Dynamic Variation:

World of Winter Festival

January 12 to March 10, 2024

Downtown Grand Rapids transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland every winter. 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 massive art installations, entertaining events and fun activities for all ages – making it perfect for a family outing, friend meetup or romantic getaway. This is what we know so far about World of Winter 2024 – keep checking back as more details are announced.

Outdoor Art

More than 20 large-scale, interactive and Instagram-worthy art installations from local and international artists 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.

Here’s a look at what to see where. All installations will be available for viewing from Jan. 12 - March 10 unless otherwise noted:

Lunar Lamp Posts by Amigo & Amigo for World of Winter 2024

Lunar Lamp Posts by Amigo Amigo will be located at 555 Monroe for World of Winter.

Photo by Artist: Amigo & Amigo Photography: Sarah Goodwin

555 Monroe Skatepark

  • Four Directions. Multi-media installation uses sound, light and form to create an interpretive expression of the Indigenous Native American Four Directions teaching. By local artist Two Eagles Marcus.
  • Lunar Lamp Posts. This giant interactive light installation inspired by the cycles of the moon is from Australian-based Amigo & Amigo. Jan. 19 - March 10.
  • WoW Selfie Spot. The official Word of Winter selfie spot, created by local artist Valerie Wanna.
From Michigan With Love exploring World of Winter 2024 and the Stargate installation
From Michigan With Love exploring World of Winter 2024 and the Stargate installation

See Stargate by Chalk River Labs in both the daylight and at night for a different viewing experience.

Photo by Bryan Esler for Experience GR. Artist: Chalk River Labs

From Michigan With Love exploring World of Winter and the inflatable Night Walkers  by Amigo & Amigo
From Michigan With Love exploring World of Winter and the inflatable Night Walkers  by Amigo & Amigo

Come and see the eight giant inflatable frogs at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.

Photo by Photography: Bryan Esler Artist: Amigo & Amigo

Ah-Nab-Awen Park

  • Nightwalkers. Eight giant inflatable and illuminated frogs from Australian design firm Amigo & Amigo.
  • Stargate. A sculpture by day and projection show at night, from Australian creative studio Chalk River Labs.
  • Retro Rapids. Play the videogame on your phone and watch it come to life on a giant wall, courtesy of local artists Damon Hartmeier, Michael Conley and Zecharya of Lucid Aesthetic.
  • Singing Tree. Sing, clap, yell or talk to the tree and it will light up based on the sounds you make. Created by Limbic Media, operates after dark only.
From Michigan With Love exploring World of Winter's Permafrost Installation.
From Michigan With Love exploring World of Winter's Permafrost Installation.

Three large colorful Mastodons will be on the Blue Bridge.

Photo by Bryan Esler for Experience GR. Artist: Fisheye

Blue Bridge

  • Massimals. These colorful bears came to town for World of Winter 2022 and they’re about to depart – come wish them a fond farewell! From Kentucky-based design practice Scroggin Studio.
  • Permafrost. Three large and colorful Mastodons made out of metal and safety glass by Belgium-based artist Fisheye.
Dandelion created by Amigo & Amigo for World of Winter 2024
Dandelion created by Amigo & Amigo for World of Winter 2024

Experience a light and music show every 10 minutes in a giant dome at Calder Plaza.

Photo by Art: Amigo & Amigo Photography: Sarah Goodwin

Calder Plaza

  • Life is But a Dream. Illuminated steel sculptures resembling folded paper boats are lit from within to create a playful atmosphere. By local artist Valerie Wahna.
  • The Shoveler. A life-size push puppet intermittently shovels a pile of snow to enchant and surprise visitors. From Ann Arbor-based artist Avery Lawrence.
  • Dandelion. This giant dome plays a light and music show every 10 minutes. From Australia’s Amigo & Amigo. Jan. 25 - March 10.
  • Lite Brite. This interactive light-art piece, a highlight of previous World of Winter festivals, will appear at Canal Park for the Silent Disco (1/27), DJ Pop Up at Dandelion (2/23) and Circus Wonderland (3/2) events.

