Dynamic Variation:

Grand Rapids Spring Activities

Flowers aren’t the only things blooming in Grand Rapids this spring – some of our favorite attractions and activities return along with the warmer weather. It’s also a season of personal renewal, and there are all sorts of opportunities to learn, explore and grow. Plus, you’ll find entertainment for all ages, including special kid-friendly things to do for spring break … and beyond. Scroll down for some great ideas!

Art & Culture

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The Fred & Dorothy Ficther Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition at Frederik Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park helps us kick off the season on March 1 and it runs through April 30. It’s the largest temporary butterfly exhibition in the country – and it’s one of GR’s most cherished spring traditions!

America at the Crossroads: The GUITAR & A Changing Nation looks at America’s evolution through the lens of its most popular musical instrument. This multimedia exhibition is at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum through May 28.

The Power of Poison, a crowd-pleasing exhibit exploring the use of poison throughout history and myth, continues at the Grand Rapids Public Museum through April 16. GRPM’s fun and fabulous Fashion and Nature exhibit runs all season long.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum hosts Rethinking Monuments: American Sculpture In Its Time, 1850-2000, through April 8, and Presence: The Photography Collection of Judy Glickman Lauder, featuring 145 historical photos by 70 artists, through April 29.

Cristina Iglesias: Under and In Between surveys 20 years of captivating work from one of Spain’s most renowned artists.  The exhibition opens April 28 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The 22nd Annual Celebrating All Walks of Life Pow Wow at Grand Valley State University honors Native American culture through ceremony, song, dance, feasting and socializing. April 15-16.

Dutch culture takes the spotlight at the Holland Tulip Time Festival from May 6-14. Parades, dances, walking tours, a carnival, quilt show, artisan market and millions of tulips in bloom – come see why it’s been named America’s Best Small Town Festival.

Performing Arts

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The Grand Rapids Symphony performs 17 concerts from March-May, including the classical music-acrobatics mashup Cirque Musica: Gershwin’s Rhapsody (March 3-4), Mozart’s Requiem (March 24-25), the 1920s-themed Prohibition: The Rise of the Jazz Age (April 21-22) and Mahler’s Titan (May 19-20). Check out the Symphony’s complete concert calendar.

Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids presents the world premiere of Petty Crimes, a new play that examines the inequity of our justice system through the story of a Northern Michigan jury wrestling with the case against a Hispanic teenager. March 2-5 &  9-11.

Ballet + Broadway is a Grand Rapids Ballet production linking three dance works inspired by The Great White Way. April 21-23 & 28-30.

Broadway Grand Rapids continues to bring amazing theatrical experiences to DeVos Performance Hall:

  • STOMP, the international percussive sensation, rocks the joint March 17-19.
  • My Fair Lady, a sumptuous new production of the classic musical, runs April 11-16.
  • Hadestown, 2019 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical, takes audiences on a journey to the underworld and back, May 9-14.

Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Symphony combine to present Aida, Verdi’s towering masterpiece, which transports audiences from DeVos Performance Hall to ancient Egypt. May 5 & 7.  

Really Big Shows

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March brings a cavalcade of lifestyle expos to DeVos Place – learn, shop and get inspired:

  • West Michigan Home and Garden Show, March 2-5.
  • The Ultimate Sport Show, March 9-12.
  • Cottage and Lakefront Living Show, March 24-26.

The Oddities & Curiosities Expo at DeVos Place is for lovers of the strange, unusual and bizarre, as vendors from across the country present taxidermy, preserved specimens, creepy collectibles and more weird and wonderful finds. April 1.

Buy, sell and trade the latest footwear – and enjoy music, food, games raffles, a fashion show and more – at the Sneaker Nutz Shoe Convention at DeVos Place, May 20.

Live Music

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See some of music’s biggest names in concert at Van Andel Arena: TobyMac (March 5), Kane Brown (March 16), KEM, Ledisi & Musiq Soulchild (April 8), Morgan Wallen (April 27), Kenny Chesney & Kelsea Ballerini (May 6) and Breaking Benjamin (May 16).

CeCe Winans, the best-selling female gospel artist of all time, appears live in concert at Fair Haven Church in Hudsonville March 22.

