Whether you and your family have cabin fever, or if you’re looking for a fun date idea or even a solo night out, check out these fantastic events that tie Grand Rapids’ food, drinks, culture, and art scenes together.

We’ve put together the top 12 things to do this winter and spring. Some of these events (my favorites) are outdoor - so plan ahead and wear the right clothing before you hit the road.

Ice sculpture at Valent-ICE

Capture the magic of winter art with Valent-ICE.

Photo Credit: Melody VanderWeide


Valent-ICE: A World of Winter Event

February 14-17
Rosa Parks Circle

Love will be in the air again! The annual Valent-ICE: A World of Winter Event held at Rosa Parks Circle's ice rink celebrates love and winter. During this Valentine’s Day-inspired event, you can enjoy watching live ice carving, ice skating, and a walking tour of dozens beautiful ice sculptures. There’s plenty of street and ramp parking available. Grab your sweetheart or your family to check out this free event.

Pro tip: Fill two thermoses of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows to enjoy while checking out the sculptures!

Winter Games 2020 by Meijer State Games of Michigan

February 14-16
Various locations in Michigan

Bundle up and watch thousands of local athletes go head-to-head in winter sports at the Winter Games 2020 by Meijer State Games of Michigan. Athletes of all ages and abilities will compete in Olympic-style events like snowboarding, fat biking, speed skating, cross country skiing, and luge. You can also catch athletes competing in indoor events like basketball, archery, karate, fencing, wrestling, weight lifting, and more.

The Winter Games will take place at various locations across the state. Kent County venue locations include Cannonsburg Ski Area, West Michigan Archery Center, Huff Park, and Cornerstone University.

TRhe Beer City Brewsader Passport mobile app

Take advantage of Beer Month GR to fill your Brewsader Passport.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Beer Month GR

February 15-March 15
Various locations

Celebrate Grand Rapids' award-winning, internationally recognized craft beer scene throughout Beer Month GR.

The 15th annual event takes place from February 15 to March 15 and will consist of a variety of beer-related events, including Cool Brews. Hot Eats., Winter Beer Festival (listed below), and more.

Explore Grand Rapids' many craft breweries and fill your Beer City Brewsader(R) Passport in the process. For more information on the Beer City Brewsader Passport, download the mobile app available for Android and Apple devices, or pick up a paper passport at a participating brewery.

Make the most out of your excursion by taking a look at exclusive hotel packages for this event.

Winter Beer Festival Sign

Enjoy beer, food, and live music at the Winter Beer Festival.

Photo Credit: Marty Dunham - Michigan Brewers Guild


15th Annual Winter Beer Festival

February 22
Fifth Third Ballpark

One of the most popular events for beer lovers is the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival at Fifth Third Ballpark! Over 140 Michigan breweries and brewpubs will be on-site, in addition to local entertainment, food options, and ice sculptures.

You can enjoy your drinks to the sounds of live, local entertainment or grab a bite to eat from the variety of food stalls on-site. Pro tip: make a “pretzel necklace” using a piece of heavy string and looping pretzels or other treats to wear around your neck for a tasty snack in between beverages. 

The event takes place during Beer Month GR, so get your tickets early because this event sells out quickly! Each ticket comes with 15 tasting tokens, and attendees will have over 1,000 different Michigan-brewed beers to choose from.

This year, guests at select area hotels will receive an Uber code to help get them to and from the Winter Beer Festival safely.

Shuttle service to and from the festival and downtown hotels will also be available, provided by DADD’s Magic Bus & Limo. Details on the transportation will be announced soon.

LaughFest 2020

With performers of every kind, there is surely a laugh for everyone to have at LaughFest.

Photo Credit: LaughFest GR


LaughFest

March 5-15
Various locations in Grand Rapids

Catch a few comedy shows during LaughFest for lots of laughter and to raise money for a great cause as it celebrates its 10th year! 

The 10-day festival features headliners such as Jim Gaffigan, Miranda Sings, Russell Peters (my personal favorite), Adam Cayton-Holland, and more. There will be plenty of ticketed and free events that include stand-up comedy, improv, live shows, films, authors, and community showcases, just to start. 

Proceeds from LaughFest will be donated to Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids to support emotional healthcare for cancer, grief, and support resources.

Amway River Bank Run

May 9
Downtown Grand Rapids 

Cheer on thousands of runners (including me!) as they compete in the 43rd annual race through downtown Grand Rapids. The Amway River Bank Run holds the title as the largest 25K road race in the country and offers the only 25K wheelchair racing division in the world, along with a 25K handcycle division sponsored by Mary Free Bed. Join me as I run the 5k for the fourth time!

Tulips at the 90th annual Tulip Time

Experience the spring blossoms at Holland, MI's Tulip Time.

Photo Credit: Matthew Makowski


Tulip Time

May 2-10
Downtown Holland, Michigan

You don’t have to travel too far from downtown to check out Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan! This annual festival features over five-million beautiful tulip bulbs, delicious food, entertainment, cultural events to honor West Michigan’s Dutch heritage, and even fireworks!

Walk through Holland’s Dutch market, watch the parades, and stay for the fireworks for an entire day of outdoor family fun.

Cider Week GR

May 11-17
Various locations

Cider Week GR celebrates the local GR cider scene with seven days of events and activities culminating with a cider festival downtown. Visit the Cider Week GR events page for more details on upcoming restaurant specials, tastings, and other fun apple-themed events.

Calder Plaza is home to many festivals and community events throughout the year, including the African American Art & Musical Festival. Here the plaza is part of the Festival of the Arts.

Join in the various art happenings at the Festival of the Arts.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Festival of the Arts

June 5-7
Downtown Grand Rapids

This annual festival is one of the most popular attractions for people of all ages. Bring a good pair of walking shoes and experience different art on display throughout downtown.

Artists will display their many forms of art, including two-and-three dimensional objects, poetry, dance, theatre, music, storytelling, films, and more.

Food, artwork, and themed gifts will be available for purchase, and proceeds from each purchase will be donated to West Michigan communities.

Annual Homecoming of the Traditional Three Fires Pow Wow

Early June TBD
Riverside Park

Celebrate with the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians at their annual Three Fires Pow Wow, which is open to the public. 

Head to Riverside Park with family and friends to celebrate the weekend-long event that's free to attend. Entertainment, food, and cultural activities will be available at the event. Stay tuned for more details!

Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival

June 12-13
Calder Plaza

Explore new cultures at the fourth-annual Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival. Enjoy cultural demonstrations, musical performances, children's activities, and, of course, food during this family-friendly annual event. 

What events are you most looking forward to attending in 2020? Let us know in the comments below! Visit the events page to stay up to date with all local events.

Batty Davis performing at Pride Festival 2018 at Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids

Find all kinds of celebration and community at Pride 2019.

Photo Credit: Pride Festival. Performer: Batty Davis, 2018. Photographer: Eric Zuniga


Grand Rapids Pride Festival

June 20
Calder Plaza

Downtown Grand Rapids will be transformed into a sea of rainbow during this festival. Celebrate Pride Month at the Grand Rapids Pride Festival taking place at Calder Plaza.

The weekend-long event is filled with parties, national entertainment, drag shows, live music, family activities, and a street fair, all hosted in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Visit the Grand Rapids Pride Center’s website for more information about this year’s event.

Don't miss a post!
Sign-up for the Insider Experience blog.