Dynamic Variation:

Winter Activities in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids is a haven for those who embrace the cold and snow of winter – and do those who want to escape it. From skiing and snowshoeing to stage shows and festivals, Grand Rapids has you covered … indoors and out!

Holiday Events

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Holiday Magic

Grand Rapids gets a head-start on celebrating the winter holidays even before winter officially begins on December 21. Get your festive on early at these great shows:

Find even more festive fun – including Santa visits and tree-lighting ceremonies – on our Holiday Events page, and check out our New Year’s and Valentine’s Day celebration list as those dates draw closer.

Holiday Shopping

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Seasonal Shopping

Find something for everyone on your list at Breton Village Shopping Center, RiverTown Crossings Mall, Tanger Outlet Mall, Woodland Mall and the Ada, East Grand Rapids, Lowell, Rockford and Uptown shopping districts. Be sure to come back for all the post-holiday sales!

Pick up gifts for beer lovers on the Beer City Ale Trail and gifts from local brands at GrandRapidsStore.com.

Shop the Grand Rapids Downtown Market for all your holiday meal fixings.

Mark your calendar for artisan markets and neighborhood shopping celebrations:

Holiday Food & Drink

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A Couple Drinking Craft Beer at Dusk Outside
Cheers to Craft Beer, Friends, and Great Food

Indoor and outdoor dining is available throughout the area.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Season’s Eatings (& Drinkings)

It’s such a busy season, be sure to take time to relax and let someone else do the cooking (and brewing and distilling) once in a while. Browse our restaurant, brewery, cidery, coffee shop and distillery lists for something that’s sure to hit the spot.

Enjoy a delicious meal in the Grand Outdoors – or, at least, a heated enclosure offering a clear view of the outdoors. Dozens of local restaurants and breweries have created outdoor dining spaces that will keep you comfortable even in winter.

Share some holiday cheer with friends at eight of 40+ local breweries and earn a FREE Beer City Brewsader® t-shirt. If beer isn’t your beverage of choice, meet up for coffee, cider, spirits or wine instead!

Visit the Downtown Refreshment Area to view holiday lights and decorations while enjoying drinks and food from participating vendors. Other Refreshment Areas around the region offer similar opportunities.

Ward off the winter chill with a unique warm drink at these 10 beverage destinations.

Put on your best holiday onesies, Santa suits, ugly sweaters and elf costumes to join the 5th Annual 12 Bars of Christmas Crawl in downtown Grand Rapids.

Indulge in some New Orleans-style fun during the Mardi Gras Bar Crawl Feb. 26.

World of Winter

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January 7 - March 6, 2022

Experience and enjoy winter in a whole new way during the World of Winter Festival in downtown Grand Rapids. See thrilling art exhibits and performances, play games, stroll the city and more from Jan. 7 - March 6.

Show Stoppers

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Really Big Shows

Tour An Art of Changes: Jasper Johns Prints, 1960-2018 at Grand Rapids Art Museum to appreciate the work of one of America’s greatest living artists. Thru Jan. 2.

See how science fiction has influenced pop culture – and vice-versa – at POPnology, a Grand Rapids Public Museum exhibition thru Jan. 30.

Visit Jurassic Quest at DeVos Place to journey through prehistoric eras populated with 80+ true to life-size dinosaurs replicated in painstaking detail. Jan. 7-9.

Broadway Grand Rapids presents two blockbusters shows this winter:

  • Hairspray, the Tony Award-winning musical comedy that inspired the blockbuster film and live TV event. Jan. 11-16.
  • Hamilton, the story of America that became the biggest theatrical event of a generation, Feb. 8-20.

There’s something for everyone at these DeVos Place shows:

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre presents Shakespeare in Love, an uproarious comedy based on the Academy Award-winning film (Jan. 21 - Feb. 6), and Dragons Love Tacos, a new youth play based on the bestselling book (March 4-13).

Comedian Brian Regan – the “funniest stand-up alive” per Vanity Fair magazine – comes to DeVos Performance hall Jan. 23.

Van Andel Arena hosts the season’s best family-friendly entertainment:

Grand Rapids Ballet kicks off its 50th Anniversary Season with the classic fairytale Cinderella, Feb. 25-27.

Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies are Blooming returns to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with 7,000 tropical butterflies, special activities and educational opportunities. March 1 - April 30.

Grand Rapids Ballet’s Junior Company stages the exciting adventure tale of Aladdin, March 11-13 & 19-20.

Live Music

Music legends James Taylor and Jackson Browne co-headline a concert at Van Andel Arena Dec. 10.

Grand Rapids Symphony offers a diverse slate of performances:

Country music fans can see some of the genre’s most exciting talents in GR this winter:

  • Ashley McBryde brings her “This Town Talks” tour to GLC Live at 20 Monroe, Jan. 13.
  • Eric Church hits Van Andel Arena on his “The Gather Again” tour Jan. 21.
  • Dierks Bentley comes to Beer City and Van Andel Arena with his “Beers on Me” tour March 3.
  • Reba McEntire, the reigning queen of country, appears at Van Andel Arena March 17.

‘80s teen icon Tiffany appears in concert at Elevation, one of the four music venues at downtown GR’s TH Intersection, Jan. 19.

St. Cecilia Music Center hosts a series of talented musicians this winter:

Christian music fans get a double dose of praise & worship at Van Andel Arena: the Winter Jam multi-artist tour with headliners Skillet and Tauren Wells takes the stage Feb. 18, and Chris Tomlin & United appear together on March 1.

Are you ready to rock? TOOL and special guest The Acid Helps bring their progressive metal talents to Van Andel Arena March 8.

Ben Platt, the Tony Award-winning star of Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen, comes to Van Andel Arena in support of “Reverie,” his second solo album. March 14.

Winter Sports

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Snowshoeing in the Grand Rapids Area

  • 6 min

Snowshoeing has been around for almost as long as civilizations have interacted with deep snow. Historians believe snowshoeing traces its roots back…

  • 5 min

One of the great thing about Grand Rapids is the city’s close proximity to wildlife, nature, and beautiful outdoor scenes. You can easily find…

Winter weather brings new opportunities to explore and enjoy our natural landscape. Hike the trails at Blandford Nature Center and area parks to savor every shift of the season, as snow comes and goes and comes again.

Check out the area’s best snowshoe trails (and find out where to rent or buy a pair) for a scenic, at-your-own-pace workout.

Skiing more your style? You can tackle 21 downhill runs at Cannonsburg Ski Area, just 20 minutes from downtown. Bittersweet Ski Resort (20 runs) and Mulligan’s Hollow (six runs) are 30 minutes or so away. All three offer excellent cross-country trails, as do numerous close-by parks and nature areas.

Cannonsburg is also a favorite with snowboarders, thanks to a terrain park filled with 80+ jibs and jumps. Bittersweet and Mulligan’s Hollow are also popular snowboarding spots.

Want to take the kids sledding? Our favorite fun (and free) sledding locations include Richmond Park, Belknap Park, Johnson Park and Cascade Township Park.

If you love fat tire biking, you’ll love the groomed trails at Cannonsburg Ski Area, Indian Trails Fat Bike Park and the Merrell Trail in Rockford.

Ice fishing is a major pastime here – grab your auger and head to one our many inlands lakes and river bayous.

Bring the kids for Wintertime Walks at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park – these outdoor discovery walks let young ones investigate the Children’s Garden in new ways. Nov. 30-Dec. 28.

If you’re more of a watcher than a doer, get tickets for a Grand Rapids Griffins hockey game or Grand Rapids Gold basketball game. Check out the Meijer State Games of Michigan (Feb. 18-20) to see athletes compete in more than 15 winter sports, indoors and out. 

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.