Cellist/vocalist Jordan Hamilton teams with visual artist Emily Hromi for an immersive Concert Under the Stars at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium, March 23-24.

St. Cecelia continues its tradition of showcasing diverse music genres:

  • Folk: Josh Ritter (March 2), Sam Bush (March 10), Joshua Davis (April 27), Leo Kottke (May 16)
  • Jazz: Emmet Cohen Trio (March 9)
  • Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (March 23)

Bethel Music, a worship movement that exists to lead people’s hearts into profound experiences with God’s presence, comes to DeVos Performance Hall April 23.

Brit Floyd: 50 Years of Dark Side of the Moon is a brand-new production celebrating the golden anniversary of Pink Floyd’s iconic album. At DeVos Performance Hall May 15.

Check out the concert schedules at GLC Live at 20 Monroe, The Intersection, Midtown and The Pyramid Scheme for event more great music.

Funny Business

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LaughFest packs unprecedented levels of hilarity into five days this year, hosting such comedy powerhouses as D.J. Demers (March 8), Mike Vecchione (March 9-10), Pete Holmes (March 9), Tig Notaro (March 10) and Daphnique Springs (March 10-11). The March 8-12 festival also features local improv troupes, family events, clean and dirty comedy shows, and more – browse all 50+ events.

Midtown (formerly Listening Room GR) welcomes the comedy stylings of River City Improv (March 18, April 15 & May 20), David Nahill (March 23), Pop Scholars (March 25 & April 29) and Joe DeRosa (March 31) to its intimate downtown club space.

Wealthy Theatre presents the comedy-magic shows Amaze & Amuse on March 25 and TikTok comedian Pinky Patel on March 31.

Comedy legend Katt Williams comes to Van Andel Arena with his 2023 And Me Tour on March 18.

Live At Night With Free Beer & Hot Wings sees the hosts of WGRD’s rollicking morning show take the stage at DeVos Performance Hall, April 8.

Jim Gaffigan brings his unique brand of observational humor to Van Andel Arena on April 15.

Tom Papa, host of the Sirius XM Satellite Radio comedy show “Come to Papa,” appears at GLC Live at 20 Monroe on April 21.

Have no fear, Kountry Wayne is here – with his Help Is On The Way Comedy Tour, landing in GLC Live at 20 Monroe on April 28.

Dr. Grins Comedy Club is back in (funny) business at The B.O.B. – click here for its upcoming shows.

The Comedy Project gets every week off on a funny foot with Comedy Outlet Mondays, a laugh-filled variety show, and presents improv shows on Fridays and Saturdays.

Family Fun

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Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic is a hilarious parody of a famous wizarding school we all know and love. At Grand Rapids Civic Theatre March 2-12.

Grand Rapids Ballet School’s Junior Company presents The Wizard of Oz, a family-friendly production of the beloved tale, at Peter Martin Wege Theatre, March 10-12 and 18-19.

PAW Patrol Live! (Heroes Unite) brings characters from the hit TV show to DeVos Performance Hall for an epic stage adventure. March 14-15.

March is sugarbush season at Blandford Nature Center. Children ages 5-12 are invited to Journey to the Sugarhouse and discover how Native Americans and pioneers made maple syrup, from 11am-noon or 1pm-2pm on March 18. Everyone is invited to the Sugarbush Festival on March 25, featuring maple sugaring demos, taste tests, wildlife encounters, a petting zoo, live music and more.

Monster Jam brings 12,000-pound trucks to Van Andel Arena, where they’ll tear up the dirt in intense competitions of speed and skill. March 24-26.

John Ball Zoo opens for the season on March 24, with discount admission through May 6. On April 19, the zoo launches the Grand Rapids Lantern Festival, a breathtaking exhibit of handcrafted Asian lantern displays.  

Get your dancing shoes on for outdoor Swing Dancing in Rosa Parks Circle starting May 9 and continuing every first Tuesday of the month through October.

Molly of Denali: An Alaskan Adventure!, based on the PBS KIDS series, continues at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum through May 14. PBS is also the inspiration for Wimee’s Dreams, an interactive GRCM exhibit featuring the popular puppet robot, Wimee.

The Price is Right Live gives audience members the chance to “Come On Down” and play classic games made famous by the iconic TV show. At DeVos Performance Hall March 28.

