Downtown Grand Rapids
Experience big-city excitement without the big-city hassle! Downtown Grand Rapids offers a huge range of entertainment, dining, shopping and sightseeing opportunities, all within a 10-minute walk. You'll encounter clean, safe streets and friendly people - beginning with our roving Safety Ambassadors, who traverse downtown on foot, bicycle, and Segway. Just flag one down if you need assistance, directions, a map or anything else. Look for the bright teal and blue uniforms!
Events Happening Downtown
Location: Peter Martin Wege Theatre
Location: Various coffee shops around Grand Rapids
Location: Gillette Auditorium
Location: Grand Rapids Public Library- Main Branch
Location: Downtown Market Grand Rapids
Location: Van Andel Arena
Where to Stay Downtown
Where to Eat Downtown
Choose from more than 100 dining options, across all cuisines and price ranges. We've listed a few favorites below, but you can view them all here - just select downtown as your location.
Where to Shop Downtown
Browse the artisan shops and farm vendors at the Downtown Market. The Indoor Market Hall includes 20+ fine-food purveyors, including Fish Lads, Montello Meat Market, Old World Olive Co., Spice Merchants, and Thornburg & Company (fruit preserves, syrups, and more). The Outdoor Market offers a seasonal selection of local produce, herb, flowers, honey, eggs, jams, beef and more, plus live entertainment.
Check out the creative spaces at MoDiv, a "retail incubator" housing clothing boutiques, a personal-care apothecary, ice-cream shop, florist and the official store for the Grand Rapids Drive basketball team.
The shopping doesn't end there! Be sure to browse the downtown shops below.
What to Do Downtown
Visit five first-class museums, all within a few blocks of each other: Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children's Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.
Dance, skate or listen to music under the stars at Rosa Parks Circle, a unique combination of public park and sculpture in the center of town.
Head to the Downtown Market for a cooking class, yoga instruction, Friday fish fry or Sunday brunch.
Attend one of downtown's many community events, including ArtPrize (September - October), Blues on the Mall (June - September), Festival of the Arts (June), GRandJazzFest (August), the Santa Parade (November) and Hot New Year's Eve Party (December 31).
Discover other downtown attractions below.
What to See Downtown
See public art virtually everywhere you look. Download the Outdoor Arts Inspirations tour map for a guide to 27 prominent downtown sculptures and historic buildings. Or take a smartphone-guided GR Tag Tour of "Art Around the Corner."
Stroll the riverwalk winding alongside the Grand River to see plenty of evidence for the city's ranking as America's 6th best fishing city. Head just a little bit farther north to see salmon, steelhead and carp leap up the Fish Ladder, a functional sculpture.
See the city from a different perspective in the climate-controlled skywalk that connects DeVos Place Convention Center with three hotels and assorted other buildings. Perfect for hot summer or cold winter days.
Check out other things to see downtown.
Local Downtown Favorites
Founders Brewing Company is a local favorite that's also a global sensation - it's been ranked the world's 3rd best brewery and its Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) was voted the world's best beer.
La Grande Vitesse is a 43-foot-tall, 42-ton, bright red Alexander Calder Sculpture that has come to symbolize the creative vitality of Grand Rapids. It sits outside City Hall- and it's pictured on street signs throughout the city.
The Blue Bridge, one of Michigan's longest truss bridges, is easy to miss if you're not looking for it. It's behind the JW Marriott Hotel - and it's a convenient pedestrian footpath from the city center to Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Public Museum on the west side of the Grand River.
Kendall College of Art and Design, a leading visual-arts school, is situated downtown amidst office buildings and retail establishments. The Fed Galleries at KCAD present student work as well as traveling exhibitions of nationally and internationally recognized artists. Open to the public.
Ideas for Downtown Fun
Holiday cheer is just a stroll away when you visit downtown Grand Rapids. The city is filled with lights and festive decorations this time of year and the joyful mood is contagious. Here's a list of
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photo by kennethkonica If you weren't among the 56,000 people who attended one of the 323 humorous events at Laughfest this year, plan to laugh, chuckle and double over as you support Gilda's Club
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