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 Fichter 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!

Also at Meijer Gardens: Paul Villinski: Flight Patterns explores the dynamic aerial realm and various notions of “flight”—literal and metaphorical, and Jennifer Angus: Flying Jewels & Other Lofty Insects showcases the jewel-like quality of insects in kaleidoscopic room installations and shimmering bell jar tableaux. Both run through August 18.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum hosts A Heartbeat Away: The American Vice-Presidency in honor of the 50th anniversary of Ford’s ascension to the VP slot. Historic artifacts tell the tales of Ford and other Vice Presidents who unexpectedly rose to the Presidency. Through June 9.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum invites guests to consider new perspectives on a variety of subjects:

Mandela: The Official Exhibition at the Grand Rapids Public Museum is an immersive and interactive experience taking visitors thorough the life of the world’s most iconic freedom fighter and political leader.

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 18.

Take advantage of fine spring weather to take a self-guided walking tour of downtown GR murals, painted ticket booths, and Community Legends sculptures.

Cultural Celebrations

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The Grand Rapids Lantern Festival at John Ball Zoo returns for a second year with all-new, all-breathtaking lantern displays that illuminate the zoo and tell the intersecting story of wildlife and Asian culture. Through June 16.

The 23rd 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 13-14.

Festival del Cinco de Mayo commemorates La Batalle de Puebla, also known as Cinco de Mayo, through Mexican culture and cuisine. Enjoy live music, food trucks, arts and crafts, and children’s activities in Rosa Parks Circle May 4.

Donkey Taqueria, one of the city’s favorite Mexican restaurants, hosts a two-day street festival in the Uptown neighborhood. The Donkey Cinco de Mayo Celebration takes place May 4 & 5.

Dutch culture takes the spotlight at the Holland Tulip Time Festival from May 4-12. 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.

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

The Grand Rapids African American Arts and Music Festival in Garfield Park celebrates African American art, music, culture and people. May 19.

Funny Business

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Acclaimed author and humorist David Sedaris offers new readings and recollections, a Q&A session and book signing at DeVos Performance Hall. May 1.

Comedy superstar Katt Willams comes to Van Andel Arena with his The Dark Matter Tour May 11.

You may know that GLC Live at 20 Monroe is a great music venue, but did you know it’s also a great comedy space? Comedy shows coming to GLC this spring:

Check the performance schedules for The Comedy Project, Dr. Grins Comedy Club, Midtown, Golden Age at Creston Brewery and Don’t Tell Comedy for even more funny business.

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Sometimes the weight of life calls for a healthy dose of the best medicine out there: laughter. If you’re on the prowl for a proper belly laugh, there are multiple venues and performance groups in…

Performing Arts

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

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, a Tony Award-winning adaption of the classic Harper Lee novel, April 23-28.
  • Wicked, the musical tale of Oz before Dorothy dropped in, May 15-June 2.
  • MJ: The Musical, centered around the making of Michael Jackson’s 1993 Dangerous Tour, doesn’t open until July 19 – but tickets are selling fast, so get yours now.

La Bohéme inspired “Rent” and “Love Story” – and now you can see the original tale of star-crossed lovers performed by Opera Grand Rapids. At DeVos Performance Hall April 19 & 20.

 

Master Arts Theatre, a community theater 15 minutes south of Grand Rapids, presents See Rock City, a tender and funny tale following a young American couple around the time of WWII. April 25-May 4.

The Agatha Christie mystery classic Murder on the Orient Express comes to the local stage courtesy of the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. April 19-May 5.

Spamilton: An American Parody is a convulsively funny musical parody of the Broadway sensation Hamilton. At Forest Hills Fine Arts Center April 21.

Grand Rapids Ballet stages Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, called “one of the greatest ballets of all time,” on the same program as the 1934 neo-classic masterpiece Serenade. April 26-28 & May 3-5 at Peter Martin Wege Theatre.

The West Michigan Youth Ballet transforms the Wizard of Oz into a mesmerizing dance production. At Forest Hills Fine Arts Center April 27 & 28.

Paradise Lost at Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids is a new drama inspired by John Milton’s epic poem of the cosmic battle between good and evil. May 2-5 & 9-11.

