The state’s second-largest city, developed around the Grand River, has built a big reputation for culture, cuisine and craft beverages.

What to Do

ArtPrize One of the most popular public art events in the world is scheduled to return in 2021 (September 16-October 3), with $450,000 in grants and prizes available to artists.


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, plus a children's garden area and Japanese garden.

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

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. Closed as of March 2021 due to the pandemic, but check website for latest information.

Grand Rapids Art Museum A collection of 6,000 pieces spans the pre-Renaissance era through the 21st century.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market The indoor market hosts more than 20 vendors as well as Slows Bar B Q and 10 more dining options.

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
John Ball Zoo

Meyer May House The 1909 home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for a prominent clothier, was restored by local company Steelcase and offers free tours.

Where to Eat

Brewery Vivant One of dozens of breweries in a town that brands itself Beer City U.S.A., Brewery Vivant pours frothy pints in a former funeral home chapel with stained-glass windows. Try the rustic ale Farm Hand.

Brewery Vivant
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).

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

Margaux Michigan's abundant produce influences the fusion of French and American foods at this JW Marriott restaurant.

The Sovengard Scandinavian flavors meld with meat and produce from local vendors at this farm-to-table restaurant. Dine alfresco and play bocce ball or move inside for house favorites like the handmade pierogi.

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 hotel.

Canopy Borrow bikes (free to guests) and explore the trails around downtown at this newest Hilton property.

CityFlatsHotel In the heart of downtown, the eco-friendly hotel offers rooms with locally made furniture, bamboo linens and a unique design.

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

More information