Dynamic Variation:

Grand Rapids Summer Activities

Grand Rapids is the perfect warm-weather playground for all ages and interests. Our compact size and long hours of sunlight make it easy to pack in all the fun you can handle – hit the golf course, the bike trail, the beach and the downtown in one glorious day. Even better: Extend your stay to sample more of our restaurants, breweries, museums, music venues and family fun spots. Grand Rapids is no ordinary town … and it makes for an extraordinary summer getaway!

Outdoor Recreation

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Grand Rapids is an outdoor paradise in every season – but summer is especially near and dear to our hearts. Reason #1: perfect weather for golfing at 30+ local courses.

Speaking of golf, get your tickets now for the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, a championship tournament featuring the best players in women’s golf. At Blythefield Country Club June 15-18.

If frisbees are more your thing, check out these 14 disc golf courses – all free to play. You may also want to enter the River City Open disc golf tournament on July 28 - or just come out and cheer on the participants at Earl W. Brewer Park.

Did you know Grand Rapids is a Midwest hub for pickleball? Our premier outdoor facility is at Belknap Park, site of the Beer City Open Pickleball Championship July 18-22. It’s free to watch!

Warmer water means this is also prime season for boating, paddling and tubing – including guided Kayaking Adventures on the Grand River. Bring your own gear or rent everything you need.

Hundreds of miles of paved trails in and around Grand Rapids give bikers and hikers ample opportunity for scenic exercise. These trails are particularly accessible for people with disabilities – and these trails are dog-friendly. (More dog-friendly spaces here.)

Get off the trail and onto the streets for the Grand Rapids Gran Fondo, a bicycling event with 80-mile, 40-mile, 25-mile and family-ride courses. June 24.

Feel like a picnic in the park? Order takeout from a local restaurant and take your pick of 130+ nearby greenspaces.

Feeling competitive? Test your skills in the Grand Rapids Triathlon (June 11), Reeds Lake Run (June 24), Cross Country Team Challenge (July 25), Millennium Triathlon (July 29), Grand Rapids Color Run (July 23), Michigan Titanium (Aug. 13), Millennium Meadows Marathon (Aug. 27) and Kisscross Cyclocross (Aug. 27).

Feel the beat? Head to downtown’s Rosa Parks Circle every Tuesday evening for outdoor Swing and Line Dancing – no partner required!  

Holidays & Festivals

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Festival of the Arts kicks off a summer of celebration with three days of art, artisan crafts, music concerts, dance performances and food from around the world. At downtown’s Calder Plaza Jun 2-4.

Lowell Pride is a small-town celebration of LGBTQ+ culture on the banks of the beautiful Flat River, just 20 minutes from downtown GR. June 3.

The Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival shares the stories of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans through authentic food, entertainment and immersive experiences. At downtown’s Calder Plaza June 9 & 11.

The Homecoming of the Three Fires Pow Wow is an outdoor celebration of music, dance, art, food and crafts produced by the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians. At Riverside Park June 10 & 11.

“Unapologetically Me 2023” is the theme for this year’s Grand Rapids Pride Festival, which takes place at Calder Plaza June 17.

The Justice 4 All Juneteenth Jam! takes over Rosa Parks Circle with live music, community speakers, Black-owned food & business vendors, a graffiti art showcase and more, all to celebrate the history, culture and progress of African Americans. June 17. Find more Juneteenth events here

River City Summer Jam is a cultural festival featuring popular local acts, social media influencers, DJs, and hip hop and R&B artists. At Rosa Parks Circle June 24.

Celebrate Independence Day at the Annual 4th of July Fireworks Show in downtown’s Ah-Nab-Awen Park July 1. It’s one of many local 4th of July celebrations over the long weekend.

The 28th Annual Riverwalk Festival in Lowell includes live music, classic cars, a 5K, a kidz zone, boat race, food booths and more. July 6-8.

The Boston Square Summer Celebration brings the community together to enjoy good food, live music and family-friendly activities. At the Boston Square Community Parklet July 8.

