It’s the last big hurrah of summer – and Grand Rapids knows how to make it memorable. Here are some suggestions for each day of the long weekend:
Friday Night Fun (Sept 3)Back to Top of List
Dine, drink, shop and more in the city’s Refreshment Areas – outdoor spaces that allow you to carry approved open containers of alcohol from nearby bars and restaurants. Try a different Refreshment Area every night of the long weekend, from downtown to Uptown to the West Side!
Speaking of refreshments – sign up for Craft Pass GR to get rewarded for refreshing yourself with local beers, ciders, meads and spirits. Use the pass to check in to at least six participating locations before Oct. 31 and Experience Grand Rapids will send you a cool gift!
Rock out(doors) at the Ballpark Jam ’21 concert featuring Michigan band Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers at historic Sullivan Field, a community ballpark nestled in a West Side residential neighborhood.
Board the Grand Lady Riverboat for a two-hour Live Music Cruise Friday evening (or Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon). Bring your own food for a picnic – beverages and snacks will be available for purchase.
It’s the final Food Truck Friday of the season at Riverside Park – come for a food truck dinner, then stick around for a game of disc golf or a leisurely stroll along the Grand River.
Explore John Ball Zoo after dark – IllumiZoo Wild Hues will have you strolling through an illuminated landscape of nature drenched with rich lighting and sounds. It’s repeated on Saturday and Sunday night (and every Wednesday-Sunday through Nov. 14).
Cheer on the West Michigan Whitecaps as they battle the Peoria Chiefs for three night games – Friday (Pirate Night), Saturday (LGBTQ+ Pride Night) and Sunday (fireworks show).
Treat yourself to farm-fresh food and drink, a farm market and live music at Ed Dunneback & Girls Fruit Farm – their Outdoor Farm Concert series remains in full swing (and continues Saturday afternoon from noon-3pm).
Sandy Point Beach House welcomes folk band Edison Kitt and The Strangers for a fun-filled evening of live music, drinks and dinner. (The Doors Opened, a Doors Tribute Experience, appears Saturday.) You don’t have to drive to Lake Michigan, the Beach House is in downtown GR!
Listening Room Grand Rapids hosts John McEuen & The String Wizards for an evening of songs and stories. John was the initiating force behind the classic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recording of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
A longer weekend means more time to work on becoming a Brewsader® – check in to eight breweries on the Beer City Ale Trail to get a FREE t-shirt.
Saturday (Sept 4)Back to Top of List
It’s a great day to take a look around the new Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, which is christening its move to downtown GR’s historic Woodbridge Building with three compelling exhibits: The Way Forward, Whereabouts: the Influence of Place and Space, and Other World.
It’s Family Day at the Coopersville Farm Museum, with exhibits, activities and crafts designed to engage all generations.
Hit the Labor Day Block Party at Tanger Outlet Mall from 11am-3pm for a wide range of family-friendly festivities, including free face painting, balloon twister, yard games and, of course, celebratory savings on brand-name goods.
Spend Saturday night at the races – Berlin Raceway offers NASCAR excitement and special Labor Day weekend fireworks.
The Labor Day Weekend Comedy Jam comes to Wealthy Street Theatre Saturday night – laugh with Darious Stowers, David Colbert, Ladii Jai and more.
In the mood for some music? We’ve got you covered:
- Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill welcomes the tail-shakin’, foot-stampin’ sounds of Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses
- Folk legend Loudon Wainwright appears at Studio Park’s Listening Room
- The Pyramid Scheme hosts Patty PerShayla & The Good Mayhaps + KJ & the Good Time Family Band
- The Heather Hartman Band rocks River City Saloon
- Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish play Billy’s Lounge
Sunday (Sept 5)Back to Top of List
Time is running out to see BRICKLIVE Supersized!, a collection of 30+ bigger-than-life animal sculptures at John Ball Zoo. You can meet them – and 2,000+ living, breathing animals – every day of the long weekend.
Get a close-up look at androids, extraterrestrials, a DeLorean time machine and other pop culture-meets-technology artifacts at POPnology, the Grand Rapids Public Museum exhibit that is wowing visitors.
Be among the first to explore An Interwoven Legacy: The Black Ash Basketry of Kelly Church and Cherish Parrish at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. This exhibit showcasing a centuries-old Anishinabe tradition opened Aug. 28.
Here’s a maaaaah-velous idea for Sunday afternoon – take a one-hour hike with a herd of happy goats on an Ada farm.
Cedar Springs Brewing Company offers Brunch & Music with acoustic/eclectic trio Flatland Grip from noon-2pm. From 4pm-6pm, enjoy a traditional Irish Music Session in the biergarten.
Head to the Stache at the Intersection to see The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus in concert on their Don’t You Fake It 15 Year Anniversary Tour.
Labor Day in the City (Sept 6)Back to Top of List
Let someone else labor over your Labor Day meals – search 900+ restaurants by cuisine and neighborhood to plan your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Go ahead, get in one more beach (or golf or biking or hiking) day. The beach, splashpad and boat rental at Millennium Park (just five minutes from downtown GR) are all open – and you can access 20+ miles of trails from the park. Dozens of other trails, 30+ golf courses and 20+ Lake Michigan beaches are a short drive away.
Shop end-of-summer sales and browse new fall merchandise – Breton Village Shopping Center, Rivertown Crossings Mall, Woodland Mall, Tanger Outlet Mall and hundreds of individual stores are open today.
The end of summer never tasted so sweet – check out the Local’s Guide to Grand Rapids Ice Cream Shops for some Labor Day lusciousness.
- 10 min
Has there ever been a more perfect pair than summer and ice cream? During the hot summer months, your sweet tooth will be satisfied thanks to the countless ice cream options in the Grand Rapids area.