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Grand Rapids Insider

Grand Rapids Insider

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Alex Gilford at work

My Grand Rapids Art Outdoor Artist Profile: Alex Gilford

Earlier this month, Experience Grand Rapids announced the names of 5 artists whose works will be featured on billboards around the state this summer. A juried panel selected their artwork from over 25...more

Posted June 30, 2015


Diversity is the hallmark of Southtown, with African-Americans, Caucasians, and numerous Latino groups - Mexican Americans, Cubans, El Salvadorans, Dominicans, and Guatemalans - living and working side by side. Distinct residential and business districts - Alger Heights, Baxter, Garfield Park, Grandville Avenue, Roosevelt Park and more - are linked by a deep commitment to family and a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

Where to Eat
Cafe Aromas is a neighborhood restaurant offering creative sandwiches, salads and soups plus amazing fair-trade coffees from around the world.

Hall Street Bakery offers an extensive bistro-style menu plus award-winning pizzas and calzones, and - of course - scrumptious baked goods.

JB's Pizza Parlor is a 15-year fixture of the Alger Heights district, owned and operated by a local family. Serving gourmet pizzas, pastas, subs, and salads.

Sweet Melissa's Cupcakes is a bakery, ice cream shop, and cafe featuring signature paninis, salads and soups. Gourmet cupcake selections regularly include gluten-free and vegan options.

Where to Shop
Shop at these Latino supermarkets for an authentic selection of packaged goods, baked goods, fresh meats and produce, and more:

Indulge your sweet tooth at Amaro's Bakery & Restaurant, a traditional Mexican bakery offering fresh-made baked goods, sweets, flour tortillas and bread, plus custom-made cakes for every occasion.

Harvest Health Foods has been the area's go-to natural and organic food store since 1952. It carries produce, bulk foods, allergen-free selections, supplements, body care items and even beer and wine.

Tardy's Collectors Corner is Michigan's longest-running same-owner comic book store. In operation since 1979, Tardy's also offers new, used, hard-to-find and rare illustrated prints, posters, models and other collectibles.

What to Do
Bowl a few frames at Paragon Lanes, home of the Saturday Night Rock-n-Bowl.

Drop in for family fun at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, a state-of-the-art recreation facility that offers day passes for different activities throughout the week.

Play a round of disc golf at Garfield Park, which also features a ball diamond, basketball court, three tennis courts and a KaBOOM! playground.

Visit the Log Cabin Bar to see Grand Rapids' best bands, sing karaoke and enjoy traditional bar food and drink. A finalist in Michigan's Best Bar.

Find a wide variety of local produce, cottage kitchen foods, personal care items and crafts at the Southeast Area Farmer's Market. Fridays and Saturdays in season.

What to See
See the handiwork of local artisans at the Garfield Park Neighborhood Association Arts and Crafts Fair. This 40-year tradition features art and food vendors and family-fun activities. September.

See the boyhood home of President Gerald R. Ford, several late 1800s-era mansions and other historic landmarks on a walking tour of the Garfield Park neighborhood.

Local Favorites
Tacos El Cunado and Taqueria San Jose serve what many consider the best tacos in town. Who's #1? That's up to your taste buds to decide.

Real Food Cafe is a "Michigan's Best Breakfast" finalist that has earned its local-favorite status with delicious family recipes, friendly service and huge portions.

Hidden Gems
Burton Woods is a six-acre oasis of 120-year old forest in the midst of urban activity. It was planted by farmer Charles Garfield to demonstrate how agricultural land could be reclaimed as woodland.


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  • 431 Wealthy Street SW
  • Market Ave. & Wealthy St.
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Region: Downtown

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 >>

Avenue for the Arts

  • South Division between Fulton and Wealthy
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Phone: (616) 855-0435
  • Region: Heartside

Dodds Record Store

  • 20 Division Ave. S
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Phone: (616) 451-3161
  • Region: Heartside

Heartside Park

  • 301 Ionia SW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Phone: (616) 456-3232
  • Region: Downtown

"Classified as a Neighborhood Park it serves as the recreational and social focus of the neighborhood. Formally occupied by railroad tracks and a rail yard, the site's conversion to a park arose when Catholic Central High School eyed it for a playground and soccer field. That idea dispersed in 1995, but residents continued to advance the idea for a park. The park was dedicated in 2004." MORE >>

Parliament the Boutique

  • 120 South Division Ave.
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Phone: (616) 323-3606
  • Region: Downtown

Premier Skate

  • 14 Weston SE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Phone: (616) 742-2660
  • Region: Heartside
There are 6 listings that match your search criteria. Showing 1-6 of 6
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