Offsite conferences already shake up the routine and lend themselves to new ideas and discussion. But sometimes it’s good to get attendees out of the convention center and hotel conference rooms, and into your host city for even more inspiration.

We've already collected a list of walkable restaurants and breweries that can accommodate group meetings, but Grand Rapids has several other downtown locations ideal for meeting planners to schedule offsite events, including entertainment venues, escape rooms, museums and theaters. And they are all a half mile or less of DeVos Place Convention Center – that means no special transportation and minimal travel time!

Here are few suggestions to get your search started, listed in order of closest to farthest distance, according to the walking feature in Google maps using the street corner outside the south end of DeVos Place.

Civic Auditorium

The historic Civic Auditorium houses the Steelcase Ballroom and is just across the street from Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Photo by EXGR

Civic Auditorium

Distance: 479 feet

The city’s primary public auditorium for nearly 70 years, the Civic was incorporated as part of the 40,000 sq. ft. Steelcase Ballroom in DeVos Place in 2003. The original façade and front lobby of the Civic remain intact, giving guests a glimpse of the Neo-Classical-Art Deco design  that distinguished the 1932-era building. The ballroom can accommodate 2,500 people for reception and banquet events, and the space can be sub-divided into four separate rooms for smaller groups.

The Ballroom at McKay Tower

Distance: 518 feet

This elegant venue with 26-foot ceilings is found in the city’s first high-rise building. The initial four-stories were built in 1915. The last two stories were added in the 1940s, making the 18-story building the tallest at that time between Detroit and Chicago. The ballroom occupies a renovated former bank space and has the elegant marble décor to prove it. It’s ideal for corporate or social events with up to 200 guests.

Fact: DeVos Performance Hall has a seating capacity of 2,400.

Part of the DeVos Place complex, the performance hall offers great options for theater-style meetings.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

DeVos Performance Hall

Distance: 0.1 mile

This 2,543-seat performing arts theater is actually inside the DeVos Place complex. It hosts ballet, Broadway, concert, opera and other events throughout the year, but it’s also available for theater-style meetings.

The Atrium At Uccello’s

Distance: 0.2 Mile

Located in the soaring four-story atrium of the historic Ledyard building, built in 1874, The Atrium can comfortably seat up to 150 guests and accommodate up to 200 for roaming receptions. Food and drink is catered by Uccello’s, a local family restaurant and hospitality business.

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Distance: 0.2 mile

What could be more inspiring than a permanent collection of more than 6,000 pieces of art plus additional exhibits that change throughout the year? The GRAM, which is the first LEED® Gold Certified art museum in the world, has galleries, auditoriums or the entire space available for rent.

Contact the Special Events Department at 616-831-2916 or or visit the website for more details.

Worklab by Custer

Distance: 0.2 mile

Worklab offers spaces specifically for meeting with an on-site hospitality team, cafe, and technology. Four rooms can accommodate groups ranging from five to 35. More details can be found on their webpage

Set-up before an event in the lobby of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum offers a variety of experiences for attendees during an off-site event.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Distance: 0.3 mile

Shouldn’t all meeting spaces have carousels? The Grand Rapids Public Museum has one overlooking the Grand River with a great view of the city. The venue features spaces and rooms for gatherings up to 2,000, including an auditorium and theater – all surrounded by historic artifacts from the city and region. For more information, contact the Hospitality Department at or 616-929-1740. 

The B.O.B.

0.3 Mile

This Big Old Building is a four-story, 70,000-sq. ft., red brick structure that is home to multiple restaurants and entertainment venues. It is also a flexible special event and banquet space, with multiple rooms that can hold as few as 20 guests individually or up to 2,000 when combined.

To learn more, visit The B.O.B. rental page or call 616-356-2627 ext. 116.

GLC Live at 20 Monroe

Distance: 0.3 mile

This entertainment venue managed by Live Nation is a 6-minute walk from the convention campus and has space for meetings of 25 to 2,600 people, depending on the format of your event. Take advantage of the two-level music hall and combine your gathering with a private concert or performance.

Van Andel Arena

Distance: 0.3 mile

Planning something big? The Van Andel Arena accommodates nearly 12,500 people in theater style and 1,000 for a reception. Van Andel Arena also has banquet rooms, the Intermission Restaurant & Bar and the Acrisure Lounge available for private bookings. It's connected to the downtown skywalk, which links Van Andel to DeVos Place, the JW Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott and Amway Grand Rapids, Curio Collection by Hilton hotels ­– so you can walk from place to place in enclosed, climate-controlled comfort.


