Looking for fun things to do on your Grand Rapids getaway (or staycation)? Ask 10 people for recommendations and you’re likely to get 10 different lists – there’s just so much here that appeals to different interests, ages and vacation goals. We’ve assembled this list based on tourist numbers, social media mentions and national attention. You can find even more great options here!
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
- Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
- Grand Rapids Public Museum
- John Ball Zoo
- Van Andel Arena
- Grand Rapids Children's Museum
- Grand Rapids Art Museum
- Heritage Hill
- Meyer May House
- Grand Rapids Symphony
- Robinette's Apple Haus & Winery
- Rosa Parks Circle
- GLC Live at 20 Monroe
- Downtown Art
- Beer City Brewsader
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture ParkBack to Top of List
Tour one of the world’s 45 most visited art museums, right here in Grand Rapids. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is internationally renowned for its sculpture collection, featuring nearly 300 pieces by classic and contemporary masters, as well as its tropical conservatory, Japanese garden, Michigan farm garden, children’s garden and other specialty habitats. FMG complements its permanent exhibits with special temporary exhibits and annual Butterflies Are Blooming (March-April) and Christmas & Holiday Traditions (late November-early January) shows.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential MuseumBack to Top of List
Explore the life and times of the 38th president of the United States, GR’s own Jerry Ford. Dubbed “America’s most entertaining presidential museum,” the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum includes multimedia recreations of key incidents from Ford’s life, personal and historic artifacts, and special exhibits highlighting political and cultural movements. Visitors can pay their respects to the President and First Lady Betty Ford at their grave sites on the Museum grounds.
Experience American’s most entertaining presidential museum. Attend a White House State Dinner, tour the Oval office, see the original Watergate burglar tools and pay your respects at the burial site of President and Mrs. Ford.
Grand Rapids Public MuseumBack to Top of List
Delve into local history, science and culture at Michigan’s oldest museum. Founded in 1854, the Grand Rapids Public Museum educates and entertains through interactive exhibits, innovative displays and one of the state’s largest collections of artifacts and specimens. Walk the streets of 1890s Grand Rapids, ride a 1928 carousel, learn the stories of West Michigan’s people and much, much more in a bright and open riverside facility. There’s also a planetarium on site.
This museum offers world-class exhibits on history, nature, cultural heritage and more. Ride a 1928 carousel, catch a show in the planetarium or eat in the cafe overlooking the Grand River.
John Ball ZooBack to Top of List
Visit one of the nation’s oldest and most vital urban zoos. Just a five-minute drive or bus ride from the busy streets of downtown Grand Rapids, John Ball Zoo is a refuge for more than 2,400 animals representing 220+ species from around the world. Highlights include an aquarium, budgie aviary, hobby farm, forest realm and walk-through wallabies exhibit as well as camel rides, a zip line, ropes course and accessible playground.
Van Andel ArenaBack to Top of List
See a concert, sporting event or family show at GR’s premier entertainment destination. Van Andel Arena is home base for both the Grand Rapids Gold basketball team and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team, a preferred stop for touring superstars from Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift to Shawn Mendes and Chris Tomlin, and host to endless events from such family-friendly brands as Disney, Harlem Globetrotters and WWF. Van Andel Arena is consistently ranked one of the world’s best entertainment venues for its size (12,000+ seats).
Van Andel Arena® — the Must Play Destination of Michigan's fastest-growing market — has thrust Grand Rapids into the forefront of the entertainment industry. What's Included: Save on Tickets for Select Events
Grand Rapids Children's MuseumBack to Top of List
Take some time to have fun with your kids. The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is a hands-on learning space for kids aged 2-10, featuring two floors of interactive exhibits and daily drop-in programs that emphasize the transformative power of play. Farm, dental office, beehive, train, bubble station, music, grocery store and other environments promote practical learning through fun and imaginative activities.
