Grand Rapids invites you to experience the cold-weather season in new and creative ways during its annual World of Winter Festival.
See giant-size art installations from regional, national and international artists. Enjoy musical performances and other forms of entertainment. Play games, take guided walking tours and make new friends. Dine, drink and even dance al fresco at a silent disco.
It all happens downtown. It all takes place outdoors. It’s very, very Instagrammable. And it’s completely FREE!
Visit the World of Winter website for complete details.
Some of these installations will be on display throughout the Festival, others are on loan for a limited time – check the dates. Some displays could be weather dependent. Click on the links for examples of installations in past cities.
Five super-sized, selfie-friendly inflatable rabbits will take up residence downtown. They light up at night! Jan. 7-31.
Touch the sensors on the tentacles of this mammoth sculpture to light it up and get (hopefully useful) advice and guidance from a hot-tempered jellyfish. Jan. 14 - Feb. 6.
A large-scale, mixed-media, abstract sculpture based on a butterfly bursting out of its cocoon. Jan. 7 - March 6.
An innovative, immersive experience designed by German architect Ben Busche. Jan. 7 - March 6.
A lighting experience that transforms singing, clapping and yelling into shifting colors and intensities. Jan. 7 - March 6.
An 11-foot tall steel sculpture honoring the local Native American community. The name means “Spirit of the Rapids” in the indigenous Anishinaabemowin language. Jan. 7 - March 6.
Colorful abstract sculptures of polar bears made with layered wood are very interactive for kids. Jan. 7 - March 6. (Photo in the header)
This playful, 3D, diorama-like window display continues a story started at the 2021 World of Winter Festival. Jan. 7 - March 6.
A large, immersive walk-through experience using many thousands of individual points of suspended light to create feelings of presence and movement within physical space. Jan. 7 - March 6.
Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, this installation features towering trumpet flowers that come alive with lights and musical sounds when visitors push the large trumpet keys. Jan. 14 - March 6.
This musical installation invites visitors to sit inside an illuminated 6-foot wide cylinder and pump a bar to play flipbook-style movies. Feb. 4 - March 6.
Up to 48 people at a time can interact with this massive LED cube, which reacts to everything that touches it with light and sound. Feb. 11-17.
Dozens of intricate ice sculptures in diverse shapes and sizes will be arrayed around downtown – perfect for a Valentine’s Day stroll. Feb. 11-18 (or until they melt).
Need to warm up a bit before or after attending the festival? Browse the fascinating exhibits at the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum and the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts. See a movie at Celebration Cinema Studio Park. Bring the kids to Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for even more playtime. All are just steps away from World of Winter action.
Downtown is home to 130+ restaurants, so you’ll find plenty of choices in what and where to dine while exploring World of Winter. Many downtown restaurants, bars and breweries have created special outdoor spaces for winter dining. Sit in a transparent dome or enclosure, or at an outdoor table surrounded by heaters, and watch the World of Winter unfold around you.
You can even enjoy food and beverages (including the adult kind) as you stroll around downtown. Much of the center city is included in a Refreshment Area that allows you to purchase specially marked containers from participating restaurants, breweries, coffee shops and retail shops for mobile consumption.
We won’t judge if you make a shopping detour from your World of Winter walk – with 60+ downtown stores offering everything from art and gifts to clothing and sporting goods, you’re sure to find something that catches your fancy. If you love food (and who doesn’t?), be sure to stop by the Downtown Market and sample the wares of its 20+ artisan food vendors.
Plan your World of Winter visit(s) to coincide with other big downtown events – including:
There are also multiple Grand Rapids Griffins hockey games, Grand Rapids Symphony concerts and Grand Rapids Civic Theatre performances during World of Winter. Check out our Events Calendar below for a full list of things to see and do.
There are many more ways to celebrate winter in Grand Rapids. Snowshoe, ice fish, fat-tire bike, cross-country ski or hit the downhill slopes amongst the majesty of nature – or stay warm and cozy with a wide range of inside activities. See another side of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Enjoy a steaming cup of coffee, tea or cocoa as the snow swirls. Do winter your way in Grand Rapids!
Learn our tips for visiting one of Grand Rapids' top attractions, Frederik Meijer…
Receive admission into many cultural attractions around Grand Rapids as well as additional exclusive discounts with our $20.00 Culture Pass.