Distance: 0.4 mile

Divani is a locally owned restaurant and cocktail bar that is also host to versatile event spaces. Alongside their central restaurant space, they offer three main rooms with accommodation ranging from 14 to 140 guests. Booking information can be found on their webpage

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI, offers plenty to explore, both inside and out.

Connect with Grand Rapids' presidential history and spark new ideas at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

Photo by Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Distance: 0.4 mile

Plan your meeting against a backdrop of history in this living tribute to the 38th president of the United States, who represented Grand Rapids in Congress for 25 years. The venue can accommodate lectures, meetings, receptions or dinners, and offer fascinating insights into the life and times of President Ford and First Lady Betty Ford. The main lobby and auditorium can each host up to 250 guests.

Contact the museum at 616-254-0400 or for more information. You can also download the rental packet from the website.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum

Distance: 0.4 mile

Get attendees in touch with the creativity of their inner child in a museum devoted to play. GRCM can host up to 350 guests in 14,000 sq. ft. of private space and two dedicated meeting rooms. A fully equipped kitchen is available, and guests enjoy access to all exhibits and unlimited play. Birthday parties are available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays, and the whole museum is available for rent on Mondays and most evenings after 6pm. 

Visit the GRCM rental webpage for details.

The Ruse

Distance: 0.4 Mile

The “escape room” concept is a wonderful way to combine business and pleasure. It’s a proven team-building exercise and the downtown location of The Ruse makes it ideal for an offsite meeting-excursion combo. The conference room has full audio-visual capabilities and the facility can accommodate a reception for up to 45 people. For more information, email

The Lit GR

Distance: 0.5 Mile

Built by the local Ladies’ Literary Club in the late 1880s and updated with a theater-grade sound system and other contemporary amenities, The Lit seats 300+ theater style, 200 banquet style and 250+ for a strolling reception. The lobby boasts a Tiffany stained glass window installed in 1915.

GVSU Eberhard Center

Distance: 0.5 mile

Located on the downtown campus of Grand Valley State University, this conference and event venue on the banks of the Grand River can host up to 500 guests for receptions, 400 for banquets, 300 for classroom sessions and 180 auditorium-style. There are 12 meeting rooms and the facility is on the other side of the parking lot of The Holiday Inn Downtown.

Visit the GVSU Conference and Event Planning web page for more information.

GVSU DeVos Center

Distance: 0.5 mile

The Richard M. DeVos Center, also on Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus, is just a few more steps past the Eberhard Center. Not to be confused with the DeVos Place Convention Center, the Richard M. DeVos Center has a wide variety of rooms fit for a wide variety of events. Capacities range from 20 guests in the Amway Board Room, to 232 in the Loosemore Auditorium. Contact GVSU’s Conference and Event Planning team at 616-331-6620 or for more information. 

Studio Park's outdoor piazza on a cloudless, sunny day.

Studio Park offers indoor and outdoor event space and a half mile walk from the convention center.

Photo by Brian Craig for Experience Grand Rapids

Studio Park

Distance: 0.5 mile

Studio Park can host events in one of its nine movie theaters, an acoustically awesome music venue and a beautiful outdoor piazza, which comes with its own exterior digital screen for presentations – ideal for strolling receptions, cocktail hours or picnic-style dinners. Accommodates groups of 100 to 300.

For more information, check the Studio Park Private Events webpage.


Distance: 0.5 Mile

One of the city’s premier music venues, Midtown serves as a unique meeting space when it isn’t hosting live performances. The intimate setting, semi-circle seating and world-class sound system are effective tools for creating an engaging event. Accommodates up to 200 guests.

The High Five GR

Distance: 0.5 Mile

The High Five’s expansive, beautifully renovated loft space features roller-rink hardwood floors, exposed brick, lavish chandeliers and large windows offering 360˚ views of the downtown cityscape. The open, pillar-free space can accommodate virtually any seating and/or table configuration for up to 300 guests, and it’s equipped with a state-of-the-art audio-visual system.

St. Cecilia Music Center

Distance: 0.5 mile

A community treasure since 1894, St. Cecilia is a thoughtfully preserved and renovated facility can accommodate groups up to 650 in the Royce Auditorium for theater-style meetings and 250 for receptions in the ballroom. Smaller spaces are available, too.


Want to look at more venues? Visit the Experience Grand Rapids facility search page to explore options by neighborhood, venue capacity and amenities or contact a member of our team for more details.