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

By The editors of
January 15, 2016

Due to possible coronavirus-related travel restrictions, please check destinations' websites for the current status of attractions, events, restaurants and lodgings.

What to Do

ArtPrize One of the most popular public art events in the world is scheduled for a biennial competition, though the 2020 ArtPrize was cancelled due to COVID-19.  In its last year, 2018, ArtPrize drew about 500,000 visitors and 1,260 artworks. Check the website for update on future competitions.


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.

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.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market The indoor market hosts more than 20 vendors and two full-service restaurants, including Social Kitchen and Bar, 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 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

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 with 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 downtown spot.

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.

Six.One.Six Michigan’s abundant produce influences the fusion of French and American foods at this JW Marriott restaurant.

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.

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