Just half a mile north of the city’s main convention campus sits another spot that is great for hosting meetings and events. It’s ideal for those who want to be close to downtown and have downtown amenities, but without as much hustle and bustle as the city center. 

The north end of downtown Grand Rapids has everything conference goers could need: food, lodging, outdoor recreation, entertainment, and transportation.

A hotel with meeting space

The Embassy Suites by Hilton adds 250 suites to the city’s hotel inventory and features flexible meeting spaces for up to 250 people. 

Fun fact: Each of the five meeting rooms is named after historic furniture companies that used to thrive in the Furniture City.

Embassy Suites is an upscale Hilton brand: All rooms are suites, there is a complimentary made-to-order breakfast, and free cocktails and snacks every evening. The hotel has a fitness center, but you can also request a Five Feet to Fitness suite, which features a variety of workout equipment right in the room.

And while the newly constructed seven-story hotel offers a lounge with outdoor seating, Big E’s Sport Grill, and a café, it’s also just a short walk away from a diverse collection of other restaurants, breweries, a distillery, parks, and cafes, some of which offer meeting space or other attractions.

City Built Brewing Co. is only a three-minute walk North of the Embassy Suites hotel.

City Built Brewing Co. is only a three-minute walk North of the Embassy Suites hotel.

Photo by Jason Ley

Craft beer and more

City Built Brewing Company is a three-minute walk north of the hotel, offers a Puerto Rican-inspired menu, and has a private meeting room that accommodates 36 people seated or up to 50 people standing. 

City Built is also the perfect spot for meetings and conference attendees to relax with a board game and craft beer!

Eastern Kille Distillery, a four-minute walk to the east, is both a cocktail bar and tasting room. Eastern Kille hosts parking lot parties with live music on select Fridays and trivia on select Wednesdays. Updates on these events can be found on their social media. The distillery is also able to be reserved by groups of less than 50 between Monday and Thursday.

Dining and Linear Restaurant in Grand Rapids along the Grand River.

Linear Restaurant is one of several great dining spots at the north end of downtown Grand Rapids

Photo by Bob Neumann for Experience GR

Bar food, tapas, bakeries

Several restaurants are within walking distance of the area, featuring a variety of styles to meet the interests of any meeting or conference attendees. 

The Garage Bar & Grill has a casual atmosphere focused on high-quality traditional bar food and drinks at a reasonable price with DJs and occasional live music on weekends. On select Wednesdays and Saturdays, Garage Bar & Grill hosts outdoor block parties. 

Rocky’s Bar & Grill offers a similar bar-food-and-music combo.

Linear Restaurant offers river views, outdoor seating, and a seasonal, sustainable menu in a comfortable modern atmosphere. It has space to accommodate large parties or events.

The SpeakEZ Lounge is a casual, prohibition-style pub with an eclectic menu that also offers live local music every other Wednesday and on select Fridays. It’s also one of the best places to catch a soccer game, as it prioritizes that sport over others.

For those looking for an espresso drink or a sweet treat, the Field & Fire Café is just north of the hotel and is open for breakfast and lunch. Its menu focuses on organic, local ingredients.

The area boasts plenty of green space and opportunity for meeting attendees to stay active, such as Sixth Street Park.

Sixth Street Park boasts plenty of green space and opportunities for meeting attendees to stay active.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Green space, get moving

The North end of Grand Rapids is home to two parks bordering the Grand River: Sixth Street Park and Canal Street Park. Both offer easy access to green space for people or pets, playgrounds, or even fishing. A connected walking path along the river offers a bit of nature in an urban setting. Visitors will also find the newly added fitness stations at parks along the Grand River, as well as plenty of other fitness options like barre classes, yoga, Zumba and more.

Just one block from Eastern Kille Distillery, people will find Lookout Park, which provides a great view of the city.

Many destinations North of downtown are on the DASH North route.

Many destinations North of downtown are on the DASH North route.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Here to there

The area is separated from the hustle and bustle of the city’s core, but for those wanting to head downtown, it’s only a 15-minute walk along the river, a five-minute bike ride (Lime bikes and scooters are available for rent in the Grand Rapids area), or a quick hop on the free shuttle service.

The Downtown Area Shuttle, or DASH, offers a new and improved route, traveling in both directions, taking you either away from or closer to most of the city’s attractions. 

The service runs from 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m. Wednesday to Friday, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. Saturday, and 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Bridge Street Market Building Exterior

Bridge Street Market Building Exterior

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids


The neighborhood does not have its own grocery store, but Bridge Street Market is a 20-minute walk away, or it can be accessed via the counterclockwise DASH service or a quick trip in a cab or rideshare service. 

The reasonably priced, upscale store will meet all your grocery needs, plus it offers an extensive beer and wine selection. 

Fido & Stitch is only one block away from Sixth Street Park, to meet the needs of any pet owners. 

Learn more

Want to hear more about planning an event in the Grand Rapids north downtown area? Contact the Convention Services team at Experience Grand Rapids.