Dynamic Variation:

Grand Rapids Fall Activities

Grand Rapids gets even cooler in fall – and we’re not just talking temperature. Fall brings new sports and performing arts seasons, a dazzling display of tree colors, one of the nation’s best apple harvests and the world’s largest public art event. Browse this page to see what strikes your fall fancy – and make plans for a grand getaway!

ArtPrize 2023

Back to Top of List

One of the world’s most attended art events has been a Grand Rapids tradition since 2009 – but new features make it fresh and surprising every year. ArtPrize 2023 kicks off with a Sept. 14 opening party, complete with fireworks over the Grand River and a performance by multimedia troupe Squonk. From then through Oct. 1, you can see 650 works of art all over downtown Grand Rapids and vote for your favorites to win $200,00 in prize money. Shop the Merchants and Makers Artisan Market Sep. 22-23, attend the Closing Party and Awards Ceremony Sep. 28, and relax in the riverfront ArtPrize Oasis every day of the event, Sep. 14-Oct. 1. It’s all free and all fun!

Fall Festivals

Back to Top of List

ArtPrize isn’t the only big event on our autumn agenda – check out these crowd pleasers:

Fall Colors

Back to Top of List

Take a self-guided fall color tour that showcases the region’s lush forest canopy, abundant apple orchards and charming covered bridges. Visit local parks for a late-season picnic beneath an umbrella of red, yellow and orange leaves. Wander the trails at Blandford Nature CenterCalvin College Ecosystem Preserve and Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience & Environmental Education Center to see fall’s effect on all manner of native plants.

Fall Harvest & Halloween

Back to Top of List

‘Tis the season for apples in West Michigan – pick your own or shop the selection at farm markets, and enjoy some fresh-pressed apple cider while you’re at it. Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery and the markets of Fruit Ridge, a world-class agricultural region 10-20 minutes northwest of Grand Rapids, offer a wide range of family-friendly activities and attractions in addition to fresh fall produce.

Celebrate Halloween in Grand Rapids with haunted houses, a pumpkin train, corn mazes, trunk & treats and more  – including the area’s premier fear-filled attraction, The Haunt, opening Sep. 22.

Epic Exhibitions

Back to Top of List

See the big shows everyone will be talking about this fall:

  • AQS QuiltWeek offers the opportunity to view dazzling quilts, attend workshops and shop a merchant mall. Sep. 13-16.
  • Tech Week Grand Rapids includes hands-on tech exhibits in addition to panel discussions, pitch competitions and networking opportunities. Sep. 18-23.
  • The Grand Rapids Art Museum presents Everything Beautiful in its Time: Six Centuries of Prints from the Jansma Collection through Dec. 3 and Underneath Everything: Humility and Grandeur in Contemporary Ceramics starting Oct. 7.
  • Chrysanthemums & More! features Michigan’s largest exhibit of the autumn’s favorite flower, plus fall foliage and family-friendly activities. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Sep. 15-Oct. 29.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum is a Grand Rapids Children’s Museum exhibit based on the PBS KIDS show. Opens Sep. 16.
  • Grand Rapids Comic-Con celebrates its 10th anniversary with cosplay, fan panels, films, gaming & more, Nov. 3-5.
  • The Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium debuts “Living Worlds,” a 27-minute multimedia journey through space and time, shown Saturdays and Sundays. 

Food & Drink

Back to Top of List

Savor the flavors of fall:

  • Get the Flights of Flavor pass to find the city’s best food & drink pairings – and earn prizes for trying them.
  • Try different poutine dishes at restaurants along Michigan Street during Poutine Week, Sep. 14-Oct. 1.
  • Attend the Art of Food Festival, featuring 30+ food trucks and booths, a beer tent, performances and an artist village, Sep. 15-17.
  • Cheer the return (after four years!) of the Brewery Vivant BFF Beer Fest, featuring barrel-aged beers, firkins and farmhouse brews, Sep. 16.
  • Head to Riverside Park for Oktoberfest GR and get your fill of authentic German food, drink and entertainment, Sep. 23-24.
  • Sample beers from 30 or so different local breweries at the Brews at the Calder Pro-Am Beer Festival, Sep. 30.
  • Test your heat tolerance at Chili Cook-off at the Ballpark Sep. 30 – there will be adult beverages available to cool your palate.
  • Enjoy special dishes made just for Restaurant Week GR and earn prizes when you check in to participating restaurants, Nov. 3-11.
  • Explore more than 1,200 wines, beers, ciders and spirits along with great food from local restaurants at the International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, Nov. 16-18.
  • Treat your taste buds to fall’s fuller-bodied beers – including pumpkin-infused brews – at local craft breweries. 
  • Try a new restaurant – like Daisies Place or Chicago Beef Joint (downtown), Good Truckin’ Diner or Testa Rossa Pizzeria (Uptown), Rio Peruvian and Mexican Cuisine or Motherland Food (Wyoming) – all adding to the area’s rich diversity of cuisine. There are more than 1,000 restaurants to choose from in GR!

