Dynamic Variation:

World of Winter Festival

January 6 - March 5, 2023

Downtown Grand Rapids transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland every January and February, giving you plenty of reasons to get outside and enjoy the season. Our World of Winter Festival is the largest winter festival in the Midwest – and one of the 10 Most Epic U.S. Winter Festivals Worth Braving the Cold For, according to TheTravel website.

The two-month festival includes more than 100 art installations, events and activities for all ages – making it perfect for a family outing, friend meetup or romantic getaway. Plan your Grand Rapids trip today!

Art & Culture
Art & Culture

Local World of Winter Artist: Mandy Cano Villalobos

  • by Jordoun Eatman photo by Nick Irwin for Experience GR Artwork: Carnevale by Mandy Cano Villalobos
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  • 5 min story

Since it started in 2018, the World of Winter Festival (WOW) has invited all of us to rethink how we…


World of Winter Family Itinerary

  • by Jackie Kanyolo photo by Rashelle Whiteharris for Experience GR. Artwork: Passage of Shadow and Light by Laura Kloosterman.
  • GR text Must
  • 6 min story

Grand Rapids is the city I’ve called home my whole life. And while I’ve traveled…

Outdoor Art

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More than 20 large-scale, interactive and Instagram-worthy art installations will be on display around downtown throughout the event. You can easily walk from one to the other – but you might want to plan for several days of sightseeing just to take it all in.

House of Cards at Calder Plaza

Consists of massive 128 light boxes in the form of playing cards, each designed by an artist from around the world or around town – include local artists Edwin Anderson, Jasmine Bruce, Maddie Chaffer, Alan Compo, Kyle DeGroff, Michi Farias, Alynn Guerra, Nick Nortier, Reb Roberts and Arturo Romero.

Angels of Freedom from Israel’s OGE Group at the Blue Bridge

A giant pair of color-changing wings and a huge halo provide a one-of-a-kind selfie opportunity.

Roaming Gnomes from Australia’s Amigo & Amigo at Ah-Nab-Awen Park

Eight giant inflatable gnomes – each different and all illuminated – tower above the Grand River.

Affinity from Amigo & Amigo at 555 Monroe Skate Park

An immersive light experience inspired by the memory capabilities of the human brain features 62 different color combinations and 112 points of interaction.

Starry Night by Serbian artists Ivana Jelić and Pavle Petrović at Ah-Nab-Awen Park

Van Gogh’s famous painting comes alive with 1,400 glowing tubes duplicating the master’s brushstrokes on an enormous LED screen.

Talking Heads by Hungarian designer Victor Vicsek at the Gillett Bridge

Two colossal heads each contain more than 4,000 LED lights  to create different facial expressions as they engage in “conversation.”

Massimals by American designer Jason Scroggins at the Blue Bridge

One of last year’s favorite installations returns – this colorful display of abstract animals is kid- and selfie-friendly.

Singing Tree from Canada’s Limbic Media at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

This lighting experience transforms sound into interactive experiences and only operates after dark.

Disco Heart at Pearl St. & Monroe Center

A large heart filled with giant disco balls installed at the gateway to Monroe Center.

Rainbow Trees at Sixth St. Park and Canal St. Park

Two separate LED art installations displayed in two different parks along the riverwalk.

Manidoo Bawating at Sixth St. Park

A color-changing sculpture crafted to honor symbols and traditions of the Native Americans who originally inhabited this region.

Messie the Grand River Monster at DeVos Place

The 14-foot-long tentacles of this purple monster can be seen bursting out of the balcony above DeVos Place.

Starlight by local artist Valerie Wahna at Lyon Square

Created to inspire hope and imagination, this sculpture immerses visitors into a glowing circle of dancing stars.

Tropical Tundra inside the Ah-Nab-Awen Park tunnel underneath the Gillett Bridge

This immersive projection experience will make you feel like you’re walking through a tropical jungle.

Muse Art Pod by MUSEGR at 555 Monroe Skate Park

A recycled shopping container that presents interactive events, performances, artists showings and cool lighting.

Frozen Fun! by Chris Dudley at DeVos Place

Five large-scale wooden cutouts of children of various ethnicities and personalities enjoy the snow and “pose” for selfies.

A Rainbow of Isotopes by Kacie Lees & Katherine Hagman at Grand Rapids Public Museum

This freestanding neon sculpture stimulates the moment of impact between particles in an accelerator – referred to as a “rainbow of isotopes.”

‘Tis The Season To Be Prickly by VW Design Studio at 555 Monroe Skate Park

This intensely lit, kaleidoscope forest of cacti is “dressed” in the colorful patterns of ugly sweaters.

Dark Days, Bright Skies: Isolation and Quarantine at Grand Rapids Art Museum

Artist Kendra Sollars illuminates GRAM’s exterior every evening with a video projection documenting her experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

Carnevale by Mandy Cano Villalobos at DeVos Place

An interactive exhibit of found objects gathered from GR residents throughout the city – visitors can become part of the story of the city by posing for photos.

Passage of Shadow and Light at Grand Rapids Public Museum

Brightly colored arches function as a social space and arcade, with the light meant to encourage guests to pause on their passage and experience the wonder of their journey.

Sounds Of Spring Under Sheets of Snow by Craig David at Sixth St. Park

Four cube structures representing snow drifts or sheets of ice conceal lights and speakers that produce unique lighting effects and nature sounds.

Sweet On My City at the Federal Square Building (29 Pearl St NW)

Giant candy hearts are adorned with “love your city” sayings.

Winter Window Art

Several downtown businesses have decorated their storefronts for the World of Winter Festival, including Monsoon Vietnamese Cuisine, Oh, Hello Co. Paper & Gifts, Decaydence Vintage, House of Wine, Social House and Courage & Soar.


Dozens of professionally carved ice sculptures are displayed throughout downtown from Feb. 10 until they melt.

There will also be 50+ dazzling ice sculptures and themed window displays spread out over downtown.

Outdoor Entertainment

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Visitors can also enjoy a wide variety of performances, games and learning opportunities:

Outdoor Dining

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Food and drink are an integral part of World of Winter – and this year’s festival includes everything from a food truck rally to a noodle fest competition to a beerfest. (Food and drink are available for purchase.) Much of the festival grounds overlap with our Downtown Refreshment Area, which allows you to stroll around outdoors with an alcoholic (or otherwise) beverage from a participating business. There are nearly 150 restaurants, breweries and cocktail bars downtown, so you can easily refuel with a quick bite, leisurely meal or luscious libation during your WoW experience.

Before you visit, you’ll also want to check out other great ways to celebrate winter in Grand Rapids – including ice skating under the sun and stars in downtown’s Rosa Parks Circle!

Outdoor Dining Spaces

Outdoor Dining in Any Season Grand Rapidians love the outdoors ­ – so much so that local restaurants and breweries have devised ways for us (and our visitors) to dine al fresco throughout the year.

Search World of Winter Events

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Save on Attractions with Our Culture Pass

Receive admission into many cultural attractions around Grand Rapids as well as additional exclusive discounts with our $20.00 Culture Pass.