Love Where You Live Hip Hop is a fully day of music, fun, art and food at Sullivan Field. July 22.

The Global Water Festival honors the centrality of water to life by showcasing global cultures that celebrate the water. Highlights include live music, food vendors, artisan booths and a Dragon Boat Race. At downtown’s Canal Street Park July 29-30.

The Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival returns to Calder Plaza for its annual celebration of the local community’s rich heritage. Aug. 4-6.

The Sparta Celtic Festival presents live music, dancing, food, historical encampments, Highland Games and other activities expressing Celtic heritage. Aug. 11 & 12.

A Glimpse of Africa Festival beckons people to Calder Plaza to celebrate, educate and share the diversity of African cultures through food, music, dance, fashion, arts & crafts, and community activities. August 12 & 13.

The One Peace Hip Hop Festival is an all-ages experience showcasing turntable deejays, aerosol artists, physical activities and local vendors that promote hip hop principles of love, peace, unity and fund. At Martin Luther King Jr. Park Aug. 12.

The Greenville Danish Festival observes its 59th year with a Grand Dansk Parade, Danish food, an artisan fair, live music, Miss Danish Festival Pageant and more. Aug. 6-20.

Join in the 60th Anniversary of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport with staged aircraft, live music, food trucks and more family-friendly fun. Aug. 19.

Experience traditional Polish food, beer music, and more at the Grand Rapids Polish Festival in Rosa Parks Circle, Aug. 25-27.

Celebrate our downtown riverfront at the Return to the River Music & Art Festival, featuring lie music, entertainment circus performers, art and games. Two locations – the Downtown Skate Park and Sixth Street Park – are connected by a River Walk. Aug. 26 & 27.

Art & Culture

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The Grand Rapids Lantern Festival at John Ball Zoo features breathtaking Asian lantern displays that tell the intersecting story of wildlife and Asian Culture. Through June 11.

Cristina Iglesias: Under and In Between surveys 20 years of captivating work from one of Spain’s most renowned artists. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park through Sep. 24.

The Eastown Bizarre Bazaar is a celebration of local artisans, craft beer, entertainment and fun & funky flavor of the Eastown neighborhood. June 10.

Ill-Natured: Nature’s Poisonous Beauties & Venomous Beasts collects the work of nine diverse artists interpreting the nasty side of nature. At Cocoon Art Space through July 1.

The Youth Arts Show at DeVos Place features paintings, drawings, three-dimensional pieces and more, all created by local student artists. May 30-June 17.

Message From Our Planet: Digital Art From The Thoma Collection is a Grand Rapids Art Museum exhibit bringing together 20+ software, video and light-technology artists. June 17-Sep. 9.

Circle Theatre presents Blithe Spirit (June 1-17), Pippin (July 13-29) and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Aug. 10-26).

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten is a Master Arts Theatre production of the funny, heartwarming play based on the best-selling Robert Fulghum book. June 1-17.

Golden Girls – The Laughs Continue is a parody of the classic TV show featuring an all-male cast. At DeVos Performance Hall June 8 & 9.

C.S. Lewis On Stage: Further Up & Further In is a dazzling new theatrical experience diving deep into the soul of one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. At DeVos Performance Hall June 24.

Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids performs Witch, a wickedly funny contemporary fable debating how much our souls are worth when hope is hard to come by. June 15-17 & 21-24.

Disney’s Frozen is the theatrical version of the mega-smash movie, featuring sensational songs, special effects, sets and costumes. At DeVos Performance Hall July 11-23.

Grand Rapids Ballet presents two outdoor performances: one outside downtown’s Peter Martin Wege Theatre (Aug. 25 & 26) and one at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park (Aug. 29).

Live Music

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The annual Meijer Gardens Summer Concert Series kicks off June 8 with Nickel Creek + Gaby Moreno – the 1st of 30 superstar concerts. Local and regional performers take the stage for a Tuesday Evening Music Club from May 30-Aug. 29.

Relax at Rosa brings live music, yard games and food trucks to downtown’s Rosa Parks Circle every Thursday from noon-1:30 pm.