The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre hosts Ten For All, its annual playwrighting festival, which presents original world-premiere 10-minute plays written by local playwrights. May 17-18.

Circle Theatre kicks off its 2024 theatrical schedule with Tick, Tick … Boom!, the first musical from Rent composer Jonathan Larson. May 16-18 & 22-26 and May 29-June 1.

Live Music

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See some of music’s biggest names in concert at Van Andel Arena this spring:

St. Cecelia Music Center welcomes Grammy Award-winning folk singer Marc Cohn on April 11 and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center “String Magic,” April 18.

The Grand Rapids Symphony performs spring concert schedule includes A Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus Celebration (April 12-13), May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars and More! (May 3-4) and Mendellsohn’s Violin Concerto (May 10 & 11). . Check out the full Symphony schedule.

Relax at Rosa, our annual summertime lunchtime series with live music, yard games and food trucks, starts May 2 – and continues every Thursday through September 12.

Candlelight Concerts features the Kalhaven String Quartet performing much-loved music at unique locations:

Circle Theatre gets the jump on warm weather with its Summer Concert Series saluting musical icons and genres:, performed by local talent:

The 30+ spring concerts at Midtown in downtown GR include include Raul Midón (April 23), The Accidentals Cover Art Album Release Show (April 24), The Arcadian Wild (April 28) and Dixon’s Violin (May 4). See the full schedule here.

You can catch a concert most every night in Grand Rapids. Check the concert slates at GLC Live at 20 Monroe, GRNoir Wine & Jazz, The Intersection, The Pyramid Scheme, Skelletones and Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill, and visit our Live Music page for concerts on specific dates. 

Visit our Free Music Events page concerts you don’t have to pay for and our Live Music page for concerts on specific dates. 

Grand Rapids has a growing music scene that celebrates live music through over 100 venues running from small coffeehouses to arenas, music festivals, events, outdoor concerts, musical theater and symphonies. Explore our area with the Grand Rapids Music Trail and other great music-themed trip ideas.

Family Fun

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John Ball Zoo is open for the season! New animals include Zuhura the chimpanzee and Titan, an Amur tiger, plus four male Chaocan peccaries (a pig-like endangered species) and three San Clemente Island goats, which call the petting zoo home.  

The West Michigan Whitecaps open at home (LMCU Ballpark) on April 9 – and play 21 additional home games through May. Come cheer on the boys (and enjoy some great food, drink & promotions).

Amaze & Amuse: A Modern Day Magic Show features an all-star lineup of top magicians from around the country – including 12-year-old America’s Got Talent magician and ventriloquist Brynn Cummings. At Wealthy Theatre April 19.

Wealthy Theatre hosts the Pro-Kids Show with Tim Hannig, a blend of fun, magic and inspiration on April 20.

Attend Party for the Planet at John Ball Zoo on April 20 for entertainment, animal programs and plant giveaways. MI Wildlife Day on May 25 at John Ball Zoo is a celebration of Michigan’s native turtles and songbirds, featuring animal activities, interactive wildlife stations and entertainment.

Grand Rapids Griffins hockey through April 21, and Grand Rapids Rise volleyball through May 12, both at Van Andel Arena. Here’s hoping the teams make the playoff and extend their seasons!

Berlin Raceway opens its 2024 season on April 20 – and continues every Saturday through Sep. 7. Cheer on super late models, limited late models, sportsman, 4-cylinder autos and more as they race around the track.

Bring the whole family to Joe Taylor Park on May 18 for a Neighborhood Cookout, part of the Baxter Summer Series. Entertainment, food and beverages provided.

Brick By Brick: The Creative Art of LEGO® is an interactive display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum through May 19.

Building Buddies! at the Grand Rapids Public Museum invites families to help a family “construct” their neighborhood. Through Sep. 1.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit is an interactive journey through the world of the PBS Kids character. At the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum through May 12.

Blandford Nature Center offers a host of kid-friendly events and activities, including Earth Day Birthdays with Wildlife Ambassadors on April  20 and a Spring Migration Bird Bonanza May 18. Check out the full Blandford Community Calendar.

