Things to do in Grand Rapids include 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, developed around the Grand River, has developed a big reputation for culture, cuisine and craft beverages.

What to Do

ArtPrize Now on a biennial schedule (with the next ArtPrize in 2020), the public art competition draws about 500,000 visitors who come to explore 1,400-plus works of art and vote on the $200,000 grand prize winner. On the alternating years, a single artist or group of artists present a citywide public arts project that includes free education and cultural programming.


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 100-plus pieces. The Children's Garden encourages kids to explore with all five senses, and a Japanese garden highlights contemporary sculpture.

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 6,000 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.

Grand Rapids Public Museum Diverse exhibits include an 1890s streetscape and displays on toys and West Michigan habitats.

John Ball Zoo Kids love the petting corral, aviary, camel rides, funicular tram, ropes course and four-story zipline.

John Ball Zoo

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.

Where to Eat

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

Founders Brewing Company One of dozens of breweries in a town that brands itself Beer City U.S.A., Founders pours frothy pints of Breakfast Stout. Pair it with beer cheese dip.

Grand Rapids Brewing Company Enjoy classic dark-wood-and-brick brewery ambience, a game room, and beers such as Rosalynn Bliss Blonde (named for the mayor).

Grove Relying almost entirely on sustainable area farms, Grove offers fine dining on beef tartare, beet salad and house-made pasta.

Linear Restaurant Take a riverfront seat for seasonal American dishes such as beet gnocchi or stuffed quail at this new downtown spot.

Margaux The French bistro inside the JW Marriott serves fare inspired by the red wine region of southern France.

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.

Where to Stay

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Crystal chandeliers, gold-leaf details, an on-site flower shop and eight dining options hint at the opulence of the restored 1916 AAA Four-Diamond hotel.

JW Marriott Grand Rapids This luxury hotel strives to make guests' stays as relaxing as possible with touches that include lavender-scented bath products, soft and firm pillow options, and a spa.

More information: Experience Grand Rapids