The B-93 Birthday Bash celebrates its 30th year with country stars Jon Pardi, Gabby Barrett, Michael Ray and Shane Profitt in concert at LMCU Ballpark. June 17.

Outdoor concerts are a highlight of summer in Grand Rapids. Slather on your sunscreen, grab a lawn chair and groove to the music every night of the week:

Many of these concerts are FREE. Explore our FREE music events.

More al fresco music:

Van Andel Arena hosts some of music’s hottest tours this summer:

Legendary rocker John Mellencamp brings his Live and In Person Concert Tour to DeVos Performance Hall June 21.

Browse the concert calendars for The Intersection, GLC Live at 20 Monroe, Midtown GR, The Pyramid Scheme and Skelletones for even more great concerts. 

If laughter is music to your ears, check out Jay Mohr (June 2 & 3), River City Improv (June 16, July 28), Dan Donohue (June 17) and Jordan Rock (July 6) at Midtown GR. The Comedy Project and Dr. Grins Comedy Club are also packed with summer gigs, and Don’t Tell Comedy offers “secret” shows on June 17 and July 1.

Music Festivals

Tours coming to Grand Rapids

Family Fun

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  • by Sasha Wolff photo by Experience Grand Rapids
  • GR text Must
  • 10 min story

West Michiganders anticipate summer with joy for good reason: the weather is gorgeous, the sparkling lakeshore beckons, and every weekend holds the promise of something new and exciting to do around Grand Rapids. Whether you live in West Michigan or are visiting, you can take advantage of…

Beat the heat with two extraordinary exhibits at the Grand Rapids Public Museum: Ice Age: Michigan’s Frozen Secrets and Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact.

Kids love visiting the animals at John Ball Zoo – and they’ll get a big kick out of these special Zoo events:

Bring the family to a West Michigan Whitecaps baseball game or Berlin Raceway stock-car event ­– both venues offer all sorts of kid-friendly premiums and perks.

Play in the splashpad or Ninja Warrior playground, rent a canoe or kayak, or have fun on the beach at Millennium Park, five minutes from downtown GR.

It’s all fun and games at Craig’s Cruisers, AJ’s Family Fun CenterTreeRunner Adventure Park and Battle GR – so the challenge will be getting your kids to leave.

The Grand Rapids Downtown Market invites kids to Meet the Machines – emergency vehicles, construction vehicles and everything in between will fill the parking lot June 20 and July 11.

Cheer on participants of the Meijer State Games of Michigan - Summer. There are 33 events on tap from June 11-July 15, including girl’s lacrosse, water skiing, rugby, bocce ball, tennis, archery, skeet shooting and boxing.

Van Andel Arena brings the Dude Perfect Panda-Monium Tour to town, complete with crazy, trick-shot-themed battles and over-the-top stunts. June 29.

The Berlin Fair, just 10 minutes from downtown GR, is a family-friendly event featuring livestock competitions, agricultural exhibits, monster trucks, a rodeo, carnival rides and much more. July 3-8.

Grand Rapids Symphony presents a screening of the classic kid’s film The Goonies, with the movie’s exhilarating score performed live on stage. At DeVos Performance Hall July 26.

Head to Cannonsburg Ski Area for The Dawg Days of Summer, which includes a kids-only mountain bike and foot race plus carnival games, inflatables, a healthy living expo and fun family activities. July 30.

Bluey’s Big Play comes to DeVos Performance Hall in a theatrical adaptation of the much-loved children’s television series, Aug. 8 & 9.

3ICE is an exhilarating, fast-paced, family-affordable series of 3-on-3 hockey games at Van Andel Arena July 12.

Need more inspiration for your family summer getaway? Check out how Grand Rapids lets kids Play Their Way.


Things to do with Teens in Grand Rapids

  • photo by Experience Grand Rapids
  • 5 min

Traveling to Grand Rapids with a teenager? The city and region offer plenty of possibilities to satisfy even the hardest-to-please adolescents. Whether your teen prefers outdoor adventure or indoor…

Food & Drink

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Fresh food just tastes better in fresh air – check out 130+ restaurants with great outdoor dining & drinking spaces.