Curious George and the Golden Meatball is a brand-new musical taking the audience through a fun-filled adventure on stage at Circle Theatre. May 2-5.

Check out our suggestions for Things to Do With Kids and Things to Do with Teens for more family fun ideas.

Food & Drink

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

  • Weird Beer Weekend at Brewery Vivant, April 19-21.
  • Biergarten Seasonal Opening at Archival Brewing, April 20.
  • Bridge Street Makers Market & Bar Hop, April 20.
  • Spring Sip N’ Shop Makers Market at Archival Brewing, April 21.
  • 3rd Annual Birds and Brews at Creston Taproom, April 25.
  • Enjoy Lunch, Wine & a Fashion Show at Robinette’s, April 27.
  • Tots & Taps Fest at LMCU Ballpark, May 4.
  • Barley, BBQ & Beats at Van Andel Arena, May 18.

Cider Week GR (May 10-18) returns to Grand Rapids for the first time since 2020. Celebrate with tap takeovers, cider brunches and cool activities around town, all culminating in a Cider Festival at Rosa Parks Circle on May 18.

The Roll’N Out Food Truck Fest is the official kick-off event of food truck season. Rosa Parks Circle is the setting for some of the area’s best local food trucks, a beer tent, local merchant village and live music. May 19.

Food Truck Fridays at Riverside Park begin May 17 and run through August 2, with local food trucks, a community beer tent and music.

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.

Founders Brewing Company is back open after a month of renovations – stop in to check out their new and expanded menu (and enjoy some delectable beers, of course).

Check in to eight local breweries to become a Beer City Brewsader® and earn a free t-shirt. Make sure you have the NEW Brewsader app – launched Feb. 13 – on your mobile device.

Check out some of the area’s best French restaurants, themed bars and restaurants, pizza places, sweet treat destinations, wine bars and must-try spots for non-alcoholic beverages.

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.

Pickleball, anyone? Grand Rapids has all sorts of places to play, including inside Broad Brewery + Spirits and at 60+ outdoor courts. 

Tuesday Night Swing Dance is back in downtown GR’s outdoor Rosa Parks Circle on May 7 – and it continues every Tuesday through October 8.

The Amway River Bank Run, which features the largest 25K road race in the country, welcomes 10,000+ people to traverse the route from downtown Grand Rapids to Millennium Park and back again. May 11.

Lace up your shoes for even more spring runs:

  • 2024 Pine Ridge Color Run in Cedar Springs, April 13.
  • Rivertown 5K, 10K & Half Marathon Races at Millennium Park, April 20. 
  • Barry-Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race, April 20.
  • Grand Rapids Road Mile in downtown GR, April 21.
  • Hurt the Dirt Trail Races at Luton Park, April 27.
  • Hometown Half Marathon, April 28
  • Michigan Adventure Race at Cannonsburg Ski Area, May 18.

As always, check our Events Calendar for things to do on specific dates.

The Nature Makers Market at Blandford Nature Center features gifts and goods inspired by nature and created with natural materials. May 4.

More than 50 unique vendors will be selling vintage clothes, décor, and more at The Mitten Vintage Market in Calder Plaza. May 4.

The Merchant and Makers Spring Market at The Fulton Street Farmers Market hosts 100+ makers in its covered outdoor market. May 5.

The Grand Rapids Downtown Market hosts a Vintage and Handmade Marketplace on April 28 and a Springtime Gift Fair on May 11.

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 18.

“Shop” the 2024 Grand Rapids HBA Spring Parade of Homes to gather great ideas for building or remodeling your own home. May 31-June 8.

Shop, sip and stroll on 3rd Thursdays in downtown Grand Rapids, which showcase local art galleries, retailers, boutiques, restaurants and cultural institutions. April 18 and May 16.

Check out the new Shinola store (from the iconic Detroit brand) and Laker Store (from Grand Valley State University) in downtown Grand Rapids.

Head to Woodland Mall and Rivertown Crossings Mall for famous brand names, Tanger Outlet Mall for big discounts on designer merchandise, and these neighborhood shopping destinations for unique treasures.

As always, check our Events Calendar for many more things to see and do on the dates you’re visiting!

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