Van Andel Arena is the site for four Grand Rapids Gold basketball games and 10 Grand Rapids Griffins hockey games this spring – the Gold play their last home game of the season on March 14 and the Griffins on April 14.

The West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team open their 2023 season at LMCU Ballpark on April 6 – and go on to play 20 more home games through May. Come cheer them on!

Berlin Raceway hosts its first super late model, limited late model, sportsman and 4-cylinder auto races on April 15 – and the action continues through early September.

Food & Drink

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Tour de Food Trucks kicks off food truck season at Lookout Park on April 27 – three food trucks will park there on the 4th Thursday of each month through September. 

Food trucks are back starting May 4 for Relax at Rosa, the lunchtime series also featuring live music and yard games in Rosa Parks Circle, every Thursday through September 28.

Food Truck Fridays at Riverside Park begin May 19 and run through September 1, with local food trucks, a community beer tent and music.

The Roll’N Out Food Truck Fest brings 30+ food trucks to Calder Plaza for the area’s largest food truck rally plus entertainment, family-friendly activities and community engagement. May 21.

Choose a beautiful spring day to tour local breweries by foot, pedal or van – and don’t miss these great craft beverage events:

Visit the Grand Rapids Downtown Market 7 days a week to shop and dine at 20+ artisan food stores and restaurants under one roof.

Browse our list of outdoor dining spaces when you get the urge for an al fresco experience.

Check in to eight local breweries to become a Beer City Brewsader® and earn a free t-shirt.

Check out some of the area’s best French restaurants, themed bars and restaurants, pizza places and Bloody Mary bars.

Search our restaurant listings by cuisine and location to find exactly what you’re craving for every meal.

Outdoor Recreation

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Get out and get active! April 1 is the unofficial start of the area’s golf and fishing seasons – but there are sure to be some golf courses opening at the first hint of nicer weather and the steelhead run starts in downtown’s Grand River in March.

Did you know Grand Rapids has been ranked 1 of the top 20 disc golf cities in the U.S.? Here are 14 courses that help justify that lofty position.

Bike and hike 60+ local trails to get your legs and heart pumping while enjoying the signs of spring. Pull your mountain bike out of storage and hit our groomed trails (as long as they’re not too wet). Rent or bring your own canoe, kayak or paddleboard to venture out onto warmer waters.

These races stretch our definition of “recreation” but you be you:

  • Hurt the Dirt Trail Races include a quarter, half and full marathon through Luton Park in Rockford. April 22.
  • The Yankee Springs Time Trial has mountain bike races ranging from 0.5 miles to 22 miles, for everyone from kids to elite racers. April 29.
  • She Runs Grand Rapids features half marathon, 10K and 5K races run through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. April 30.
  • The Amway River Bank Run is America’s largest 25K road race and it includes the world’s only 25K Wheelchair racing division along with a 25K handcycle division. There’s also a 10K run, 5K run, team competition and 5K community walk, and it all takes place May 13. You can run or you can line the route to encourage runners!

Spring Holidays

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Plans are still shaping up for the spring holidays – check back here closer to each date for an extended list of suggested activities!

March is Women’s History Month – a perfect time to visit the West Michigan Women’s Expo at DeVos Place (March 17-19) and reflect on other ways Grand Rapids celebrates female empowerment.

The Irish on Ionia street festival is back in downtown GR for 2023 – on March 18, to be exact – and it’s just one of many ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year. We’ve got a whole week’s worth of suggestions for you.  

Get in the Easter spirit with an Easter Egg Hunt at Walker City Central Park (April 1) and Martin Luther King Jr. Park (April 8).

Spring break is happening on or around the first week of April for most local school districts. Expect special kid-friendly programming from museums, John Ball Zoo, adventure destinations and more.

Cinco de Mayo is May 5 (hence the name) – and the Cinco de Mayo Bar Crawl is one way to mark the occasion. La Batalla Del Mole (the Battle of the Mole) in Rosa Parks Circle – featuring music, food trucks, art and more – is another. Alternatively, you could plan a visit to the area’s best margarita, taco or nacho joints, as identified by our social media followers.  

Mother’s Day is May 14 – it’s never too early to secure brunch or dinner reservations at her favorite restaurant.

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