bicycle in the grass in a Grand Rapids park

photo by John Eisenschenk (JohnE777) via flickr

Though Grand Rapids’ downtown is often bustling, nature is never far away: green havens can be found throughout the city and all along the Grand River corridor. More than two dozen natural environs can be found within 10-minutes of Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids. Several are within easy walking distance, and the rest are close enough to visit on your lunch break or during a lull in your conference schedule or trip itinerary!

Here’s a look at some of Grand Rapid’s best natural settings, all just a short trip from the city center:

Immediately downtown, amid the bustle, consider the Grand River Edges Trail, a pleasant walk along the Grand River. A popular stroll is from Fulton St. north to the Sixth St. Bridge, then cross the river and return along the west bank. Bring binoculars: spring is a great time to see birds in Kent County.

The route passes by Sixth Street Bridge Park and Canal Park, both small, but peaceful riverside areas where nature-lovers can enjoy a view of the Grand River. Fish Ladder Park, across the river and one block south, is a popular destination for watching spring steelhead and fall salmon runs. Ten or so minutes further downstream is the tranquil, grassy knoll overlooking the river at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, a fine place to enjoy a snack. [read more…]

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2015 Inaugural DisArt Festival

by Lyndsay Israel on March 19, 2015

DisArt Festvial logo

Grand Rapids is known for an abundance of ART.  ArtPrize, the radically open art competition every fall, has put our museums on the map, but other events like Festival of the Arts have generated a year-long celebration of local and distance artists and their work.  This year, the tradition of impressive artists and their contributions continues as Grand Rapids hosts the first International DisArt Festival in Michigan from April 10th-April 25th.

If you haven’t heard of DisArt, it’s important to understand the mission of those who are dedicated to the cause and events surrounding the festival. [read more…]

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Goodbye Winter, Hello Whitecaps Baseball!

by Amy Busse on March 12, 2015

West Michigan Whitecaps opening day image

Photo courtesy of West Michigan Whitecaps

Baseball comes back to West Michigan with the West Michigan Whitecaps Opening Day Thursday April 9 at Fifth Third Ballpark against the Dayton Dragons.

The first 1,000 fans into the park will receive mittens compliments of Fifth Third Bank. If you miss the mittens, make sure you stick around for the first Family Fare Fireworks show of the season post-game. [read more…]

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On April 24th at 7:30 pm an event is taking place at the Van Andel Arena that you absolutely don’t want to miss. That night you can immerse yourself in an experience called LiveArts, an event unlike any other, for which the Grand Rapids Symphony has teamed up with the Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, Grand Rapids Ballet, Opera Grand Rapids, and Broadway Grand Rapids to bring you an unforgettable production about the vital role arts plays in our lives.

Grand Rapids Symphony LiveArts LogoLiveArts is one of several events this season that celebrates both the Grand Rapids Symphony’s 85th season and the culmination of David Lockington’s tenure as Music Director of the symphony, says Roger Nelson, Vice President and COO for the Symphony.

Musicians of the Grand Rapids Symphony

photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Symphony

“We wanted to do something different for our 85th anniversary,” explains Lockington. He credits Nelson with conceiving of the idea of producing a collaborative event on this scale that would advocate for the arts in Grand Rapids. “We wanted to show the community the importance of these really fabulous performing groups and create a themed program focused on the creativity of young people.” [read more…]

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Art Outdoor Grand Rapids logoGreat collaborations aren’t born, they are developed. And there are few places where that is more evident than through the collaborations occurring right now between Grand Rapids and the art community.

One “big” opportunity available to artists with ties to Grand Rapids is the Art Outdoor campaign sponsored by Experience Grand Rapids.

Janet Korn, senior vice president of Experience Grand Rapids, said the idea for Art Outdoor came after reading an article in the New York Times Style Magazine where artists used billboards as a medium to share their art.

“We are always looking for new and distinctive ways to tell others about Grand Rapids,” said Korn. “Art Outdoor is the perfect way to celebrate local artists while also promoting Grand Rapids as a destination for art enthusiasts.”

A selection committee will choose five entries to display on billboards in and around Grand Rapids as well as on I-75 in Oakland County. Any artist over the age of 18 with ties to Grand Rapids is welcome to enter this free campaign with their “My Grand Rapids” work. The deadline for entries is March 15, 2015. [read more…]

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Seriously Funny Stuff: LaughFest Q&A with Wendy Wigger

by Kirsetin Morello on February 26, 2015

Mark your calendar for Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids’ fifth annual LaughFest, which takes place from March 5 – 15, 2015. While LaughFest conjures images of funny men and women doing stand-up and improv comedy, the festival also includes film, authors, stage and musical acts, workshops, community showcases, family friendly events, and much, much more. There really is something for everyone at this one-of-a-kind 10-day festival that celebrates “laughter for the health of it” and supports the free cancer and grief programming offered by Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids.

LaughFest logo for 2015

We caught up with Wendy Wigger, President of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, to give you the inside scoop on what you can expect at this year’s LaughFest. [read more…]

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Founders KBS Week Brings Incredible Beer to the Masses

by Amy Busse February 19, 2015

Founders Brewing Co. Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) Week, March 9-14, allows the Grand Rapids community – and those who travel here – to enjoy the beer ranked one of the best beers in the world by RateBeer.com users three weeks before it officially ships outside Michigan. According to the Founders website, Kentucky Breakfast Stout is […]

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Breweries Help Put the Cool Brews in Cool Brews. Hot Eats.

by Amy Busse February 12, 2015

Cool Brews. Hot Eats. (CBHE) starts February 16. So where are you heading to experience some of the best beer and food pairings Grand Rapids has to offer? And, just as importantly, where are your friends doing the same? The third annual CBHE runs Monday, February 16 – Sunday, February 28 and features over 50 […]

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When and Where to Find Jazz in Grand Rapids (Hint: All Over!)

by Kirsetin Morello February 5, 2015

On any given night of the week in Grand Rapids you can find a place to soothe your soul with live jazz. Just grab your coat and take your pick. Here’s a sampling of where you’ll find it: LaFontsee Galleries Underground Concert Series   On February 15 at 3:00 p.m., you can catch the inaugural […]

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Cool Brews. Hot Eats Returns to Grand Rapids

by Amy Busse January 27, 2015

It’s hard to think of a better way to escape the chilly Michigan weather than coming inside for a hot meal and a cool brew. The third annual Cool Brews Hot Eats (CBHE) kicks-off Monday, February 16 through Saturday, February 28 and features over 50 restaurant partners that have created a special menu item for the […]

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