"The West Side is the best side," according to the residents and business owners of this venerable neighborhood, which was first connected to downtown Grand Rapids via footbridge in 1842. German, Polish, and Irish immigrants soon populated the area, establishing distinct business districts amidst tree-lined residential streets. Today, a growing Latino population is adding to the neighborhood’s diversity and contributing to a major revitalization of buildings and businesses.
Where to Eat on the West Side
Where to Shop:
Ball Park Floral & Gifts is your source for fresh-cut flowers, arrangements and creative gifts for every occasion. Serving Grand Rapids since 1904.
The Conscious Collective Consignment offers gently used men's and women's fashions, plus home decor items and new products handmade by local artisans.
Rylee's Ace Hardware stocks hard-to-find hardware items plus housewares and garden goods along with good old-fashioned neighborhood-store service.
What to Do on the West Side
Hit the links- the Mines Golf Club is an 18-hole course right around the corner from John Ball Zoo. Built atop old gypsum mines, the rolling terrain makes it a joy to play. One of Golf Digest's "Best New Public Courses Under $75" in 2006.
Hike, bike, or blade Kent Trails, a 15-mile paved pathway that follows abandoned rail lines through wetlands, forests, meadows and city neighborhoods. John Ball Park is an access point.
Explore more with these suggestions!
More to see on the West Side
See more than 2,000 animals at John Ball Zoo, one of the nation's oldest surviving urban zoos and Michigan's fourth most popular cultural attraction. There are many rides and activities to choose from, and you can picnic in the adjacent park. (Bring oats or corn to feed the ducks!)
Visit three majestic Catholic churches erected by the area's early immigrants. The Germans build St. Mary's, the Irish built St. James, and the Polish build St. Adalbert, all within a few blocks of each other. Another Polish church, Sacred Heart, towers over John Ball Park.
Local West Side Favorites!
Arnie's Bakery & Restaurant is a West Side institution with roots dating back 100 years. Rebuilt after a 2009 fire, the restaurant serves hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, plus swoon-worthy desserts.
Brann's Steakhouse & Sports Grille is a casual restaurant masquerading as a sports bar. Home of the "legendary sizzling steak," it boasts more TVs than just about any restaurant in town - and it's run by one of the town's favorite restaurant owners.
Ferris Coffee and Nut House has been a Grand Rapids staple since 1924, offering the very best coffee, nuts, and gourmet treats made right here.
Scrumptious Cupcakes and Sweetery serves up mouthwatering gourmet and cocktail cupcakes plus a variety of other goodies.
To find all of the other places to see, eat, and visit in this neighborhood, use the drop down menu below.
Ideas for West Side Fun!
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