Whoever said nothing in life is free hasn't been to Kent County, Michigan. The greater Grand Rapids area offers a wide variety of no-cost activities to keep you busy throughout the fall. So take out your planner and get moving - here are 20 ideas for fun, free things to do this autumn!

In 2019, ArtPrize's Project 1 introduces commissioned art exhibitions, to alternate with the traditional ArtPrize competition. Think large-scale installations like SLO Architecture's Harvest Dome 3.0, which was a part of ArtPrize 10.
Harvest Dome 3.0 created by SLO Architecture for ArtPrize 2018

Harvest Dome 3.0 by SLO Architecture was one of the many projects entered in ArtPrize 2018.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids, featuring Harvest Dome 3.0 by SLO Architecture- ArtPrize 2018

1. ArtPrize

Roam the streets of Grand Rapids and experience more than 1,500 pieces of art for free!
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Long summer days and dozens of nearby courses make Grand Rapids a disc golfer's paradise.
Disc golf bag

Beautiful fall weather and dozens of nearby courses make Grand Rapids a disc golfer's paradise.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

2. Disc Golfing

Get your disc on at free disc golf courses at Brewer Park, Garfield ParkFallasburg Park, Johnson Park and Riverside Park.
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A Group Running Along the River

Explore the waterfront of the Grand River.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

3. Riverwalks

Stroll the paths alongside the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids, the Rogue River in downtown Rockford and the Flat River in downtown Lowell – keep your phone ready for photo ops!

Mountain biking trails in Cannonsburg Ski Area.
Mountain biker jumping off a platform on a trail near Grand Rapids

Riding Through the Trails at Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

4. Trailventures

Bike, hike, rollerblade, snowshoe or cross-country ski on endless miles of non-motorized trails through all sorts of terrain. Many paved trails are accessible to people with disabilities.
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5. Downtown Skate Park

Grind the rails on your BMX bike, skateboard, scooter or skates at the 555 Monroe Skate Park alongside the Grand River. It’s open year ‘round!
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Taking a Break While Hiking to the Fallasburg Bridge
Fallasburg Park offers plenty amenities including three playgrounds, fishing, disc golf, hiking trails, and a bridge built in 1871 that you can still drive over.

Fallasburg Park offers plenty amenities including three playgrounds, fishing, disc golf, hiking trails, and a bridge built in 1871 that you can still drive over.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

6. Fallasburg Covered Bridge

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fallasburg Covered Bridge near Lowell is one of only three covered bridges in Michigan that allows car traffic.
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Two people viewing art at the GRAM In Grand Rapids, MI
Enjoy the exhibits featured in the Grand Rapids Art Museum Gallery.

Enjoy the exhibits featured in the Grand Rapids Art Museum Gallery.

Photo by Photo: Experience Grand Rapids

7. Museums

Enjoy fascinating exhibits at both the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives and Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts at no charge. (Donations are gratefully accepted.) Browse the galleries at the Grand Rapids Art Museum during Meijer Free Tuesdays (noon-6pm) and Thursday nights (5-9pm).
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8. Fish Ladder Park

Visit downtown’s Fish Ladder Park to watch migrating fish jump up a sculptural artwork to get around the powerful water flow of the Grand River.
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9. Millennium Park

There’s a small fee to use the beach and splash pad at this 1,400-acre park, but everything else is free – including 20 miles of trails, a Ninja Warrior Playground, picnic shelters and tables, birdwatching and even parking!

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10. Walking Tours

Download the free GR Walks and Vamonde Live GR Stories apps to access self-guided tours exploring local art, culture, history, neighborhoods and more.
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11. Lookout Park

Take a picnic meal to Lookout Park and take in the bird’s-eye views of downtown GR and the Grand River.
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The Gerald R. Ford International airport was ranked the number one airport by size in 2016.

Gerald R. Ford International Airport

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

12. Gerald R. Ford International Airport

As many as 300 aircraft take off or land at Gerald R. Ford International Airport on any given day. You can watch them from a special Viewing Park equipped with parking spaces, picnic tables and restrooms.
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Meyer May House

Meyer May House

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

13. Meyer May House

Tour the Meyer May House designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1908-09. This classic example of Prairie School Architecture is open to the public Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (online reservations required).
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Downtown Dog Park by Founders Brewing Company

Get outside with your pup at the Downtown GR Dog Park.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

14. Dog Parks

Bring Fido for some free exercise at Covell Dog Park, Downtown GR Dog Park, Grand Ravines Dog Park,  Hillcrest Dog Park, Lowell Dog Park at Stoney Lakeside Park or Rockford Dog Park.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

15. People Parks

Explore 75 city parks and 43 county parks ­– picnic, play ball, hike trails, watch wildlife, swim, boat, sled, ski and more.

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An audience experiencing Live Music at the Listening Lawn

An audience experiencing Live Music at the Listening Lawn

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

16. Music

Treat your ears to a free concert at numerous venues throughout the city, from no-cover-charge bars to community festivals.

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17. Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens

Connect with nature at this serene oasis of forest and wetlands filled with 174 native plants and 179 bird species.

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Rosa Parks Circle during Grand Rapids Asian Festival photo credit: Regina Grove

Rosa Parks Circle during Grand Rapids Asian Festival

Photo by Regina Grove

18. Festivals

Celebrate our diverse cultures, arts tradition, 2SLGBTQIA+ community and winter wonderland at community-wide gatherings throughout the year. LaughFest, our annual festival of funny, offers many free events as part of its comedy lineup every March.

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Ride the Grand Rapids' downtown area shuttle (DASH).

Ride the Grand Rapids' downtown area shuttle (DASH).

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

19. Downtown Rides

Hop on the Dash West and Dash North Shuttles (they’re pink!) for free transport around downtown from 6:30am-10pm Monday-Friday and 10am-10pm Saturday. Or use your smartphone to connect with a free driverless shuttle.

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20. FREE Postcards

Send a free postcard to friends and family telling them how much you enjoy Grand Rapids – and inviting them to visit!