West Side

A little bit European, a little bit old-school, a little bit up-and-coming...From camels, carnivals, and coffee, to meat markets, museums, and Mexican restaurants, the West Side has a lot of character. Long-time neighborhood activities and favorites include Pulaski Days, parks, pubs, and places to gather, many with true local flavor.

Where to go: John Ball Zoo, is among the state's most attended cultural facilities and the city's most beloved attractions, houses more than 250 species and 2,000 individual animals. Adjacent to the Grand River, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum highlights the lives of the 38th President and his family and allows visitors to absorb presidential history. Also riverside, the Grand Rapids Public Museum offers a glimpse of old Grand Rapids through various exhibits, rides on an antique carousel, stargazing at the Roger B. Chaffe Planetarium, and enrichment through exhibits and events.

Where to eat: Westsider Café, in the site of an old hardware store, features a fresh and innovative menu with several nods to the area's Polish influence. The family behind Salvatore's Pizza and Italian Restaurant shares its recipes from the old country with those who love tradition. Grand Slam Subs, near the Grand Valley State University downtown campus, makes its sandwiches with fresh local ingredients.

Coffee nut: Ferris has been around since the 1920s and is a favorite for those who want to drink, eat, and give coffee, nuts, candy and gourmet treats with a local touch. Open twenty-four hours a day, the Bitter End Coffehouse has become a hit with locals and college students for its hot beverages and tasty baked goods.

Local rivalries: Friendly arguments often ensue over who (outside of family) makes the best kielbasa. Frank's Market and Lewandoski's Market are neighborhood standbys with busy mean counters, house specialties, and ardent champions. A bit further west is Sobie Meats, which sells local products (and homemade kielbasa) and has its own set of fans.

To find all of the other places to see, eat, and visit in this neighborhood, use the drop down menu below.  



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Adam Bird Photographer

  • 289 Front Ave. SW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49501
  • Phone: (616) 676-7183
  • Region: Downtown

Ah-Nab-Awen Park

  • Front & Pearl
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Phone: (616) 456-3696
  • Region: Downtown

North of Pearl Street, adjacent to Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum along the banks of the Grand River, downtown MORE >>

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