Take advantage of the Downtown Refreshment Area to stroll the center city while enjoying delectable food and alcoholic beverages. There are plenty of places to sit and relax along your journey! Similar outdoor refreshment areas are available outside downtown and along the lakeshore.

Visit the Grand Rapids Downtown Market to shop butcheries, bakeries, patisseries, fishmongers, coffee roasters, chocolatiers and other artisan vendors, all under one roof. Refuel yourself after shopping with a restaurant meal – the Market hosts American, Asian, Hispanic and Mediterranean eateries, and you can dine indoors or out.

Summer’s the perfect time to become a Beer City® Brewsader – download the app and visit eight breweries to earn a FREE t-shirt. Take a guided beer tour and let someone else do the driving.

Did you know that USA Today dubbed Grand Rapids the “Craft Beverage Capital of the U.S.” in addition to America’s Best Beer City? Yes, we’ve got great breweries – but you should also visit our amazing cideries, coffeehouses, distilleries, meaderies and wine bars.

Shop the Fulton Street Farmer’s Market five minutes from downtown GR and other farm markets to enjoy fresh-picked fruits, vegetables, flowers and more, all summer long.

Start your weekend with a visit to Riverside Park for Food Truck Fridays, featuring 20 or so local food trucks, a beer tent and live music. Through Sept. 1.

Adults 21 and older are invited to Roaring Nights at John Ball Zoo – enjoy specialty food, craft beer and wines while you see animal activities and listen to live music. June 15 & 29 and July 13 & 27.

Join City Built Brewing Co. for Bridge Blast 2023, featuring beer from 12 Michigan breweries, multiple food trucks and live music. At downtown’s Sixth Street Bridge Park June 17.

Tour de Food Trucks brings three food trucks to downtown’s Lookout Park on the 4th Thursday of each month through the summer. Enjoy the food and the spectacular view!

Grand Rapids Foodie Fest features many of the area’s most popular mobile food vendors gathering in Calder Plaza along with live music, dance performances, local merchants and more. June 30-July 1.

The Grand Rapids Taco & Tequila Fest comes to Riverside Park on July 22 with 100+ tequilas, food trucks, live music & vendors.

Garden Parties

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No trip to GR is complete without a visit to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the world’s 50 most visited art museums. It’s especially beautiful in summer, when colorful blooms grace the Japanese Garden, Children’s Garden, Farm Garden and Woodland Shade Garden.

Visit the Kent/MSU Extension Grand Ideas Garden to learn about plants and gardening techniques you can replicate at home.

Take the Heritage Hill Garden Tour to stroll through some of the most beautiful gardens in one of the nation’s largest urban historic districts. June 17.

The Ottawa Hills Neighborhood Association invites you to its free 29th Annual Garden Tour, featuring gardens of all sizes and styles. June 24.

See some of Europe’s most magnificent gardens – plus landscapes, churches, villages, architecture, castles and much, much more – when the Grand Rapids Symphony presents Rick Steves’ Europe: A Symphonic Journey. The famed travel expert will present context for musical selections by the Symphony and project images from his travels on the big screen. At DeVos Performance Hall July 27 & 28.

The Dahlia Show at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will dazzle you with a proliferation of stunning blooms in a rainbow of colors. Aug. 26 & 27.

Lake Break

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Downtown GR is just 30-45 minutes away from the beaches and beach towns of Lake Michigan. Spend a day on the coast and get back to GR for a night on the town!

Find your vibe – secluded or close to city amenities, bustling or laid back, dog-friendly or not – at 20+ Lake Michigan beaches. Or hit the six-acre sandy beach at Millennium Park beach five minutes from downtown GR.

Shop, dine and enjoy the sights in the beach towns of Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon and Saugatuck/Douglas – each boasts its own unique personality and style.

Grand Rapids is the perfect home base from which to explore the lakeshore’s biggest events:

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