Michigan’s second largest city offers the state’s coolest urban experience. It starts in a safe, clean, compact downtown that combines the amenities of a major metropolis with the warmth of a small town.
More than 100 restaurants, shops, performance venues and cultural sites are located within a 10-minute walk of nationally recognized hotels – and hundreds of other entertainment and lodging options are just a short drive away.
As Thrillist noted in 2017, Grand Rapids offers “the art, food and music trappings you’d find in Chicago or Detroit, only at half the price and one-quarter the commute times.”
Many Grand Rapids chefs trained at the city’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, one of the nation’s finest culinary arts programs – and they are able to access fresh ingredients from one of the world’s best agricultural regions, just 10 minutes away. This urban/rural partnership made Grand Rapids a forerunner in the farm-to-fork movement … and helped us achieve the title of Michigan’s Best Food City.
This year-round hub of local food innovation brings gourmet vendors, restaurants, teaching kitchens and food-focused social events together under one greenhouse-covered roof.
Cooking classes, farm markets and farm tours combine for a hands-on journey through the food cycle, from the soil to the plate. Restaurant Week GR and the International Wine, Beer & Food Festival (Nov.) indulge palates with an astonishing array of culinary splendor.
Hundreds of restaurants cater to every taste and budget. Favorites include Grove (named Michigan’s Best Restaurant), Stella’s Lounge (serving America’s Best Burger), MDRD (one of America’s Most Scenic Restaurants), Ruth’s Chris (a classic American steakhouse) and The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck.
Big-city shopping without the big-city hassle – that’s the lure of Grand Rapids for both luxury buyers and bargain hunters.
Downtown and Uptown are walkable neighborhoods lined with unique shops, boutiques, art galleries and artisan stores.
These locally owned stores and businesses epitomize the entrepreneurial spirit that has always defined Grand Rapids.
You can enjoy most any genre of music, most every day of the week in Grand Rapids – in bars, coffeehouses, arenas and outdoor gardens.
More than 100 live-music venues crisscross the city to create a remarkable aural journey.
There’s nothing quite like an outdoor summer concert in Grand Rapids – and there’s no better place to see one than the lush grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Festival of the Arts, GRandJazzFest and Picnic Pops are other outdoor faves.
From Taylor Swift to Kanye West, Grand Rapids welcomes the biggest names in music. The Lumineers, Miranda Lambert, Def Leppard, Aretha Franklin, and Tim McGraw & Faith Hill are just a few of our 2017 concerts.
Voted Beer City USA and America’s Best Beer Scene, Grand Rapids is a mecca for lovers of craft beers and other artisan beverages.
Atwater Brewery Grand Rapids, B.O.B.’s Brewery, Founders Brewing Company, Fountain Hill Brewery, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, HopCat and CityBuilt Brewing Co. keep taps flowing in the city center– and join 60+ additional breweries on the Beer City Ale Trail.
Visitors can download the Beer City Brewsader Passport app and collect stamps at select breweries to become a Brewsader and earn a collectible t-shirt plus other perks.
Many individual breweries offer behind-the-scenes tours of their facilities, while tour operators provide worry-free transportation to and from multiple breweries in a single trip.
An abundance of craft wineries, cideries, distilleries and coffee roasters give thirsty visitors lots of options for a delicious drink.
The most attended public art event on the planet doesn’t take place in New York City, Paris or Rome – it sprawls out through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids every year. ArtPrize and PROJECT 1 by ArtPrize are just a couple of many cultural treasures that rival those of top cities.
Broadway Grand Rapids presents the best touring shows direct from the Great White Way. Grand Rapids Civic Theatre – one of America’s oldest and largest community theatres – stages crowd-pleasing Broadway hits, while Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids specializes in edgy, off-Broadway fare.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, John Ball Zoo and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts are among Michigan’s most visited cultural attractions. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one of the 100 most visited museums in the entire world.
The massive Alexander Calder sculpture that has become the city symbol is just one of many public sculptures, murals and other creative works seen all around town. Downtown architecture blends historic buildings and bridges with sleek new construction.
See public art virtually everywhere you look. Download the Outdoor Arts Inspirations tour map for a guide to 27 prominent downtown sculptures and historic buildings. Take a GR Tag Tour of “Art Around the Corner.” Or just wander around with your eyes peeled!
See a play, musical, ballet or opera by Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids , Broadway Grand Rapids , Grand Rapids Ballet , Grand Rapids Civic Theatre , Heritage Theatre Group , Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids or Opera Grand Rapids .
See why Grand Rapids was named America’s 6th best fishing city ¬– stroll the Grand River Riverwalk to view anglers in action and visit the Fish Ladder to watch salmon, steelhead and carp leap the “steps” on their seasonal migration.
See the city from a different perspective in the climate-controlled skywalk that connects our convention center with three hotels and assorted other buildings.
Check out other things to see downtown: