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 2022

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This international art competition once again takes over Grand Rapids for 18 days from Sep. 15-Oct. 2. See more than 750 works of art in and around downtown, and use your smartphone to help distribute $175,000 to the creators of your favorite pieces. Attend concerts, workshops, walking tours, panel discussions and more. ArtPrize is an urban adventure like no other – and an inspiring experience not to be missed!

Fall Festivals

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

Fall Colors

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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.

Epic Exhibitions

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See the major-attraction shows everyone will be talking about this fall:

  • Washed Ashore is a collection of 16 super-size animal sculptures made entirely of marine debris from the Oregon coast. Through Nov. 20 at John Ball Zoo – reduced admission starts Sep. 26.
  • A Celebration of Souls: Day of the Dead in Southern Mexico explores the history and significance of this traditional south-of-the-border holiday. Grand Rapids Public Museum, Sep. 3-Nov. 27.
  • Wandering, Waiting, Watching showcases the disparate media, subject matter and tone artist and graphic novelist Jessica Campbell combines in her work. UICA, Sep. 6-Oct. 29.
  • Chrysanthemums & More! features Michigan’s largest exhibit of the autumn’s favorite flower, fall foliage and family-friendly activities. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Sep. 16-Oct. 30.
  • The Pigeon Comes to Grand Rapids: A Moe Willems Exhibit brings the whimsical world of the beloved children’s book author alive at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Sep. 17-Jan. 7.
  • The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited includes iconic puppets, historic costumes, photographs, TV clips and more from the creator of the Muppets. Grand Rapids Art Museum, Oct. 1-Jan. 14.

Food & Drink

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Savor the flavors of fall:

  • Oktoberfest GR fills Riverside Park with authentic German food, drink and entertainment, Sep. 23-24.
  • Brewers on the Calder is the annual Pro-Am fall beer festival offering tastings from 30 different local breweries, Oct. 1.
  • The International Foodies Festival for Mental Health invites attendees to sample 60+ foods from across the globe, Oct. 10.
  • Small Plates Big Impact is a tasting event featuring event-exclusive dishes from 20 merchants and restaurants at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Oct. 20.
  • Restaurant Week GR offers special dishes and deals at dozens of participating restaurants, Nov. 4-12.
  • The International Wine, Beer & Food Festival brings more than 1,000 wines, beers and ciders to GR along with great food from local restaurants, Nov. 18-19.
  • Fall’s fuller-bodied beers – including pumpkin-infused brews – take the spotlight at local craft breweries. 
  • ‘Tis the season for cider made from fresh-picked local apples – do your prefer your cider hard or soft?

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

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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 currently popular and enduringly popular music acts:

  • Zach Williams, Sep. 18
  • Gordon Lightfoot, Sep. 19
  • Alice Cooper, Sep. 21
  • Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Sep. 23
  • Tauren Wells, Oct. 23
  • Puscifer, Nov. 15
  • Straight No Chaser, Nov. 26

Hear your favorite performer’s top hits recreated by superb talents:

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 17 concerts from Sep.-Nov., including Beethoven’s Fifth (Sep. 16-17), The Music of Motown (Sep. 30-Oct. 1) and The Polar Express in Concert (Nov. 18-20).

Comedy is thriving in GR – see shows every Monday, Friday and Saturday at The Comedy Project, and get tickets for these touring comics:

  • Marina Franklin, Sep. 8
  • Nick Swardson, Sep. 8
  • Randy Rainbow, Sep. 10
  • Josh Blue, Sep. 30-Oct. 1
  • Nimesh Patel, Oct. 4
  • Tommy Davidson, Oct. 13-15
  • Kelsey Cook, Oct. 21
  • Dan Cummins, Oct. 21
  • Kathleen Madigan, Oct. 21
  • Nate Bargatze, Oct. 22
  • The Royal Comedy Tour, Oct. 29
  • Bill Burr, Nov. 3
  • Michael Rappaport, Nov. 4-5
  • Kevin Nealon, Nov. 10-11
  • Trevor Wallace, Nov. 11
  • Jim Gaffigan, Nov. 18

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

  • Tootsie, a musical comedy based on the beloved movie, Oct. 11-16
  • Come From Away, the Tony-winning Best Musical about a small town that welcomed the world. Nov. 8-13.

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre continues to wow GR in its 97th season as it presents:

  • The Revolutionists, an irreverent, girl-powered comedy set during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Sep. 23-Oct. 9.
  • Mary Poppins, combining the best of the classic movie and the popular book series. Nov. 18-Dec. 18.

Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids stages Crossing Delancey, a romantic comedy based on the cult-classic 1988 movie. Sep. 28-29, Oct. 1, 5-6 & 8.

Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids offers Hundred Days, an exhilarating folk-punk musical about living and loving as if you only had 100 days left. Oct. 6-9 & 13-15.

Circle Theatre closes its season with a main-stage production of Little Shop of Horrors (Sep. 8-10 & 14-18 & 21-24) and two concerts: The Music of Motown (Sep. 12) and Iconic Women of Pop (Sep. 19).

Opera Grand Rapids goes contemporary with Bon Appetit, a one-woman opera about Julia Child (Sep. 15), then classic with The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan.

Grand Rapids Ballet’s Elemental Movement features three ballets exploring movement in different spaces. Oct. 14-16.

The Grand Outdoors

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

  • Bike or hike trails through scenic woodlands, wetlands and meadows for a different perspective on the changing season.
  • Get in more golf before the temperature tumbles – there are 30+ courses within a 30-minute drive of downtown Grand Rapids.
  • Fish for steelhead in area rivers – bring your fishing gear or get it (and a guide) here.
  • Swim, bike and run around beautiful East Grand Rapids in the Rhoades McKee Reeds Lake Triathtlon/Duathlon. Sep. 10.
  • Lace up for the Turkey Trot at Cannonsburg Ski Area – 5k, 10k and 3-hour courses around the woods. Nov. 26.
  • Looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon? The Last Chance BQ.2 Marathon (Sep. 10) and Grand Rapids Marathon (Oct. 16) may be your ticket.

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

Fall Harvest & Halloween

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The fall harvest is in full swing at family farms and farm markets, which offer a whole host of autumnal activities in addition to freshly harvested produce – hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin-picking and more.

West Michigan is one of the world’s best apple-growing regions – and you can get the pick of the fall crop (or pick your own) at local orchards starting in early September.

Celebrate Halloween in Grand Rapids with haunted houses, a pumpkin train, corn mazes and more.

Events

Halloween

  • photo by Erick Orlando
  • 13 min

Halloween isn’t just a day in Grand Rapids – it’s several weeks’ worth of…

For the Kid in All of Us

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Entertain your children or get in touch with your inner child:

Wizarding Weekends transform John Ball Zoo into a magical world where families can explore the Forbidden Forest and Nocturnal Alley, cast spells and spot fantastic beasts. Sep. 10-11 and 17-18.

Blue Man Group on Tour comes to DeVos Performance Hall with their signature drumming, quirky comedy and deep blue hue. Sept. 27-28.

Join Peppa Pig on an exciting camping trip with her friends when Peppa Pig’s Adventure LIVE coms to DeVos Performance Hall, Oct. 25.

Spy Ninjas Live sends a team of YouTubers on a mission to save the internet from Project Zorgo – and it’s all played out on the DeVos Performance Hall stage, Oct. 29.

Grand Rapids Comic-Con welcomes pop culture fans, creators and cos-players to DeVos Place, Nov. 11-13.

Grand Rapids Attractions

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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 $24.00 Culture Pass.

Great Sports

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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. 6-11) – will they make the playoffs? Stay tuned!

The Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL Affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, open their season with three home games (Oct. 14-15 & 19) – and play five more home games through November.

The Grand Rapids Gold, NBA G League Affiliate of the Denver Nuggets, move to Van Andel Arena for their new season – starting in November.

Shop for fall and get a jump-start on holiday gifts at local malls and stores and at these great events:

  • ArtPrize Maker’s Market, Sep. 16-Oct. 1
  • Shop the Ridge, a craft show at Ed Dunneback & Girl’s Farm Market, Sep. 24.
  • Halloween Bash at the Market, featuring local artists at Fulton Street Farmer’s Market, Oct. 9.
  • Grand Valley Artists Pop-Up Bazaar & Art Market, Oct. 16.
  • Eastern Holiday Expo & Artisans Market, Nov. 5.
  • Merchants and Makers GR Holiday Market, Nov. 6
  • Christmas Through Lowell, November 18-20.
  • Allendale Artisan & Craft Market Place, Nov. 19.
  • Holiday Craft Show with 80+ vendor booths, Nov. 19.
  • Christmas at Countryside, Nov. 25-26

Search our Events page for more fantastic fall ideas!

Fall Bucket List

Fall Bucket List

Farm Markets

photo by Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids