The Urban DNA of Grand Rapids
Michigan’s second largest city offers the state’s coolest urban experience. It starts in a safe, clean, compact downtown that combines the amenities of a major metropolis with the warmth of a small town.
More than 100 restaurants, shops, performance venues and cultural sites are located within a 10-minute walk of nationally recognized hotels – and hundreds of other entertainment and lodging options are just a short drive away.
As Thrillist noted in 2017, Grand Rapids offers “the art, food and music trappings you’d find in Chicago or Detroit, only at half the price and one-quarter the commute times.”
Art & Culture
The most attended public art event on the planet doesn’t take place in New York City, Paris or Rome – it sprawls out through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids every year. ArtPrize is just one of many cultural treasures that rival those of top cities.
Broadway Grand Rapids presents the best touring shows direct from the Great White Way. Grand Rapids Civic Theatre – one of America’s oldest and largest community theatres – stages crowd-pleasing Broadway hits, while Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids specializes in edgy, off-Broadway fare.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, John Ball Zoo and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts are among Michigan’s most visited cultural attractions. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one of the 100 most visited museums in the entire world.
Art & Architecture
The massive Alexander Calder sculpture that has become the city symbol is just one of many public sculptures, murals and other creative works seen all around town. Downtown architecture blends historic buildings and bridges with sleek new construction.
Food & Dining
Many Grand Rapids chefs trained at the city’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, one of the nation’s finest culinary arts programs – and they are able to access fresh ingredients from one of the world’s best agricultural regions, just 10 minutes away. This urban/rural partnership made Grand Rapids a forerunner in the farm-to-fork movement … and helped us achieve the title of Michigan’s Best Food City.
This year-round hub of local food innovation brings gourmet vendors, restaurants, teaching kitchens and food-focused social events together under one greenhouse-covered roof.
Cooking classes, farm markets and farm tours combine for a hands-on journey through the food cycle, from the soil to the plate. Cool Brews. Hot Eats. (Feb.-March), Restaurant Week GR (Aug.) and the International Wine, Beer & Food Festival (Nov.) indulge palates with an astonishing array of culinary splendor.
Grand Rapids Food Trail
This self-guided tour includes 70+ delectable destinations, from artisan sweets shops to ethnic markets.
Hundreds of restaurants cater to every taste and budget. Favorites include Grove (named Michigan’s Best Restaurant), Stella’s Lounge (serving America’s Best Burger), Cygnus 27 (one of America’s Most Scenic Restaurants), Ruth’s Chris (a classic American steakhouse) and The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck.
Music & Nightlife
You can enjoy most any genre of music, most every day of the week in Grand Rapids – in bars, coffeehouses, arenas and outdoor gardens.
Grand Rapids Music Trail
More than 100 live-music venues crisscross the city to create a remarkable aural journey.
There’s nothing quite like an outdoor summer concert in Grand Rapids – and there’s no better place to see one than the lush grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Festival of the Arts, GRandJazzFest and Picnic Pops are other outdoor faves.
From Taylor Swift to Kanye West, Grand Rapids welcomes the biggest names in music. The Lumineers, Miranda Lambert, Def Leppard, Aretha Franklin, and Tim McGraw & Faith Hill are just a few of our 2017 concerts.
Craft Beer & Beverages
Atwater Brewery Grand Rapids, B.O.B.’s Brewery, Founders Brewing Company, Fountain Hill Brewery, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, HopCat and CityBuilt Brewing Co. (opening soon) keep taps flowing in the city center– and join 50+ additional breweries on the Beer City Ale Trail.
Visitors can pick up a Beer City Passport and collect stamps at select breweries to become a Brewsader and earn a collectible t-shirt plus other perks.
Many individual breweries offer behind-the-scenes tours of their facilities, while tour operators provide worry-free transportation to and from multiple breweries in a single trip.
Big-city shopping without the big-city hassle – that’s the lure of Grand Rapids for both luxury buyers and bargain hunters.
These locally owned stores and businesses epitomize the entrepreneurial spirit that has always defined Grand Rapids.
More Urban Experiences
Look what cool-city activities and events are coming soon.
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