Eco-Friendly Options

“Going green” is all about making choices that minimize your environmental footprint. When it comes to travel, that can mean choosing a destination that prioritizes sustainability – like Grand Rapids.

It can also mean choosing places to meet, stay, dine, drink and play based on their earth-friendly practices. Grand Rapids offers a whole host of options for eco-conscious visitors. Here are just a few of the local businesses you can feel good about patronizing.


DeVos Place Convention Center, a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of downtown, is certified as a “Green Venue” by the state of Michigan. It has implemented a wide range of environmental and sustainability initiatives, including:

  • Automated faucets and flushing systems to reduce water consumption
  • Membrane-style roof reflects heat away to decrease energy consumption
  • New lighting (2024) increases footcandles while reducing energy usage by 60%
  • Transitioning to use of green chemicals for cleaning and soap products in restrooms
  • In conjunction with its food/beverage provider (Amway Grand Plaza Hotel), donates leftover food and composts food waste to reduce landfill use

A number of abandoned factories, warehouses and other facilities have been converted into modern meeting spaces, keeping waste from landfill and minimizing the environmental impact of new construction. Check out The Cheney Place, Clearwater Place, The Goei Center, Leona Road and New Vintage Place


A 2023 renovation of the historic Amway Grand Plaza Hotel has helped reduce energy usage by nearly 20%.

Environmental initiatives at the JW Marriott Grand Rapids include reducing energy and water consumption, guest room recycling and electric car charging.

Hyatt Place Grand Rapids South became the city’s first LEED-certified hotel in 2009. (LEED is a system that evaluates the sustainability of buildings.)

CityFlatsHotel is certified LEED Gold thanks to such green features as cork flooring, hypoallergenic bamboo linens, high-efficiency heating and cooling units, low-flow water fixtures, and locally manufactured furniture and décor.

Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown is an IHG Green Engage Hotel implementing a wide range of green solutions to measure and manage its environmental impact.

Double-glazed windows, energy-efficient LED bulbs, water-efficient showers and toilets, and an electric charging car station are among the sustainability features at the Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown.

Two downtown Hilton hotels, Homewood Suites and Hampton Inn and Suites, are part of LightStay, Hilton Worldwide’s corporate responsibility measurement platform that includes an environmental footprint calculation tool for meetings or conferences.

Peaches Bed & Breakfast has participated in Michigan's Green Lodging Initiative since 2007, when it scored higher than any other property in the state.


Grand Rapids boasts a large concentration of farm-to-fork restaurants that partner with local farmers to promote sustainable agriculture, reduce transportation footprints and support the area economy. Notable eateries include:

Bistro Bella Vita, Grove and the LEED-certified The Green Well – all part of the Essence Restaurant Group – source ingredients from small, local farmers and employ many other sustainable practices.

El Granjero Mexican Grill uses fresh, local ingredients to prepare its dishes and recruited 12 Latinx businesses  to join a Latino Business for Sustainability campaign to promote recycling, composting and other sustainability initiatives.

Gilmore Restaurants  – including Blue Water, Bobarino’s, BOB’s Brewery, Bostwick Lake Inn, Flat River Grill, Mangiamo and Rose’s – grow some of their own produce and botanicals, and work diligently to reduce their resource consumption.

Luna, a Latin American eatery, was named the Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant in Michigan by Travel+Leisure magazine.

Margaux in the JW Marriott Grand Rapids supplements its long list of local suppliers with its own Chef's Garden.


Brewery Vivant, the first LEED Silver certified microbrewery in the U.S., publishes an annual report detailing the sustainability impact of both its operation and its sister brewery, Broad Leaf Brewery & Spirits.

Founders Brewing Co., which partnered with the city of Grand Rapids to develop a more sustainable solution for its bio-waste, sets annual sustainability goals for reducing water use, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing waste.

Last Mile Café is a coffee shop/roaster that seeks to set a sustainable example for the coffee industry – as an example, its coffee bags are made from renewable and compostable resources.

New Holland Brewing - The Knickerbocker complements its award-winning beer menu with a rustic, seasonal menu showcasing local and regional agriculture.

Local makers of hard and soft craft ciders use fresh apples picked in area orchards. (This is one of the world’s best apple-growing regions.)

Madcap Coffee, an award-winning coffee roaster, runs a Zero Waste program to lessen its environmental impact. 


Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the Midwest’s most popular tourist attractions, earned LEED Silver certification for such features as a reflective rubber roof.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum, the worlds first LEED Gold-certified art museum, receives 70% of its light from natural sources and reuses on-site rain and grey water.

The Grand Rapids Downtown Market is a LEED Gold-certified food emporium that showcases local agriculture through on-site restaurants, artisan shops, classes and events.

Van Andel Arena, the city’s premier entertainment venue, is another local “Biggest Loser in Michigan,” having reduced its energy consumption by 12% in 2018. Check out its ongoing sustainability efforts.

John Ball Zoo composts more than 225,000 pounds of animal waste, animal bedding, leaves and food waste year – and that’s just one of the ways it’s working to conserve resources.

The Rapid Central Bus Station is the first transportation facility in the U.S. to receive LEED certification and the Rapid bus fleet is now using EPA-certified renewal natural gas (RNG) from the city of Grand Rapids’ biodigester.

A new high-performance building envelope and energy-efficient displacement ventilation in the remodeled-in-2023 Concourse A at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport aims to reduce energy consumption by 70%.

Clothing Matters, one of Michigan's “Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies,” offers a world-class collection of sustainably manufactured apparel.

Local antique stores, thrift stores and consignment shops offer an alternative way to shop sustainably – buying gently used goods reduces landfill waste and energy use compared to purchasing new.

Blandford Nature Center, named the 2021 West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year, has naturalized a former golf course adjacent to its property (and earned a West Michigan Clean Water Leadership Award in the process). 

The City of Grand Rapids is planting 15,000 new trees from 2023-2028 – it will make the city even more beautiful and help combat climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air.