Refreshment Areas

Enjoy food and drink – including approved open containers of alcohol – in outdoor zones across the city.

photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Great Entertainment

Back to Top of List

Celebrate the season with live music, comedy and theatre. Start with a slew of big names in concert at Van Andel Arena:

DeVos Performance Hall welcomes a diverse lineup of entertainment, including:

St. Cecilia Music Center presents a mix of chamber music, jazz and folk artists:

Check out the concert schedules at Midtown, The Intersection, The Pyramid Scheme and GLC Live at 20 Monroe for even more well-known names live in concert.

The Grand Rapids Symphony performs 16 concerts from Sep.-Nov., including a collaboration with the Violent Femmes (Oct. 6-7), Lehninger Conducts Liszt & Bartok (Oct. 20-21) and Coco in Concert (Nov. 3-4), a presentation of the Disney film accompanied by a live music score.

Comedy is thriving in GR – see shows every weekend at Dr. Grins Comedy Club, and every Monday, Friday and Saturday (plus the occasional Thursday) at The Comedy Project. And get tickets for these touring comics:

Broadway Grand Rapids welcomes theatre fans to a new season with:

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre continues to wow GR in its 98h season as it presents:

Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids stages Judgment at Nuremberg, a powerful stage version of the Academy Award-winning film. Oct. 12, 14, 15, 19, 21 & 22.

Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids offers Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties, which The New York Times called “a full-tilt lesbian/bi-curious/genderqueer/Shakespearean comedy for everyone.” Sep. 14-17 & 21-23.

Opera Grand Rapids presents The Abduction from the Seraglio, Mozart’s first operatic success, Oct. 13-14, and a special Chorus Concert Nov. 16.

Grand Rapids Ballet kicks off its new season with Contemporary Visions, featuring four stand-alone works created by explorative and dynamic choreographers sharing stories through movement. Oct. 6-8.

Outdoor Fun

Back to Top of List

Make the most of the season’s temperate weather and sparser crowds:

The Grand Outdoors

Explore a few of the many ways you can play, relax and have fun in the fresh, clean air of Grand Rapids and Kent County. Hit the…

photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Family Fun

Back to Top of List

Family Fun

Fall brings a cornucopia of kid-friendly entertainment:

Great Sports

Back to Top of List

One season winds down, two more rev up:

The West Michigan Whitecaps, High-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, close the regular baseball season with six home games (Sep. 5-10). Will they make the playoffs? Stay tuned!

The Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL Affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, open their season with two home games (Oct. 13-14 19) – and play seven more home games through November.

The Grand Rapids Gold, NBA G League Affiliate of the Denver Nuggets, hasn’t announced its 2023-2024 schedule yet, but it will open at home (Van Andel Arena) in early November.

Looking for more bruising action? AEW (All Elite Wrestling) Collision comes to Van Andel Arena for the first time Sep. 23.

Shop for fall and get a jump-start on holiday gifts at local malls and stores. And don’t miss the first-ever Christkindl Markt at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Nov. 18-Dec. 23. It’s a European-style Christmas Village lined with 30+ artisan gift and food vendors, live entertainment and festive family fun.

More shopping events:

Grand Rapids Attractions

Back to Top of List

Many of the area’s biggest tourist attractions are open for business – including 

Hours and procedures may have changed, so check websites for details.

Save on Attractions with Our Culture Pass

Receive admission into many cultural attractions around Grand Rapids as well as additional exclusive discounts with our $20.00 Culture Pass.

Winter Holidays

Back to Top of List

The year-end holidays will be upon us before you know it – and now’s the time to get tickets for some of our most popular seasonal events, including:

Search our Events page for even more fantastic fall ideas!

Fall Bucket List

Fall Bucket List

Farm Markets

photo by Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids