"Beach bums, beer lovers, and art enthusiasts agree: there’s a lot to love about western Michigan this year. Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city, was voted bestbeer city in the US by the national Beer Examiner blog in 2012 and 2013, and its beer-tourism revolution rages on."
"Lonely Planet named Grand Rapids the top U.S. destination to check out in 2014. Grand Rapids has been voted the best beer city in America and boasts more than 25 craft breweries nearby. The city also has a lively art scene and tons of festivals. Thirty miles away, Lake Michigan's Gold Coast offers the prime location for an unexpected beach getaway with 300 miles of gorgeous waterfront."
"In the past few years, the national news media have been abuzz about Grand Rapids, about 170 miles due west of Detroit near Lake Michigan. The city has earned attention and praise for its revitalized downtown, affordable housing and work opportunities — as well as it’s scenery, bike trails, international art competition ArtPrize and a surging industry of top-rated craft breweries."
"It is the second time in nine years The Rapid has been given the award by the American Public Transportation Association, or APTA. The last time was in 2004."
"The study of large metropolitan areas, compiled by researchers at Sperling's Best Places, took into consideration a number of criteria, including economic stability, crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, housing depreciation, foreclosures, air quality, environmental hazards, life expectancy, motor vehicle fatalities, and employment numbers."
"Since the mid-1990s, the small Michigan city has drummed up billions in public-private funding. Investments have yielded the Van Andel Arena, the new $60 million home of the Grand Rapids Museum, a $220 million convention center, and $1 billion in new hospitals and new headquarters for Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine. Rockford Construction has converted more than a dozen abandoned warehouses and office buildings into 400,000 square feet of updated residential, retail and office space. This summer will welcome the $30 million Downtown Market, a year-round culinary marketplace, spanning 130,000 square feet and the city plans to build a rapid transit bus line that will more easily cart people from the suburbs to Grand Rapids' downtown."
ArtPrize is the only festival in the United States to make the list.
"Grand Rapids, Michigan has less than a million people in the city and outlying areas, but has more breweries than the greater New York City area, which has upwards of 20 million people. However, it was more than the number of breweries that edged the Big Apple off this list. While this may not be the highest ranked American city on this list, Grand Rapids is certainly a city that is passionate about their beer."
"The roughly 50-mile stretch between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo and its roughly eight to nine breweries (depending on the geographic leeway given by the person asked) constitute the heart of Michigan craft brewing, as do the two biggest breweries within it: Bell's and Founders."
"The area is surrounded by a lot of free diversions mostly natural -- trails, parks and places for together time."
"With 55,926 votes cast for 31 different American cities the results clearly indicated that both Asheville, North Carolina and Grand Rapids topped the poll with a statistical tie. Both cities are being awarded Beer City USA 2012. This is Grand Rapids first year of winning top honors."
"The quality of life is good, and housing prices are way down to 2000 levels. You can buy a house and rent it out for a profit and then, when West Michigan appreciates again over the next 10 years, you can sell it for a profit.”
Largely due to ArtPrize, Grand Rapids has it's name on the map for having world class art.
"Solid schools and strong economy, especially when compared with the rest of the state, make Grand Rapids stand out."
What Grand Rapids does have: the distinction of being the best metro area in the country to raise a family in. Income may be relatively low, but the cost of living is even lower. The local school system ranks in the top third in the country. Commuting to work is a breeze.
"Moms-per-capita (rank among top 13): 3rd | Child care (rank among top 13): 11th |Schools score (1 to 10 scale): 6 |Maternity care (rank among top 13): 5th |Mom love (rank among top 13): 6th"