The Latino, or Hispanic, community in Grand Rapids dates back as far as the 1920s, when a small number of young men from Mexico came here to work in railroad jobs. Almost a century later, this community has grown into a significant social and economic force, influencing the city in ways large and small.

As of the latest census, Latinos represent about 16% of the Grand Rapids population. The Hispanic population of Kent County, where Grand Rapids is situated, grew by 29% between 2010 and 2020. It was the largest increase, in raw numbers, among all racial and ethnic groups.

Growth is expected to continue in the years to come, just as the number of Latino businesses continues to rise year after year – in southwest Grand Rapids, the traditional heart of the local Hispanic community, and throughout the city. Latino-owned supermarkets, restaurants, shops and services cater not only to local residents, but also to visitors seeking an authentic experience.

About 60% of the city's Latino population self-reports Mexican ancestry, followed by people  by significant numbers who report Central American, Guatemalan and Dominican heritage. While each group takes great pride in the distinctive traditions of their homeland, they are united by common values of faith, family and entrepreneurial spirit – the same values that have always defined Grand Rapids.

All of this makes Grand Rapids a very welcoming destination for Latino-friendly convention groups, entertainment acts and festivals. Here’s just a glimpse of how the city celebrates Latino culture:

This video was designed to highlight the many events and attractions that the Kent County Convention/Arena Authority (CAA) have supported recently that demonstrates their ongoing commitment to our Latino community.

Community Organizations

Annual Events

  • Festival del Cinco de Mayo (May) commemorates La Batalle de Puebla, also known as Cinco de Mayo, with food trucks, live music, activities for children and an arts and craft sale.
  • The Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival (August) brings musicians, singers, dancing, and authentic food and merchandise to downtown’s Calder Plaza.
  • Fiesta Mexicana (September) is three days of authentic music, dance, food, carnival games and more in downtown Grand Rapids.

Points of Interest