Grand Rapids Art MuseumBack to Top of List
Get inspired and uplifted by the power of art. The world’s first LEED Gold Certified Art Museum and one of Newsweek’s best new buildings of 2007, the Grand Rapids Art Museum is home to a permanent collection of more than 6,000 paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures and decorative art pieces dating from pre-history to the 20th century. It also hosts special exhibitions celebrating the work of creative luminaries from Salvador Dali and Maya Lin to Jim Henson and Andy Warhol.
Heritage HillBack to Top of List
Step back in time almost 200 years. Situated adjacent to downtown Grand Rapids, Heritage Hill is one of America’s largest urban historic districts, and Michigan’s largest and finest collection of 19th and early 20th century houses. The district encompasses more than 1,300 buildings representing nearly every style of American architecture, from Greek Revival to Prairie, dating back to 1844. You can take a self-guided walking tour anytime to appreciate the home’s exteriors and get inside 7-9 buildings during the annual Heritage Hill Home Tour, held the third weekend in May.
Meyer May HouseBack to Top of List
Get inside “Michigan’s Prairie masterpiece.” The Meyer May House is a Frank Lloyd Wright design built in 1908 for the founder of May’s of Michigan clothing store. It has been meticulously restored to its original splendor by global office furniture company Steelcase, Inc., which is headquartered here in Grand Rapids. Steelcase conducts free tours of the Meyer May House on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
Grand Rapids SymphonyBack to Top of List
Attend a performance by one of America’s leading regional orchestras. Established in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony presents more than 400 concerts each year spanning music genres from classical to contemporary pop. The Symphony appears most often in the acoustically rich environs of DeVos Performance Hall, where it also provides live accompaniment to many Grand Rapids Ballet and Opera Grand Rapids productions. The Symphony was nominated for Best Classical Crossover Album at the 2006 Grammy Awards, a testament to its artistic excellence.
Robinette's Apple Haus & WineryBack to Top of List
Get in touch with nature at a century-old family farm. Established in 1912, Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery is one of the area’s most enduring agricultural operations. The 125-acre site includes fruit orchards – with apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines and 35 varieties of apples – plus a bakery, cider mill, winery and dining space. There are also hiking and mountain biking trails, corn mazes, hayrides, a petting zoo and giant jumping pillow. It’s a great place to see, taste and appreciate nature’s bounty.
Rosa Parks CircleBack to Top of List
Experience the joy of community in the heart of downtown GR. Named one of America’s Great Public Spaces in 2017, Rosa Parks Circle is a city square incorporating a mammoth work of art: Elliptic, which was designed by Maya Lin, architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, to represent water in its three different forms. Lin designed the park, a bandstand and an ice rink, making Rosa Parks Circle a year round gathering spot for concerts, cultural festivals and outdoor ice skating.
GLC Live at 20 MonroeBack to Top of List
Feel the energy of a live performance. One of 75+ local entertainment venues, GLC Live at 20 Monroe accommodates up to 2,600 patrons for concerts by touring musicians and comedians. GLC Live sits right next to the B.O.B. (Big Old Building), a renovated grocery warehouse housing four restaurants, a craft brewery, nightclub and more – ideal for extending the fun before and/or after the concert.
Downtown ArtBack to Top of List
See art everywhere you turn. Grand Rapids is so into art that city signs and vehicles bear the image of La Grande Vitesse, the 43-foot long, 42-ton Alexander Calder sculpture that graces Vandenberg Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids. The Calder is just one of many art pieces to see on a walking tour of the city center – you’ll also encounter street murals, past ArtPrize entrants, a series of “Community Legends” sculptures commemorating local residents, working art studios, art galleries and more.
Beer City BrewsaderBack to Top of List
Join the Brewsade®. Grand Rapids is Beer City USA – a title it’s held since 2012. Beer-loving visitors can become Beer City Brewsaders – and get a FREE t-shirt – by checking in to eight of the area’s 50+ craft breweries. Just download the app and visit eight participating breweries. Visit 40+ breweries to become an Ultimate Brewsader!