Grand Rapids, as a business and pleasure destination, commonly receives accolades for excellent food, an exploding craft beverage industry, walkability, and family-friendliness. Add to all of that the fun and unique shopping experiences in the area, and it's the perfect destination for a girfriends' getaway!   

Downtown Grand Rapids storefronts with signs

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids is the home of ArtPrize, Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place, dozens of superb restaurants, five museums, and is a wonderful place for a group of girlfriends to stay and shop.  One of the "aw, shucks" moments of living in a place like Grand Rapids is that I hardly get to be a tourist here!  It takes some serious justification to arrange a weekend at the historic Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton or the sleek JW Marriott with girlfriends when home is a mere ten minutes away, but it's always so worth it when I do!  The shops in downtown GR boast a wide variety of products, range from pricey to inexpensive, and we always have a blast perusing and shopping.  So gather your girlfriends, pick your weekend, and come join the shopping fun! 

Shopping for Souvenirs

Grand Rapids is a special place for a lot of Michiganders, so paraphernalia from the city could be the perfect gift for someone you love (who also loves Michigan).  You can find Grand Rapids originals at lots of stores, including  The Curiosity Shop, located at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) Store, and the Plaza stores at the Amway Grand.  If you're looking for local art, Heather Lane Pottery, or the Kendall College of Art and Design and LaFontsee Galleries are great places to start. If you have a car, or jump on public transportation, it's worth the ride to check out the souvenir selection at the Frederik Meijer Gardens Gift Shop, which sells excellent and interesting gifts for people of all ages!  All of these shopping destinations are free to access, but they also include the opportunity to see sites that make GR so popular—so plan on a tour if you have time.

Women shop for clothing in a Grand Rapids store

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Shopping for Food

Grand Rapids is a cornucopia of tastiness for foodie shoppers--so much so that you and your girlfriends might need an extra suitcase to transport your goods home! Start at the  Grand Rapids Downtown Market, which has several shops that offer fresh food to go, food you can gift, and food you can sit and enjoy at the market. After you've shopped for a bit, Ferris Coffee and Nut Co. is the perfect stop for a ladies' afternoon pick-me-up and snack. Afterward, you can all hunt down some gifts for your bosses and co-workers while you're there.

Hand-made pasta at the Local Epicurean in Grand Rapids

Hand-made pasta at the Local Epicurean (photo credit: Kirsetin Morello)

The Local Epicurean is a hop, skip, and a jump (or short cab/Uber ride) away. They offer some amazing classes, like pasta making and chocolate truffle making, that are perfect for a girls' getaway! If you're not up for the short trek, you can skip the classes but check out their organic, hand-made pasta online and have it delivered straight to your door.  

Robinette's Apple Haus and Winery is just a ten-minute drive from downtown, and the donuts, cider, old-fashioned candy, and bottles of wine make it well worth the trek. There's also a cool hiking trail next to it if you're up for a little mid-shopping exercise. 

Shopping for Everything Else

Once you and your girlfriends have had your fill of tasty treats and souvenirs to take home, it's time to hit Grand Rapids plentiful retail shops. So head where the locals do and find that ideal gift, fun new sweater, or the perfect pair of jeans. MoDiv is a local favorite and has a variety of stores to please everyone in your group.  Named for its location on the corner of Monroe Center and Division Ave, MoDiv is a retail incubator that allows both new and established stores to test the downtown Grand Rapids market before diving into a full (and more expensive) storefront. 

 

The shops rotate as owners upgrade or move out, but MoDiv currently hosts ten unique shops, including an apparel store for the Grand Rapids Drive (our awesome basketball team) and a men's formal wear shop called All Tied Up.  On that same Monroe Center strip, check out  6.25 Paper Studio, where you all purchase a "Wish you were here" postcard for the people you left at home for the weekend. Tuesdays on the Town is a brand new initiative, led by the MoDiv shops, to keep downtown shops open until 8 PM on Tuesday evenings, so even a work trip can include shop time. Other local shops on Monroe Center, like Gina's Boutique, would be an awesome place for a girl's destination: reserve the store to have private shopping time and access to the expertise of the staff, and receive 15% off of everything you buy.  If you're the one to book the "Sip N' Shop" experience, you can even leave with free clothes.  Just send them your list of friends and they do the rest!

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

So many shops, so little time. Make the most of it: grab your girlfriends, get away to Grand Rapids, and shop 'til you drop!

The shopping doesn’t stop on girls’ weekends, though. This post is the first in a five-part shopping series that will explore one of your travel's most urgent questions: Where can I shop? Check back over the next few weeks to read more posts about many types of shopping in Grand Rapids, from Rivertown and Woodland, the local malls, the new Tanger Outlets, antique stores all over town, boutiques with thoughtful and unique local products, and area consignment stores.  

Check out our other posts in our series on shopping in GR: