Part arts festival, part social experiment - decided solely on a public vote. Sept. 24 through Oct. 12, 2014. ...more
Lonely Planet named Grand Rapids and the Lake Michigan Gold Coast the #1 place to visit in 2014! ...more
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By Howard Meyerson Autumn color is always a spectacle in Kent County. The countryside – with its hills and valleys – becomes a living canvas splashed with color. It’s a great time to get out on area r...more
The city's most up-and-coming neighborhood is a trendsetting hub of food, art and fun. Anchored by the Downtown Market and encompassing the Avenue for the Arts, the Market District begins just a few steps south of downtown's busiest intersection. This is where foodies come to shop, artists come to live and work, and visitors come to experience a vibrant, diverse community that is both rich in history and progressive in spirit.
Where to Eat
The Downtown Market offers a variety of delectable options:
• Rak Thai and Tacos El Cuñado restaurants serve up authentically prepared Asian and Latin American dishes.
• Field & Fire Bakery, Sweetie-Licious Bake Shoppe, Love's Ice Cream and Dorothy & Tony's Gourmet Kettle Corn hit your snack spot.
• Aperitivo includes a wine bar serving selections from its gourmet cheese and charcuterie counter.
• Malamiah Juice Bar and Simpatico Coffee offer a variety of wonderful ways to wet your whistle
Fat Johnny's Cheesesteak Co. brings Philly-style and Jersey-style sandwiches to GR.
Propaganda Doughnuts offers an incredible array of made-from-scratch, locally and organically sourced, French pastry-based gourmet treats.
Where to Shop
Start with the artisan shops and farm vendors at the Downtown Market. The Indoor Market Hall includes 20+ fine food purveyors, including Fish Lads, Montello Meat Market, Old World Olive Press, Spice Merchants and Thornburg & Company (fruit preserves, syrups and more). The Outdoor Market offers a year-round selection of local produce, herbs, flowers, honey, eggs, jams, beef and more, plus live entertainment.
The Local Epicurean offers a huge variety of handmade pastas and sauces, soups, herbs, butters, pasta-making classes.
Have Company is a general store specializing in local handmade goods and small-press publications.
Premier sells skateboards, footwear, apparel, accessories, sunglasses, watches and toys for the air-riding set.
Goodwill Industries Retail Store offers gently used or new merchandise at a fraction of its original price, with proceeds going to fund job training and placement programs.
What to Do
Avenue for the Arts is a commercial corridor of art galleries and artist's live/work spaces that hosts a variety of community events throughout the year, including First Friday Gallery Hops, Art. Downtown., Urban Lights Holiday Market and summer Art Markets.
Thursday Happy Hours (4 pm - 7 pm) and Sunday Brunch Bites and Bloody Marys (10 am - 2 pm) at Downtown Market feature drink specials, entertainment and more. Downtown Market also offers cooking classes for kids and adults, greenhouse classes, adult yoga, lunch & learn sessions, social events and more.
What to See
Treat your eyes to an incredible diversity of visual delights along Avenue for the Arts ¬- from landmark buildings to public art to a wealth of art galleries. Stroll past century-old buildings that have been lovingly rehabilitated into dynamic commercial and residential spaces. Don't miss the trompe l'oeil mural by award-winning artist Richard Haas at the corner of Cherry Street and Division Avenue. Wander into galleries like Crafthouse, Heartside Gallery, Center Art Gallery and Sanctuary Folk Art to browse and talk to artists.
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) serves as the unofficial gateway to Avenue for the Arts and the Market District. Michigan's largest contemporary arts center, it presents groundbreaking visual art, music, film, literature, dance and performance art in the heart of downtown.
Sanctuary Folk Art, "the coolest contemporary folk art gallery in the universe" features outsider, pop, minimalist and abstract art in downtown's Avenue of the Arts district. Proprietor Reb Roberts' work can be seen in prominent locations all over the city.
Heartside Park, adjacent to the Downtown Market, includes a Splashpad water feature, playground, basketball court, picnic shelter and grills.
Parliament the Boutique features handcrafted women's, men's and home accessories made of supple leathers and naturally dyed materials - all made by boutique owner Elyse Marie Welcher.
Cathedral Square, anchored by the 125-year-old Cathedral of Saint Andrew, is an 11.5 -acre oasis of quiet contemplation featuring beautifully landscaped gardens and pedestrian walkways.
The Amtrak Pere Marquette line runs between Grand Rapids and Chicago, round-trip, seven days a week. Riders on the Pere Marquette line travel along the coast of Lake Michigan in relaxed comfort. Amtrak's Pere Marquette offers daily rail service between Grand Rapids and Chicago, providing fast and convenient rail connections. MORE >>