We're excited for you to start planning your visit to Grand Rapids. Below are some common questions visitors have while planning their trip. Don't see an answer to your question? Contact us and we will help provide you with the information you need.
Trip Planning Information
Where is Grand Rapids?
Grand Rapids is located in West Michigan, about 180 miles from Chicago and 157 miles from Detroit, by car. It’s just 30 miles or so from the clean, sugar-sand beaches of Lake Michigan.
What's the best resource for planning a trip?
Where can I find a current list of things to do?
Check our Things to Do page for general recommendations and our Calendar of Events for a list that matches your visiting dates.20 Fun and Free Things to Do in Grand Rapids
What are the can't-miss events and attractions?
Our Top 10 list covers the most popular visitor activities. Some of the biggest annual events include ArtPrize (Sept-Oct), LaughFest (March), Festival of the Arts (June) and the World of Winter Festival (Jan-Mar).
How can I get the best deal on lodging?
Browse our hotel packages.
What about other deals?
Culture Pass GR offers reduced admission and other discounts at some of the area’s most popular attractions.
What's the best way to get to Grand Rapids?
Take your pick - Grand Rapids is easily accessible by air, car, bus, train and even ferry across Lake Michigan. If you're driving, you'll find Grand Rapids at the intersection of two major expressway systems: US-131 and I-96/I-196.
What's the airport like?
The Gerald R. Ford International Airport was named the #1 airport in North America in its size class for customer service. It is served by six airlines connecting to 30+ non-stop destinations and conducting more than 100 flights each day.
Does Grand Rapids have rideshare options?
Yes, both Uber and Lyft operate here. Visitors can also take advantage of a FREE DASH shuttle to travel around downtown and use the Rapid Bus service to go beyond the city center. Electric scooters and bikes are also available to rent.
Is downtown walkable?
Very – you can walk to 200+ downtown hotels, restaurants, breweries, shops, museums and entertainment venues within the space of 10 minutes. You can even walk with an alcoholic beverage in hand, as long as you stay within the very spacious boundaries of the Downtown Refreshment Area.
What is the weather like in Grand Rapids?
Grand Rapids enjoys all four seasons to the fullest. Visit our Weather page for average temperatures and seasonal packing tips.
What time is it in Grand Rapids?
Grand Rapids is located in the Eastern Time zone and follows Daylight Saving Time from March through November. Check the current time.
What is Grand Rapids area sales tax?
Michigan sales tax is 6% on all “tangible” goods. The city of Grand Rapids does not impose an additional sales tax.
How big is Grand Rapids?
Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan, with a population of 201,093 residents as of the 2020 census. The metro area, which consists of four counties, is home to more than 1 million people.
Why is Grand Rapids called Beer City USA?
Grand Rapids was voted Beer City in nationwide polls in 2012 and 2013, and it has held the title ever since. It has also been named Best Beer City, Best Beer Town and Best Beer Scene by USA Today.Celebrating 10 Years of Beer City
What else is Grand Rapids known for?
Grand Rapids is also recognized for its art, food, craft beverages, outdoor recreation, live music and family-friendly atmosphere.
What makes Grand Rapids one of America's Greenest Cities?
The Grand Rapids metro area has more LEED-certified buildings per capita than any other city in the U.S. (LEED is a system that evaluates the "green" performance of new and refurbished construction.) Our most recent achievement is the world's first newly-built LEED-certified art museum.
Who are the area's largest employers?
The area's largest employers include:
Can I use cannabis/marijuana in Grand Rapids?
Yes – cannabis is legal to buy and consume in Grand Rapids and throughout Michigan.Check out the details
What are the alcoholic laws?
You must be at least 21 years of age to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages in Michigan. The sale of alcohol is not allowed from 2am to 7am. Bars close at 2am. You can consume alcoholic beverages purchased from approved vendors while you walk around the region’s outdoor Refreshment Areas.
What is the seatbelt law?
Yes. Michigan is one of 49 states requiring the use of seat belts. Law enforcement can stop and ticket motorists solely for not being buckled up. Drivers and front seat passengers must be buckled up, and all passengers aged 8-15 must be buckled up whether front or back. Children must be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall.
Where can I get a fishing license?
You need a fishing license if you’re 17 years of age or older. Boaters born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators who operate a vessel in Michigan must have a boater education card (boating safety certificate). A base hunting license is required for anyone who hunts in Michigan and additional hunting licenses may be required for different game.
Visit the Michigan DNR website for more information, including how to purchase your license.