Want a New Year’s resolution you can stick to? Resolve to have more fun in 2024. Make time for play, try something you’ve always wanted to do, indulge in a treat now and then, and visit someplace new – or revisit a favorite destination.
We asked our social media followers where they go to have fun in Grand Rapids and tallied the top 24 vote-getters (in alphabetical order) to give you a head start on planning an enjoyable 2024. Resolve to visit as many of them as you can to have a truly happy new year!
Blandford Nature Center is the perfect place to get outside and learn in the new year.
Photo by Alina Albin for Experience GR.
Blandford Nature Center
Hike miles of trails through woods and meadows, meet wildlife ambassadors, take nature-inspired classes, explore 1800s-era buildings and more at this 264-acre natural oasis 10 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids.
One of GR’s favorite dive bars is decked out from floor to ceiling with Christmas finery starting around Labor Day, with other holiday decorations throughout the year. Try the awesome Broadway Burger served on Texas Toast at this fan favorite.
Butcher Block Social
Opened in summer 2023, this barbecue-and-bourbon restaurant has taken the southern suburb of Caledonia by storm. Communal tables invite guests to linger and make new friends while enjoying tasty food and drink.
A meat-heavy menu of globally inspired fare and more than 100 whiskey selections earned this west-side restaurant a spot on Yelp’s Top 100 Midwest eateries list in 2023. It’s a pleasant walk or free bus ride from downtown GR.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with mocktails and more at Chartreuse Sisters.
Photo by Rachel Greiner for Experience GR.
Sisters Alyson and Mallory Caillaud-Jones bring the flavors of France to GR’s Uptown neighborhood. The patisserie offers French American fusion pastries, a full espresso menu and non-alcoholic cocktails.
Located along the Avenue for the Arts in downtown GR, this attractive and well-organized store offers and amazing selection of vintage clothing, toys and home goods from local vendors and owner Tom Short.
Calvin University Ecosystem Preserve and Native Gardens
100+ acres of native plants and natural habitats offer boundless opportunities to explore and connect with nature at the preserve. Wander the trails, enroll in a class or just sit and relax minutes from the hustle and bustle of the 28th Street commercial district.
Shop for botanical skin care products and fragrances crafted right here in Grand Rapids at this eco-conscious store by owners Patrick Stoffel and Lucas Klein. They’ve created a beautiful, serene space in a historic Uptown neighborhood building.
Experience a variety of art and greenery all year round at Grand Rapids' top sculpture park and botanical gardens.
Photo by Ashley Wierenga for Experience GR.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Named America’s #1 sculpture park and #2 botanical gardens in 2023, this captivating blend of art and nature includes 200+ sculptures, rotating art exhibitions, a Japanese Garden, Children’s Garden, Farm Garden and much more.
Fulton Street Market
Connect with local farmers, food creators and artists at this century-old farm market five minutes from downtown GR. Shop for just-picked produce, fresh-made food and handcrafted art year-round.
This vibrant area of upscale shops, restaurants and service providers in East Grand Rapids is a reminder of what life is still like in small, civic-minded towns. It’s steps away from Reeds Lake boating, hiking and picnicking opportunities.
Grand Rapids Downtown Market
The city’s local foods emporium houses 20+ artisan food vendors and restaurants under one greenhouse covered roof. The outdoor Christkindl Markt, a traditional European-style Christmas village, is a seasonal delight.
Play games and catch up with friends at House Rules.
Photo by House Rules Lounge
House Rules Board Game Lounge
West Michigan’s first FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) with a full bar and lounge stocks hundreds of games you can play on site, plus a large selection of games for sale. Grab some friends, a game and belly up to a table with your favorite beverage.
Huff Park Boardwalk
A hidden gem on the city’s northeast side with an extensive boardwalk over wetlands and streams. The mile-long loop is a great place to relax, commune with nature and watch for birds and wildlife.
Lyon Street Café
The historic Heritage Hill neighborhood of downtown GR is the setting for this welcoming neighborhood café, which serves freshly made sandwiches, charcuterie, savory items and baked goods along with beer, wine and coffee.
Just around the corner from Lyon Street Café, this neighborhood corner store is lined with unique wine, beer and spirits from around the region and around the world, plus international grocery items and deli selections.
Experience Frank Lloyd Wright's renowned prairie-style architecture right here in Grand Rapids.
Photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR.
Meyer May House
Built in 1908-09, this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home in GR’s Heritage Hill neighborhood is a prime example of Prairie School architecture. The meticulously restored house is open for free guided tours Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This artisan chocolate and confections boutique in Uptown GR makes all its products in house by hand using fresh, sustainable ingredients. Every creation is as pleasing to the eyes as it is to the stomach.
Nantucket Baking Company
Right next door to Lyon Street Café is this bakery known for its superior quality breads, pastries, pies, cookies and cakes. Vegan, dairy-free and gluten-sensitive products are available.
Outside Coffee Co.
Order your favorite libation, vegan ice cream, pastries and/or toast from the food truck and take a seat in the gorgeous community garden to enjoy it. Winter fire pits and dome enclosures make this unique coffee shop a popular Uptown neighborhood stop in every season.
Walk the entirety of Reeds Lake on the picturesque Reeds Lake Trail.
Photo by Ideology for Experience GR.
Fish, sail and paddle in this 283-acre sports lake steps away from the Gaslight Village commercial district of East Grand Rapids. The lake is lined with biking and walking trails, and a lakeside park hosts frequent special events.
Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery
This century-old farm encompasses fruit orchards, a farm market, gift store, bakery, lunch counter, winery and cider mill. Open all year-round, Robinette's offers many family-friendly events and activities, especially around the fall harvest.
Third Nature Brewing
Craft beer meets nature at this Rockford brewery 20 minutes from downtown GR. The outdoor patio and biergarten, equipped with cold-weather fire pits and heated “igbrews,” are nestled amidst mature-growth forest.
Located on the other side of the garden from Outside Coffee Co., Woosah is the place to shop for nature-inspired art, apparel and accessories, all handcrafted in limited runs here in Grand Rapids.