One of the best ways to explore Grand Rapids and all it has to offer is by biking it. Lucky for us, Grand Rapids has more than its fair share of trails to explore.

If you’re a fan of gliding and riding through long scenic stretches, the White Pine Trail and beautiful Millenium Park are both great options. But, for those of you that like bike riding with activities along the way, Riverside Park and the Monroe North area is just what you’re looking for.

Riverside Park is one of Grand Rapids' largest parks.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Safety Check

Before you set off on a biking adventure, it’s important to wear a properly fitting bicycle helmet - one that sits level on your head, with the front of the helmet covering the majority of your forehead. The chin strap should be tightened just enough so that it’s snug beneath your chin.

In addition to wearing a helmet, there are rules of the road to abide by. You can brush up on those rules by visiting Driving Change. Also, download the My City Bikes app for helpful tips and local routes.

The Routes

There are a variety of places and things to do when biking Riverside Park and the Monroe North area. Here are just a few biking routes with fun activities along the way:

Route 1: The Ice Cream Route

Where to park: 2001 Monroe Ave NE
What to bring: Money to purchase ice cream, of course!
Route Length: 3.8 miles round trip

This route takes you on a four-mile loop with a stop at Too Tall’s Tasty Treats. You’ll begin by parking your car at the free and public Riverside Park parking lot located at 2001 Monroe Ave NE. This parking lot is near Riverside Park’s boat launch and picnic area.

(Note: This lot is adjacent to the Apple Tree Learning Center - Monroe located at 1953 Monroe Ave NW.)

From there head north on the adjacent bike path, which is technically the White Pine Trail.

As you bike along the smooth, paved path, you’ll have the Grand River to your left, making it quite a scene route. Continue to follow this paved path, keeping the Grand River to your left.

At about a mile-and-a-half into your ride, the path opens up into a parking lot. Ride through the parking lot where you’ll reach the intersection of Monroe Avenue and Lamberton Street. From here, continue onto Lamberton Street.

(Note: Once on Lamberton Street, you are no longer on a protected bike path, which means you’re now sharing the road with vehicles. Please use caution.)

Continue on Lamberton Street, through the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, until you reach the intersection of Lamberton Street and Coit Avenue. Make a right at Coit Avenue, and soon you’ll see Too Tall’s Tasty Treats.

This quaint ice cream shop has a large variety of frozen treats like ice cream, milkshakes, popsicles, and more. Too Tall’s has a great outdoor eating area, so you can easily park your bike, and sit at a picnic table to enjoy your dessert.

When you’re ready to begin again, continue going south on Coit Avenue. When you reach the intersection of Coit Avenue and 3 Mile Road, make a right onto 3 Mile Road.

Once you reach the intersection of 3 Mile Road and Monroe Avenue, head south on Monroe Avenue until you reach the parking lot where you began your journey.

View the entire route on MapMyRide

Zoko 822 is one of the newest restaurants in the Monroe North area.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Route 2: The Foodie Route

Where to park: 2001 Monroe Ave NE
What to bring: Money, bike lock
Route Length: 3.3 miles round trip

For this route, we recommend you park your car in the free and public parking lot located at 2001 Monroe Avenue near Riverside Park’s boat launch and picnic area. From there, head south on Monroe Avenue to begin your biking journey:

(P.S. don’t forget to bring your bike locks!)

J.D. Reardons

J.D. Reardons is located at 940 Monroe Avenue, about 1.5 miles away from the parking lot. J.D. Reardons has a variety of menu items like burgers and sandwiches, and even Chicken and Waffles! There is also a large patio you can enjoy.

Field and Fire Cafe

Field and Fire Cafe is at 820 Monroe Ave, Suite 100 and is 1.6 miles away from where you parked, and just down the street from J.D. Reardons. The cafe boasts a bakery, breakfast, and lunch. They also have a very friendly gluten, vegan, and vegetarian menu!

Note: Field and Fire is only open until 3 p.m.

In addition to their craft beer, City Built Brewing Company's menu is inspired by Puerto Rican cuisine.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


City Built Brewing

Also located at 820 Monroe is City Built Brewing . You’ll find them in Suite 155, nearby Field and Fire Cafe. City Built Brewing prides itself on their craft beer options, but its unique Puerto Rican menu is a must-try.

Garage Bar & Grill

The Garage Bar & Grill  is located at 819 Ottawa, which is just one block from Monroe Avenue. From City Built Brewing, head south on Monroe Avenue until you reach Mason Street. At Mason Street, make a left. You’ll soon see the Garage Bar & Grill at the intersection of Ottawa Avenue and Mason Street.

This bar and grill features burgers, chicken tenders, a brisket sandwich and more.

Zoko 822

Zoko 822  is also located at 822 Ottawa Avenue, directly across the street from Garage Bar & Grill.

The recently-opened Spanish restaurant offers lunch, dinner, and brunch dishes that are great for one person, or as shareables for a group of people.

Riverside Park offers two nine-hole disc-golf courses

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Route 3: The Disc Golf Route

Where to park: 2001 Monroe Ave NE
What to bring: Frisbees!
Route Length: Varies

Nestled on Riverside Park’s 180 acres is an 18-hole disc golf course. To start your disc- golf-biking journey, park in the parking lot located at 2001 Monroe Ave. Then, bike north on the White Pine Trail, which takes you along the river banks of the Grand River.

At about the half mile mark, make a right on Guild Street NW. That will take you directly to the parking lot situated by the course’s first hole (You can view the entire disc golf course, here).

The majority of the disc golf course is located along paved paths within Riverside Park, so you can ride your bike to each of the 18-holes.

Once you finish your game of disc golf at the 18th hole, you’ll be right back at Guild Street.

Route 4: The Hammock and Leisure Route

Where to park: Monroe Ave and Riverside Park Drive
What to bring: Hammock and a book!
Route Length: 3 miles round trip

For this route, you’ll want to have a hammock and a good book, because Riverside Park offers plenty of space to read and relax. We recommend you begin your journey at the parking lot located at Monroe Avenue and Riverside Park Drive, which is located at the north end of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

From the parking lot, go south on White Pine Trail, over the historic North Park Bridge, and over Guild Street.

After you pass Guild Street, you’ll see that Riverside Park opens up to display beautiful trees, which is a perfect setting to place a hammock. Simply park your bike, put up your hammock, and read your book while you enjoy the peaceful scenery around you.

After a relaxing reading session by the river, you can return to your car by taking the same route back to the parking lot.

View the entire route on MapMyRide

Located along the Grand River just north of downtown, Riverside Park offers a boat launch site, disc golf course, baseball fields, soccer fields, and outdoor shelter.

Photo Credit: Brian Kelly Photography


Route 5: Enjoy the Waterside Playground Route

Where to park: Monroe Ave and Riverside Park Drive
What to bring: Whatever you want!
Route Length: 2 miles round trip

This route is perfect for the whole family. A great starting point for this route is at the parking lot located at Monroe Avenue and Riverside Park Drive, which is located at the north end of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Begin your route by biking south on the White Pine Trail. This will take you past the Little League Baseball diamonds, park gazebos, and over the North Park Bridge.

A mile into your journey, you’ll see a playground situated by a large pond to your left. There you’ll see over 1,000 feet of grassy area with picnic areas and grills. As a bonus, there’s a barrier-free fishing dock right across the way from the park. If you plan on fishing, be sure to purchase a one day fishing license.

Once you’re done exploring the area, you can simply return to your car the same way you came.

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