Canal Park

  • Winter Chronicles: Portal to Narnia. Mixed-media archway inspired by “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” beckons you to walk through and embrace wonder along the Riverwalk and beyond. From local artists Marissa Fellows & Kasia Kociuba.
  • Squiggle Tree. A string of LED lights, each representing a color of the rainbow, wraps around this tree in a design by local firm DeVries Landscape.
  • The Conservatory of Dreams. Three cozy house-like structures embrace tokens of light, color, memories, ephemera, and repurposed treasures – and beckon visitors to add their own personal objects and tokens. From local artists Barbara Lash & Sierra Cole.
  • Messie the Grand River Monster. Messie is a purple monster whose 14-ft. tentacles emerge from the Grand River to explore downtown Grand Rapids. Located just above the boat launch at Canal Park. Jan. 19 - March 10.

DeVos Place

  • Starlight. This gorgeous steel structure features cut-outs of celestial patterns that glow from within. By Grand Rapids-based VW Design Studio.
From Michigan With Love Exploring the Sonic Runway Installation at World of Winter 2024
From Michigan With Love Exploring the Sonic Runway Installation at World of Winter 2024

Walk across the Gillett Bride in a corridor of lights changing around you.

Photo by Bryan Esler for Experience GR. Artists: Rob Jensen & Warren Trezevant. Tour Producers: Creos

Gillett Bridge

  • Sonic Runway. Walk across the bridge to see a corridor of lights change around you. From American artists Rob Jensen & Warren Trezevant.
  • Grand Legacy Mural Immersive Experience. Stroll the tunnel underneath Gillett Bridge, accessible from Ah-Nab-Awen Park, to view murals from an assortment of local artists.

Grand Rapids Art Museum

  • Breath is My Raft. Stop by at night to see a series of projections that weave the hardships of humanity and suffering into a story of resilience. By local artist Jasmine Bruce.

Monroe Center Parking Ramp (Ionia & Louis)

  • Skeleton Snowflake Crew. Five skeletons made of vinyl adorn the windows of this parking ramp, all getting into the spirit of the winter season. By local artist Kenzi Goss.

Rosa Parks Circle

  • Disco Heart. This giant heart is filled with gold disco balls. From New York-based Downtown Decorations, it’s located directly across Monroe Center St. from Rosa Parks Circle, in front of McKay Tower. Feb. 1 - March 10.
Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 by Esrawe + Cadena
Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 by Esrawe + Cadena

Take a seat and swing a bit at Six Street Park.

Photo by Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 by Esrawe + Cadena

Sixth Street Park

  • Manidoo Bawating. This 11-foot-tall steel sculpture honors important symbols and unique traditions of the Native American community that thrived along the Grand River. Created by the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians and local artist Alan Campos.
  • Kalopieron. A human-size illuminated kaleidoscope dazzles with interior and exterior LED lighting. By local artist Two Eagles Marcus.
  • Icicle Lanterns. Lanterns made of 100% silk ribbon resemble glistening icicles adorning towering trees, from local artist Craig Merchant.
  • Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0. Eight colorful “homes” invite visitors to come in and take a seat on their swings. Artists: Mexico-based Esrawe + Cadena. Feb 1 - March 10.

Van Andel Arena

  • 3-DC Grow. Peer through the giant 3-D glasses in front of this installation to join the journey of three diverse Grand Rapids kids as they blossom into adults. From local artist Alayah Dudley.

Multiple Locations

  • Ghost Town 2.0. This is an Augmented Reality exhibition featuring four soap boxes around downtown, each painted by a different local artist and highlighting the talents of a different local/regional musician. You can scan the QR code at each soapbox to see a performance. Conceived by local artist Brandon Copeland. See them at DeVos Place, the DeVos Place Riverwalk (near Gillett Bridge), Van Andel Arena and Rosa Parks Circle.

Outdoor Entertainment

World of Winter also brings the fun with events for both families and adults. A winter storm has postponed the Luminary Light Night Opening Event Parade on Jan. 12 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park. Take part in the Luminary Walk - stay tuned for a reschedule date. Throughout the festival, you can enjoy food trucks and firepits, dance to DJs and participate in interactive activities.

And there’s much more, including:

You can also participate in a Scavenger Hunt over the course of the festival – winners are picked every two weeks to win a prize – and take free walking tours of the downtown area highlighting World of Winter art installations, Black history & more. Visit our Events page for dates and times.

Outdoor Dining

Food and drink are an integral part of World of Winter, with numerous food truck events and the Noodle Fest competition. (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!

2023 World of Winter

Family

World of Winter Family Itinerary

  • by Jackie Kanyolo photo by Bryan Esler for Experience GR. Artist: Chalk River Labs
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