menu tempts the parents too. Thankfully, Terra also has a grown-up version of its potato chip-crusted French toast with Michigan maple syrup.

John Ball Zoo child playing
Credit: Blaine Moats


At John Ball Zoo, see animals up close as zookeepers go about their daily routine, which may include feeding the penguins. Get an aerial view on the ropes course and four-story zipline.

Budget Pick

Snap a family pic on the Blue Bridge, a former railroad crossing. Art abounds on both sides of the Grand River, especially along the walkable Grand River Edges Trail.

Where to Get Craft Drinks


Founders Brewing Company is one of the O.G. breweries among more than 40 in the region. Visit the taproom for a date with Cerise, made with Michigan cherries.


Michigan wildflower honey provides the base for all of Arktos Meadery's varieties, such as Black Stripe Strawberry Melomel, a favorite summertime libation. 


Working mostly with small-scale farmers, Vander Mill offers nearly 30 ciders on tap daily. Try dry, champagne-like versions or infused ciders with hints of pink peppercorn and hibiscus. 


Long Road Distillers, the city's first distillery, employs a grain-to-glass philosophy. Nearly all ingredients are grown in Michigan, including the botanicals that flavor their Michigin. (Get it?)

Free and Fab

ArtPrize (September 14–October 1, 2023) turns the city into a massive creative showcase, with hundreds of art pieces adorning parks, bridges, hotels, restaurants and other areas. Concerts and family-friendly activities round out the colorful celebration. 

Where to Stay

In the heart of downtown, CityFlatsHotel prides itself on eco-friendly touches, such as hypoallergenic (and remarkably soft) bamboo linens. Crystal chandeliers and gold-leaf details speak to the early 1900s opulence of the restored Amway Grand Plaza hotel.